Getting Started

I want to study abroad but I’m not sure where I should go. Do you have any suggestions?

Choosing a program may seem overwhelming. To get started, ask yourself a couple questions. Is there a specific region that interests you? Are dates a factor? Are there any specific components you are looking for (internship opportunities, language requirements, certain courses)? Feel free to visit International Programs (3290 Grainger Hall) to discuss your options, or attend the Study Abroad Slam in the fall or spring semester.

When is the best time to study abroad?

It is up to the student to decide which time is best for their study abroad experience. We offer programs during the fall, spring, and summer. Consider how the term and specific program dates could impact on-campus recruiting and internship plans when making your decision about when to study abroad.

Do I have to be a business student to study abroad with International Programs?

Non-business students are eligible to apply to our programs if they meet the minimum requirements (3.0 cumulative GPA, 54 credits earned before the term abroad, and 9 credits of business and/or economics). It should be noted that many of our partners expect our students to take half of their courses in a business field while abroad.

When is the deadline?

Applications are typically due March 1 in the academic year prior to the academic year of your intended program. Some programs may have earlier deadlines that will be indicated on the program specific page. If space for spring semester opens, the application process will re-open in the fall.

What happens after I submit my application?

International Programs will select the students to nominate to our partners schools. If you have been selected, you will still need to apply to the host institution according to their procedures. We will assist you with this process.

How competitive is the application process?

There are limited spaces available with our partner institutions, and admission may be competitive. The primary selection criterion is academic performance. Other factors include classification (preference may be given to business students), prior coursework (including relevant area studies courses and language courses), and the short answers on the application.

Academics

I only speak English, will this be a problem?

The majority of International Programs’ study abroad options offer coursework in English.

Are there options to study abroad using my foreign language?

In addition to the large number of English-speaking programs, many of our programs provide opportunities for students who are proficient in a foreign language. Different programs require different levels of proficiency, and may allow you to take some courses in the foreign language or require you to take all your courses in the foreign language.

What sorts of courses are offered abroad?

Students studying abroad with International Programs are required to take at least half of their courses in a business field. This being said, courses offered vary widely from program to program. Our partner schools may change their course offerings from year to year, and sometimes at the last minute. You can review the course offerings by visiting the websites of our partner schools, then consult our course equivalency database to see if courses that interest you have already been equated to a UW-Madison course.

Will my grades abroad count towards my UW-Madison GPA?

Yes. While abroad with International Programs, you are considered “in residence” at UW-Madison. This means that you earn residence credit and grades for courses taken abroad. The grades will appear on your UW-Madison transcript.

Can I study abroad and still graduate in four years?

Yes. Careful academic planning is important. So talk to you academic advisor and start planning early.

When do I register for courses abroad?

This depends on the program. You may register for specific classes before you depart, or you may register for specific classes after you arrive abroad. In both cases, flexibility and preparation are important.

Preparation

How much does it cost to study abroad?

The cost of studying abroad can vary from program to program and from student to student. Depending on the program location, the cost of living may be comparable to Madison, but in some cases it is may be more or less expensive. Most additional costs will come in travel expenses, so this also varies considerably.

This being said, the majority of programs are exchange programs, which means you would pay tuition at the UW-Madison rate. Non-exchange programs will have a different program fee. Again, these vary from program to program. More details can be found on program-specific pages.

Is financial aid available?

Financial aid is applicable to study abroad programs. If you already receive financial aid through UW-Madison, in most cases you will be able to use this towards your term abroad with International Programs. For more information, contact the Office of Student Financial Aid.

Are there scholarships available to study abroad?

Any scholarship you currently have through UW-Madison can be used to cover the expenses of studying abroad. Additionally, there are other scholarships specifically for studying abroad. Visit our scholarships and financial aid page for more information.

How is financial aid dispersed for students studying abroad with International Programs?

Financial aid funds will be credited to your tuition account. If you have more than enough aid to cover this, you will be mailed a refund check to the address you list as your mailing address in your MyUW. Depending upon the mailing address you use, you may need someone to deposit the money for you into your bank account. You should be sure to make all appropriate arrangements for this before you leave the country. Students who are on a non-exchange program will have a UW-Madison tuition bill of $0, so the entire award will be dispersed to the student to pay for tuition and other expenses.

Will students receive an orientation before they leave UW-Madison?

Yes. All students are required to take a one-credit pre-departure course (IB 365, International Perspectives) the semester before studying abroad.  This has typically been offered as a six-week evening course held in the second half of the semester.  International Programs will contact you about when and how to enroll in this course once you are accepted to a study abroad program.

Will students receive an orientation once they arrive overseas?

This depends on the host institution, but most of our partners offer some sort of orientation program.

What documents do I need to study abroad?

A passport is necessary to enter a foreign country. Passport information and application forms can be found on the U.S. State Department website.

In many cases, students will need a visa to study abroad. Visit Travel.State.Gov and the website of the host country’s embassy or consulate for information concerning specific requirements. This process of obtaining a visa can be complicated, so review the requirements carefully.

Is there a timeline to apply for a passport or visa?

Passports and visas should be arranged as soon as possible, because documents can take up to 3 months to process. Your passport should be valid at least 6 months beyond the end date of your program. If your passport will expire before then, you should apply to renew your passport immediately.

Do all countries require student visas?

While all countries require a passport, not all countries require a visa. Check the website for your host country’s embassy or consulate in the U.S.

Will International Programs make my travel arrangements?

No. Students are responsible for arranging travel to and from their host country. It is important to verify dates carefully. Many past participants recommend working with a travel agent, such as STA Travel, to look at options for buying tickets that are refundable or that have flexible return dates.

Where do students live while they are abroad?

Most students live in on-campus housing provided by the university or in off-campus apartments with other students (either local students or other exchange students). Alternatively, some of our programs offer home-stays, where students live with a native host family.

Who is responsible for making housing arrangements?

Students are responsible for coordinating their own housing arrangements while abroad. This being said, both International Programs and the host institutions will help with the process. To learn what housing options are available for a specific program, visit its program-specific webpage.