Gather as much information about programs as you can to start to figure out which program will be the right one for you. Come to 0018 Curtiss and talk to a Student Travel Consultant or study abroad staff. Search ISU Abroad for programs, talk to your academic advisor and professors, talk to your classmates and friends about their study abroad experiences. Attend program informational meetings. Start to make a list of the programs that appeal to you.

What are your goals for your study abroad experience? Make a list of 3 – 5 goals and rank them in order of importance.

Geographic interest: Do you have a specific city, country, region or continent you are interested in going to? Do you prefer a rural or urban setting? Keep in mind that if you go to the southern hemisphere, the seasons are the opposite of the United States (and the academic calendar will be different as well)

Language interest: Have you studied or do you speak another language? Do you have an interest in learning or perfecting another language? There are many programs in countries where English is not the main language but you could take classes in English or work in an English-speaking setting. Would you be comfortable in a country where English is not the primary language?

Tolerance for risk and the unknown: Are you a risk taker or do you have an aversion to risky situations? How comfortable are you with “the unknown”? Are you able to be flexible or do you need a strict and unchanging schedule?

Travel Courses

  • Travel takes place during school breaks and varies from 10 days to 6 weeks
  • Preparation class takes place during the semester of travel
  • Travel with your professor and friends, class sizes vary from 8 – 30 students
  • Gain a snapshot of agricultural topics through field visits, tours and sightseeing
  • Learn about the culture by seeing tourist and cultural sites and trying the local foods


  • You've never traveled before.
  • You want an introduction to the world.
  • You want to travel with your class.
  • You want a snapshot of agriculture in another part of the world


Semester or Year-long Programs

  • Enroll in courses at a university abroad for a summer, a semester or year and transfer those credits back to your ISU academic program
  • Work closely with study abroad staff and your academic advisor to maximize your interests and benefit your academic program


  • You are tired of being a tourist
  • You want to truly experience another culture

Step-by-Step Guide to Choosing a Semester-Long Program that Works for You

Independent programs

  • Usually offered in the summer, program examples include internships, research opportunities, service learning and affiliate programs
  • Typically, you determine the length of stay and housing options range from youth hostels, university housing or host families

Contact CALS Study Abroad staff in 0018 Curtiss Hall for a meeting


  • You are an experienced traveler.
  • You want a program made just for you.
  • You want an independent experience.
  • You want an outstanding reference on your resume.

Every study abroad program will have its own expense but you should be diligent to determine how much your program will cost you. Start budgeting for expenses in the following three categories:

  1. Program fees. These will vary depending on a wide-variety of factors. Check the advertised fee for your program and make sure you are clear what is and is not covered in the program fee for the program you pick.
  2. Tuition and fees. Most programs are academic programs abroad and those therefore have a cost for the credits you are earning.
  3. Out-of-pocket expenses. Includes costs incurred before travel (like immunizations, visas and supplies), during travel (like meals or activities not covered in the program fee, souvenirs and spending money) and after travel (like printing pictures and follow up medical care).

Search ISU Abroad for programs. Talk to your academic advisor and professors and talk to your classmates and friends about their study abroad experiences. Attend program informational meetings. Make a list of programs that sound the most interesting to you.  Drop by 0018 Curtiss and talk to a Student Travel Consultant or study abroad staff to help you identify the program that is right for you.

There are ample ways to find money to help pay for your study abroad costs. There are scholarships through Iowa State University that can be at the department, college and university levels. Financial aid can typically be used for study abroad expenses if you are earning academic credit for your study abroad program. There are a variety of funding opportunities outside the university as well.

College of Agriculture & Life Sciences (CALS) sponsored scholarships:  Students in CALS have many options for scholarships for studying abroad through a variety of college-sponsored scholarships with a wide range of eligibility requirements. When you apply for any study abroad program through ISU Abroad, as a CALS student, you should automatically receive a prompt in your ‘learning content’ with a link to the application. You will be considered for all college-sponsored scholarships for study abroad through this one application. Deadlines are November 1 for spring programs; March 1 for summer programs and May 1 for fall programs.  Check https://www.agstudyabroad.iastate.edu/where-money to view CALS scholarship opportunities.

CALS passport scholarship:  If you are a student in the College of Agriculture & Life Sciences and you have applied for a study abroad program, you are eligible for a scholarship that will reimburse you for the cost of your passport. Bring your new passport to 0018 Curtiss Hall to claim your scholarship.  Please note: this is only for first time travelers, not for passport renewals, only first passports.

Step by Step Guide for Passport Reimbursement

ISU scholarships beyond the college:  Check with your academic department or advisor for study abroad-focused scholarships through your department. Check the university-wide Study Abroad Center for other funding opportunities http://www.studyabroad.iastate.edu/home/students/outgoing/.

Other fund-raising ideas:  You are embarking on an exciting academic adventure that will help you think about your education in a different way and help you build professional skills that can make you more marketable to future employers when you graduate. Consider organizations that would be interested in supporting that kind of effort. Write to local businesses in your hometown and local chapters of organizations like Rotary International, Kiwanis International, Lions Clubs International who support education and service for support.

Budget and save:  Plan ahead and in the year(s) before you study abroad, set aside a percentage of money you earn toward your study abroad experience. Ask family and friends to support your trip costs in lieu of birthday or holiday gifts.

More ideas for making study abroad affordable

Your ISU financial aid may be used to fund your study abroad experience as long as you are earning academic credits for your study abroad program. Contact the office of Student Financial Aid to make an appointment with a financial aid advisor to see how your aid package can support your study abroad opportunity studyabroadaid@iastate.edu or 515-294-2223.

Learn more

All US citizens must have a passport to travel internationally.  The US Department of State is the US government agency that issues passports for US citizens. Visit http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/passports.html and follow the instructions to apply for your passport book (not card).

Processing times vary but are usually around 4 – 6 weeks. You will need to prove your US citizenship, submit an application, prove your identity with a government-issued ID and pay a fee for your passport. Your passport will be valid for 10 years.

ISU students traveling on University programs may have their passport photo taken in the Study Abroad Center (3224 Memorial Union) from 1:00 - 4:00 p.m. each weekday.  The cost is $15 charged to your U-bill.

If you are a student in the College of Agriculture & Life Sciences, have applied for a study abroad program and are getting a passport for the first time, you are eligible for a scholarship that will reimburse you for the cost of your passport. Bring your new passport to 18 Curtiss Hall to claim your scholarship.

Step-By-Step Guide to Obtaining a Passport and Passport Reimbursement (CALS students only)

Each government in the world has rules about who can visit their country and why. If required, a ‘visa’ (typically a stamp or certificate placed directly in your passport) is the method of authorization a government will give for non-citizens to enter and temporarily remain within a country. You may need a visa for your study abroad program depending on the country you visit, the length of time and the purpose of the visit. You should check with the embassy website of the country you will visit to check for visa requirements and types for your study abroad program. If required, application requirements and fees will vary by country and visa type.

Yes, there are scholarship opportunities for graduate students through the CALS Study Abroad office and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Available through the CALS Study Abroad Office:


Available through the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences:


For more information on financial assistance for graduate students, visit Global Programs Funding

The latest version of the Trip Lingo mobile app now includes an image translation tool as well as support for 75 new countries. You can find more details on the update below.

Haven't installed Trip Lingo yet?  It's easy to get started!

Download the app and login with your @iastate.edu email address.  Search "triplingo" on the appstore or use these links to download the app:

iOS: bit.ly/iphonetl | Android: bit.ly/androidtl 

Should you have any questions, simply reach out to support@triplingo.com for assistance.