Frequently Asked Questions
Is study abroad the only type of international experience available?
While many students chose to study at another university, there are numerous ways you can have an international experience. You could conduct independent research, volunteer, gain practical experience through full-time employment or an internship, or take a field studies course.
I've heard study abroad is expensive. Won't having an international experience mean that I end up with more debt?
Given partnership agreements, there are many program options available all over the world where students actually pay University of Minnesota tuition rates. Depending on your destination, living costs are also often comparable or perhaps even lower than they would be in the United States. Financial aid awards (scholarships, loans, grants) can be applied to most international experiences. In addition, numerous scholarships specifically designated to support international endeavors are available to help cover costs like airfare and in-country travel.
Will going abroad delay graduation?
Studies have shown that students who incorporate an international experience into their program are actually MORE LIKELY to graduate in four years! Preparing for an international experience is a thoughtful process and requires planning with your faculty advisor. Before you go, your faculty advisor will work with you to determine how your international experience fits into your degree. Depending on your program and destination choice, an international experience can be used to fulfill your internship or fieldwork requirements, conduct hands-on research, fulfill major-specific coursework or liberal education requirements, or complete your honors project.
In addition, major-specific advising sheets are available through the Learning Abroad Center. These advising sheets were developed to highlight specific Universities and programs that professors in your major have "pre-approved" because they offer relevant coursework for your area of study. Choosing a University or program from this list makes it even easier to ensure that your coursework will count back to the University of Minnesota and your major.
Will employers value an international experience?
Completing an international experience can set your resume and job applications apart once you graduate. Employers recognize the educational value of international experiences, and are increasingly showing interest in hiring students who have gone abroad over other job applicants. In addition, the University's Learning Abroad Center conducted a survey that showed starting salaries for students who had an international experience were $3,000-5,000 higher on average once they graduated.
Do you need to know a second language to study abroad?
International opportunities are available in regions all over the world including Africa, Oceania, Asia, Europe, and the Americas. If you want to learn or improve your second language skills, the University offers many language-based programs. If you prefer to study in English, there are many opportunities to do so. Don't let language skills be a barrier to having an international experience!
How long does an international experience last?
The length of international experiences varies tremendously. They can range from a 3-week field studies course during May, to a summer session, a semester, or even year-long programs. Most students complete their international experience during their sophomore or junior years.
Can I have more than one international experience?
Students repeatedly say that their international experience was the best part of their undergraduate program. If your first experience ignites the travel bug, it is possible to take advantage of additional international opportunities. Often, students will use a 3-week seminar course to see whether they might want to have a longer international experience. Completing more than one international experience requires careful planning with your faculty advisor and should be done as early as possible to ensure that everything will fit into your program.