My semester abroad begins this February! I can’t believe that starting this process in September would lead me overseas just a few months later. This all started when I received an email that said, “Enjoy 300+ days of sunshine a year in Australia!”. The photos linked in the message were of the University of Queensland located in Brisbane, Australia. It looked beautiful!
This started my search for places to study abroad. On the USC Study Abroad website, I began by looking for places that offer my major which is Chemical Engineering. My priorities in finding a place to go were making sure that I could still graduate in four years, a reasonable tuition cost, and a place I was excited to explore. I found out later that only some destinations are open to sophomores, so include this in your search criteria as well! My advice is to go early because it can be challenging to get credit for USC courses abroad. If you go early, you can take more general courses like an early level physics or chemistry class.
My second piece of advice is to expect roadblocks. Since I decided to apply in September, and the application was due that month, I was in a rush and it felt like everything was going wrong. I had to apply with a lot of unknown variables, and it was stressful to feel out of control of the situation. Start looking to go abroad as early as possible, look through university course catalogs and get courses approved, and then when the time comes to apply: do it! Consult the abroad advisors, your major advisor, and any students (like me) who have done it before you. Everyone I reached out to was super helpful and would answer my questions or offer reassurance.
I talk to a lot of incoming freshman and prospective students who want to go abroad in college. I know that school can get really overwhelming, and it’s possible to lose sight of going abroad when you are knee-deep in life at USC. Don’t let an opportunity to go abroad pass by. I hope that my blogs from Brisbane can help sway you to go see the world, stay tuned for more!