Deciding on a Program

Your study abroad journey starts long before the drive to the airport. Following these steps now will help minimize headaches and ensure a smooth application process.

1. Consider these important factors

  • You may study abroad for a year, a semester, a summer session, or an intersession.
  • If you plan to study in the Southern Hemisphere (Australia, New Zealand, South America or South Africa), note that the academic year in these destinations starts in February and ends in November.
  • You should allow yourself 3 to 6 months to find a suitable program and destination, and another 3 to 6 months for the application process. So, if you wish to study abroad in the spring, you should start planning the previous spring.
  • It is recommended that you study abroad in your junior year. While it’s possible in your sophomore and senior years, sophomores may not be in a position to make the most out of the experience, while seniors may have difficulty ensuring that all degree requirements will be completed upon their return from abroad.
  • You must be in good academic standing (2.0 GPA minimum) and maintain that standing the entire time prior to departure. Transfer students must ensure that they complete the minimum number of Wilkes credits required for graduation with a Wilkes degree.
  • Financial aid packages currently cover only students studying abroad during the fall and spring semesters (with some exceptions). Federal aid, state aid, student loans, and personal loans may be applied toward study abroad, but institutional aid (Wilkes scholarships) CANNOT be applied to study abroad.
  • Take any significant health issues into consideration, as your study location may not have a pharmacy on corner. It's always best to consult your doctor.

2. Know the program types

Decide which type of program you wish to attend so you can structure your search accordingly.

  • Student Exchange: Wilkes administers exchange agreements with several international universities who send their students to our campus. In return, our students are able to visit those institutions for a semester abroad at the same cost as at Wilkes. Students pay room and board directly to the study abroad institution, so these can be an exceptional value.
  • Wilkes Faculty-led: Students travel overseas as part of a class lead by a Wilkes faculty member and are enrolled in a Wilkes course that is offered either in part or in its entirety abroad.
  • Direct Enrollment: You enroll in a program overseas either directly or through Wilkes or another organization, such as CEA external website, AIFS external website, or SIT external website.
  • Service Learning: Study abroad that is combined with either volunteer or paid part-time employment relevant to your studies.
  • Internship or Work Abroad: To work abroad you may volunteer through the Peace Corps or take part in an internship overseas. Note that in many cases, a work permit is required to do paid work overseas.

3. Narrow your choices

The following questions can help you sort through all the available programs and find the ones that are right for you.

  • What are your curricular constraints?

    Some majors have curricula that make it easy to study abroad, such as those in the humanities. Other majors require certain courses to be taken at Wilkes. Work with your advisor to make a plan such that a semester could be taken abroad. If all else fails, a summer or winter abroad could work.

  • Why do you want to study abroad?

    Do you want to focus on academics and get some cultural immersion? Or do you want to the full immersion experience and earn a few credits? These choices can affect the provider choice, location, and how many credits you want to take.

  • What are your resources?

    Student exchanges are at the cost of Wilkes tuition plus room and board and travel expenses. Study abroad providers vary their fees from a few thousand to nearly $20,000 a semester depending on location and services. Understand your total costs and how much support you will get from financial aid, family, and scholarships.

4. Seek advice from your support network

Once you've narrowed your choices to three or four programs, leverage all of the support available to you at Wilkes to help you decide on an opportunity.

  • Meet with your academic advisor. They can assist you in deciding which of your remaining courses can be taken abroad, and how to ensure that it will not interfere with your path to graduation.
  • Meet with, the study abroad director. The director can help with your selection and make recommendations, and they will also lead you through all the required forms and help make connections with providers.
  • Make an appointment to meet with a Financial Aid Counselor to determine if your Financial Aid is applicable abroad.

Ready to take the next step? Read more on how to apply.