How to Choose a Program

Know Your Options while studying abroad

First Steps

Ready to learn more about studying abroad? Your first step is to narrow down which program or type of program is the best fit for you. Review the considerations below, and then attend a First Step Session! No preparation is required, but considering the items below will help prompt questions to ask, or bring up things you want to discuss. 

You can also meet with a Peer Advisor one-on-one with no appointment neededPeer Advisors are Tommies who have studied abroad for at least one semester and are a great resource when you are getting started with your study abroad planning. Learn from their experience, ask questions, and explore all of your options. Check out their bio and drop-in hours below.  

Do you already feel like you know which term or program is for you? Visit our How to Apply page to review the application process.

Consider Your Priorities

There are many different ways to approach selecting the best program for you. To assist you in the selection process, answer the following questions. 

Do you want a program that will contribute to your expertise in your chosen major and/or career? If so, a program specific to your field would be your first priority. Such a program might include:

  • major/minor specific classes
  • an internship
  • a location that relates to your major.

Do you have a specific location in mind that fits your personal interests and/or major? If so, focus on location to help you narrow your search.

Do you know what type of program you are looking for? Here are some program components you might consider:

  • program size
  • classes with other international/U.S./local students
  • internship
  • cohort model
  • research/project options

Do you prefer to study abroad for a specific term?

  • J-Term/summer programs offer an intensive experience to fully immerse yourself in the course content for a short period of time.
  • Semester/year programs allow you to actually live in a new country and adapt to another culture while pursuing your academic and career goals.

Create Goals

Why do you want to study abroad? What do you hope to gain from the experience? 

Maybe you just know you want to see the world, or perhaps you have a specific program in mind that supports a career goal. Either way, take some time now to note some broad goals, and consider what is important to you. 

Goals and desired outcomes will change and develop throughout the study abroad process. Beginning to define them now will help shape your experience, and bring a more focused perspective as you consider different options and program types. 

Meet Your Peer Advisors:

Advising Hours: 

Drop in for advising here or stop by MHC 212.

Check back Fall Semester for dates and times!


First Step Sessions: 

Attend a First Step Session here.

See Events Calendar for details. 

Monti Knewtson '24


Hi, my name is Monti Knewtson. I am from Fargo, North Dakota and went to high school at West Fargo Sheyenne. I am a Sophomore at St. Thomas majoring in Entrepreneurship and minoring in Data Analytics.


Fall of 2021, I studied abroad through the Rome Empower Program. I chose this program because it is a common choice for Sophomores and allows students to stay on track for classes by fulfilling many of the general degree requirements.


Throughout the program, I developed a new passion for learning, met classmates who became like family, and fell in love with Italian culture (especially the food!). Studying abroad during the pandemic limited travel to just the country of Italy, which was incredible. It helped me get immersed into the culture even more. My friends and I ended up going to Milan, Florence, Cinque Terre, Sorrento, Sicily, Assisi, and other smaller cities near Rome.


When I am not working at the Office of Study Abroad, I spend my time playing on the Women’s tennis team, studying at coffee shops, attending Salt Company, and planning more travel experiences with friends. Additionally, I am a fan of New Girl, yoga, and matcha lattes. I am so excited to meet with my peers and help them reach their goal of studying abroad.