Navigating Your School’s Study Abroad Fair

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IES Abroad
Student gathering study abroad information at a college fair

Whether you’re set on a particular study abroad location, need to take classes in a particular area of study, or just learning what is study abroad, attending your school’s study abroad fair is a great way to figure out what your options are. The perfect study abroad program is out there, you just have to do some simple research to find it.

Follow our guide on how to make the most of the fair before, during, and after to help turn your study abroad dreams into reality.

Before the Fair

  • Identify Your Goals | You might not know exactly what you want out of your study abroad experience, and that's okay. To get started, you may consider things like location, language, and academics. For example, is there a specific country or city you want to be in? How important is learning a language? Are there specific courses you're hoping to take? You may even consider writing down your questions, and bringing them with you to the fair. 
  • Review Your Graduation Plan | On a high level, outlining your graduation plan can help you decide when would be the best time for you to study abroad for a semester, summer, or year. In more detail, your plan can help you determine which major courses and electives you can take while abroad. Flexibility in your schedule means you have more options, and rigid academics tracks can fit in study abroad with careful, early planning. 
  • Research Your School’s Policies & Deadlines | While this may be the one time you study abroad, IES Abroad and your school do this every semester. We've got your back! Stay on top of your school's policies, and understand all the different deadlines by visiting your school's study abroad office. Often, study abroad offices offer in person support, and you can always do your research independently online. 

During the Fair

three IES Abroad employees stand in front of a catalog-filled table at a college study abroad fair

Talk to People

The people at each study abroad table are there specifically to answer your questions, so ask away! Sometimes there will even be other students, like an IES Abroad Ambassador, who have returned from study abroad and are ready to share their experience with you. Now is also a good time to think about finances; your school's financial aid office might also have a table at the fair, so you can talk to them as well. 

a college relations manager standing in front of a student asking questions

Ask Questions

Now is your chance to ask about programs that will match your goals. Questions like “Do you have any Engineering programs in Europe?” or “I need to take two business electives and participate in an internship abroad. What program would be best?” are great ways to start a conversation. Also, tune in to some of the questions other students are asking that you may not have thought of yourself like “What is the visa process like?” “Is there a language requirement?” and “Is housing included and guaranteed?”

spinning wheel with 14 slots labeled with different locations

Stay Open to All Possibilities

As you're figuring out which programs sound interesting, let your study abroad goals be your guide. However, at the fair, there may be programs, countries, or industries that you didn’t initially consider. For example, maybe you had only considered studying Spanish in Spain, but then you discovered the perfect program for you is actually in Argentina.

an aerial view of a table filled with handouts labeled with different disciplines

Take Materials to Reference Later

Our table is typically filled with reference materials for you to skim at the fair, and delve deep into later. Pick up catalogs, brochures, and flyers about the programs you’re interested in to look into deeper later or to show to family and friends who may be helping you make this decision.

three students leaning over a table filled with catalogs writing down their contact info

Sign Up for More Information

We want to connect! By leaving your contact information, you can stay informed on upcoming application, aid, and scholarship deadlines, and other crucial parts of the study abroad process. This may be the first time you're navigating study abroad, but we've got 70+ years of experience sending students on international programs. Let us be your guide. 

After the Fair

Set a Timeline

Now is the best time to start planning your study abroad experience! Students have found it helpful to actually give yourself more time than you think you’ll need to accomplish each step. Specifically, processes for passports and visas can take longer than expected. You may consider setting reminders on your phone or write notes in your planner to keep on top of deadlines.

  1. Meet with a study abroad advisor at your school to review deadlines and school-specific policies
  2. Use those big deadlines to map out the steps you need to do for your application + predeparture prep
  3. Make an action plan to be sure you do all the paperwork on time in order to arrive for your start date

Utilize Online Resources

Fairs aren’t the only place to get to know us. Through our resources, you can learn more information, connect with other students, and continue asking questions as they come up.

Ask Follow Up Questions

With all the program options, application steps, and predeparture preparation involved in studing abroad, it's expected that questions will come up along the way. Even if you ask a bunch of questions at a study abroad fair, there will still be more to come. That's what we're here for! Let us help you navigate the process. Whether you already spoke to a representative your study abroad fair, or you're brand new to the process, Contact your Representative with any questions you may have.

a student smiling while using their laptop

Apply Now

Study abroad can be the opportunity of a lifetime, but it takes planning. Even choosing which program you want to go on is a feat. Celebrate every step of the way! If you already know which program you want to go on, you're ready to open your application. 

Apply Now


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