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Making Time for Study Abroad

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Thinking of studying abroad? Applications for most BOSP programs are due two quarters in advance, not counting summer quarter. So the key to making overseas study a part of your academic plans is to plan ahead! 

Freshman Year

It’s never too early to start planning for studying abroad with the Bing Overseas Studies Program (BOSP).

Although you cannot study abroad during your freshman year, it is a good time to begin talking with your advisors about the program that is right for you. This includes your Academic Advisor as well as staff in BOSP.  Since many BOSP programs have a language prerequisite, many students choose to begin their language study during freshman year. 

Applications for BOSP programs are due two quarters in advance, not including Summer quarter. This often means you might be applying during your freshman year to study abroad during your sophomore year. The exception to this is if you are applying for the Kyoto program, which is one year in advance.

Things to Do

  • Visit the BOSP website for additional information on its programs including Overseas Seminars, language prerequisites, course offerings and application deadlines.
  • Meet with an Academic Advisor to discuss your overall academic goals and which BOSP programs interest you.
  • Go to BOSP dorm presentations and talk to the BOSP team of Student Advisors (students who have participated in BOSP programs in the past). Visit the BOSP website for profiles and information.
  • Visit BOSP in Sweet Hall to ask questions and get additional information.
  • Enroll in a foreign language.
  • Check your application deadlines and be sure to submit your application to BOSP!

Sophomore Year

Take full advantage of the BOSP academic opportunities overseas by continuing language study during your sophomore year (if you have not already started it). Most BOSP programs are broad enough in their academic offerings to accommodate a variety of majors and interests. Talk with your prospective major and minor departments, meet with an Academic Advisor to discuss your academic planning and visit BOSP to ask questions.

BOSP encourages you to think creatively about all of its programs. Some BOSP programs do not have any foreign language prerequisites (Australia, Berlin, Cape Town, and Oxford). You may apply to more than one program, so it’s a good idea to have a second or even third choice in mind.

Applications for BOSP programs are due two quarters in advance (not including Summer quarter). So you will  apply during your sophomore year to study abroad during your junior year. The exception is when you are applying for the Kyoto program, which needs one year advance notice.

Things to Do

  • Visit the BOSP website for additional information on its programs, language prerequisites, course offerings and application deadlines.
  • Think creatively about ALL of the BOSP program options available to you; have alternative programs in mind.
  • Meet with an Academic Advisor to discuss your overall academic goals and which BOSP programs interest you.
  • Go to BOSP dorm presentations and talk to the BOSP team of Student Advisors (students who have participated in BOSP programs in the past). Visit the BOSP website for profiles and information.
  • Visit BOSP in Sweet Hall to ask questions and get additional information.
  • Check your application deadlines and be sure to submit your application to BOSP!

Junior and Senior Year

Many students see their junior year as the ideal chance to study abroad. With approximately 90 percent of junior students studying abroad with the Bing Overseas Studies Program, Stanford is no different. Some students spend their whole junior year abroad because they planned ahead and managed to fit it in to their academic plan.

Other students only realize in their junior year that they can study abroad and think that they have missed the opportunity. Be aware that you can study abroad in your senior year and many students do take advantage of this. Along with the option of regular quarter-length programs, you can still apply and be eligible for an Overseas Seminar prior to beginning your senior year.

Things to Do

  • During your junior year, consider taking a language refresher course. This is particularly appropriate if it has been more than a year since you met the requirement for the program on which you’re traveling abroad.
  • If you have applied and are looking forward to going on the program of your choice, think about taking a class relevant to that program. These will get you interested and motivated before you go. It will also help you gain an understanding of the culture and history of the area and country where you will be. A list of related courses is available on the BOSP website.

Can Engineers Study Abroad?

Yes they can!  Many engineering students have already studied abroad with BOSP for one or more quarters. Many of the sample four-year plans in the Engineering Handbook show how engineers can fit in studying abroad for a quarter or more into their academic schedule.  Most programs include courses that satisfy two or more University Education Requirements (GERs or WAYs), and some require minimal or no language study prior to enrollment. Students must apply at least two quarters in advance, and can view a full list of courses offered for the next academic year by using the Course Search tool on the BOSP website. The School of Engineering also announces engineering faculty who will be teaching abroad and also outlines opportunities for engineers in relation to each BOSP program on the Overseas Programs and Engineering page.

Engineering students studying abroad on a Bing Overseas Studies Program may enroll in one upper-level online engineering course taught on the Stanford campus and delivered online by the Stanford Center for Professional Development (SCPD) per quarter (excluding  Australia and Consortia Programs).  View the SCPD registration Instructions and Course List for a current list of engineering courses that will be offered through SCPD to students studying abroad, and how to enroll.

Questions or concerns about studying abroad? Schedule an appointment to meet with a BOSP Program Advisor, and start making study abroad a reality!

After Your Return

When you return after your experience abroad, please consider applying to become a Student Ambassador with the Bing Overseas Studies Program during your senior year. Then you get to discuss your experiences and encourage other students to go.

See Also

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