Getting Started

getting started

note: this resource is based on Howard University's study abroad process. 

summer & fall 2024 applications open

Summer & Fall 2024 Deadline: March 15, 2024

I will be using the help of Mocha (モカ) from Sanrio to help you get started! If you have any more quick questions that can be answered by a former study abroad student, feel free to email me @ or DM me @theyearofjapan on Instagram.

download / print this study abroad checklist courtesy of the year of japan and follow along!

Fall / Summer




0. apply for your passport!

Before you start planning to go abroad, you should apply for your passport! Without your passport, international travel is not possible. In the U.S., there is a steep passport backlog and visas to some countries for study abroad requires months of preparation. Most study abroad programs require a passport scan in order to accept your application. Apply now!

If you already have your passport, you are ahead of the curve and can skip this step. International students can study abroad, too.

Sometimes, the Bunche Center holds (free!) passport drives for freshmen and sophomores.

1. brainstorm some study abroad goals

Before you begin shopping for programs, identify why is it that you want to study abroad. Common goals include (but are not limited to): learning/mastering a language, taking a specific class only available abroad, experiencing a new culture/education system, and taking a break from traditional college life. Your goals will inform what study abroad program you choose.

I wanted to learn a new language and experience a new culture, so I focused on intensive language learning programs with cultural immersion!

2. familiarize yourself with the bunche center

The Ralph J Bunche International Affairs Center is Howard's hub for international activities and interests, including studying abroad. Within the Bunche Center, the study abroad office will help you with applications, funding, programs, opportunities, and more. The study abroad office also sets the internal application deadline and hosts the mandatory information session. Its website can be accessed at and the building is located on 2218 6th St NW (behind Potbelly). 

The current (2023-2024) study abroad manager is Mrs. Jamilah Rashid (

3. view the bunche center study abroad series on youtube

In order to study abroad, you must first view the Bunche Center Study Abroad series on YouTube. It will answer many questions you have about the process (including what internal deadline means)! It is required for all students. Make sure to check the eligibility requirements.

This video may be updated in the future. It can always be accessed at

4. talk to your academic advisor about your plans

If you are studying abroad for the fall and spring, programs must be for academic credit. Keep in mind any scholarship credit requirements. Your last 15 credits (second semester of your senior year) must be taken at Howard. Go over your course scheme with your advisor and make a list of to-be-completed credits and graduation requirements that can be taken off campus. Certain majors (like Biology) and schools (like SOB) have their own requirements for study abroad.

You must also have taken two semesters at Howard to study abroad (including transfer students).

International students: Meet with the International Student Services Office for visa related support

The earlier you study abroad, the more options you have to take abroad. Don't wait!

5. choose a program

This is the most exciting step! Howard has seven official study abroad program partners:

As partners, most programs have specific scholarships just for Howard students (often an HBCU grant) that you automatically receive on acceptance. They also have their own internal scholarships you can apply to before you consider outside scholarships. Each partner serves a different study abroad goal. While searching for a program, you can sort by country, language, major, and semester. Make sure to also research the country and university. While they may be in the same location, programs may offer different courses, excursions, extracurricular activities, and more. Narrow down your choices based on which one best fits your needed credits.

Reminder: choose a program that offers 18+ credits for easy course approval (for fall and spring). Download any syllabi available so you can send them to professors who ask for more information. More on this later.

Can't choose? The Bunche Center has brochures and pamphlets from partners that go in-depth on their programs. Partners also visit campus from time to time, so stay up to date @hubunchecenter on Instagram! You can also reach out to partners directly through their website.

6. start the course approval process

This is the least exciting part. The Bunche Center has a quick video to explain the course approval process.


Some tips!

7. compile list of scholarships and start financial aid worksheet

Along with your course approval form, you will also have to provide a financial worksheet showing how you plan to pay for your study abroad program. A copy of the worksheet to edit can be found here. Your specific program should have its tuition costs and (sometimes) additional cost breakdown on its website. If it is not available, reach out to the program officer / manager who can provide previous year numbers or current year numbers.

While working on your worksheet, you should also begin compiling a list of scholarships to apply to. Most open a year before your study abroad date! The Bunche Center has provided a global resource guide to most funding opportunities available to students. Follow along with it!

Start with automatic scholarships offered by Howard and your program provider and then branch out to external scholarships. As a Howard University student, any financial aid (including federal) you receive can be applied to your fall or spring study abroad program (not summer). However, there is a cap on how much money can be refunded to you from a Howard University scholarship, so keep that in mind if you plan to use your refund to pay for additional expenses abroad. Your refund may also not come on time for you to use for flights, toiletries, incidentals, etc.

Next, calculate the total amount of provider discounts available to you. This will differ program to program. It is often referred to as an "HBCU Scholarship." Some providers may have automatic scholarships for Gilman recipients, Pell Grant recipients, and other groups in need. Usually, providers also have their own internal scholarships that you can apply to alongside your application. These can be based on merit, need, site, major, and more. Consider these as well.

Next, consider the vast amount of outside scholarships available to you. The global resource guide has a good list of outside scholarships, but Google will be your friend (especially for site specific scholarships). Popular (and competitive) scholarships include the Gilman Scholarship and Boren Awards which Howard produces scholars of every year. Outside scholarships usually have robust applications, so plan ahead in order to put your best application forward.

There are outside scholarships available to international students, too!

8. schedule an advising session with the bunche center

At this point, you should be at the beginning of the semester before your study abroad program. Continue to work on your course approval and financial aid worksheets. Also, keep track of scholarships and apply accordingly. During this time, you should also schedule an advising session with the Bunche Center to go over your current plans and make adjustments as needed.

9. start your hu application and provider application online

In order to complete your HU study abroad application, you will need to have initiated an application with a provider. Provider applications have multiple steps, the first one being sending in your information for approval. You do not need to be approved by the program yet, but you need to have submitted that first step of the application. Then you can complete the HU Study Abroad application.

The HU Study Abroad application has 5 main pieces:

The application will also ask you questions about yourself and your chosen program, so be prepared to answer those.

9. departure preparation

Congratulations! You were accepted by both HU and your chosen program. Both your program and HU will have multiple tasks you need to complete before departure. 

Your program will have their own portal you need to keep track of that will have all of your departure tasks, including obtaining a visa, applying for housing, etc. Please bookmark your portal and add any important deadlines to your calendar. Make sure to fully submit your provider's application before their deadline.

For HU, you will also need to:

10. arrival preparation

Before you return, you will need to complete several tasks to ensure a smooth transition back home.

11. summer specific