Photo courtesy of Connor W. Davis

Studying abroad might be one of the biggest draws for prospective students looking to attend the University of Denver. Rated the third school in the nation for undergraduate participation in studying abroad, DU prides itself on sending 67.9% of students a year to countries all over the world.

While social media is swimming in pictures of students’ care-free adventures riding camels, sipping espresso and climbing ancient ruins, the process to becoming a seasoned world traveler takes time and hard work.  

“We have the same message that we had last year and that is, don’t be spooked by study abroad,” said Office of International Education (OIE) Assistant Director, Stephanie Roberts. When it comes to preparing to jet set, Roberts can’t stress enough that preparation time is key. “The sooner the better, we really encourage students to give themselves as much time as possible to do their research and meet with multiple advisors if they need to.”

Although applications for the 2018 academic year aren’t due till January 18th, there is a lot you can do early on to prepare yourself for finding the right programs for you.

DU’s study abroad program offers over 150 different programs in over 40 countries including places like, Morocco, New Zealand and Japan. The first step in starting your journey abroad is finding a program that is a good fit for you.

“We definitely encourage students to step outside of their comfort zone but you know what you need to be successful and finding a program that can help match that is important too,” said Roberts.

The OIE recommends that students come in for advising before week six to at least see if studying abroad is something they are interested in doing. Students are also encouraged to meet with their academic advisors to see how they can best fit an education abroad into their college careers.

“It can be hard, it can be frustrating, it can have its challenges. That’s part of the experience too. That’s part of you kind of discovering how to deal with newness, a new system, a new community, a new culture,” said Roberts.

For students feeling like they want to get an early start on applying to the program of their dreams, DU is debuting an early application deadline on December 15th. “It is the first time we’ve done this in an effort to try and help students avoid waiting till January, we really want to help students to be successful and to not be rushing through an application,” said Roberts.

Applications submitted on the December deadline will earn extra points towards the overall application score which helps determine program nomination. Students are reminded that an early submission should not replace a quality one.

“You will be much better served by having a well thought out application completed where you have taken your time with your essay responses and if you have the ability to do that by December 15th you will get additional points for that,” said Roberts.

For those who aren’t sure if study abroad is for them, there is no harm in making an appointment with an OIE advisor and seeing what resources are available to them if they do choose to further their education internationally. Some programs offer individual scholarships while DU offers the Cherrington Global Scholarship for all eligible applicants to help out with some costs.