Study Abroad

Fieldwork, Research & Independent Learning Abroad (FRILA)

Fieldwork, Research & Independent Learning Abroad (FRILA) allows students to engage globally while maintaining student status and receiving international travel security coverage

Our Fieldwork, Research & Independent Learning Abroad (FRILA) program, formerly known as “Independent Learning Abroad”, allows students to undertake degree-related international travel (whether for credit or not) while being fully enrolled at UW, covered by insurance abroad, and supported by UW Global Travel Security to ensure their health & safety.

Apply now!

What are examples of official international travel covered by FRILA?

  • Independent Research – Going abroad to conduct your own research that you have designed yourself.
  • Fieldwork – Going abroad for dissertation or thesis research (for example toward a masters, doctoral, or professional degree) including visits to archives, ethnographic work, scientific expeditions on land or sea, international research collaborations.
  • Internships – An internship with a partner of the University of Washington.
  • Practicum – A hands-on experience that is required by a major or graduate program such as participating in academic community outreach or clinical work in a hospital when studying to be a nurse.
  • Clinical Electives – These are specific types of practicums students from the University Of Washington School of Medicine participate in.
  • Government or department-sponsored fellowship programs – FLAS, Fulbright, China Flagship, Immersive Internship (Leon, Spain), etc.
  • TA on a UW Study Abroad Program – Being a teaching assistant for a study abroad program through the UW American Ethnic Studies Department.

Why do I have to register my international travel?

UW policy on Official International Student Travel (revised 15 February 2022) requires that all graduate and undergraduate students register their official international travel with UW Study Abroad (see below for examples). All UW departments and offices who support official international student travel must ensure that students know about this requirement and register their official travel.

What is official international student travel?

Any international travel by a matriculated UW student (undergraduate or graduate) that is undertaken as part of a degree program, or any travel that is funded, sponsored, administered, arranged, or approved by UW. This includes traditional study abroad but also independent travel for research, internships, language training, service learning, conference participation, athletics-related travel, and travel by RSOs if it is supported by a UW unit.

What is the cost of enrollment in FRILA?

UW Study Abroad administrative fees, including for FRILA enrollment, can be found here.

How do I apply for FRILA enrollment?

  1. Read the Standards for Approving Independent Learning and confirm that your planned activity meets these standards.
  2. Discuss your research or project proposal with your sponsoring faculty adviser(s) (if applicable) or academic adviser(s) and verify eligibility to participate.
  3. Complete and submit an application for

If there is a US State Department Travel Advisory or Center for Disease Control Health Warning in effect for your destination country additional review will be required before permission to travel is granted. Read Travel Warnings and Waivers for more information.

Benefits & services included

Maintain student status

You will stay enrolled as a UW student as you embark on an international activity that can have important implications for your degree path.

Global insurance

By enrolling in FRILA, you will purchase UW Student Abroad Insurance at a low cost. It provides broad coverage with emergency evacuation services.

UW Global Travel Security (GTS)

You will have access to UW emergency assistance while overseas, and our team will provide critical safety updates for your destination if they arise.

UW staff support

Many internships focused on assigning projects where you can develop your organizational or technical skills, leading to concrete accomplishments to tout.



For Credit

This option is for students who are seeking to earn UW credit for their independent work abroad. Students who choose this option are able to receive 1-30 graded credits per quarter of enrollment. 

Apply here

Zero Credit

Some students may not need credit for their FRILA, but still want their transcript to reflect their academic work overseas. This option enrolls you in zero credits of FSTDY 555. At the end of the quarter, your transcript will have a grade designation of “CR”.

Apply here


What if I miss a deadline to apply?

We accept late applications. Please apply to the next available term. Once we start to review your application we will adjust the application to the correct term(s).

What happens if I start on my application after the deadline?

We will still review and process your application but we cannot guarantee that your application will be reviewed in time for your departure abroad.

Where can I find the Travel Waiver?

The Travel Waiver will be included within your online application for FRILA only if it is required for the location(s) you will be traveling to.

Who can I contact with questions?

For questions about your travel waiver, please reach out to the Global Travel Security Manager at
For questions about registering for FRILA, please contact the UW Study Abroad office at

Can I just register my international travel (through TRIP) instead of enrolling in FRILA, especially if I don’t need credits?

Enrollment in FRILA is required for all international travel that is related to earning credits and for all international travel that is related to earning an academic degree. These kinds of travel always involve academic requirements and, therefore, involve academic departments at UW that oversee a student’s degree and credits. FRILA enrollment requires support and endorsements from faculty so that the student’s department, UW Study Abroad, and UW Global Travel Security are all aware of a student’s travel plans and can jointly provide academic support as well as health & safety support while the student is abroad. Enrollment is required even if the student decides to enroll in the zero-credit FRILA option (FSTDY 555) and does not need a specific number of credits, because official academic support is still required for their travel. For activities that are academic in nature but NOT required for a degree and do NOT involve credits (e.g. presenting at an academic conference abroad), students should register for TRIP which includes travel registration and insurance purchase only.