McMaster University

McMaster University

Where do I start?

Before starting your research on Work, Study, Intern, Teach or Volunteer Abroad options, you should find out what kind of programs are right for you. A self-assessment is always a good idea. Here are few things to consider:

  1. For starters, read three well-known publications:
  2. Ask yourself some questions. Write down your answers. Writing can help you organize your thoughts. Being organized will help you stay focused and find exactly what you need. Pause to reflect and answer the following questions:
    • Why do I want to go abroad? Why do I think I need this experience?
    • What will I get from it personally, academically and professionally?
    • Do I speak, or want to learn, another language?
    • What countries am I interested in?
    • How do I react to missing friends and family?
    • How independent, tolerant, open-minded and adaptable am I?
    • How do I feel when forced to 'feel' things in a different way in another culture?
    • Am I financially prepared? Have I done enough research about costs?
    • Am I in good health?
    • What are the consequences of going away? What year am I in school? Is this the right time to go?
  3. Attend one of the information sessions provided by ISS.
  4. With so many options, how do you select a program that is right for you? Consider the following:
    • What is available about the organization of your interest (websites, brochures, annual reports, reviews from other students etc)?
    • What is the nature of this organization (exchange partner institution, for-profit, not-for-profit, NGO, service-learning)?
    • Is McMaster's Work and Study Abroad advisor or faculty advisor familiar with this organization?
    • Is it possible to contact students who have participated in this program?
    • What are your accommodation options?
    • Has your faculty advisor given you written consent and informed you about accreditation issues?
    • Has your faculty advisor planned your return to McMaster University?
  5. Application process:
    • How do you apply?
    • What are the deadlines?
    • What documentation do I need in order to apply?
  6. What is the selection process?
  7. When will you find out if you that you have been accepted by a program?
  8. Have you made arrangements for re-admission to your McMaster program and re-entry to Canada?

After all this work, you may conclude that this experience is not right for you, at least not at this moment. Remember that it is OK not to go!
Proceed to the "Before you go" section