International Study in the UW System
- Introduction to International Study
- Explore your Interests
- Assess your Options
- Identify your Resources
- Prepare for your Travels
- UW System Campus Contacts
An international study experience can be one of the most rewarding academic pursuits and personal adventure of your college years. UW campuses offer international travel opportunities that take students to over 40 countries and range from 10-day language immersion programs to a full year of interdisciplinary study. International study provides opportunities to:
- improve foreign language skills
- pursue unique academic offerings
- increase cross-cultural awareness in an environment of increasing globalization
- develop independence, self-confidence, and a broadened outlook on life
- gain first-hand knowledge about another culture while increasing understanding of your own
The structure, academic content, and housing arrangements of international study vary from one program to another.
Exchange programs generally offer an opportunity to enroll and pay for credit at your home campus but study at a campus abroad. Study abroad programs include those sponsored by U.S. institutions which generally involve travel and study with other American students. Living arrangements might include a home stay with a host family, living in a residence hall or private apartment with other students, or a combination of both.
Academic credit for satisfactory work is usually determined prior to travel, but is sometimes negotiated with the home campus as transfer credit upon return. Financial aid may be available.
If you are considering international study you should investigate a variety of programs to find one that matches your academic needs and interests. The challenges of overseas travel and study are great, but so are the rewards!
With a wide range of international study options available, finding the best one for you deserves careful consideration. Start your search by asking these questions:
- Is there a specific country, region of the world, or foreign university that appeals to you? Why?
- Do you want to learn a new language, or further develop foreign language proficiency?
- Is there a specific academic area you want to explore abroad, or are you most concerned with immersing yourself in another culture?
- Would you prefer a program that takes you to a single country, or through several?
- Are you interested in two weeks, a semester, or an academic year abroad?
UW campuses offer over 100 international study options. Consult with your academic adviser early in the process to determine how a specific international program will fit into your individual degree plan. The following questions are a good starting point:
- Are there requirements for GPA, prerequisites, or foreign language proficiency?
- What are the estimated costs and application deadlines? Does financial aid apply? Are scholarships available?
- Who will teach the classes you take? How many credits will you earn, and will they apply to your degree?
- Is the program based heavily on classroom learning, or does it include excursions and experiential learning activities?
- Where will you live, and with whom?
- Are you interested in having the option to arrive earlier or leave later than the program's scheduled dates?
Some international study programs are open to students registered at any accredited post-secondary institution in the United States; others are limited to the students registered at the sponsoring UW campus.
UW Campus International Study Sites
- UW Colleges
- UW-Eau Claire
- UW-Green Bay
- UW-La Crosse
- UW-River Falls
- UW-Stevens Point
For listings of international study options by campus or by country, see the UW System's International Study site.
UW System campus contacts provide comprehensive information about their programs and services, as well as information of general interest to students considering studying abroad.
University academic departments (such as language departments) that sponsor international study options can provide specific information about their programs.
International students can be an excellent resource for sharing information about their native countries and for providing travel tips for those about to become "foreign students" in a new culture.
Before you travel abroad, you will need to obtain a passport , which will serve as proof of your U.S. citizenship. A passport may allow you to gain entry to (and exit from) other countries. Depending on the country to which you're traveling, a visa may be required as well.
The same aspects that make international travel exciting and exhilarating—the experience of new places, faces, customs and languages—may also lead to confusion and some culture shock. One of the best ways to prepare for international study is to begin to acquire in-depth information about the geography, political economy, and culture of the region you'll be visiting.
A Web site that can get you started is Atlapedia. The U.S. State Department compiles fact sheets for all countries which address topics ranging from economic activities and political structures to drug penalties. The Bureau of Consular Affairs also provides interesting information on many countries.
Entry requirements vary from one country to another. The U.S. State Department issues travel warnings specific to certain countries, and offers tips and publications relevant to travel abroad generally. You should also familiarize yourself with
international travel health issues, and health recommendations specific to your destination well ahead of your departure.
UW System campus contacts can provide transition survival tips that will help you prepare for experiencing the new culture, and applying your new skills and knowledge in positive ways to your life back home.
Center for International Studies
900 Wood Road
PO Box 2000
Kenosha, WI 53141-2000
Phone: (262) 595-2701
Fax: (262) 595-3211