What to Consider Before Choosing a Program (2024)

What to Consider Before Choosing a Program (1)

With hundreds of study abroad programs available, taking the following things into account can help to narrow the options in order to find the program that is right for you.

Important Things to Consider

There is much more to studying abroad than just taking classes in a foreign country. Your perspectives will become global, your attitudes will become international, and you will make memories that will last a lifetime. Studying abroad may be that defining moment that will change your life. Your international experience builds a noticeable sense of independence and self-confidence and opens doors to new opportunities, new friends, and new career paths. The benefits of study abroad are endless, but it is important to consider your own reasons for choosing to study abroad. Do you want to learn a new language- or possibly build on the language skills you have already acquired? Do you want to conduct research in a new environment? Perhaps you are a philanthropist and want to give back to the global community in the form of service learning or volunteer opportunities abroad. Or maybe you want to gain first-hand experience working in an international business environment through an internship. Anything is possible, and preparation is the key to a successful study abroad experience.

The University at Buffalo encourages students to participate in programs administered by the State University of New York. There are three broad program administration types: UB Programs, Other SUNY Programs, and Non-SUNY Programs.

UB Programs

SUNY Programs

The Office of Study Abroad Programs at UB administers several different types of programs abroad. In general, there are three different types of programs at UB:

  • Direct Enroll Programs: Students attend classes and pay tuition of overseas university; regular courses are taken alongside local students; students are fully integrated with housing, activities, etc.; support is provided by regular university offices; includes the additional cost of tuition at the overseas institution.
  • Exchange Programs: Similar to direct enroll programs but students do not pay the tuition of the institution overseas. Students from the host/partner institution come to UB and UB students go to the host/partner institution.
  • Faculty-Led Programs: Led by UB faculty or staff, small group setting, students travel together, usually one specific academic focus, typically short-term.

Classes completed abroad may fulfill degree requirements (major, minor, general education) with the approval of the relevant academic department. Prior to selecting a study abroad program, complete the Study Abroad Course Planning Form with help from your academic advisor. Attach overseas course syllabi and submit them to the Office of Study Abroad Programs along with the completed form. The Office of Study Abroad Programs will work closely with the Transfer Course Articulation Office (TAURUS) and academic departments for course articulation approval. It is strongly recommended that you secure approval for more courses than you intend to take, to allow for flexibility when registering for courses at your host institution abroad.

Learn about how study abroad can fit into the UB Curriculum

The country you select determines both the cultural setting and the main language of communication. Some students know they want to study in a big city while others are looking for a more remote destination.

The language of instruction should be a main factor when considering where to study abroad. It is a common myth that in order to study in another country, one must possess the language skills to communicate in the native language of that country. The truth is that there are many, many programs in non-English speaking countries where courses are taught in English. So, when reviewing your options of study abroad destination, don't automatically rule out non-English speaking countries.

If you are interested in increasing your proficiency in a foreign language, there is no doubt that the study abroad experience is the best way to immerse yourself in another language.

Many programs abroad offer language instruction at the beginner level, and therefore do not require any previous knowledge of a foreign language for admission. Some programs are designed to teach you a foreign language - a great way to fulfill your general education language requirement, while others offer courses taught in English regardless of the country's native language.

All University at Buffalo students studying abroad through UB or any SUNY 4-year school and non-SUNY students participating on a University at Buffalo Study Abroad or Exchange Program are registered for study abroad by the Office of Study Abroad Programs for the academic credit hours to be earned during their studies abroad. University at Buffalo students electing to participate on non-SUNY study abroad programs are required to notify the UB Study Abroad office. Students who will be abroad on non-SUNY programs during the Fall and/or Spring semesters must also complete a Leave of Absence Form with the Registrar's Office.

Diversity Abroad Resources

What to Consider Before Choosing a Program (2)

Map of sexual orientation laws around the world.

Students identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, intersex or queer should be prepared to encounter new and different attitudes concerning sexual orientations and identities. The atmosphere surrounding LGBTQ rights and issues in each country or region is determined by numerous cultural, religious and political factors. The best way to avoid problems that cause discomfort or danger is to become familiar with the prevailing attitudes before departing for study abroad.

Travelling as a gay student may pose some problems. In order to make your journey as safe and enjoyable as possible, it is important to be cautious in some parts of the world. Such areas include Poland, Mauritius, the Middle East (excepting Turkey), Trinidad, Jamaica, Indonesia, Malaysia and Chechnya, as well as some African countries. These countries have anti-hom*osexuality laws which reflect cultural attitudes which may pose a threat to your safety while travelling through or visiting.

We also recommend students become familiar withTSA policies and considerations for transgender travelers.

For more information, please visit:

IES Country-Specific Diversity Resources

List of LGBTQ organizations around the world


Recommendations for LGBTQ+ Travelers - U.S. Department of State

International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association

Students with seen or unseen disabilities are underrepresented in study abroad programs throughout the U.S.Travelling can be difficult for those living with a disability, but there are resources available to aid students who wish to explore the worldregardlessof physical, cognitive, or emotional/behavioral challenges. With the proper research, preparation and care, every student can have the opportunity to expand their education internationally.

Mobility International USA(MIUSA) provides resources, advice and support to students of various ability impairments seeking to study abroad.

MIUSAadministers theNational Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange (NCDE). NCDE provides free advising services, trainings, and online resources.

Their extensive resources includetips organized by disability, advice forrevealing or discussing your disability while abroad,negotiating accommodations while travelling, anddisability rights and laws in international contexts.

To research disability laws by country, visit theDisability Rights Education and Defense Fund'spage about international laws.

The Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF) also has a page listingnational and regional strategic plans on disability.

The State Departmenthas a useful page that includes advice about dealing with the Transportation Security Administration and numerous links to other great resources that will help you as you research accessibility around the world.

The CDC has awebpage devoted to travelling with disabilities,where they address accommodations, preparation and service animals.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) page for travelers with disabilitiesis designed to make their support options clear and accessible. Becoming familiar with the expectations of airport security personnel can streamline and simplify the boarding process.

What to Consider Before Choosing a Program (2024)


How do I choose the right program? ›

Choosing a Graduate Program in Six Steps
  1. Step 1: Develop Your Unique Criteria. ...
  2. Step 2: Create a List of Programs to Consider. ...
  3. Step 3: Evaluate Program Requirements. ...
  4. Step 4: Evaluate for Quality and Narrow Your List. ...
  5. Step 5: Consider Cost and Return on Investment. ...
  6. Step 6: Select and Apply.
Jul 12, 2023

What are the most important five factors to consider when choosing a college? ›

Here are five of the most important factors students should take into account as they choose which school they want to attend next year:
  • Reputation and Prestige. ...
  • Job Placement Statistics. ...
  • On-Campus Clubs and Organizations. ...
  • Resources and Research Opportunities. ...
  • Location and Campus Style.
Apr 16, 2024

What are the factors that make this program the best for the students to opt? ›

Seven factors students should consider when choosing degrees
  • Course content and structure. ...
  • Teaching and assessment. ...
  • Qualification gained and length of course. ...
  • Professional recognition and accreditation globally. ...
  • Entry requirements and suitability. ...
  • Cost and funding. ...
  • Research, research, research.
Mar 1, 2024

What are three factors you are considering when deciding on a college? ›

8 Factors To Consider When Looking at Colleges
  • Location of the School. One of the biggest factors to consider when looking at colleges is where the school is located. ...
  • Available Majors/Programs of Study. ...
  • Reputation. ...
  • School Size. ...
  • Total Cost of Attendance. ...
  • Housing Options. ...
  • Campus Life. ...
  • Available Resources.

What makes up a good program? ›

At a minimum good program definition must do these three things: Be clear and easy for everyone to understand. Offer enough definition that people can know what is and what is not part of the program. Be flexible enough to allow practitioners discretion in implementation.

How do you answer why do you choose a program? ›

How to answer "Why did you choose this course?"
  1. Consider your interests. Think about your interests. ...
  2. Discuss your career goals. Discuss your career aspirations, and talk about how the course aligns with your career goals. ...
  3. Highlight your strengths. ...
  4. Focus on positive reasons. ...
  5. Be enthusiastic.
Apr 8, 2024

What to look for when choosing a school? ›

7 Factors to Consider When Choosing a School
  • Qualified Teachers and Administration. The administration can make or break a school. ...
  • Choosing a School for the Curriculum. ...
  • School Culture. ...
  • School Values. ...
  • Transportation Time. ...
  • Helpful Extracurricular Activities. ...
  • Safety and Security. ...
  • Learn More About Choosing a School.
Jan 5, 2024

What to consider when choosing a college major? ›

12 tips for selecting a college major
  • Self-reflect. Start by getting to know yourself. ...
  • Research majors. ...
  • Set goals. ...
  • Meet with professors. ...
  • Look into job prospects. ...
  • Talk with family and friends. ...
  • Take career assessments. ...
  • Review your major requirements.
Oct 29, 2023

What is the #1 top college? ›

National Universities
  • #1. Princeton University.
  • #2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
  • #3. Harvard University (tie)

What factors should a school take into consideration when deciding which programs to offer? ›

Exactly which of these programs is used in a given school is a decision based on factors such as state and local educational policies, the size of the student population, and the nature and availability of resources. In some cases, a school might offer more than one type of program.

What is the most important factor when it comes to admissions? ›

Academic performance, such as GPA and standardized test scores, usually play a significant role. Extracurricular activities, leadership experiences, and community involvement also hold weight, as they demonstrate well-roundedness and commitment.

What factors contribute most to student success? ›

Key Factors in Student Success
  • Level of Interest.
  • Motivation.
  • Independence.
  • Self-Direction.
  • Self-Advocacy Skills.
  • Knowledge About Self.
  • Academic Abilities.
  • Acquiring Information About College Programs and Services.

What are three or four important factors in admission decisions? ›

Do the top factors in admission decisions vary by type of college?
  • high school grades in college prep courses.
  • strength of curriculum.
  • class rank.
  • positive character attributes.
  • the essay or writing sample.
  • the interview.
  • work.
  • extracurricular activities.

What are five factors prospective students should consider when deciding on a college to attend? ›

Top 10 Factors for Choosing a College
  • Safety.
  • Academic Support and Career Services. ...
  • Campus Life. ...
  • Athletics and Extracurricular Activities. ...
  • Majors and Minors. ...
  • Class Size. ...
  • Cost and Fees. ...
  • Location and Distance From Home. ...

What to consider before choosing a career? ›

5 factors to consider when choosing a career
  • Interests and passions. To start, consider what you naturally enjoy doing, and what brings you happiness. ...
  • Skills and strengths. Next, reflect on your skills and strengths. ...
  • Values and beliefs. ...
  • Job market research and future outlook. ...
  • Financial stability and earning potential.

How do I choose what major is right for me? ›

  1. Know what you're truly interested in – and what you're good at. ...
  2. Talk to your advisor to learn more about your degree options. ...
  3. Consider program cost, career possibilities, and salary expectations. ...
  4. Explore your interests if you're undecided.
  5. What have you wanted to do since you were a little kid?
Aug 10, 2022

Which grad program is right for me? ›

Keep your career goals in mind.

Make sure the program you choose reflects your career interests. Alternatively, if you're unsure of exactly where your career path may take you, you may want to consider a broader degree that can give you flexibility in its application.

Why should you be chosen for a program? ›

I would try to set yourself apart from others, bring up things you are really good at, what you could bring to this program to make it better, ex: your willingness to learn, your new ideas. Include any extracurriculars that concern the thing you are applying to.

How do you determine the right school for your career choice? ›

Things to consider for pros/cons are cost, majors offered and how they relate to your career goals, success of the school, graduation and 1st year retention rates, and location just to name a few. Of course include anything else that you find important (on campus housing, driving, gym, amenities, social events).


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