So now that you’ve chosen if, where and how you want to study abroad we can begin discussing what you should do next. (This first part was covered in: https://voiceoftruth.wordpress.com/2008/07/17/should-you-study-abroad-and-how/ if you’re interested.)
At this point, I’m assuming you’ve selected a few programs you would like to participate in. The following list is a vague timeline that you should start the year before you want to study abroad (i.e. Sophomore year for people that want to study abroad in their Junior year).
1. In the first months of that school year (Sept-Nov), you should speak with your academic/study abroad advisers about the different programs and which one best suits your needs (academically and personally). This is especially true if you are considering a program not affiliated with your home university as you will want to make sure that all of your credits transfer and you can use the classes towards your major (if this is important to you, of course).
2. Then you should review application procedures and make sure that you meet (or will complete) any and all prerequisites to the program(s). Also, if recommendation forms are required this would be a good time to ask your professors for them so that they will have a few months to write them.
3. In the middle of the year (Nov-Dec), you should begin viewing financial aid materials and finding/submitting applications for scholarships. Usually the study abroad/international program office of your university will have materials on scholarships, but there are also many that you can find by searching the internet.
4. At this time, you should begin filling out the applications for the study abroad programs as well and submit them as early as possible, usually January-March.