The decision to study abroad is significant, and students as well as parents often have questions about the process. Included here is some information to give you a basic sense of the timeline and tasks associated with study abroad planning. Of course, if your question is not answered here, please feel free to contact the Office of Study Abroad and International Student Services.
We invite students to begin visiting with us in the first semester of the first year at Southwestern, but as a minimum, students should plan on beginning the process at least two semesters in advance of travel abroad. There are different deadlines throughout the year depending on which program students want to participate in. Those dates are:
- September 1st - Spring ISEP & Spring CHIP
- October 1st - Spring Program Providers
- December 1st - SU Faculty-Led Summer Programs
- February 1st - Fall ISEP, Fall CHIP, & Summer Program Providers
- March 1st - Fall Program Providers & SU London
Bear in mind, these are application deadlines — the date by which the internal SU study abroad application needs to be submitted to the Office of Study Abroad. We ask students to come in no later than the semester before the deadline so that there is sufficient time for planning.
The cost varies considerably from one program and location to the next. It also depends on the each student’s individual financial aid package. In short, this question is best answered during one-on-one advising with the student.
One of the primary functions of the Office of Study Abroad is to provide advising and guidance to students planning to study abroad. Many study abroad programs advertise and may seem wonderful from a website, but not all programs are sufficient for transfer credit to Southwestern nor are they necessarily safe or well-run. For this reason, students are required to study with programs that have been approved by the Office of Study Abroad. We work with students to help them choose programs which are appropriate for the major, rewarding personally and intellectually, and rich with opportunities for cultural learning.
All approved study abroad programs are eligible for credit transfer. In order for credit to transfer toward the major, minor, or general education requirements, students will need to complete the transfer credit form. During pre-departure orientation sessions, your student will receive information regarding completion of the transfer credit form, as well as regulations and limitations on credit transfer.
Students should only choose programs that are approved by the Office of Study Abroad. During individual advising sessions, students will be given a selection of programs with a number of factors in mind including the major, personal interests, cost, and the program that will most effectively advance the student toward graduation.
Benefits of study abroad are being continually documented and researched by professionals in the field. From increased academic performance, to enhanced empathy skills, to increased knowledge about global systems, study abroad provides an avenue for students to grow and change in ways they could not while remaining in Georgetown. A carefully selected program can add depth to a student’s major by offering courses that are different, but complementary to those at Southwestern. Students gain new perspectives on their major field of study and develop interests they never knew they had. Study abroad can indeed be life changing, or better said; students can indeed change their lives by studying abroad.
We work to choose study abroad programs that are well-run and which place a high priority on student safety. Students will receive detailed pre-departure information as well as extensive in-country orientation to help them be knowledgeable and informed about how to conduct themselves successfully and safely while abroad. Southwestern policy restricts study abroad travel to countries currently under a State Department Travel Warning .
While in the host country, students will have access to on-site support staff for help in case of problems or emergencies. Staff will also provide orientation for students to let them know about appropriate and safe behavior in the host culture. The student definitely has a responsibility for respecting the host culture and staying safe while abroad.
All approved study abroad programs include health insurance as part of the program package so that students will be covered in case there is need for medical attention. Information about the specific health insurance policy will be available from your student’s study abroad program provider.