I am a sophomore physics major from a small liberal arts college in the US, with excellent placement services into study abroad programs. It's always been my dream to study abroad for a semester, and I have looked into physics study abroad programs that would fit into my schedule since freshman year. Recently I have found a couple of options that will fit, but now I have another dilemna: This year, I was nominated to apply for a scholarship to support a special independent project of my choosing. To determine a project, I asked to work with a professor at my home institution on his current research, which is experimental work on HT Superconductors and is roughly where my interests may lie for grad school. Because of his own schedule, he gave me the option to do it for spring of junior year, fall of senior year, or both semesters. I applied for the scholarship using the 1-year timeline and won, so I will definitely have to output results of the research work. Were I to study abroad, I would have to forfeit a semester of research. With regards to the scholarship project I proposed, I have been told by my advisers that research plans can change, and that as long as I produce a quality end result, the award should still be secure. After graduating I plan to aim for a mix of mid to high ranking grad schools for physics or engineering around the New England states. Based on the above information, I was wondering which out of these options seems to be the best one: 1) Study abroad fall of senior year and take 3 math/physics classes, forfeit 2nd semester of research and take the GRE through a computer-based testing center. (most ideal) 2) Forfeit study abroad and do full year of research with professor. 3) Study abroad spring of junior year and forfeit 1st semester of research (least ideal, as I would rather start and hopefully complete the research sooner rather than later) Thanks for reading such a long post, and if you could offer any advice that would be great. Feel free to ask any relevant questions, too.