Rice University logo Study Abroad
Home > Defining your Goals

Defining Your Goals/Things to Consider

The questions below will prompt you to think about your study abroad goals and the areas in which you wish to challenge yourself personally and academically. Considering these questions will help you find a program that is right for you.

Questions to Consider

In choosing a program, it is important to consider the following questions:

  • General: What do you hope to gain from this experience? How much time do you wish to spend abroad? Do you want to study abroad for a semester, full academic year or summer? What are your strengths and weaknesses for the type of program you are interested in? What additional preparation will you need before you go?
  • Academic: What are your primary academic goals for your experience abroad? Do you want to fulfill major/minor/distribution requirements or explore a new area of study? How will you incorporate your studies abroad into your academic plan at Rice? Is the program affiliated with an overseas university? Do you want to enroll directly at a foreign university, taking classes with host-country students in the local language? Or attend a program designed specifically for Rice students or international/American students overseas? What kind of academic setting do you prefer (lecture vs. experiential, large institution vs. small)? Does the program offer an official transcript from an accredited academic institution?
  • Language: What is the language of instruction? Is there a language requirement? What are your language skills and goals for language acquisition while abroad? Are language courses at your proficiency level available? Does the program specify activities and/or requirements for you to use your language skills? Will you have ample opportunity to spend time with local people who will encourage you to practice the host language? What obstacles will you encounter if you do not speak the local language?
  • Cultural: Are you looking for a program that will offer in-depth cultural immersion in a particular culture or society? How is the program integrated into the culture of the host country? Does the program have components that enable you to interact with the local people? Would you prefer to live in a major metropolitan area, or in a small city or rural area? Will you be living with a host family? Will you be living in a dorm with host students or only with Americans? Will you have access to local cultural activities, guided cultural field trips and/or time for independent travel?
  • Social: Will you be able to join student organizations with host country students? Are group excursions and social activities offered by the program? Will you have an opportunity to build friendships and feel a part of the community in which you are living?
  • Financial: What are your cost considerations? How much does the program cost? Do you use federal financial aid or scholarships and how are these be applied to study abroad? Are the costs of housing, food, and travel included? Is an orientation program included in the fees? Are excursions and activities included in the fees? What "extra" expenses can be anticipated beyond tuition, room & board, and airfare?
  • Other: Do you meet the minimum eligibility requirements for study abroad and the admission requirements for your selected study abroad program? Do you want to incorporate an internship into your experience? Would you like to do research while you're abroad? Do you have any special needs such as a medical condition, learning/physical disability, mental health condition or dietary restriction that may need accommodation or specialized resources while abroad?