Are you a current SU student interested in studying abroad? Congrats! We believe that immersing yourself in another culture is one of the best ways to expand your horizons. We are dedicated to assisting you every step of the way. From advising to application, pre-departure, on-site experiences, and re-entry, we’re here to make your intercultural experiences and meaningful and impactful as possible.
SU Student at Machu Picchu, Cuzco Program
SU students enjoy a meal outside of lagos de montebello chiapas
SU students at Abra Salkantay
Study Abroad Quick Information
View basic information on SU Programs below, or download our
Study Abroad Quick Information Handout.
Study Abroad Opportunities at Southwestern University
Southwestern Programs are typically SU faculty-led and students are in class with their fellow SU peers. SU partners with a program provider to run the logistics of the program, but courses are, in most cases, taught by SU faculty.
Southwestern University currently runs the following study abroad programs:
Additionally, Southwestern runs the following domestic, off-campus study programs:
SU-Approved Study Abroad Program Providers
Program providers are organizations that facilitate study abroad for college students. In essence, they serve as the liaison between the U.S. university and the foreign institution while simultaneously providing support to the student. While there are numerous program providers out there, SU approves a specific set of organizations for semester/full academic year study abroad plus a specific set of additional organizations for summer term study abroad.
Meet with your Academic Advisor
- Talk with your academic advisor EARLY on when is the best time for you to study abroad
- Your advisor can help you think through the following questions:
- What academic requirements do I still need to fulfill: major, minor, general education, general electives?
- Are there particular courses that are only offered once per academic year (e.g. spring only) OR are there course sequences that must be taken at a particular time that should be taken into consideration?
- Are there required courses that must be completed at SU in order to fulfill requirements?
Research Study Abroad
- Think about your goals for studying abroad
- How important is learning a language?
- Do I want an academic internship?
- What are my non-academic goals: personal and/or professional?
- Do I want to volunteer while abroad?
- In what region of the world do I want to be?
- Do I want to be in a big city or a small town?
- Geographically within my choice country/ies, where do I want to be: on the coast, in the mountains, on the plains?
- What is the weather like in my choice city/ies during the term I will be abroad?
- What does the city have to offer outside of the classroom that I’m interested in : outdoor activities, cultural activities, etc.?
- Where do I want to live; in a homestay, apartment, residence hall?
- In what type of academic environment do I want to study; do I want to study in a university, academic center, with locals, with international students, with SU students?
- Search through the approved program provider catalogs in the Resource Room in the Office of Intercultural Learning - Prothro Center - Room 233
- Research online
- Talk to your family
- Prepare a timeline
- Look at your budget
Conduct an Initial Appointment with The Office of Intercultural Learning
- Select an appointment slot. To make an appointment with Meaghan Bellande, Assistant Director, please click HERE . To make an appointment with Dr. Sarah Brackmann, please click HERE .
- If there are no slots available that work for you, then you can email the Office of Intercultural Learning to schedule an appointment: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Make an appointment early - 2 semesters prior to the semester/term during which you’d like to study abroad is strongly recommended
- IMPORTANT: Once you schedule an advising appointment, please complete this form 24 hours BEFORE your appointment time.
- Come to the appointment with several programs that you like, or at least with a country/continent in mind
- Think about your goals for study abroad
Hold Follow-Up Advising Appointments
- Schedule as needed
- These appointments will help you to narrow down your choice of country, city, provider, and program
- If you do not do the aforementioned research ahead of time, you will likely need additional follow-up appointments…and thus, may not be able to study abroad during the semester/term during which you originally intended
Complete and Submit the Appropriate SU Study Abroad Application
- Access the appropriate SU Study Abroad Application HERE
Complete the online application
- Once you complete the online application, you will be sent a signature page that you must print, sign, and then return to the Office of Intercultural Learning in order for your application to be considered complete.
- Submit your SU Study Abroad Application to the Office of Intercultural Learning by the appropriate deadline:
- Fall semester study abroad = March 1st
- Spring semester study abroad = October 1st
- Summer term study abroad = February 1st
Complete and Submit the Approved Program Provider Application (ONLY ONCE YOU’VE BEEN APPROVED BY THE OFFICE OF INTERCULTURAL LEARNING)
- If studying abroad with a program provider
- Access, complete, and submit your program provider’s online application via their website
- Just before clicking “Submit”, print a copy of your provider application and submit it to the Office of Intercultural Learning to add to your file
- Please note that your study abroad program application may include a Home School Advisor Approval form, or Transcript Approval Form that must be completed by the Office of Intercultural Learning.
- We will complete it and email it to your provider
Attend Mandatory Pre-Departure Meetings
- You are REQUIRED to attend the meetings:
- at least 3 sessions for semester and summer study abroad
- General information and suggestions
- Receive all Southwestern pre-departure forms, along with an explanation of what information is required, and appropriate deadlines
Submit Southwestern Pre-Departure Forms By Deadline
- Please start working on these as soon as possible
- Your forms require various signatures and these individuals are not always readily available
Submit Program Provider Pre-Departure Forms by Deadline (IF STUDYING ABROAD WITH A PROGRAM PROVIDER)
Keep in Contact
- Registration difficulties
- Credit approval questions
- Culture shock
- Interesting stories or photos
- Work hard, play hard, be safe, and have fun!
Complete Southwestern Program Evaluation
- Helps future study abroad students to select a program
- Helps us to discontinue using a program if there are too may problems or to suggest it if there is great feedback
- You are REQUIRED to fill this out after you return
Does financial aid apply to study abroad?
Yes, but it applies differently to different programs. There are essentially two financial aid categories for the purposes of study abroad:
If you participate in the SU London Program, the SU Washington, D.C. Program, the Irish American Scholars Program, or the International Student Exchange Program (ISEP), you will be able to use all of your financial aid award excluding work study or other aid that requires physical presence at SU. For these programs, you pay the cost of SU’s tuition, room, and board directly to Southwestern. You retain virtually all of the aid you normally receive from SU, the federal government, outside scholarships, and state agencies. Tuition exchange agreements still apply if you participate on one of these programs.
If you participate on any other study abroad program through an approved provider, you pay the cost of that program directly to the program provider. You do not pay anything to Southwestern during the semester/year/summer that you are abroad. In this situation, you ARE NOT eligible to receive SU merit or need-based aid. However, you ARE eligible to receive federal aid, such as the Stafford Loan or the Pell Grant. Most outside scholarships will also apply. It is important to remember that many approved provider programs cost about the same or less than tuition, room, and board at Southwestern. Thus, depending on your financial aid situation, it may not necessarily be more expensive for you to participate on an approved provider program. Additionally, several scholarship opportunities are available to students studying on approved provider programs.
How much does it really cost to study abroad?
That question is answered with “that depends.” Approved provider study abroad programs range from about $15,000 to $20,000 or more. Living expenses vary dramatically depending on the area of the world in which you will be studying. Air travel to your host country will also vary given that some destinations always carry a higher airline ticket price. In short, you’ll need to start narrowing down costs as you begin to decide on program type and the area of the world in which you want to study. Remember that if you participate in an approved provider program, you pay no fees to Southwestern for that semester/year/summer. Thus, many approved provider study abroad programs will actually cost the same or less than tuition, room, and board on campus at SU.
Is financial aid available for summer programs?
If you qualify for federal need-based financial aid, you may be able to utilize that same financial aid source to fund a summer study abroad program. The Lokey Scholarship is also available to supplement your financial aid package as well. In order for any aid to cover your summer program abroad, you’ll need to file a short summer financial aid application with the Office of Financial Aid.
Note: This content is general information regarding financial aid for study abroad. The Office of Intercultural Learning will discuss your specific financial aid picture with you during your advising session/s with the office. Additionally, the Office of Intercultural Learning highly recommends you speak with a member of the university’s Financial Aid Office so that you are clear on how your financial aid package can be used to fund your study abroad experience.
There are many types of scholarship opportunities available to fund your study abroad experience. We hope to provide you with some basic information to help you get started with your search.
Southwestern Maintains Three Scholarship Funds
- Kahler Scholarship - The Kahler Scholarship provides awards for semester and year-long study abroad. These awards are made primarily on the basis of financial need. You will apply for this scholarship as part of your study abroad application.
- Lokey Scholarship - The Lokey Scholarship is reserved for summer study abroad programs. Awards are made on the basis of academic merit and financial need. You will apply for this scholarship as part of your study abroad application.
- Paideia Scholarship - The Paideia Scholarship provides awards for semester, summer, and year-long study abroad. Awards are made on the basis of a demonstrated understanding of and commitment to integrated learning. Financial need may also be a significant factor. You will apply for this scholarship as part of your study abroad application. To preview the essay prompts, please click here .
Gilman Scholarships provide awards for U.S. undergraduate students who are receiving federal Pell Grant funding at a 2-year or 4-year college or university to participate in study abroad programs worldwide.
Additional Scholarship Information
In addition to the aforementioned scholarships, various granting agencies and study abroad programs provide scholarship funds.
- International Education Financial Aid - A comprehensive college study abroad scholarship search and grant listings plus international student loan programs and other information to promote study abroad.
- EDUCAID University-Student Loan Specialists - Information on scholarships, financial aid, and student lending including federal and alternative loans. This website also provides financial/budgeting tips.
- U.S. Department of Education - Tells you who is eligible for student financial aid and how to apply. It provides information about accrediting agencies, tax credits for education expenses, and additional sources of aid.
- FastAID - A private sector scholarship database. You can search for scholarship aid for study abroad, compare different student loans, or look for internships.
- FastWeb - Free scholarship search - Search 600,000 scholarships and get tips on financial aid, careers, etc.
- CollegeENET - Find out how to get financial aid, search for scholarships, and get information on college resources.
These two components of studying and living in an international location are critical to a successful experience.
Before departure, you should have a general physical and dental exam. Make sure you pack a complete medical record and a typed copy of any vision prescriptions needed. Ask your doctor how to best handle routine prescription medications. Also check with your insurance company regarding needed medications while abroad.
Make sure that you are up-to-date with routine vaccinations. You can check the Austin Regional Clinic Travel Services for information, consultations, and vaccinations.
Be sure to check the State Department web site for country specific information.
Other resources on safety:
Safety Abroad Handbook - basic health and safety information from the Center for Global Education
Department of State - tips for students studying abroad
U.S. Embassies - links to U.S. Embassy information abroad
Will study abroad put me “behind” in graduating on time?
It certainly doesn’t have to. Depending on your major, you will need to select a program which offers a curriculum that can contribute to your overall degree plan. Granted, science majors will have to look more carefully at courses than will those students from other majors in the humanities and social sciences, but you don’t need to categorically exclude an experience abroad just by virtue of your major. In fact, many graduate and professional programs look for participation in opportunities such as study abroad when making selection decisions.
What if I have a hard time with classes taught in a foreign language? I don’t want to ruin my GPA by studying abroad.
First, unless you participate in a “direct enrollment” program where you are attending regular classes at a foreign university, you will be taking courses in the foreign language which are designed for a non-native speaker. Yes, it will be more challenging to take courses in another language, but hundreds of Southwestern students before you have participated and done incredibly well, while dramatically increasing their language fluency. Second, all courses from “outside” study abroad programs (those not offered directly by SU) yield transfer credit which does not contribute to your Southwestern GPA. You do need to achieve at least a C- in any course in order to receive credit.
Will courses from a study abroad program count at Southwestern?
If the program is run through an accredited educational institution, you can receive credit. Be aware that some study abroad programs, even those of good quality, are not accredited. While these programs may provide an interesting cultural experience, they WILL NOT yield credit toward your degree at SU. Make sure that you speak with the Office of Intercultural Learning when you are planning a study abroad experience. By gaining approval through the Office of Intercultural Learning, you can be assured that the credit will be accepted at Southwestern.
Will the courses contribute to my major requirements?
You’ll need to get a copy of your degree plan in order to see which courses you’re still lacking for your degree. When choosing your study abroad courses, look at filling elective slots both within your major and your overall degree. You’ll have a much better selection if you don’t try to force your study abroad coursework into the courses offered at SU. If you do need to accomplish specific courses while abroad, make sure to speak with your advisor and the department chair about the content required for a course abroad to match up with a particular course at SU.