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First Steps

Getting Started

Decide Which Program is Right For You

When selecting a program you should be thinking about your goals for studying abroad, languages you speak (or wish to speak), major coursework you need to complete while abroad, and how much time you can be away from campus. All of these considerations will help you select the program that is best for you.

Search and Compare Study Abroad Programs

Find programs that best fit your major by clicking below:

Study Abroad Programs for your Area of Study

Events Calendar

Check the Events Calendar, the Mason GEO Facebook page, and ourTwitter page for event updates.

Meet with a Peer Advisor

If you are still unclear on the right program for you or want to talk about your options, Peers Advisors are available for walk-in appointments can give personal insight into a particular program and their own experience abroad, discuss the overview of the application process, or show you how to navigate the website.

Visit the Peer Advisor Page
Talk to Your Academic Advisor and/or Financial Aid Counselor

Schedule an appointment with your Academic Advisor to find out how a study abroad experience will fit into your class schedule.

If you plan on seeking financial aid to help pay for your experience, schedule a meeting with your Financial Aid Counselor at your home university. Your Financial Aid Counselor is there to help you determine your aid eligibility.

Keep those involved in your financial decisions, such as your family, informed of program cost and actual cost-of-attendance (see 'Budget Sheets' in Cost and Funding).

Mason Financial Aid Office How to Contact Your Mason Financial Aid Counselor
Create a Profile in MasonAbroad

Once you create a profile and begin your application, additional instructions and required items will be made available to you in MasonAbroad.

Schedule an Appointment with a Mason GEO Program Officer [optional]

Program Officers can guide you through the process of researching and applying to a program. They can help you determine the appropriateness of a particular program by reviewing eligibility requirements, application deadlines, and procedures that apply to your chosen program. Each Program Officer works with a specific program type, so be sure to meet with the appropriate one!

Open an Application


Before you begin the application process you should make sure you meet the eligibility requirements of the program you're interested in. Many Mason GEO programs are open to Mason students, staff, faculty, and alumni, as well as students from other colleges or universities and the general public. Always consult the program’s brochure in MasonAbroad for details on specific program eligibility requirements.

To enroll in most summer or winter short-term programs, applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.25 to earn academic credit. No minimum credit hours required unless otherwise specified.

For semester or academic-year-long programs,undergraduate students are eligible for study abroad once they have completed:

  • at least 45 credit hours* by the time of program departure and have a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher, or
  • at least 30 credit hours* by the time of program departure and have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher.

Some semester and year-long programs and bilateral exchanges require a higher minimum GPA or have language or subject background prerequisites.

*Completed credit hours include transferred credit hours.

Fill Out Your Application

After you have been enrolled into your study abroad program you will receive an acceptance notification with information on post-acceptance materials that must be submitted to organize your experience and guarantee your place in the program.

After You Have Been Accepted

We interviewed students at check-in during our pre-departure orientation and asked them about their destinations, what they were most excited about, and if the could tell us about what they will pack or what they might forget to pack.
Pre-departure Orientation

As a participant of a Mason GEO program, you are required to attend a mandatory Pre-departure Orientation. Pre-departure Orientations are held bi-annually - in May for summer, fall semester, and academic year participants and in December for winter and spring participants. See the “Materials” in your application for more information on the time and place.

See a Doctor or Specialist

Check with your Primary Care Physician to see whether you will need any medication, vaccinations, or other medical matters taken care of before your trip. You may be required to sign a Medical Records Release or provide an Immunization History or other medical related pre-departure materials in your MasonAbroad application. Please see your application instructions for details.

Learning Content

Your application will include a section entitled ‘Learning Content’. MasonAbroad provides information on multiple aspects of study abroad in each Learning Content module that must be marked as read before your trip. Information will include topics such as the following:

  • Banking and Money Abroad
  • Cellphones Abroad
  • Customs and Immigration
  • George Mason University Policies and Procedures
  • Health and Safety (Alcohol, Drugs, Mental Health and Well-Being, Mosquito Bite Prevention)
  • Packing Advice
  • Resources for Study Abroad Participants
  • Technology and Electronics Abroad
  • Tipping Practices and Advice
Research Visa Requirements

It is the responsibility of all study abroad participants and/or travelers to determine whether or not a visa is required for entry into your program's host country. If you are unsure whether or not you are required to have a visa to enter your program's host country, please visit the host country embassy's website to determine visa requirements. If you fail to obtain required visa documentation before the start of your program and are unable to participate, you will not receive a refund.

Do NOT start obtaining your visa until you have received your acceptance letter from the host institution OR instructions from your Program Officer.

Upon Arrival

How to Arrive

Your arrival style will depend on what type of program you are going on. Program Officers will provide students with information on any special travel arrangements such as the date you need to be at your university or accommodation. Some programs may provide group airport pick ups and some universities may offer to pick visiting students up as well.


Depending on what kind of program you’re taking part in, your housing may be in a dormitory, homestay, hotel, or apartment. Information on your housing can be found on the program's brochure in MasonAbroad and your Program Officer will have additional details.


Research what kind of expectations there are for students in the country you're visiting and be prepared for the workload. For example, some countries may support lecture style classrooms with just one final exam or paper due at the end that counts for your entire grade. An introduction to your academic environment will be on the brochure page of your program.


Be sure to go out and explore the country and culture you're visiting. Make the best of the time you have while you're there.

The Global Education Office loves to hear about your time abroad so be sure to share your experience with us - whether it be pictures, blog posts, or another unique way you took to record your experience.