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Choosing a Program

Identifying your goals can help you choose a program that fits your needs. Reflect on what you hope to get our of your program, and consider the following factors.


Create a budget, and talk with advisors to accurately estimate how much a program will cost and determine what is feasible for you financially. You can meet with a financial aid advisor to discuss what aid will be available to you. Be aware that semester-length programs are almost always more cost-effective than summer or break programs, because you aren't adding the cost of an additional term to what you're already paying at VCU - you're just replacing the cost of a semester at VCU with a semester abroad!


What country or region are you interested in, and is there a program there that fits your needs?

Do you prefer a small town, or are you interested in experiencing a large city? Or are you looking for something more like Richmond?

Remember that just like in the U.S., the cost of living can vary greatly from city to city. A program in London may have a comparable rate for tuition to VCU, but the cost of living will be much higher than in Richmond. More off-the-beaten-track locations in the U.K., such as Bristol or Plymouth, are more affordable.

Program Length

How long would you like to go abroad? Program lengths can vary from a spring break, summer, semester, or year. It can be intimidating to go abroad for a semester or year - but students' #1 regret from studying abroad is that they didn't go for longer!


Would you like to participate in a homestay, live independently, or in a student residence hall? Be aware that in some locations, like many countries in Latin America, most students will live at home during university so options for apartments or residence halls may be limited.

Level of Support

Some programs, such as faculty-led programs, will offer a highly supportive environment with pre-planned excursions and a lot of structure. Others, like semester exchanges, will be much more hands-off and give you the opportunity to experience life just like a college student in your host university. And of course, there are plenty of options in the middle, as with third-party organizations like API or ISA.