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Learning abroad 101: Getting started

Learning abroad can be a fulfilling experience, and the process isn't as difficult as it seems. | Juana Garcia/The Cougar

Learning abroad at UH can be a fulfilling experience, and the process isn’t as difficult as it seems. | Juana Garcia/The Cougar

Studying abroad can be a life-changing opportunity. As travel resumes and borders around the world open with fewer pandemic restrictions, some students are looking at the prospect of learning abroad.

The good news is that learning abroad programs are back in the swing. As countries around the world begin to navigate what life will look like after the pandemic, the opportunity to see the world is once again an option.

But with varying restrictions still in effect in different countries and the looming threat of COVID-19 variants, students could be feeling overwhelmed with the task of choosing a program that is a right fit for their budget and major.


Experiences are priceless, except for when they aren’t. One of the most important things for students who might already be on a budget is the cost of the program. Luckily, there are plenty of ways that students can get funding for their trip, including financial aid from their home institutions.

In the case of UH, students will generally be able to get any Pell and institutional grants that they normally receive applied to their program fees. Additionally, Learning Abroad also offers the International Education Scholarship.

Outside of these options, there are plenty of external scholarships to consider as well, including the Benjamin A. Gilman scholarship.

Workshops meant to tailor students’ applications are held every cycle and are a way for students to receive feedback on their submissions and work out any kinks before the final deadline. More of the external scholarships offered can be found on the UH Learning Abroad website.


One of the best ways for students to get information about studying abroad is by attending the Learning Abroad fairs held each semester. These events provide students with ample opportunities to speak with an alumnus of the different programs and even representatives from the program providers.

Another way to get started is by making an appointment with your Learning Abroad advisor. Your advisor will speak with you about your budget, target destinations and other details that will be factored into which programs they will recommend you look into.

Regardless of when you might be planning to study abroad, make sure that you start the process of getting your passport early. Processing time can range from as few as two weeks to two months, so to avoid headaches further down the line get started on this part as soon as possible.

With the demand for passports increasing dramatically, appointments can be hard to come by. However, UH has a passport acceptance facility that may be able to help students avoid the hassle of other offices. To make an appointment, simply call the Learning Abroad office.

No matter where you might be in your journey to studying abroad, the process is not as daunting as it might seem as keeping your advisor in the loop will help the process. Good luck and happy travels!

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