13 SMART Goals Examples for Studying Abroad

Studying abroad presents a unique opportunity for personal and professional growth. To make the most of this experience, use the SMART method to maximize learning and development.

With this in mind, here is a list of 13 SMART goals examples for studying abroad that cover a range of areas, from enhancing language skills to fostering inclusivity.

You will be able to make the most of your time abroad and come back with valuable experiences and knowledge that will last a lifetime.

What is a SMART Goal?

Studying abroad can be life-changing, but you must set goals that guide your development while away. You can benefit greatly from using the SMART methodology.

Let’s take a closer look at each SMART element:


Specificity is crucial when it comes to studying abroad. By setting well-defined goals, you know exactly what you must achieve and how to do it. Examples of measurable goals for studying abroad may include “passing a language proficiency exam” or “obtaining a 3.8-grade point average.”


By tracking your progress, you can determine whether or not you’re making meaningful strides toward reaching your goals.

For instance, instead of wanting to improve your writing skills while studying abroad, a measurable goal would be to boost your essay grades by one letter for the semester.


Take into account your current ability level in order to set yourself up for success. After all, it’s important to pursue goals that are challenging but still achievable, which will inspire you to continue striving toward them.


You’ll be more motivated to attain goals if they align with your passions, values, and interests. And when you’re studying abroad, it’s imperative to pursue meaningful and relevant objectives to your unique study abroad adventure.


By setting a robust time frame, you’ll be able to prioritize tasks and allocate your time efficiently. That way, you can stay on track and avoid burning out or getting sidetracked by distractions.

13 SMART Goals Examples for Studying Abroad

Here are various examples of SMART goals for studying abroad:

1. Become More Culturally Competent

“To become more culturally competent, I’ll attend at least two cultural events each month until the end of this year. I hope to understand better and appreciate different cultures.”

Specific: The goal is clear, detailing the actions to be taken (attending cultural events) and for how long (one year).

Measurable: You can gauge progress by counting the events attended over time.

Attainable: It is feasible for the person to attend two cultural events per month.

Relevant: This statement is pertinent to promoting cultural competency and understanding.

Time-based: There is a one-year window for accomplishing the goal.

2. Learn a New Language

“I will achieve proficiency in Spanish within 12 months by attending a language school and practicing with a language partner for two hours weekly.”

Specific: The goal details which language to learn (Spanish), how long it will take to learn (12 months), and how often classes and language exchange sessions are held.

Measurable: Progress can be assessed through proficiency tests taken regularly.

Attainable: This is doable by attending classes and practicing consistently with a language partner.

Relevant: Learning a new language can lead to growth in many areas of life.

Time-based: Twelve months are required to accomplish success.

3. Enhance Leadership Skills

“I will develop my leadership skills by attending workshops, enrolling in courses on international relations, and participating in study abroad programs. I hope to understand different cultures, customs, and values by the end of my program.”

Specific: You’ll develop your leadership by attending workshops and courses and participating in study abroad programs.

Measurable: Determine whether or not you have followed the recommended action items.

Attainable: This goal is possible since it involves participating in activities within the individual’s control.

Relevant: Enhancing leadership skills can be beneficial for personal and professional growth.

Time-based: The end of the program is when success should be reached.

4. Connect With Local Communities

“I’ll engage with the local communities I come in contact with while studying abroad. I’ll learn more about their culture and customs by visiting businesses and attending events. I want to understand the foreign culture and build relationships with people in my host community.”

Specific: This SMART goal is explicit because the person is trying to learn more about the culture and nurture relationships with those in the host community.

Measurable: Going to businesses and events will help measure progress in learning more about the host community.

Attainable: It’s possible to connect with locals when studying abroad, depending on the location and resources available.

Relevant: Connecting with local communities is an appropriate goal for a student studying abroad.

Time-based: This is an ongoing effort while studying abroad.

5. Gain International Work Experience

“Within the following year, I will secure an international internship in my field of study and gain experience working in a different country. I’ll research available positions and apply to at least 10 internships with well-prepared and polished application materials.”

Specific: You are seeking an international internship and applying to several positions.

Measurable: Evaluating progress can be done by noting how many internship applications have been sent.

Attainable: This goal is achievable by researching different positions and tailoring application materials.

Relevant: International work experience can provide unique learning opportunities and enhance professional growth.

Time-based: There is a one-year deadline to meet this particular goal.

6. Make Friends Abroad

“I will try to connect with local students and find like-minded people in my host country by the end of two months. I want to make meaningful relationships that will last beyond my study abroad experience.”

Specific: The goal is well-defined, with a clear outcome and time frame.

Measurable: Ensure you keep track of the number of meaningful connections you make.

Attainable: This is feasible by taking the initiative to connect with people and introducing yourself.

Relevant: Making meaningful relationships is vital for a robust social support system while you’re abroad.

Time-based: You have two months to reach goal achievement.

7. Develop Intercultural Communication

“I want to develop strong intercultural communication skills to better understand someone else’s values for the next 10 months. I will attend cultural and language classes and any other related events to further my understanding.”

Specific: You want to develop intercultural communication and understand what it takes.

Measurable: The person can determine progress by attending classes and events regularly.

Attainable: Developing intercultural communication skills is achievable and requires dedication and practice.

Relevant: Intercultural communication is a crucial skill for studying abroad.

Time-based: Ten months are needed to reach long-term success.

8. Increase Self-Confidence

“I will complete various activities and challenges to build my self-confidence in order to become a successful student abroad. I hope this will allow me to gain new experiences and knowledge while studying abroad.”

Specific: The goal is clear and concise, stating the overall objective and how it will be met.

Measurable: By completing various activities and challenges, the student can track their progress in boosting confidence.

Attainable: This SMART statement can be accomplished through practice and dedication.

Relevant: This is relevant because it ensures that students will be more confident in their abilities when navigating a new country.

Time-based: You want to pursue this goal for the entire time you study abroad.

boost your self confidence

9. Be Open to New Perspectives

“I will actively seek out conversations with students from different countries to broaden my worldview by the end of 5 months. I hope to gain valuable insights into different cultures that will make me more tolerant.”

Specific: This goal is explicit because you plan to gain new perspectives by talking to students from different countries.

Measurable: Track your conversations with students from different countries over the course of 5 months.

Attainable: This is possible since connecting with international students during study abroad is relatively straightforward.

Relevant: By talking to other students, you will better understand different cultures, which is valuable.

Time-based: You know that success is expected after 5 whole months.

10. Actively Participate in Class

“To improve my study abroad experience, I’ll commit to actively participating in my classes within the next two months. That means taking notes, asking questions, and engaging in discussions related to the course material.”

Specific: This statement outlines which activity you should commit to (active participation in class).

Measurable: You could count the number of classes you’ve participated in for the time period.

Attainable: Participating in class can be accomplished with some effort.

Relevant: Active participation in class is essential to your study abroad experience.

Time-based: Goal completion should be expected within two months.

11. Boost My Academic Achievement

“I will take steps to further increase my GPA for this semester. I’ll try to attend all lectures, workshops, and seminars that are related to my chosen field of study. I’ll also look into potential avenues for independent research projects and strive to succeed academically.”

Specific: You have clear activities—attending lectures, workshops, and seminars related to your field of study.

Measurable: You can measure the goal by tracking your GPA at the end of each semester.

Attainable: Assuming you’re already achieving good grades and want to take them higher, this is definitely feasible.

Relevant: This goal directly applies to your main objective of boosting academic achievement.

Time-based: There is a time limit of the end of this semester.

12. Expand Global Mindedness

“For 6 months, I will expand my global mindedness by expanding awareness of cultural and socioeconomic challenges. I also want to develop skills and knowledge to engage in proactive conversations related to global issues.”

Specific: The individual wants to expand their global mindedness by boosting awareness of cultural and socioeconomic challenges.

Measurable: You’ll count the number of conversations related to global issues.

Attainable: With the right resources, this certain goal is absolutely doable.

Relevant: The statement relates to learning about different cultures and the world.

Time-based: This SMART goal should be reached within 6 months.

13. Appreciate Diversity and Inclusion

“I want to appreciate and value diversity and inclusion in my study abroad experience. This means actively seeking out diverse people, cultures, and activities to learn from and respect. I aim to foster a more inclusive, respectful learning environment by the end of my semester abroad.”

Specific: The goal is to actively appreciate and value diversity in the study abroad experience.

Measurable: This can be evaluated by looking at how many diverse people, cultures, and activities the student has interacted with.

Attainable: Understanding and appreciating diversity is something that can be easily achieved.

Relevant: Diversity and inclusion are a major focus in many educational institutions worldwide, so this statement is pertinent.

Time-based: You can reach this particular goal within this semester.

Final Thoughts

Developing SMART goals is key to maximizing your studying abroad experience. You’ll ensure that you remain focused and motivated throughout your time abroad.

Whether you aim to improve your language skills or enhance your leadership, the goals outlined above are designed to provide a well-rounded experience that fosters growth.

Remember to periodically evaluate progress and adjust your goals to utilize this transformative opportunity. Your study abroad adventure will be full of positive, lasting memories.

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Rei Shen

Rei is the founder of Success in Depth. Based in Washington, he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. He brings years of experience in goal setting to empower readers to reach their aspirations.