Choosing a Program

Types of study abroad programs

Direct enrollment

Students take all courses at the host university with local and international students. The host country’s language is usually required.

Cultural immersion program

This program integrates students into the host culture to a substantial degree and may include some field study programs.

Stand-alone program

All courses are arranged for a group of U.S. students and taught by local faculty.

Hybrid program

This combines two or more program types. Students take courses arranged by the program sponsor and the host university.

Experiential field-based program

Students enroll in one or two seminar courses based on a specific topic along with language and research method courses. The semester culminates in a research paper and presentation of an independent study project.

Exchange program

Students study at a foreign institution as part of a reciprocal program between two institutions.

Faculty-led program (or faculty-directed program)

These are directed by a home-campus faculty member who accompanies students abroad and can last from one to several weeks.

Choosing a study abroad program

A number of factors should be considered when planning your study abroad experience. Why do you want to study abroad? To explore your major in greater depth? Or become more proficient in a foreign language?

Review your personal and professional goals

  • Gain a new perspective on world affairs
  • Take courses not offered at home
  • Learn from a renowned professor at an institution abroad
  • See how your major applies in a global sense
  • Experience a different educational system
  • Pursue an internship, research or volunteer opportunity
  • Challenge yourself

Research possible countries and programs

You may choose from a list of approved programs or decide that you’d like to venture somewhere new.

Consider geographic regions

  • Developed or developing country
  • English or non-English speaking country
  • Urban or rural setting
  • Warm or cool climate
  • Specific foods
  • Large or small university campus
  • Living arrangements: residence hall, host family or student apartment

Consider the program type

Some programs offer more opportunities for cultural immersion than others. Additionally, some programs may require foreign language skills. Consider your options carefully.

Additional advice and resources

  • Meet with study abroad Global Ambassadors and past participants
  • Attend study abroad campus events
  • Connect with 5-C international students from your country of interest
  • Attend study abroad fairs at the 5-Cs
  • Meet with visiting program provider representatives
  • Read study abroad evaluations