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Frequently Asked Questions

Academics

What can I study? 
Everything from social sciences to natural sciences, business to technology, liberal arts to performing arts.  Your Study Abroad advisor can help you find a program that meets your specific academic needs.


How many hours can I earn?
It depends.  All students must maintain full-time status during their study abroad experience.  Undergraduates must take at least 12 semester hours or the equivalent in the Fall or Spring semesters.  Graduate students must take at least 9 semester hours or the equivalent in the Fall or Spring.  Full-time status for Summer session is 6 semester hours or the equivalent for both undergraduate and graduate students.


I’m in the Illinois Centennial Honors College.  Can I get Honors credit for my courses?
Possibly.  For more information, schedule an appointment with the Honors Advisor.


Do the grades count?
Yes.  After receiving an official, original transcript from your host institution, we work with the Office of the Registrar to have the grades posted to your transcript.  All grades will be posted and counted into the cumulative grade point average.


Will I get Western Illinois University or transfer credit?
You will receive WIU credt with prior approval of your anticipated classes from the appropriate departments.  Check with your academic advisor and your Study Abroad advisor for additional details.


Should I discuss my study abroad plans with my academic advisor?
Definitely.  Your academic advisor can help you determine what courses to take while abroad.  He/she can also help you prepare academically for the experience.

Financial issues

What does it cost?
It varies.  Cost factors include the program selected, tuition rates, length of stay, and the foreign cost of living.  You may find your program is not much more expensive than staying on campus. 


Can I use financial aid? 
Yes.  Most forms of financial aid can be applied to Western Illinois University programs.  After you’re accepted to a program, your Study Abroad advisor submits a budget sheet to the Financial Aid Office.  Financial aid is based on the actual cost of your program, including travel, living expenses, passport, etc.


Who do I pay? 
It depends on the program you’ve selected.  Exchange programs allow you to pay Western Illinois University your regular tuition while studying abroad.  One-way programs (affiliates, direct enrollment, language schools, internships, etc.) set their own tuition and fee rates.  Students on these programs pay the sponsoring institution directly. If you choose to do a Faculty-led group program, you will pay the Office of Study Abroad and Outreach directly.

Planning

Do I have to be a junior to study abroad?
No.  Programs are available for students of all levels.  With careful planning, you can study abroad as early as the summer after your Freshman year or as late as your final semester at WIU.  Graduate students can also study abroad.


When should I start planning to study abroad? 
Now!  A year in advance is usually best.  Thinking about it as soon as you arrive at Western Illinois University gives you time to meet study abroad requirements, prepare financially, and arrange your academic plans with your academic advisor.


Do I have to know a foreign language? 
Not necessarily.  While we strongly encourage you to learn a foreign language, it is possible to take courses abroad that are taught in English.  These programs can be found in both English-speaking and other countries.  See the program description or contact your Study Abroad advisor for more details.


Can I study abroad if I need special accommodations?
Most likely.  Western Illinois University makes every attempt to fully comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.  Contact us to discuss accessibility issues and related accommodations pertaining to your chosen program.  We work closely with Disability Support Services to help you identify and resolve problems accompanying your special needs.


Is health insurance required?
Yes.  You are required to obtain WIU student health insurance or insurance through the International Medical Group (IMG) for the term(s) you will be abroad.  Your host country and/or program provider may also require you to have health insurance on top of the coverage you choose.

Selecting a Program

Why should I study abroad? 
Because it’s one of the most enriching experiences you can ever have.  You can enrich your academics, enhance your future career, and develop better interpersonal communication, foreign language skills, and appreciation for other cultures while growing as an individual.


When can I go?
Any time of year.  Individual programs are available for Summer, Fall and Spring semesters, and an entire academic year.  Group programs usually occur during breaks (Winter Break, Spring Break, Summer, etc.).


How long are the programs?
It depends.  Group programs can be as short as 10 days or as long as 6 weeks.  Individual students can study abroad for a summer, a semester, or an academic year.


Where can I study?
Just about anywhere.  Programs are available in Europe, Asia, Africa, North America and South America.  Additionally, you can choose between urban and rural environments.


How much cultural immersion can I experience?
As much as you want.  Different programs feature different levels of immersion.  See the program description and speak with your Study Abroad advisor for more details.


Where would I live? 
It depends on the program.  You could live in a residence hall, an off-campus apartment, or in a home-stay with a local family.