Assessing Your Study Abroad Goals
As you begin planning an international experience, assessing your goals will help you select a program that is right for you and will make your experience abroad more meaningful. We encourage you to start the assessment before you meet with an advisor.
The following will help you assess your goals:
- Decision Factors
- What are the most important factors for you when choosing a study abroad program?
- Consider the location of the program, cost, coursework, housing options, volunteer opportunities, etc.
- Academic and Professional Learning
- When you return home, what do you want to say that you learned academically or professionally?
- Potential areas of focus: language skills; an aspect of your major; field research; knowledge of norms, cultures, and the educational system of another country; political, economic, and social systems.
Some examples are:
- I can carry on a conversation in French with a native speaker.
- I understand more about investment banking in Hong Kong.
- I fulfilled my other humanities requirement in Florence by learning about Michelangelo's David.
- I gained experience interning abroad.
- What skills do you want to strengthen in your time abroad?
Attitudes and Awareness
- Potential areas of focus: confidence, self-direction, problem-solving, dealing with ambiguity, critical thinking, flexibility, working with adversity, etc.
- Considering the different perspectives you may be exposed to, how do you wish to stretch your own thinking to grow in your time abroad?
- Potential areas of focus: intercultural awareness and competence, awareness of global issues, ability to evaluate competing perspectives on global issues, interest in community service/involvement, appreciation of difference, awareness of one's own culture and values, new perspective on the U.S. and its role in the world. Some examples are:
- I want to learn about how U.S. policy affects the host country I'm studying in.
- I want to experience a different classroom environment and discover how I work best.
- I want to adapt to a new daily routine and a new culture, as I live with roommates or a host family.
The Goal Setting Worksheet (PDF) has the information above in a worksheet format. If you choose, download this document to help assess your goals.