Deciding on a Study Abroad Program

So, you want to go abroad?

I’m so excited for you! I’m Louise Schiele, a third-year at Scripps studying Cognitive Science and Spanish. One of my deciding factors in choosing Scripps was our incredible study abroad options through the SAGE (Study Abroad and Global Education) office. Lots of Scripps students study abroad, and we have tons of options for all kinds of different programs. In this blog post I’ll talk a bit about my process in deciding what program I wanted, my experience working with the SAGE office, and a few things you should consider in your decision.

I’ll be heading to Spain next semester, and I can’t wait! But it took me a while to find the perfect program. Here are a few things to consider while making your choice.

  • Does studying abroad work with your schedule and major? Spoiler alert: probably yes! We have programs with all kinds of different course options so that everyone who wants to study abroad, hopefully can study abroad. That said, head to the SAGE office as a first step if you have any specific questions. For more specialized majors, like a fine arts major or some STEM majors, you may have to find a specific program so that you’re able to meet all your requirements. As well, it’s important to keep in mind your progress towards general education requirements, to make sure you have a plan to finish those before/during/after abroad!
  • What kind of program do you want? This is a loaded question. Do you want something specialized, on something like social justice or environmental analysis, or are you looking to be an international student at a university? Small program, or big program? The SAGE information session, which is the first step to starting your abroad application, will walk you through all the types of programs you can choose from. This is an essential step, because as you learn about the programs, your mind might change! I went into the information session thinking I wanted a big, unstructured program, where I could study independently at a university. But by the end of the session I realized that a smaller, more structured program made sense for my goals abroad.
  • Where in the world?? Once you know what kind of program you want, now you can see where you want to go! The main thing to consider here is language. If you want to study in another language, see what programs we have that match your proficiency. If you want to learn a new language on your program, see what programs accept beginners. And if you want to study in English, we have that too! As well, some important considerations will be program dates, the time difference you feel comfortable with, and the culture of the country. This is the most fun choice, and choose wisely!

Once you’ve got those three main choices down, you’re on your way! I chose my program in Spain because it allowed me to take challenging classes for my Spanish minor, as well as some art classes, all within a small program environment. There are tons of options, and tons of things to consider, but I hope that this blog has given you a taste of what the decision process will be like. Again, reach out to the SAGE office! Their website is, and they love questions. And, if you want to ask me more about my experience, you can email me at [email protected].

Can’t wait to hear all about your travels!