What is study abroad?
Study abroad is a life changing experience and one of the most rewarding things that a student can do. Explore the world and gain international experience. Not only it is an opportunity to study fascinating subjects with your peers, but the experience in itself is a great privilege. Discovering new city with friends from different parts of the world makes studying overseas even more special.
Study abroad is the term applied to the participation of a university student in a structured, credit-granting program of academic study in a foreign country for a summer, a semester or an academic year which is sponsored either by an accredited U.S. university, or by a foreign university which is recognized in its country.
There were 270,604 U.S. students who studied abroad for academic credit in 2009/10, an increase of 3.9% over the previous year. U.S. student participation in study abroad has more than tripled over the past two decades. (Open Doors 2011 Fast Facts)
If you ask anybody who has studied abroad, he or she will most certainly tell you that it is a life-changing experience and one of the most rewarding things he or she has ever done. Explore the world and gain international experience.
Frequent Questions and Answers on Study Abroad
Who can study abroad?
Full time, degree-seeking university students in any major may study abroad and earn academic credit which can be applied to their home university's course of study.
Why should I study abroad?
These days, it is becoming more and more common for students from all majors to spend a semester or a year studying in another country as a part of their college experience. Students and their parents increasingly recognize that time spent living and studying abroad should be a component of every student's education, introducing them to new ways of looking at the world and understanding their surroundings.
Study abroad can lead to personal and professional growth. The acquisition of valuable skills including adaptability, self-confidence, patience, cultural awareness, learning a new language, problem-solving, observation, making new friends around the world, expanding your world view and awareness of global issues is definitely going to enhance your perspective in life and will increase your employment opportunities. Employers seem to believe that a student who studied abroad is self-motivated, independent, willing to embrace challenges, and able to handle diverse problems and situations.
When should I study abroad?
About three-quarters of students who study abroad for a semester or academic year do so in their junior year. Many other students study abroad as sophomores or seniors. We recommend that students wait until at least their sophomore year so that they can fully experience a year at Rivier University before leaving to study elsewhere. Current participation in semester programs is about equal for the fall and spring semesters - your own decision may be based on commitments you've already made for one semester or the other (organization events, housing, etc.).
Where can I study abroad?
Rivier University offers an array of options in partnership with other universities. The study abroad programs that are part of the OGE have already been through a rigorous process to be approved, including a thorough review of the academic quality of the institution, approval of a course transfer policy from the program, and a review of the political stability of the program’s location.
There are also other study abroad programs around the world. If you are interested in a specific program that is not included in Rivier’s current list, the program must be reviewed and approved by the OGE before you begin the application process to the program.
How can I afford to study abroad?
If you enroll in a Rivier approved study abroad program, you will be a fulltime student and be able to apply financial aid to this component of your program. However, additional costs (such as flights, in-country travel, etc.) are not included in your aid. Our Financial Aid Office can help you sort out all the details.
Will I get credit for studying abroad?
All Rivier study abroad options require a full-time credit load. The Advising Office can help you think through the details, including which degree requirements will be met by credits earned through your study abroad program.
Do I have to study a language?
While studying a language in the country where it is spoken is the best way to acquire fluency, it is not necessary to learn a new language to study abroad. There are many programs in English-speaking countries, and it is possible to take courses in English in a number of non-English-speaking countries. The important thing is to expose you to a different culture. And remember: even if you go to an English-speaking country, you may still have communication challenges due to accents and dialects!
Who can I talk to about studying abroad?
There are several groups of people you may want to discuss your study abroad plans with:
First, you should stop by the OGE and develop a basic plan. The OGE team can guide you in developing personal and academic goals for your study abroad experience, help you think through which region of the world might fit your goals, direct you to a specific program tailored to your major, and help you work through language issues.
Once you have narrowed down your options, you should consult with your faculty advisor. You need to get their opinion about locations that would be most beneficial for your program and timing (when should you go to get the most out of the experience?). Your faculty advisor has most likely spent time outside the US and can help you think about what to expect.
Once you have listened to input from your faculty advisor, you can get more details from the Academic Advising Office. Where will the credits go? What courses will remain in your academic program? You need to be able to have a solid academic plan defined as you think through your study abroad options.