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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 too.

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. Here are a couple of ways to help students begin their program search.

From a week (usually Spring Break) to a whole academic year, there are many options for students to think about the appropriate length to study abroad. Below are questions and descriptions to think about when advising your student.

Types of questions for you and your student to discuss:

  • What quarter or quarters is the student wanting to go abroad?
    • Why these specific quarter(s)?
  • Does the student have a strict schedule during the regular school year that they can only go abroad during the summer?
  • Is there flexibility as to which time does the student want to be abroad?

Depending on the answers you get from your student will depend which type of program is “best fit” for them:

Type of program Reasoning based on length of program
University Exchanges Exchanges are at least a semester long, which is roughly two UW quarters. For example,  Autumn Semester would be part of Summer Quarter and all of Autumn Quarter.
UW Faculty-Led Program These programs work great with UW quarter system, as these types of programs are offered during the Autumn, Winter, Spring and Summer quarters. Also there are Spring Break options.
Exploration Seminar Exploration Seminars are usually around the same timeline as Early Fall Start (EFS). So if a student has a limited amount of time to be abroad, this may be a good option.
UW Partner Program Most of our UW Partner Programs have a minimum of being enrolled during a semester, which is roughly two quarter here at UW. So the same rule of thumb as Exchanges. Some are slowly working on being short-term (for Summer) and quarter long.
Internships Internships are typically a quarter long, with the exception of summer.
Independent Learning This program is typically up to the discretion of the student an how long they wish to be abroad.

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?
  • Does the student have strong foreign language skills? Does the student need foreign language coursework to graduate or to pursue a higher degree?
    • Some approved UW study abroad programs require that students complete anything from one quarter to four years of college-level course work (or the equivalent) in the local language prior to the start of the program. Many programs, however, have no formal language prerequisites, including some programs in countries where English is not the national language. Information on language and other prerequisites may be found in the individual program’s brochure, available on this website.
    • Note: Students may apply to a program prior to completing language requirements as long as they anticipate completing the requirement before the study abroad program begins.
Type of program Reasoning based on academic goals
University Exchanges Exchanges offer a wide breadth of coursework as the student is directly enrolling at a partner university. What type of UW credit they will receive will depend on which departments will sign off their course. Please see Credit Conversion regarding this.
UW Faculty-Led Program UW faculty-led programs are born out of UW departments and often offer courses that can be applied to graduation requirements for that major. Students will know up-front what type of UW course they will receive.
Exploration Seminar Since these are also UW faculty-led programs, same information applies.
UW Partner Program UW partner language programs are often offered at a variety of terms throughout the year and focus on intensive language skill building.
Internships Internships are geared toward students who would like to integrate academic credit with on-the-job experience and gain professional and cultural skills abroad. If doing an internship through IE3,  students will have to talk to faculty to have pre-approved courses.
Independent Learning With Independent Learning, they have to work with a UW faculty that will sponsor and pre-approve courses for their time abroad. So hopefully the will get sponsored for courses towards graduation

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.
Type of program Reasoning based on cost
University Exchanges With exchanges, students will pay their normal tuition rate (in-state, out-of-state or international). Depending on the quarter(s) they want to be abroad will depend on how much they will actually pay.
UW Faculty-Led Program This type of program, students only have to pay the the program fee and study abroad fee. They will not have to pay in addition UW tuition. This type of programs in most cases seems financially better for Out-of-State students and international students.
Exploration Seminar Since exploration Seminars are part of Fall Quarter, the will have to pay the program fee and UW tuition for fall quarter, however the program fee will be due at the same time as UW tuition. What makes this type of program unique is that the credits earned can apply to Autumn quarter (typically 5 credits), therefore the student can take 7 credits during the Fall and still be considered full-time.
UW Partner Program Since this program is done through a 3rd party, students will pay the 3rd party directly. Most partner programs have payment plans, in case student’s financial aid or from of paying doesn’t coincide with UW’s financial disbursement. Students will only be billed a $350 study abroad fee in order to have credits and enrollment processed .
Internships Most of our internships are provided through UW Partner Programs, therefore the same cost and payments apply to internships.
Independent Learning Students will only be billed a $350 study abroad fee for every quarter gone  in order to have credits and enrollment processed .

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.
Type of program Reasoning based on length of the program
University Exchanges Students will have to find their own housing.  Our office can provide general information of what previous students have done in a particular exchange.
UW Faculty-Led Program Housing will vary, but it’s guaranteed that they will have some sort of housing (whether homestays or reservations in centers). See particular program brochure, under the “Location” tab of brochure.
Exploration Seminar Since this program is a UW Faculty-Led, same information applies as before.
UW Partner Program Most of our UW Partner Programs have homestays, unless stated differently in their own website.
Internships Since this program is usually run by UW Partner Programs, the information above applies.
FRILA This program is dependent of what the student decided to do for housing.

Getting Involved

We welcome our partners from across the University of Washington to get involved in international programming! Visit this page regularly, as we will continue to add new opportunities.

Apply to be a reviewer for the Gilman Scholarship. Reviewers travel to Houston to read study abroad scholarship applications from all over the country. Get in touch with the Gilman Scholarship Program for more information on how to become a reviewer. 

There are several conferences that are specifically focused on international education. Attending one or more of these conferences will inform and educate you to major topics of discussion in the field.

Conference Meaning/Organization’s Goal
NAFSA National Association of International Educators
NAFSA – Region I  NAFSA chapter for Alaska, British Columbia, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.
Forum on Education Abroad   The Forum on Education Abroad’s Standards of Good Practice provide quality assurance for education abroad programs for U.S. students.
Diversity Abroad  The goal: that the next generation of young people from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds are equipped with the knowledge, skills, and experience to be academically, personally, and professionally successful in the 21st century interconnected world.
AIEA Association of International Education Administrators