Overwhelmed with where to begin?
- Complete our Getting Started General Intake Form
- Watch the General Advising Video
- Create your account in Terra Dotta and begin to explore our programs to find one that is right for you.
- Attend a one-on-one meeting with your Study Abroad Advisor to discuss the next steps needed to begin your WOU study abroad application.
- If your program is offered through a third-party program provider, begin their application process as soon as your WOU application shows “WOU Approved.” WOU approval does not constitute acceptance of the program. It simply means that WOU has approved you to move to the next stage of the application process.
Learn about your location
Before you travel abroad, we recommend that you familiarize yourself with the country or countries you will be traveling by doing the following: review online resources, talk to people who have lived or studied there, consult travel and language guidebooks, read local news sources, etc. To learn more about different facets of your host country, such as health and safety tips, information on diversity and inclusion, faith or religious resources, and other details, please review the links provided below:
Every student should consider studying abroad. There are over 200 programs to choose from in approximately 40 countries. The eligibility requirements can vary from program to program, so it is a good idea to read through programs of interest on the Study Abroad website to see what is required for participation.
Eligibility criteria for WOU students who wish to study abroad:
- Be a student in good standing at WOU.
- Meet the language requirement for the program if any
- Meet any other specific program provider requirements.
- Complete an initial advising session with a study abroad advisor.
- Complete all required WOU and study abroad program paperwork.
- Have a passport valid six months beyond the end date of the program.
- If you are in your senior year, you should know that you cannot graduate the same term in which you study abroad. Receiving grades for courses that you complete abroad can take time to be counted as credit if you enroll in a foreign university/institution. You should plan to graduate at least one term after your study abroad program has ended.
Studies have shown that students who study abroad tend to have higher graduation rates. However, to stay on track to graduate while also getting the most out of your academic experience abroad, it is important to do some academic planning. Here are some key steps to follow:
STEP 1 – Talk to your academic advisor as early as possible about making study abroad a priority in your college plans.
While it is true that you can study abroad anytime between freshman year and graduation, every student has a different path to graduation. For example, based on your major and/or extra-curricular activities, you may need to be on campus for specific terms or semesters. Take this into consideration when you speak with your academic advisor about how studying abroad can fit into your four-year graduation plan.
STEP 2 – Select courses carefully
All work done on your study abroad program will become part of your academic record. Grades for your study abroad classes will be factored into your cumulative GPA. Be thoughtful and mindful as you select your courses in your study abroad program.
STEP 3 – Know the program requirements
All programs have a minimum GPA requirement, and some may also have specific prerequisite courses or required language levels. Pay attention to these requirements and be sure to ask your study abroad advisor if you have any questions.
STEP 4 – Ask about Financial Aid requirements
If you are receiving financial aid or have scholarships, speak with a Financial Aid counselor to learn what grades you need to maintain while abroad and how many credits you need to take. Many scholarships require “full time enrollment.” Make sure you understand what that means. If the program’s credit system is different from yours (semester vs quarter, for example), be sure to check with your study abroad advisor on how many credits you will likely receive on your selected program.
Most programs include housing as part of the program fee. Also, most programs have pre-arranged housing and do not offer students a choice in the type of housing they may receive. The most typical types of housing arrangements include homestays with a host family, apartments, residence halls, and/or hostels. Some programs include a certain number of meals per day if the student lives with a host family. Students may be responsible for some or all of their meals in other programs. Please take a look at the housing description and budget of the program page on our website geo.uoregon.edu for more specific information about the housing options available for each individual program.
For apartments, the same standards of courtesy and responsibility apply in a foreign country as they do in the U.S. You are renting from a local landlord, and thus, you are expected to abide by the apartment complex rules. Apartments often have multiple rooms and up to 4-5 tenants. If your program has this housing arrangement, you will likely be responsible for the preparation of your own meals.
There are some third-party programs and some direct exchange programs that offer this form of housing. Residence Halls are typically within close proximity to a local university. In exchange programs in particular, it is possible for you to have roommates from the local host country. Review the information on the program page for specific details or consult with your study abroad advisor. In terms of meals, some residence halls may have an optional meal plan and a cafeteria, whereas other programs with residence halls may not include any meals.
Living with a host family is common for language and cultural immersion programs. Building a relationship with your host family can be a very important part of your study abroad experience. The composition of host families varies from family to family. Host families provide you with an opportunity to see daily life close up and to increase your language proficiency and cultural immersion through daily conversations and practice.
Your host family’s home may be different from what you are accustomed to in the U.S. Try not to form preconceived notions about what to expect, and be open to the situation in which you are placed.
Host families usually live within reasonable distance from your school or learning center. They will provide you with a private room with study facilities, bed linens, and meals where appropriate. It is important to respect your host family’s rules and to be courteous to their requests.
Try to reach an early understanding with your hosts regarding the rules and customs of their home, especially with regard to such things as the use of hot water, helping with meals, and inviting guests. It is important to be conscious of cultural differences that exist. A gracious attitude toward your hosts will go a long way in overcoming cultural misunderstandings. A small gift at the beginning of your stay is a kind way to express gratitude to your host family for opening up their home to you. Pictures of your family and school life are also good icebreakers and help your hosts to know you better.