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How do I find out more about the Study Abroad program?

Students who have completed the first two years of college may explore the possibility of studying abroad for a semester. The cost to the student is typically the same as it would be if attending Penn State. The major additional cost is transportation to the country.

International Programs at Penn State University is the home site for international study.

Learn about tailoring a study abroad program to suit your major.

How do I get started?

Visiting this web site is the first step toward a summer, a semester, or even a year abroad. Next, you should visit either your campus’s international studies adviser, or the Office of Education Abroad (OEA - traditionally called study abroad) website to learn about the programs available to you.

What next?

Since there is no time like the present to begin your quest for study abroad, make an appointment with your campus’s international studies advisor as soon as possible. Students need to apply one full year in advance of their study abroad.

Most students are juniors or seniors when they take advantage of this opportunity, so you will need to begin your application process as a sophomore or junior to be eligible. You will want to talk to your academic adviser to explore the various course pre-requisites and to learn about programs that might be geared toward your major or area of interest. Where can I go? Penn State’s Office of International Programs offers about 130 programs in forty different countries. This gives you options all over the world—from China to Australia, from England to Israel, from Hungary to Chile, and numerous others in between.

How long can I go?

Different programs offer different times of study. Generally, programs are offered for the fall or spring semesters, for a full year, or over the summer. Penn State's Office of International Programs offers a listing of all international programs that are offered.

I’m sold, but what should I tell my parents to get their support for the trip?

Study abroad does not mean that you are no longer a Penn State student. You will remain registered at Penn State, earn Penn State grades for PSU credits. You will pay normal PSU tuition and even keep your federal and state financial aid as though you were studying at Penn State. In short, you get the best of both worlds! Your Penn State education continues while you have the opportunity to study in a foreign country, experience a foreign culture, and gain invaluable personal and professional development and communication skills.

Your parents may worry about such things as health and safety issues, not to mention culture shock. The IEPS staff holds regular orientation sessions the semester before your departure to discuss all of these issues and more. You will be prepared for any medical matters involved with your destination (vaccines, medications, etc.). You will be informed of safety concerns, including civil and political strife. Finally, an on-site coordinator is a part of most programs, providing someone on-location to help ensure that your experience is a positive one.

As the world’s events become ever more complicated and the dealings of our countries more intertwined, we are drawn deeper into the international workings of our respective industries. The Internet has brought us closer to one another, but has broadened the gap between the developed and developing countries. The opportunity to learn about other cultures is, therefore, indispensable in your personal development as both a human being and as a citizen of the world. With the information available to you over the Internet, culture shock has become a thing of the past. You are now able to explore your destination in much closer detail than had been imagined only 15 years ago. You have the chance to prepare for cultural differences, learn the language of your host country, and familiarize yourself with its social mores.

In short, not to avail yourself of the prospect of studying abroad would be to miss experiencing all that your college education has to offer. Remember, academics is only a part of your educational experience. So take this opportunity to look into study abroad; expand your mind and expose yourself to the world around you.