Co-sponsored by the University Career Center & The President's Promise and the Study Abroad Office

Step 2: Establishing a Time Line

Planning ahead and sticking to your schedule is of the utmost importance in planning for an international transition.

Each time line will differ depending on the kinds of opportunities the individual is seeking and what kind of person they are.

Some suggestions for developing your time line:

  • Consider when a globally engaged experience makes the most sense for you
  • Make realistic deadlines for yourself, keeping in mind other work, school and social commitments that you will have over the next few months
  • Give yourself adequate time to fully research your options
  • Make the most of your study abroad experience
  • Keep in mind that some program/position applications may be due as much as 4 months ahead of the program/position start date
  • Remember that an international search may take longer than a domestic job, internship or volunteer project search
  • If you need help developing a personal timeline, meet with an adviser in the University Career Center.

It is generally recommended that you give yourself 4-8 months to fully prepare for your working abroad experience.


Sample time line (beginning 8 months before departure):

8 months before:

  • Set basic parameters for the types of opportunities you are seeking (type of position, financial compensation, start/end dates, location)
  • Conduct preliminary research on your specific field of interest and country/city you are considering to gain a better understanding of the market in that location for what it is you are trying to accomplish
  • Identify colleagues, family, friends or contacts that have experience in your field or area of interest for networking purposes

7 months before:

  • Create a resume and cover letter that is geared towards a globally engaged experience
  • Continue to research opportunities
  • Review international travel information from the U.S. Department of State
  • Initiate contact with contacts you have identified to assist you in your search
  • Create a budget for yourself to include planning for a majority or the full duration of your international experience
  • Attend on or off campus networking events and continue to identify contacts that you can use to connect with international opportunities

6 months before:

  • Continue to research opportunities abroad
  • Follow up with networking contacts
  • Have UCC advisor critique your resume and cover letter
  • Ask for letters of recommendation from a professor, advisor, past employer, etc.
  • Conduct informational interviews
  • Apply for a passport

5 months before:

  • Identify and rank 5 different positions or programs you are interested in and gather the specific application process information for each position or program
  • Conduct informational interviews
  • Research work visa requirements for the country you are considering

4 months before:

  • Apply for positions or programs you are interested in
  • Follow up with employers and organizations to ensure they have everything that they need from you
  • Prepare for interviews
  • Conduct a mock interview at the University Career Center

3 months before:

  • Apply for positions or programs you are interested in
  • Participate in interviews
  • Receive and decide on job offers based on your selection criteria
  • Make international travel arrangements
  • Apply for a visa or documents you will need to work, intern, study or volunteer abroad

2 months before:

  • Make arrangements for moving logistics
  • Research international housing arrangements
  • Review U.S. Department of State consular travel sheet for the country you are traveling to

1 month before:

  • Prepare for your international transition
  • U.S. citizens can register your time abroad with the U.S. Department of State
  • Relax! You've done a lot of hard work and you have an exciting opportunity to look forward to!