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Choosing a Program

1. When should someone start planning an experience abroad?

Early planning is the key to success. Hundreds of education abroad opportunities exist; they differ in location, duration, curriculum, language, degree of cultural immersion, cost, and many other factors. Although it is never too early to begin planning for an experience abroad, in order to find the program that is the right "fit" for a student's personal and academic objectives, the student should begin planning his or her study abroad experience at least one semester before you actually depart.

2. How should someone begin my search for an education abroad program?

Education Abroad holds a First Step Information Sessions on Mondays and Tuesdays at 4 pm. and on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 3 pm in 207 Bradley Hall while classes are in session. Education Abroad Peer Ambassadors will review the various program options available to students through UK and will advise them about the first steps to take in the process. Walk-ins are welcome at all First Step Information Sessions. Additionally, all credit-bearing approved Education Abroad programs are listed among our portfolio of program offerings on the Education Abroad website. Search our programs online.

3. How long should someone study abroad?

It is possible to plan a study, research, or intern abroad experience for a summer (full summer or a portion of the summer), semester, full academic year, or winter term. There are even some short term travel study programs that last just a week and are "embedded" in an on-campus course.

4. When should someone study abroad?

The best time for a student to study abroad is dependent upon the student's major and schedule of required courses. A good way to establish when to go abroad is to start planning early in a student's academic career, speak with thr student should speak with his or her academic advisor about timing, attend a First Step Session in Bradley Hall, and consult with an Education Abroad Advisor.

5. What factors should a student consider to find a program that is right for me?

The possibilities for education abroad are abundant. Before researching programs students will want to have made some preliminary decisions as to the type of experience they want to have. They should start by realistically assessing their academic and personal preparation and their objectives. Consider the following questions to help you think about the kind of education abroad experience that would be the right "fit" for them.


  • What do you want or need to study to meet academic objectives?

  • Are there specific academic requirements that you need to fulfill during your education abroad program?

  • Are you fluent enough in a foreign language to take classes, write papers, and take notes, or will you need to take some or all of your coursework in English?

  • Are you interested in taking courses on the language and culture of the host country?

  • How will education abroad positively affect your academic program?

  • What do you want or need to study to meet personal objectives?


  • To what extent do you wish to integrate yourself into the host culture?

  • How much contact do you want with other American students?

  • Would you feel more comfortable with the services of a resident director or are you confident you can handle problems on your own?

  • Do you prefer to participate in planned excursions included in the program or to arrange your own sightseeing and travel?


  • How long do you want to study abroad (academic year, semester, summer, winter, or embedded short term program)?


  • Where do you want to go? Why?

  • Do you want to study in a less-developed or more-developed country?

  • Do you want to be in a big city or a rural area?


  • Do you want to live in a university dormitory?

  • Would you prefer to live in an apartment?

  • Do you want to live with other Americans or with local students?

  • Do you want to live with a local family?


  • How much time can you afford to spend abroad in terms of economic resources?

  • How much money can you spend on the education abroad experience? Consider not only tuition and fees, but also housing and food, personal expenses, and international travel.

  • Do you need to apply for financial aid? Is it available to you?

  • Are you willing/able to take out loans or use personal funds in order to pay for education abroad?

  • Are there scholarships that you might be eligible for to help fund your education abroad program?


  • Does your GPA qualify you for the program? Minimum GPA requirements vary from 2.0 - 3.0 depending on the program.

  • Do you have the language skills required for the program?

  • Do you have time to apply before the application deadline?

5. What types of programs does Education Abroad at UK offer?

Education Abroad at UK offers high-quality programs in three areas: study abroad, research abroad and intern abroad. Programs have been organized around five major program types - UK Sponsored, UK Exchange, UK Consortia, UK Direct and UK Partner. Each program type has different implications for course credit, cost, co-curricular activities, field trips, etc. More information about program types can be found here.

UK Sponsored - Taught by UK faculty, awards UK credit and UK grades.

UK Exchange - Pay UK tuition and fees while taking courses at an international institution. Awards transfer credit.

UK Consortia - Taught by U.S. faculty and study with other U.S. students. Depending on the program, awards either UK credit or transfer credit.

UK Direct - Students enroll directly in an international host institution. Awards transfer credit.

UK Partner - Programs organized by third party organizations. Awards transfer credit.

6. I am a _________major. Where should I study abroad?

In addition to considering possible destinations, we encourage students to use "academic fit" as their primary decision criteria. Education abroad advisors can help students narrow the choice of programs to match their academic interests across a variety of destinations. After having identified a few possible programs students can consult with their faculty or academic advisor about the most appropriate program for them and their academic or career plans.

7. How does one know if there are prerequisites for an education abroad program?

The program description for each program lists any program prerequisites. Normally, prerequisites pertain to a level of language proficiency for a particular program, but there are some programs that require some background in a particular area of study. All programs have a required minimum cumulative GPA which will vary by program.

8. What if a student wants to study in a program that is not listed on the Education Abroad at UK website?

A student who has researched the Education Abroad portfolio of program offerings and cannot find a program that meets his/her academic, professional or personal goals may petition to participate in an external program. The student must confirm that the external program is offered through an accredited, degree-granting institution, and that he/she will receive a transcript upon completion of the program. Before submitting a petition, students are required to meet with an Education Abroad Advisor to discuss the program and the petition process. The petition also requires that the student meet with his/her Academic Advisor to review the program and course offerings to determine its appropriateness to the student's degree plan. The signature of the Academic Advisor indicates that he/she endorses the education abroad program and confirms that the academic components of the program are appropriate for the student. If approved, all services and support of Education Abroad will be extended, as appropriate.

9. Can students participate in a program in a country under a US Department of State Travel Warning?

The University of Kentucky encourages international learning as a means of maximizing mutual understanding and global citizenship. Within this framework, our policies are designed to encourage students to pursue opportunities in a reasonably safe environment. The University of Kentucky operates under the presumption that students (graduate or undergraduate) should not pursue academic activity in a country for which a U.S. Department of State Travel Warning is in effect. However, as a research institution with a diverse student population, the University of Kentucky will consider exceptions on a case-by-case basis if the student, in consultation with his or her primary academic advisor, makes a compelling case that an alternative program in a country without a Travel Warning would not equally serve the student's academic, research and/or career goals. For more information regarding this policy and the appeal process please speak with an Education Abroad advisor and review our Policies on Travel.

No U.K. student will be required to study in a State Department Travel Warning country as part of his or her degree.

10. What if a student wants to attend a program through another SEC university?

Qualified, degree-seeking students at any SEC school may apply to designated faculty-led study abroad programs at any of the SEC schools if space allows. Students enrolled in a SEC university will be charged rates and/or program fees equivalent to those charged resident students at the school delivering the study abroad program. (E.g. UK will charge all students the same rate; Vanderbilt University will charge all students the same rate.)