The Catholic University of America

Setting Goals and Defining Your Objectives

As part of the planning process, it is important to decide what your reasons for studying abroad are and also to set goals you want to achieve. The planning process really should start here but if you have not done so, please consider setting goals before you depart for your destination. 

Reasons for Studying Abroad

It is important that you ask yourself a few basic questions about your reasons for wanting to study abroad. Examples may include:

  • Why do you want to study abroad?
  • What do you want to study abroad? How will the courses fit into your CUA degree?
  • Where do you want to study? Why there? What other locations have you considered? 
  • Do you wish to study a language or improve your language proficiency?
  • Do you wish to study mostly with local students or do you prefer to go with other American students? 
  • How much money can you afford to spend? What are your sources of funding?

Defining Objectives

Some worthwhile goals may include:  travel and see the world, improve your foreign language competency, take classes with world-class professors, conduct original research, obtaining practical experience in your field, meeting new people from around the world, exploring the local culture, enjoying the local cuisine and learn a few recipes, etc.

Whatever it is that compels you to spend a significant amount of time abroad, you will want to think about defining your objectives.  Write down your goals and then spend some time prioritizing them by short-term and long-term objectives, academic (degree requirements!!), and others. It is up to you whether you opt to share these goals with others.  It is always a good idea to revisit these goals a few times during your time abroad to think about the progress you are making and determine the degree to which you achieve your goals at the end of your program.