What is study abroad?
An international program in which students are able to attend a school in a country outside of the United States and receive academic credit toward their major. For UM, these include academic exchanges, faculty-led trips, and programs abroad that are organized through a third-party affiliate, such as International Studies Abroad.
What is study away (NSE)?
A domestic program that allows students to obtain academic credit at host institutions in the continental U.S., Guam, Puerto Rico, and Canada. The NSE (National Student Exchange) is the main study away option available to UM students and is a good option for students who are looking for a change of place, but who do not wish to go abroad.
Who is eligible to participate?
Students who are in good academic standing with the University and who have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5 or above (on a 4.0 scale) for the term preceding exchange. (Note that some programs or institutions will even require a cumulative GPA of 3.0). In addition, students should have no incomplete grades from previous terms and a clear conduct code record (unless the offence can be deemed minor and not recent).
Do I have to speak a foreign language?
No. There are many opportunities that are not limited to a foreign language immersion experience. Students should read up on each program to determine language of instruction. All NSE placements (except for most placement locations in Puerto Rico and Canada) will utilize English as the language of instruction.
What level of proficiency is required (non-English language of instruction)?
Proficiency level will vary, so it is best to check with the particular program to which you are considering applying. Most programs that are non-English speaking for the language of instruction will suggest that your proficiency levels be adequate enough to allow you to stay up with your coursework.
Will my classes transfer back to UM?
Yes. All UM students who participate must complete the Course Approval Form and secure all required signatures before leaving for their trip abroad/away. Credits cannot be guaranteed retroactively. Students should work closely with their academic advisor to determine course equivalencies and ensure academic progress.
Will I graduate on time if I participate?
Juniors or below will have no problems with graduating on time if courses towards academic progress are selected. Seniors should consult first with the Coordinator for Study Abroad. All students should confirm with their advisor that they will not miss critical or required home courses (Senior Seminar, etc.) during their time abroad/away.
Costs and Financial Aid
How much does it cost?
The cost of each program will vary depending on the length, location, and logistics of a particular program. For most international or study abroad trips lasting approximately a month, you can expect to pay a few thousand dollars for tuition plus room and board. Domestic programs (the NSE, for example) can be a more affordable option overall and allow students to stay at their host institution a full term up to an academic year. Additional fees like airfare, special meals and excursions, and other relevant expenses should also be included when considering costs.
Does my financial aid from UM apply?
The following programs typically allow a UM student to apply scholarship funds to pay for tuition: the Dortmund and Telecom academic exchanges, UM faculty-led trips, and the National Student Exchange (on Plan B only). Other opportunities through study abroad affiliates (ISA, etc.) and the National Student Exchange on Plan A will usually not allow a student to apply UM scholarship funds. Student loan options are available for most students, but all students should consult with the Student Financial Services office since each is determined case by case: (205) 665-6050.
Are scholarships available for studying abroad?
No scholarships exclusively for studying abroad have been established by UM, though there will be some scholarships available through the study abroad affiliates (ISA, AIFS, Arcadia University, and IAU College). Students are encouraged to explore any scholarship opportunities for the affiliate they plan to attend a program through.
When should I participate?
Many students will study abroad/away during their sophomore or junior year, though some can even go during the beginning of their senior year if their remaining course flexibility allows it. Some majors (such as education) will be limited due to the need to complete critical classes or courses that are not offered on rotation each semester. Students should consult closely with their academic advisor and the Study Abroad or NSE Coordinator to ensure that participation will not interfere with normal academic progress. Students should also be aware of the start and end dates of all programs abroad/away to make sure that they coincide rather than conflict with those of UM.
Where should I go?
If you are wanting to study abroad/away for a language immersion experience, you will want to consider which countries or areas will have the language you wish to study. Keep in mind that Puerto Rico and Canada with the National Student Exchange will also allow you to have intensive experiences in Spanish and French. For non language immersion experiences, you will want to strongly consider what your goals are for the trip and how those relate to location. For example, some students will select a place that they may consider moving to later or want to establish professional connections in for future work or study.
Why should I participate?
There are many reasons why you should participate, but these are the most generally agreed upon: it’s a great resume or CV builder since only a small portion of U.S. students study abroad/away; it can help you to acquire a job after graduation since it shows you are adaptable and globally geared; it allows you to take unique coursework that is not offered at your home institution; it enables you to build self-confidence, independence, and a greater awareness of yourself; it allows you to make friends and try foods in new places domestically and internationally; it gives you a chance to see the world and radically change your perspective and appreciate other cultures.
How do I apply?
Each application process will be different and most application processes are accessible on the individual tabs from the home page of this website. Students will need to be approved for application by the Study Abroad Coordinator before proceeding with application to ensure they are fully eligible for exchange.
Is my participation limited to a certain amount of semesters?
Not with the international study abroad trips (academic exchanges, faculty-led trips, and study abroad through UM affiliates). For the National Student Exchange, students can participate for up to an academic year and may even participate consecutively after a summer abroad.
Can I participate in a program that is not found on this website?
Yes, as long as the program is run through an accredited institution that course credit can be guaranteed to transfer back from. Students considering a program not found on this website should run the selection past their academic advisor and the Study Abroad Coordinator to ensure credibility of the program and institution facilitating it.