Study Abroad

Current Students

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 as meaningful and impactful as possible.


Sandra Hancock

Assistant Director of Study Abroad and International Student Services



Sandra Hancock

Assistant Director of Study Abroad and International Student Services

Click HERE to access the Study Abroad Programs Handout

Southwestern offers hundreds of study abroad programs including faculty-led programs, exchange programs and programs offered by third-party providers. There are options for all majors. Students can study abroad for a summer, semester or year, anytime after their first year. A 2.0 GPA and good disciplinary standing are required.  

Click HERE  to see what study abroad programs are available to you!

Click HERE to access the Steps to Study Abroad or Away Handout


  1. Explore programs on the website.
  2. Meet with a Study Abroad Peer Mentor to learn about programs and the application process.
  3. Attend the Study Abroad Fair in September to explore your program options.
  4. Attend an Information Session or Group Advising Session .
  5. Think about your goals for studying abroad or away.
  6. Make an appointment with a Study Abroad Advisor.
  7. Research programs as well as cost and funding information.
  8. Meet with your academic advisor and explore courses offered.
  9. Apply and go!

Click HERE to access the Study Abroad/Away Credit Handout

Will I receive credit for my classes taken abroad?

Students who participate in approved Southwestern programs abroad or away will receive academic credit at SU. It is helpful to understand the difference between elective credit and major/minor/general education credit, as well as SU in-residence credit versus transfer credit.

How many credits do I take abroad or away? SU requires that all students complete a minimum of 15 credits (semester programs) or 3 credits (summer programs).

Elective credit is approved by the Office of Study Abroad and International Student Services (SAISS) and contributes to your overall credit requirement for graduation.

Major, Minor or General Education credits requires approval by the Department Chair. Course descriptions and/or syllabi may be required. Students must complete 60% of major credit and 12 out of 18 minor credits in residence.

In-residence credit counts toward the SU GPA and residency requirements. Students must complete 64 credits in-residence at SU. The following programs are considered in-residence:

  • SU Faculty-led Programs
  • SU London Semester
  • Capitol Hill Internship Program in Washington, D.C.

Transfer credit is earned if you received a grade of C- or above on an SU approved programs (program provider, ISEP, New York Arts). It does not count toward your SU GPA or residency requirements. Graduate schools will require original transcripts.

Transfer students

Transfer students who brought in more than 64 credits to Southwestern University may participate in an approved study abroad program, and transfer in up to 16 additional credits which will count towards their required 64 in-residence credits. This should allow all students the ability to study abroad at least once during their time at Southwestern.

Credit Approval Process

  1. Meet with your academic advisor
  2. Meet with your study abroad advisor
  3. Research programs and courses
  4. Complete the Transfer Credit Form before departure (departments approve courses).
  5. Complete the Verification of Study Abroad Enrollment Form after your registration is confirmed (departments approve credits).
  6. Submit your transcripts or grade report after the program.
  7. Receive credit at SU.

Will study abroad put me “behind” in graduating on time?

There are programs for all majors. Consult with your academic advisor and research programs that offer the courses you need. Programs offer semester, year, and summer courses. Many graduate and professional schools value study abroad experiences in their applicants.

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. 

There are many programs which offer courses taught in English or courses designed for non-native speakers. If you have strong language skills, you may choose a “direct enrollment” program where you are attending regular classes at a foreign university. If you choose to take courses in a foreign language, it will be more challenging, but hundreds of Southwestern students before you have done incredibly well, while dramatically increasing their language fluency. Many study abroad programs 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 you attend a program that is approved by Southwestern and 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. 

Will the courses contribute to my major requirements?

Review your degree plan in order to see which courses you’re needing for your degree. When choosing your study abroad courses, look to take a mix of major, minor and elective courses. 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.

Click HERE to access the Funding Study Abroad/Away Handout

How much does it really cost to study abroad?

The costs for study abroad and study away programs vary by program type, location, length, and travel costs. Most programs cost about the same as SU or less than SU. There are some programs that cost more than SU.

Compare Costs

Consider program costs (program fee, room and board, travel, passport/visa fees) and cost variance by location (airfare, local cost of living).

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:

  1. If you participate in the SU London Program, the CHIP Washington, D.C. Program, or the International Student Exchange Program (ISEP Exchange), 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.

  2. If you participate on a 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 term that you are abroad. 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 and SU study abroad 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, it may not necessarily be more expensive for you to participate on an approved provider program.

Is financial aid available for Summer programs?

If you qualify for federal need-based financial aid and you are taking 6 credits or more in summer, you may be able to utilize that same financial aid source to fund a summer study abroad program. The Lokey Scholarship and Paideia Scholarship are are available to supplement your financial aid package. You will need to file a summer financial aid application with the SU Office of Financial Aid.

Southwestern Study Abroad Scholarships:

  • Kahler Scholarship - The Kahler Scholarship provides awards (up to $6000) for semester and year-long study abroad. Awards are made on the basis of academic merit and financial need. 
  • Lokey Scholarship - The Lokey Scholarship (up to $700) is reserved for Summer study abroad programs. Awards are made on the basis of academic merit and financial need. 
  • Paideia Scholarship - The Paideia Scholarship ($500-$2500) 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. An essay is required.

To apply for SU study abroad scholarships, login to Via and search “Scholarships” under Programs

National Scholarships

Gilman Scholarships  provide awards up to $5000 for U.S. undergraduate students who are receiving federal Pell Grant funding at a 2-year or 4-year college or university, and are U.S. citizens, to participate in study abroad programs worldwide.

Program Provider Scholarships

In addition to the aforementioned scholarships, various granting agencies and study abroad program providers offer scholarship funds. 

Helpful Links

Fund for Education Abroad - FEA makes life-changing, international experiences accessible to all by supporting minority, community college, and first-generation college students before, during, and after they participate in education abroad programs.

Diversity Abroad Scholarship Database - Diversity Abroad’s mission is to create equitable access to the benefits of global education by connecting diverse students to resources and opportunity. 

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.

Click HERE to access the Study Abroad/Away Health Handout

SU is committed to supporting students to have a health and safe experience abroad or away. We support students with disabilities, accommodations and/or health concerns to study abroad. 

SU carefully monitors locations around the world to ensure that locations and programs are safe for our students. Generally, locations with a US State Department Travel Advisory of Level 1 or 2 are considered acceptable for travel. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, SU is conducting a holistic review of programs and approving programs on a case by case basis. 

All students will participate in a Health and Safety Pre-departure Orientation to prepare for their program. Below is some general guidance.


Before departure, you should have a general physical and dental exam. Talk with your healthcare provider or counselor about your study abroad plans. Make sure you bring medications and copies of any prescriptions with you; keep in mind that some prescriptions may not be available or legal in the country you are traveling to. Consider food allergies, special dietary needs and the local food customs and availability.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC)  and World Health Organizations (WHO)  have valuable information and updates regarding health abroad on their websites.

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


Apply for your passport through the Post Office as soon as possible. Current processing times are delayed and could take 4-6 months (September 2021). Expedited processing costs extra but takes less time. Ensure that your passport is valid for 6 months past the end of your program date.

Purchase Trip Cancellation Insurance

Purchase trip cancellation insurance with ‘cancel for any reason’ (CFAR) benefit and refundable airfare. Studying abroad in a COVID-19 era demands flexibility, and the Study Abroad Office strongly encourages students to purchase trip cancellation insurance with CFAR and/or IFAR (“interruption for any reason’) to safeguard against losses or penalties associated with withdrawal or program cancellations. SU assumes no responsibility for such losses or penalties.

Border Entry Requirements

Many international airlines or ports of entry (including the US border) require travelers to present proof of a negative COVID-19 test result taken within the 24-72 hour window prior to travel, or are expected to require proof of vaccinations, so planning ahead is critical. Be advised that even approved travelers may face required self-quarantine upon entry (up to 14 days) to many locations internationally. 

COVID-19 Vaccination

The COVID-19 vaccination is strongly recommended for all international travelers. Advantages include: ability to enter the country, ability to enter venues within the country, reduced or eliminated arrival quarantine time, reduced or eliminated isolated time due to exposure, reduced likelihood of testing positive for COVID-19, protection of those who cannot get vaccinated, and more. Additionally, some program providers may require vaccination of their participants. 

Click HERE to access the Diversity, Identity & Study Abroad Handout

Southwestern is committed to supporting all students with the opportunity to study abroad or study away. There are many aspects of your identity that you may want to consider as part of your plan. Some identities to consider include (but are not limited to):

  2. Women travelers
  3. Race and ethnicity
  4. Religion and spirituality
  5. High financial need
  6. First generation in college students
  7. Accessibility (health and mobility)
  8. Heritage seekers

Below are some resources to assist you.

Diversity Abroad Destination Guides

Mobility International

Equaldex (LBGT laws by country)

Unpacked: Stories from Students Like Me

Travelers with Special Considerations (US State Department)