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Getting Started

Students in Budapest

Photo credit: Henry Han '20 (Hungary, AIT, spring 2019)

Where will you take your Swarthmore experience? Get ready to explore!!

Found a program (or two) you love? Need some help navigating all these options? Ready to get started? Follow these steps!

  1. Read the Introduction to Off-Campus Study Handbook [pdf].
  2. Attend a (virtual) general information session. Dates and times are listed here
  3.  Complete the Advising/Preliminary Information Sheet.
  4. Email Diana Malick to schedule an advising appointment. During your advising appointment you can discuss any questions or concerns you have about studying abroad, and your OCS Advisor will walk you through the application process. Click here for specifics about Policies and Procedures.
  5. For U.S. citizens: processing times for passport applications (both new applications and renewals) are significantly delayed. More information from the State Department here.  Routine applications take about 18 weeks to process, and expedited applications about 12 weeks. To study abroad, you need a passport that's valid at least 6 months beyond the program end date. Reach out to OCS if you have any questions. 

Important reminders:

  • Keep an eye out for OCS deadlines, as well as program deadlines, which could be earlier. Complete your applications by the earliest deadline. 
  • Maintain excellent communication with your academic/major advisor. 
  • Some academic departments/programs have selected a semester that's best for study abroad. Be sure to check your department's/program's website. You can also consult this spreadsheet [pdf] for guidance.  
  • Remember that in most cases, you have to complete an application both in the OCS portal, and directly with your program. 
  • Consult the Study Abroad Course Database to see what courses students have taken before on your program.
  • Contact your OCS advisor with any questions.
  • Contact a Swarthmore student who has recently studied abroad on the program you're interested in.
  • Hear and see what students have to say about their experience abroad.
  • Check out the OCS policies and procedures.