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Photo submitted by Claire Dickerson.

Once you’ve decided to explore study abroad opportunities, it’s never too early to start planning. CGIS advisors and peer advisors are available to answer questions that arise during any point of the process, from takeoff to touchdown and beyond.

Outlined below is the basic CGIS process for getting started with study abroad.

STEP 1: Attend a First Step session

First Step Sessions are held every Monday & Tuesday from 12-12:30PM & every Wednesday & Thursday from 6-6:30pm while classes are in session during the fall & winter term. This excludes U-M scheduled breaks, study days, examination days, etc. Summer sessions will be announced in May

Participating in a First Step session is a required step in the CGIS study abroad application process and students are only required to participate in a session once during their time at U-M. 

Click here to attend a First Step Session!

STEP 2: Explore programs

Find an overview of each CGIS program in the Programs section of this site.

Learn more on M-Compass, the University of Michigan’s comprehensive online tool for study abroad program information. Search, save, and apply for international programs on M-Compass.

When selecting an intercultural experience, it is important for students to consider their personal, academic, and professional goals. Whether you hope to improve language skills, meet academic requirements, develop professional skills, or just step outside your comfort zone, each CGIS program offers unique benefits. Identifying objectives and expectations before beginning the search for a program will help you select appropriate intercultural experiences.

STEP 3: Meet with advisors

After attending a First Step session, you will receive an e-mail that will allow you to schedule an individual appointment with a CGIS advisor to assess your goals, identify the right programs for you, and assist you through the application process.

After meeting with a CGIS advisor, you should also discuss with your academic advisors how study abroad courses can help fulfill degree requirements.

STEP 4: Complete a program application

Applications for CGIS programs should be completed on M-Compass.

After creating a profile, you will use M-Compass throughout the study abroad process to submit application requirements and other pre-departure materials. The deadlines for most programs are:


September 15


November 1


December 10


January 15/February 1

Fall/Academic Year   

February 1

Deadlines vary by program and are subject to change. Visit M-Compass for specific deadlines.

Commit to your program

The time it takes for you to hear about your acceptance into a CGIS program varies from program to program. In some cases, you will hear back within a few days. In other cases, it can take a few months. Ask your CGIS advisor for an estimated decision timeline.

You will have the opportunity to confirm or decline your place in the program after receiving your official acceptance letter from CGIS. The confirmation process requires that you read and sign a participation agreement, registration and withdrawal policy, and a budget agreement within 7 days of your acceptance.

Attend pre-departure orientation

Keep in touch

CGIS advisors send e-mail reminders and important information throughout the study abroad process. Check your inbox daily and save all important messages in a folder dedicated to your study abroad program.