Getting Started

We Are Here For You

For general and initial advising questions, we offer drop-in advising
Monday-Friday, 1:30-3:30 p.m. during the school year at McArthur Court.  

To schedule a 1:1 appointment with a specific GEO Advisor, you can call our office at (541) 346 3207.

Questions to Ask Yourself
As you start thinking about studying abroad (your goals, the type of experience you want to have, the programs you might be interested in, the planning process), you may want to consider asking yourself the following questions:  

  • What do you want to come away with from this experience? What are your top priorities when it comes to studying abroad? Is it satisfying specific major/graduation requirements? Is it the practical or cultural experience? Perhaps personal growth? Connections to faculty members? Maybe all of the above?
  • How comfortable do you feel traveling and/or living abroad? Are you looking for a program/experience that will be more structured with on-site support? Or are you looking for a more independent experience?
  • Do you have dependents or other special needs that will need accommodation while abroad?
  • How long do you want to be away?
  • Do you want to live in a dorm? With a host family? In an apartment?
  • How important is cost to you? Do you have a personal budget or cost-range in mind?
  • What scholarships and financial resources do you have to attend university? What others are you able/willing to apply for to fund this experience?
  • When is the best time for you to go? Have you talked with your major advisor about graduation requirements and perhaps figured out when a study abroad program would fit in nicely with your graduation schedule?

Finding a Program
GEO offers a wide range of programs that vary by cost, location, length, and program type. To help you navigate through these many programs, can use the search function on our website to find programs using the following filters:

  • Subject – If you know what you would like to study while abroad, the subject drop-down is a great place to start. If you cannot find your major or minor, think more broadly. For example, instead of looking for Advertising, look at Journalism.
  • Country – If you have a specific country in mind, you can narrow it down here. However, be aware that there may be more places to study French than just in France, for example!
  • Term – If you can only go during a certain time of year, this is a great filter. Be aware that many study abroad programs operate on the semester system. If you attend a quarter school, know that Spring Semester includes program that last through Winter and Spring terms.
  • Program Type – If you know what kind of experience you are looking for, this is a good filter. See below for a more detailed explanation of the different program types.

Program Types

  • Faculty Led – A faculty-led program is usually a 2-5 weeks long, but some may last an entire quarter or summer. Led by faculty from the UO or a partner university, these programs tend to focus on one topic or discipline, allowing for deeper specialization. Coursework and travel for excursions is done together as a group, which helps build closer bonds between fellow students and the professor(s) in a relatively short period of time. The preplanned itinerary and group dynamics makes this a very supportive and structured program type.
  • GEO Center – A GEO center program has dedicated on-site staff. Many GEO centers like London, Siena, Segovia, and Oviedo have different programs available throughout the year. Some programs may be a month long in the summer, and some may be semester or a full year. GEO centers offer a variety of classes and program themes that range from language to journalism, liberal arts, business, global health, and more. These centers offer a strong “home base” for students, which includes the expertise and resources of local staff and a dedicated facility for students to visit for classes, advising, studying, tutoring, etc.
  • Language Learning – These focus on the acquisition of language skills, and are often very intensive and immersive! Some language learning programs allow a student to bring back a significant number of language credits – even up to the equivalent of 1 year’s worth of language coursework. Students often engage in cultural activities and excursions to better understand the target culture and language they are studying. For language learning, homestays are the most common form of housing in order to encourage further language acquisition outside of class.
  • Exchanges – Exchange programs are only for UO students. An exchange allows students to enroll directly at a foreign university for a semester or for an entire academic year. Usually, this means students have access to all of the courses the university offers in a wide range of academic disciplines. Exchanges sometimes have lower overall costs than other programs of similar length. This is because exchange students have fewer customized excursions or on-site services and support. Students participating in exchange programs need to be prepared for an independent experience. They should also be flexible, as classes cannot always be arranged or guaranteed before arrival; registration often happens on-campus on arrival; and individual courses may need to be approved later once the student has access to a syllabus. An exchange program also allows students the flexibility to customize their experience and get deeply involved in the local culture and community.
  • Research – Some programs sponsored by GEO involve a research component in addition to classwork. This includes both Field Research and Lab Research options. If students are looking to build their research portfolio, possibly for future graduate school applications, or for a senior thesis, this may be a great way to get practical experience in research.
  • Internship – GEO has programs that offer both full internships and internships blended with coursework. In all cases, these internships are unpaid and offer academic credit towards the student’s degree. Depending on the program, the internship placement may be pre-selected or students may be able to customize their experience to meet their own needs. These are an excellent way to build practical experience and add substantial skills to a student’s resume.
  • Service-Learning – A limited number of programs offered by GEO involve service-learning opportunities, where students can earn credits through volunteering and assisting with local issues in addition to coursework abroad. The nature of the service is often set by the program offering it, and it is recommended that students consider the program as a whole in addition to the service component.
  • Other Sponsored Programs – UO students may also consider participating in programs that are sponsored by GEO and approved for UO credit. These programs are operated by organizations such as Semester at Sea, CIEE, IE3 Global, SIT, and DIS and add to the wide diversity of programming options available to UO students.   

Still not sure which program type is right for you? Consider taking a fun quiz for suggestions.

Factors to Consider as you Choose your Program

Studying abroad should help you to graduate on time. In fact, studies have shown that students who study abroad tend to have higher graduation rates. However, in order to get the most out of your study abroad experience, it is important to do some academic planning. Here are some key steps to follow:

  1. Talk to your academic advisor (general and/or major department) as early as possible about making study abroad a priority in your college plans. While you can study abroad anytime between freshman year and graduation, every student may have a different path to graduation. For example, your major might have sequences you need to complete first; you may be a student athlete and cannot miss practices or competitions; you may have a family that needs you. Take all of this into consideration and talk about your four-year plan with your advisor.
  2. Select courses carefully:
    • UO Students should consider what courses and credits you want to satisfy abroad and consult the Course Equivalency database with your GEO advisor and major advisor.
      • Pay special attention to the courses that satisfy major and minor requirements, as well as other groups, like Social Sciences or Arts & Letters.
    • If you are a non-UO student, be sure to talk to your study abroad advisor and Registrar’s Office about what credit you will be awarded at your institution.
  3. Know the program requirements: All programs have a minimum GPA requirement, and some may also have specific pre-requisite courses or required language levels. Pay attention to these requirements and be sure to ask your GEO advisor if you have any questions.
  4. Ask about financial aid and credits: If you are receiving financial aid or have scholarships, speak with a Financial Aid counselor to learn what grades you need to maintain while abroad and how many credits you need to take. Many scholarships require “full time enrollment.” Make sure you understand what that means. If the program’s credit system is different from yours (semester vs quarter, for example), be sure to check with your GEO advisor on how many credits you will receive on your selected program.


Money Matters
One important consideration when selecting a program is cost. GEO recognizes that studying abroad is a significant financial commitment, which is why we publish a program budget on every program page. All students are encouraged to become familiar with their program’s budget and with GEO financial policies before committing to a program.

As you take into account cost and financial matters, make sure you are aware of the following:

  1. Most forms of financial aid can be applied to the cost of study abroad. Consult with your financial aid office to find out how your specific aid package will work with study abroad. UO students can contact Financial Aid at 541 346 3221 or
  2. You may be eligible for study abroad scholarships. Reach out to GEO scholarship advisors ( for questions and for assistance with applications and scholarship essays.
  3. Any gap between your financial aid resources and the program cost will be your responsibility. Do not necessarily expect for financial aid and scholarships to cover the entire cost of the program. As part of financial planning, make sure that you have reviewed all of the different funding sources that are available to you.
  4. UO students who are currently receiving financial aid and have already been accepted to a GEO program can request a short-term loan from GEO to help cover up-front costs such as airfare. The amount of the short-term loan ($300-$2000) would be charged to your UO billing account along with a small loan processing fee. For more information, please contact