How to Study Abroad After Graduation

Instructor: Alison Larabie Chase
Many students in the United States choose to study in another country as part of a post-baccalaureate or graduate degree program. Find out more about the steps you can take to find, and pay for, a study-abroad opportunity that's right for you.

Study Abroad: Tips to Travel and Learn at the Same Time

Graduation day doesn't have to signal the end of your education. If you want to travel, make new friends, learn or improve foreign language skills, and seek out new experiences while earning credit or work experience, then a study abroad program aimed at college graduates might be your dream come true. Learn more about the concept by watching this brief video lesson on Study Abroad - Definition and Benefits, and check out the suggestions below for making your travel plans a reality.

Explore Your Options

There are plenty of opportunities for graduate study abroad. Some of them will allow you to earn an advanced degree, while internships and service-learning programs can help you build work experience and prepare for employment in your chosen field.

Internship and Service-Learning Programs

If you're looking for a short-term travel opportunity or a non-credit work experience, a post-baccalaureate internship or service-learning program might be a good fit for you. These programs can complement almost any major or field of study you can think of. For example, you might choose to work with a non-governmental organization in Botswana on a specific issue, such as economic development or health. If your field of study is agriculture or the environment, you can seek out an internship on a wildlife sanctuary or with an agribusiness in New Zealand. For those who wish to work in international government, an internship in Brussels with NATO or the UN could be a great fit.

Study Abroad Through a Graduate Program

If your goal is to earn a master's or doctoral degree, you can complete all or part of it abroad. Many colleges in the U.S. have partnership and exchange agreements with overseas schools that will allow you to earn credit at your home institution while living and studying in another country, whether for a semester, summer session, or an entire year.

Your college can also help you set up an independent study program for a semester or other defined period of time, while your specific department might offer international travel programs lasting between one and four weeks. You can also contact one of several international education agencies, such as CIEE or CISA, to explore their many program options.

Keep in mind that earning an entire graduate degree can be done online these days, which means that you could theoretically live anywhere you want while completing the coursework. Some programs do have residential requirements, so be sure to read the fine print before applying.

Find Out How to Apply

Many of these programs can have stringent application and admission requirements, so it's a good idea to contact your college's study abroad or international education office for guidance. They can help you find application forms, research schools and programs, and connect with support systems in your chosen location to arrange for housing and transportation.

You can also conduct online research and send inquiries via email directly to the school or institution where you'd like to study. Don't forget to investigate visa requirements and costs, and be sure you have a valid passport.

Be Sure to Get Credit

If you want to receive college credit for the time you spend abroad (and you should), be sure to meet with your U.S. school's registrar or academic advisor to find out what types of study abroad experiences and courses will transfer.

If you plan to complete your entire degree abroad and then return to the U.S. to find a job, make sure that the overseas degree meets American requirements for equivalence, and be prepared to take state or federal certification exams in fields such as law, medicine, teaching, and engineering when you get back.

Check Out Your Financial Aid Options

Attending college as an international student can be costly. In addition to tuition and fees, you might need to cover living expenses, including housing, food, and transportation. However, there are scholarships and grants available through various entities, including the federal government. Check with the financial aid office at your current educational institution. You might qualify for scholarships and awards specific to your program or field of study. Don't forget to look into service clubs, such as Rotary, or associations offering scholarships to students of your particular ethnic origin (Chinese, Italian, Irish, etc.).

Some foreign governments also offer financial assistance to international students wishing to study there. International fellowships like Fulbright and Rhodes are highly competitive, but worth investigating. There are a ton of scholarship portal websites where you can search by subject, qualifications, and location of study.

For further information, have a look at's How to Apply for College Grants and Scholarships course to get tips on applying for everything from federal loans to private scholarships and college grants.

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

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