Yes, as long as you meet IWU’s general eligibility requirements. We have study abroad programs suitable for students in any major. The larger issue,
though, may be timing: depending on your course of study, there may be only a small
window during which going abroad is possible. It is very important, then, to start
talking with your academic advisor as soon as possible about your interest in studying
abroad. And if, for whatever reason, you find that you cannot study abroad during
the academic year, we offer many summer study abroad programs that will offer you
both the international experience and a chance to earn academic credit.
It might be easier to ask where you can’t study abroad. We have programs in close to 70 countries and in hundreds of locations.
There are programs in Europe, Asia, Africa, Latin America, the Southern Hemisphere,
the Caribbean, and the Middle East. We will not, however, allow a student to study
abroad in a country under a Level 3 or Level 4 State Department Travel Advisory. For
a current listing, visit www.travel.state.gov.Some of our programs require some college-level language experience as a prerequisite,
but many others do not, so don’t think that your language knowledge limits your options.
The traditional time to study abroad is in the junior year, but IWU students can study
abroad at any time after their first year -- and the IWU London and IWU Spain programs,
specifically designed to help student fulfill the Shared Curriculum requirements abroad,
are particularly suited to students in their sophomore year.
Some of the factors to think about as you consider when to study abroad include:
Do you need to be on campus for certain classes, such as a practicum or senior seminar?
Are the programs best suited to your interest offered only during the summer?
The course work you want to pursue abroad
Are you looking for courses in your major? for the Shared Curriculum classes? Are
certain courses offered only in the fall?
The academic calendar of the host nation
Does the fall semester abroad end early enough that you can return to IWU for spring
classes? Will the program interfere with plans to take a May Term course or affect
your ability to find a summer job?
Before you start looking at all the program opportunities available through IWU, you
should realistically assess your academic objectives, language abilities, and personal
goals. Refer to the Things to Consider section for a set of questions to help you
undertake this assessment.
Once you have looked at your skills, needs, and goals, you’ll have a sense of what
to look for in the programs available. Your next steps are to begin reviewing program options and make an appointment to speak with a study abroad advisor who can talk with you about your options.
There’s no denying that cost is an important factor in choosing a study abroad program
-- or choosing to study abroad at all. The short answer to this question is that
studying abroad will cost you:
(*Unless program tuition is higher, then you pay the higher tuition.)
The one stable element in this equation is IWU tuition; other costs will vary by program.
To gauge “anticipated expenses,” you’ll need to consider the cost of round-trip transportation
to and from your program; ground transportation on site; passport and visa fees; insurance;
books and supplies; any meals not covered by the program; and personal expenses. Most
of our affiliate programs provide a list of “estimated costs” to help you calculate
the overall cost of your study abroad experience.
As you consider the costs of studying abroad, also know that there is financial aid
available specifically for this purpose. Most program providers have both need- and
merit-based scholarships that student may apply for; in addition, there are other
scholarship sources for students studying in particular region, pursuing certain types of course
work, or with financial need.
IWU policy states that financial aid from both institutional and federal/state sources
may be applied to one semester of University-approved study abroad and one semester
of approved domestic off-campus study. Federal/state aid may be applied to a second
semester abroad, but IWU aid normally cannot be applied. While the University does
not provide any IWU assistance for May Term travel courses, students can apply for
a competitive need-based IWU Study Abroad Scholarship or pursue private educational loans or PLUS loans.
Exceptions are granted for participants in the IWU London and IWU Spain programs --
students on these programs may use their institutional aid for a second semester-long
study abroad experience. An exception is also available to students participating
in the year-long Pembroke College program at Oxford University. If a student wishes
to receive IWU financial aid for second semester abroad (beyond the exceptions outlined
here), he or she must file a petition that outlines compelling academic reasons for participation in an additional study
abroad experience. The appeal must be submitted to the director of the International
Office who will forward it to the appropriate committee for consideration.
As noted above, external financial aid for studying abroad is available not only from
program providers but from federal sources and private agencies.
7. Will I get credit for the courses I take abroad?
Yes, if you study abroad through an approved program, complete the coursework with a passing
grade (Note: you are not allowed to take you study abroad courses on a credit/no credit
basis), and have received the appropriate permission on your IWU Course Approval Form
for coursework in the major, minor, or the Shared Curriculum. All coursework taken
abroad will be reflected on your transcript -- including failing grades -- and grades
are factored into your GPA.
The amount and kind of credit you receive will depend on the courses you take and
the weight they carry. Most of our affiliated programs use a semester-hour credit
system. One IWU unit is equivalent to 4 semester hours. So, a student taking 15 semester
hours of credit abroad will bring back 3.75 IWU units toward graduation. Any class
that carries at least 3 semester hours of credit and that counts toward the major,
minor, or the Shared Curriculum will be considered a full course for those requirements.
8. I want to study abroad in a foreign language, but I’m not sure I’m ready to take
all my classes in that language. How do I know if I’m good enough?
Programs with language prerequisites generally have a language assessment as part
of the application. Such a form is completed by an IWU faculty member in one of the
language programs. If your IWU faculty believe you are capable of taking your classes
in a foreign language, you should feel pretty secure in your abilities. Do know,
however, that you language abilities will be assessed when you arrive as well, and
you will be placed in the appropriate language level based on that performance.
Even if you meet a program’s language requirements, you still may not wish to take
all your classes in a foreign language. In that case, a hybrid program may be a good
fit for you. In a hybrid program, you take at least one course at the program’s academic
center with other American students and some of your courses in the host-country language
at a local university. Courses offered at the program center may be taught in English,
or may be taught in the host-country language -- but since the faculty has been hired
specifically to teach American students and since your classmates will be American,
you might find it easier to follow the lectures and discussions. Examples of hybrid programs are IES’s Study London Program and CIEE’s program in Dakar,
9. I don’t speak another language but I don’t want to study in England. Are there
programs for me?
Absolutely! In addition to programs in English-speaking countries -- England, Ireland,
Scotland, Wales, South Africa, India, Australia, and New Zealand -- IWU has dozens
of programs across the world that do not require knowledge of the host-country language
before you arrive (though some will require that you study the language as part of
your program). A list of some of your options includes the following locations:
Amsterdam -- Barcelona -- Belgium -- Belize -- Bonaire -- Brazil -- China
-- Copenhagen -- Cyprus -- Czech Republic -- the EU -- Fiji -- Greece -- Japan --
Jordan -- Korea -- Madagascar-- Mali -- Milan -- Morocco -- Peru-- Samoa -- Senegal
-- Tanzania -- Tibet -- Turkey-- Uruguay-- Vienna