First Steps

What is Study Abroad?

Study abroad encompasses any type of overseas academic experience, from traditional classroom-based learning at a foreign university, to short programs led by UI faculty, to independent field research, to internship programs. Study abroad is not travel for pleasure (although that can be part of it), nor is it “time off” from your undergraduate degree.

Who studies abroad?

Minimally, students must be in good academic and disciplinary standing to be considered for any kind of international travel. Eligibility criteria may vary from program to program, to ensure students are prepared to take on the responsibilities that come with a particular location or activity abroad. In recent years, well over 1,000 UI students have participated in study abroad annually, representing more than 70 different majors. Study abroad is not just for language majors!

Why should I study abroad?

There are many reasons to study abroad. Past participants have said that studying abroad helped them focus their academic and career goals, taught them about living and working with people of different cultures, and even taught them more about themselves. Employers tell us that study abroad looks great on a resumé, too.

What can I study?

No matter what your major is, you can find a program to suit your needs and interests. You can take courses for major credit while abroad, satisfy General Education Program requirements, or choose elective courses in other fields focusing on your host country/region.

Do I have to speak a foreign language?

No. While many students study abroad to improve their foreign language proficiency, others prefer to pursue their academic interests in English. English is the language of instruction in many countries around the world (not just England!), and programs offered in English are available in many others. Some programs allow students to learn a foreign language and take courses in English.

Where can I study?

The University of Iowa offers approximately 75 study abroad programs scattered across every continent (except Antarctica). If none of the UI’s programs are right for you, you may participate in a program offered by another U.S. university or foreign university. The possibilities are nearly limitless.

When can I study abroad?

Depending on your objectives and qualifications, you can study abroad at any point during your undergraduate program. A wide range of summer, semester, academic year and winter session programs are offered. Early planning is highly recommended. Longer periods of study are also recommended, but any experience abroad is better than no experience abroad!

How much does it cost?

As a public university, the UI seeks to offer affordable programs without compromising quality. Given the travel costs involved, you can usually expect to pay more than you would for a comparable session at the UI (although that’s not always the case). Costs vary by program; specific information is available in the Study Abroad office. Financial aid may be applied toward the cost of studying abroad. The UI also offers multiple scholarship awards specifically for study abroad.

Where can I learn more?

Visit the Study Abroad office: 1111 University Capitol Centre, & check out our funding section on this web site.