The answer is: it takes only couple hours. A lot of students assume that applying for the study abroad takes a lot of work. Well, I have a good news. I just finished my application and it does not require that much work as one would think.
Firstly, pick a program. I do not count this as a work because it is fun to surf through tons of amazing programs in a lot of different countries.
Fill out the Study Abroad approval form. This form takes about 15 minutes to fill out. It asks you the basic information about major, minor, name, GPA or what type of program. Also you need a student and professor recommendation, which is something that you ask for. The part of the student approval form that takes longest is student essay, which is about 500 words. In the end, it takes you 80 minutes of your time.
Thirdly, get approved. No work for you.
Next, finish the application for the organization that arranges you the study abroad. This application takes longer than the approval form, but it is not as time confusing. I spend about 120 minutes in total.
Adviser fills out her/his part of your application online, so it does no take you any of your time.
Fill out the forms for Health Center and International Office, which takes about 10 minutes.
Then you wait to get accepted into the program, so the application (paperwork, essay, and online work) comes down to just about 210 minutes of work. That is only 3.5 hrs in 1 or 2 months. That is not that bad right?