Study Abroad

Choosing a Program

Choosing a study abroad program is exciting, but can be overwhelming for students. You have the opportunity to help guide student through the process using this website to

The first step in advising students on study abroad is to familiarize yourself with the different program models. Consult the Getting Started page to learn about the various options.

Length/term(s) of the Program

Some programs run for one UW quarter, some are very short-term (for example, three to four week exploration seminars), and some last for a semester (sometimes two UW quarters, depending on the time of year) or an entire academic year. Many programs in the Southern Hemisphere follow the Southern academic year calendar (February to November).

Questions for you and your student to discuss:

  • Is the student available to be gone long-term or during the academic year?
    • Long-term options tend to be exchanges and UW partner programs.
    • There are UW quarter-long faculty-led programs offered during the autumn, winter and spring quarters.
  • Is the student only available to study abroad during the summer or early fall?
    • There are many UW faculty-led programs and UW partner programs are offered during the summer.
    • Exploration Seminars take place during early fall.

Student’s Academic Goals

Is the student hoping to make rapid progress in his/her academic major(s) while abroad, complete foreign language requirements, gain internship experience and credits, or simply have an immersion experience in a different cultural setting? There are programs available to help meet most students’ goals.

Questions for you and your student to discuss:

  • How does study abroad fit into the student’s graduation plan? Are there certain courses the student must complete prior to or during their study abroad program?
    • Exchanges offer a wide breadth of coursework as the student is directly enrolling at a partner institution.
    • UW faculty-led programs are born out of UW departments and often offer courses that can be applied to graduation requirements for that major.
  • Does the student have strong foreign language skills? Does the student need foreign language coursework to graduate or to pursue a higher degree?
    • UW partner language programs are often offered at a variety of terms throughout the year and focus on intensive language skill building.
    • Many UW language departments offer faculty-led programs that are immersive and offer major and minor credit.


There are varying scales and models of program cost structures, from programs that are comparable to total costs for on-campus studies in Seattle to programs that are considerably more expensive than on-campus study. Students (and you) should remember, though, that most forms of financial aid apply to the required costs in approved UW study abroad programs, and also that there are limits to federal grants and loans.

Questions for you and your student to discuss:

  • Does the student qualify for any of the major study abroad scholarships?
    • Check out the Scholarships Page of our website and discuss deadlines and timing with your student.
  • Is your student on financial aid, but maybe they don’t receive quite enough aid to cover the cost of the program?
    • Consult the Financial Aid page of our website. A student can complete a revision request form or apply for a short-term loan to receive additional funding that can be applied to program fees, travel expenses, and cost of living abroad.

Accommodation Options

Some programs offer only one guaranteed form of accommodation, while others have a full range. The three most common options are: residence halls, homestays with local host families, and shared or studio apartments. Please note that there are a few exchange programs that do not guarantee housing to program participants, so students are required to find their own accommodations.

Questions for you and your student to discuss:

  • Does your student want to dramatically improve his or her language skills?
    • Homestays are often offered on UW faculty-led language department programs as well as UW partner programs.
  • Does your student want to find his or her own housing, or would they prefer this was arranged for them?
    • Students usually find their own accommodations when studying on a university exchanges. UW partner programs and UW faculty-led programs include housing in the cost of the program fee and housing arrangements are made on behalf of the student.