is the act of a student
opportunities in another
Typically, classes taken while studying abroad award credits
transferable to higher education institutions in the home country.
Length of study can range from one week, usually during a domestic
break, to an academic year, encompassing a couple academic
Some students choose to study abroad in order to learn a language
. Others may take classes in their academic major in a place that allows them to
expand their hands-on experience (e.g. someone who’s studying
marine biology studying abroad in
Jamaica or a student of sustainable development living and
studying in a remote village in Senegal).
other students may study abroad in order to explore topics within
the framework of a different educational system (e.g. a student of
English who goes to the United States to study American
USA, the act of
studying abroad originated at the University of Delaware.
In 1923, Professor Raymond W. Kirkbride sent a group
of eight students to Paris, France.
At the time, the concept of students
studying in a different country was incredibly unconventional.
Kirkbride's program was originally named the "Foreign Study Plan".
For a period of time, study abroad was seen as an option primarily
for foreign language students. Recently this has changed, and the
scope of study abroad programs has increased greatly.
2003/2004 academic year, the four countries US students chose to
study abroad in most were the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain and France.
of US students studying abroad went to one of these four countries,
and 61% of US students studying abroad went to Europe. In that same
academic year, the number of students that chose to study abroad in
China increased by 90%. The total number of US students studying
abroad during that academic year was 191,321.
Types of programs
U.S. students can choose from a wide range of study abroad programs
differentiated by mission, provider type, and degree of
While study abroad programs started out with the mission of
educating foreign language majors, today there are study abroad
programs with many different missions. In addition to
language-focused programs, there are programs geared to specific
academic areas (art, architecture, business, comparative religion,
engineering, environmental studies, international politics,
organizations that run study abroad programs. There are four basic
- U.S. college or university - Probably the largest group of
- U.S. non-degree-granting university - Also called third-party
- Consortium - Group of colleges and universities that work
- Overseas university - Some programs are designed for Americans,
others have a division for foreign students.
Another aspect of providers is the resident director, the primary
responsible party providing support to students. Characteristics
are full-time or part-time, faculty or study abroad professional,
and American or host country national.
Degree of integration
Study abroad programs have a spectrum of integration, from those
that offer the greatest integration into host institutions to those
offering the most assistance to students.
- Integrated - Complete (or nearly complete) integration into the
host academic programming; the director is often a citizen of the
host country; students take regular university courses with
- Peninsula - Mix of selected local resources and
provider-managed resources. Some courses may only be available to
program participants, others may be taught by local university
- Island - Strong support services enhance the local experience
and give it context. This allows an overseas experience without
diverging from the home school's degree program.
Study abroad resources
There are a number of print editions compiling study abroad
programs. These are trade and special interest publications listing
programs, and frequently available at college study abroad offices.
Individual students can also check for the existence of a study
abroad office at their own college or university.
In some countries, students wishing to study abroad seek help with
study abroad consultants. Study Abroad consultants have contracts
with different universities and colleges in different countries, so
these consultants act as representatives of these institutions. The
role of these consultants is to give details about course, fee
structures, fee payments procedures, scholarships options of
intended institution, help students with application procedures.
They also guide about visa process of the intended country.
Financial aid for U.S. students may include a combination of
scholarships, government student loans, and private student
are offered by a number of
organizations and foundations. Scholarships can be highly
competitive, because students are not required to repay the money
awarded. Research into available scholarships and private grants
should be initiated well in advance of a student's planned travel
date. In addition, government or private aid may need to be
Government student loans
Amendments made in 1992 to the Higher Education Act of 1965
TITLE VI, SEC. 601-604 in the U.S. ruled that students can receive
financial aid for study abroad if they are enrolled in a program
that is approved by their home institution and would be eligible to
receive government funding without regard to whether the study
abroad program is required as a part of the student's degree.
Financial aid can cover all "reasonable" costs for a study abroad
- Health insurance
- Living costs incurred during the program
- Passport and visa fees
- Round-trip transportation for the approved program
- Tuition and fees for the program
To get government financial
, students must complete the Federal Application for Student
). Funds are awarded by the United States Department
. As long as the issuing institution pre-approves
the credit to be earned abroad, federal aid can be used toward
study abroad programs. Forms of government aid include the PLUS Loan
, Pell Grant
, and Stafford Loan
Private student loans
are not guaranteed by a government agency, but generally
offer higher loan limits, grace period with no payments due until
after graduation, and base availability on credit history
vs. financial need.
Private loans are a good option:
- If a student is not currently enrolled in a U.S. college or
- If a student is not eligible for federal financial aid
- If federal financial aid doesn't cover all study abroad
tuition, living arrangements, and/or transportation costs
- Study abroad celebrates 75th anniversary
- "IIE | U.S. Study Abroad Increases By 9.6%,
Continues Record Growth"
- Cressey, William (2004). Guide to Studying Abroad, pp 16-20.
Princeton Review, New York. ISBN 0375763716.
- Section 601 - 1998 Amendments to Higher Education Act of