5 Ways to Study Abroad as a STEM Student

As a STEM student, you’ve probably wondered if an international education can fit into your academic plan. With USAC, it can! We offer 50+ programs in more than 25 countries, which is a whole lot of variety, and a whole lot of opportunities to find your perfect study abroad program.  

Studying abroad as an engineering major? Your international education could take you to Valencia, Spain. Health science majors can participate in internships in locations like Heredia or Chiang Mai. Even mathematics and physics majors will find options abroad in Bristol and Stellenbosch. The list goes on and on! 

Not sure where to begin? We’ve got you. Start with these tips to study abroad as a STEM student. 

Study abroad the the University of Bristol
Study abroad the the University of Bristol

Plan Early 

USAC offers lots of programs for STEM majors, but the key to fitting them into your academic plan is to start planning for international education early on. If you have the smallest desire to study abroad, mention it to your academic advisor. You’ll have many more options on location, term, and courses you can take if you work it in earlier.  

(PS – this isn’t just for STEM students. We encourage all university students to get started on their study abroad planning early!) 

Students wear hardhats on a construction site visit in Africa.

Work With Your Advisors 

Your advisors are there to make your college experience as smooth as possible, so use them as much as possible. Your academic advisor can help you decide when study abroad might best fit into your schedule and what credits to fulfill while abroad, while USAC Program Advisors can help you find a program that meets all your needs and support you throughout your entire preparation process.   

Selena smiles behind protective gear during her bee keeping internship.

Consider Your Courses 

For STEM majors, or any students whose academic path doesn’t allow for much wiggle room, finding the right mix of academics in your dream location abroad may feel limited. However, with the right planning, it doesn’t have to be. After speaking to your advisor and starting your research early on in your academic career, you might have more options than you realize. Some common routes include: 

  • Taking courses related to your STEM degree that you know will help get you closer to graduation. 
  • Picking up a minor, like a second language, which you can complete in just a semester abroad on many programs.  
  • Knocking out your elective credits by taking courses abroad in other subjects that interest you. 
A study abroad student gets experience in his career field interning at a hospital in costa rica
A student gets experience in his career field interning at a hospital in Costa Rica.

Think Outside the Classroom 

What happens in the classroom is important, but there are so many study abroad experiences outside of the classroom that can impact your academics and professional pursuits. For example, participating in an international internship can help you earn academic credit and develop valuable job skills. You’ll be able to take what you learn in the classroom and apply it on the job, and you can practice the local language, network with professionals, and immerse in the local culture. Plus, international job experience looks great on your resume!  

Going Green in Heredia, Costa Rica
A group of USAC students give back to the environment during a group project.

Be Open-Minded 

Flexibility is important when choosing a program as a STEM major. The program location, term, and duration are all factors to consider when planning your study abroad, and your academic requirements will likely play a large role in that decision. If you can’t fit study abroad in during a semester, for example, consider a summer session. Or if you’ve always dreamed of studying in Spain, but our programs in Costa Rica have more course options, embrace the change in scenery. Trust us, it will all work out if you’re open-minded and flexible.  

Ready to launch your international education? Search STEM programs for 2022 and beyond on the USAC website.