Get ready to discover your world! The steps below will guide you through selecting a program that meets your personal and academic goals, financing, and the application process.
When should I study abroad?
Freshman can study abroad as early as their first semester on the Global Edge program or the summer after freshman year through UCEAP, Berkeley Summer Abroad, Berkeley Global Internships, affiliate, and independent programs. With careful planning, transfer students can study abroad as early as their second semester on campus. All students can study abroad up to and including their last term at Berkeley, even the summer after walking in a graduation ceremony! The “right” term to study abroad depends on your personal and academic needs. The earlier you start planning, the more options you will have. The best news of all? You can study abroad for unlimited summers and up to three semesters with permission from your college.
When should I research and apply for a program?
Researching study abroad options as early as possible will allow you to choose a program that best fits your academic and personal goals, and provide time to complete application prerequisites. Application deadlines vary by program, but can be as early as 12 months prior to the term of participation.
Dedicating time to defining your goals and objectives is the best way to ensure a positive outcome from your study abroad experience.
Stay on track for graduation by using study abroad courses to satisfy major, minor, breadth, and general education requirements. Our Academics section will walk you through college and departmental planning for study abroad. Your goal is to determine how many, and what type of, classes you need before you begin your program search.
From the length of participation to the level of engagement with the locals, personal goals are unique to every individual. Use our Program Planning Worksheet to understand and define your priorities in selecting a study abroad program.
There are many career benefits of studying abroad. While researching programs, you can consider what skills you would like to obtain or improve upon - whether that is learning or language or interning abroad.
Review the minimum eligibility for each program as you explore, including minimum GPA, class standing, language and/or course prerequisites, and eligibility for a student visa in the host country. Some eligibility requirements must be met at the time of application (typically GPA), while others can be met by the time of participation (typically class standing and language/course prerequisites).
Hooray! Now that you’ve defined your goals and objectives, it’s time to Explore programs.
Our flexible search tool allows you to explore by term, location, language of instruction, and program provider. Each result includes a link to the corresponding program website for additional information.
Adviser Tip: We encourage to you to search first without selecting a program provider to see the full range of options for any given search criteria.
What’s the difference between Program Providers? Compare Berkeley Summer Abroad, Berkeley Global Internships, UCEAP, other UC programs, Affiliate, and Independent programs on our Program Providers at a Glance handout.
Congratulations! Exploration led you to the program of your dreams! You’re eager to apply, but first must confirm that you meet eligibility requirements for the program and your college at Berkeley.
The Explore tool includes a summary of eligibility, but it’s essential that you review detailed eligibility on each individual program listing. Program eligibility is determined by the program provider. If you are unsure that you meet program eligibility, contact the Berkeley Study Abroad adviser listed for the program.
In addition to meeting the eligibility set by the provider, you must have eligibility to study abroad within your Berkeley college. Review our College Advising information, and consult with your college if you are unsure that you meet eligibility requirements.
Advising for study abroad comes in many formats, requiring coordination and collaboration between students and their families, colleges, departments, campus offices, and the Berkeley Study Abroad office.
Seek college advising for guidance on eligibility for study abroad within your college and overall progress toward a degree. Review our College Advising information, and consult with your college if you are unsure that you meet eligibility requirements.
Seek departmental advising for guidance on credit from study abroad courses toward your major/minor. Before visiting your major/minor adviser(s), review our Academics overview which details course credit and academic planning, then review our Major Advising pages.
Visit the Berkeley Study Abroad office during Peer Advising hours to speak with a study abroad returnee and receive general guidance on selecting and applying for a study abroad program. Browse the Stories section for Berkeley Study Abroad Ambassador profiles, and reach out to your BSA adviser to connect with alumni from your specific country and program of interest.
Professional study abroad advisers are available on a drop-in basis in 160 Stephens Hall. We offer general advising for students who have not yet selected a program. Staff members specializing in country and program are also available to answer your program specific questions during specified hours. For most programs, you are not required to meet with an adviser prior to application, but it is highly recommended.
Include your family in your exploration of study abroad options. There are many resources available online with tips for talking to family about study abroad, and both peer and professional advisers are an excellent resource to help you with your talking points.
Study abroad is more affordable than you think! You can absolutely plan a great study abroad experience that fits your financial needs. Our Finances section will introduce you to costs and budgets, identifying funding through scholarships, and applying financial aid to study abroad participation.
Financial aid counselors are available on a drop-in basis in 160 Stephens Hall to discuss your specific financial need and program(s) of interest.
Berkeley Study Abroad application deadlines are listed in the Explore search results. That is also where you will find links to each application.
Some programs accept applications during a rolling application period that has a beginning and end date, and applications are considered in the order they are submitted. Other programs have only a final deadline and all applications submitted by the deadline are given equal consideration for acceptance. Many programs can accommodate all qualified applicants.
Application processes vary by program provider, but in addition to an online submission of demographic and academic information may include a personal statement, transcripts, passport photocopies, letter(s) of recommendation, and other items specific to the program or host institution. Make sure to review application requirements well in advance of the deadline to allow time to prepare supplemental materials.
You will need a valid passport, which does not expire for 6 months (18 months for Russia) after the end date of the study abroad program, either at the time of application or very shortly after acceptance to the program. The requirement for your program will be noted on the application. Apply for your passport or passport renewal now to avoid paying expedited fees closer to the application deadline.
- Scott McElhinney
"I was the first one in my family to live abroad, and those experiences fundamentally changed my worldview in a positive way. I became a study abroad adviser so that I could help other Cal students have similar opportunities to observe and interact with new cultures."