Study Abroad

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Learn about study abroad program options and the application process

All Liberal Arts graduates, regardless of major or field of study, will live and work in a world that is culturally and globally challenging. Prepare yourself for this new world by studying abroad.

Credits earned abroad through Penn State-affiliated programs will be assigned Penn State course names and numbers and can be used to fulfill requirements for graduation (major, minor, General Education, BA, or electives). You can take courses to improve foreign language skills, courses related to your major, or in some programs, combine courses with an internship experience. There are programs that last a few days (usually combined with an on-campus course), a summer, a semester, or the full academic year. You can choose a program taught by Penn State faculty members, one in which you’re integrated into the courses with students from the institution abroad, or programs where you are primarily studying with other American students. Narrowing down the options may be the hardest part about studying abroad through Penn State, so we’re providing you with a step-by-step guide:

Step 1: Think about your objective for studying abroad

Do you want to take courses to fulfill major requirements? General Education requirements? Language requirements? Is there a certain part of the world where you want to study? Do you want to include some type of volunteer or internship experience into your study abroad program to enhance your resume and gain career-related experience? Are you interested in being immersed in the culture through a homestay? Would you prefer to be integrated into courses with students from your host country? Or do you want to take courses with other American students? Considering these questions can help you to narrow down the program choices, so you can research them in more detail.

Step 2: Research program options on the Penn State Education Abroad site and program suggestions from specific Liberal Arts departments

If you already have an idea of the country where you want to study or the semester you’re thinking of going abroad, then use the Simple Search. If you want to look for programs that offer internships, programs in various languages, those with specific housing options, etc., then try using the Advanced Search. If you are looking for some help with navigating the site, check in with an Education Abroad Peer Adviser or schedule an appointment with a Career Enrichment Network staff member.

Liberal Arts majors should also make sure to check out the Career Enrichment Network's website for program suggestions from specific departments.

Step 3: Meet with your adviser

One of the great things about study abroad through Penn State is that there are lots of people to help you with the planning, including your academic adviser and the Education Abroad advisers responsible for programs in specific countries. It’s important for you to talk with your academic adviser about your study abroad plans. You’ll want to discuss the courses you think you’ll take abroad and make sure you’re clear on how those courses may apply toward your degree requirements. In many cases, your final course schedule may not be determined until you arrive at your study abroad program, but you want to be sure you have a good idea of how this experience will fit into your academic plan. If you are trying to make decisions between specific programs, the Education Abroad adviser responsible for those programs is a great resource. Meet with the Ed Abroad adviser to learn more details about the programs and determine which may be the best fit for your objectives.

Step 4: Apply to your selected program

Applications for academic year, fall, and spring programs are due quite far in advance, so be sure you’re clear about the application deadlines for the program you’re considering. Also think about who you may ask to provide your recommendation for the program and make sure you meet the specific program requirements (semester standing, GPA, number of semesters of language instruction completed, etc.).

Step 5: Think about how to finance your study abroad experience

Liberal Arts students are fortunate to have financial support due to the generosity of Liberal Arts alumni. Once accepted to a study abroad program, you can apply for Liberal Arts Enrichment Funds. Your application will be forwarded to your academic department, in the event they can provide any additional support. Schreyer students should submit applications for the Schreyer Travel Ambassador Grant. You also can find other potential sources of funding via the Finances section of the Education Abroad site, where they list need and merit-based grants and scholarships. Finally, if you receive financial aid during the regular academic year, then your aid should apply to the costs of your study abroad program. Check in with the Student Aid Office for questions about how your financial aid may apply to study abroad.

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