Determine Your Goals
For some, the hardest part of studying abroad can be choosing a program. There are several different factors to consider as you determine which program best fits your interests, needs, and goals. Ask yourself these questions to get started:
Education Abroad programs allow students to earn either UTD credit or transfer credit. Students who participate in faculty-led programs, internships, and independent studies earn direct UTD credit while studying abroad. This means that they are enrolled in a UTD course (or multiple courses) associated with their program, and the grade(s) they earn apply toward their UTD GPA. Students who participate in exchange or affiliated partner programs earn transfer credit from their host institution, rather than direct UTD credit. This means that they transfer in the credits they earned to UT Dallas after they complete their program. For the credit to transfer, students must earn a grade equivalent to a C or better (for undergraduate students) or a B or better (for graduate students). Transfer credits do not apply toward a student's UTD GPA.
Is there a particular part of the world that you've always wanted to visit? Is there a country that specializes in the topic(s) you're interested in studying? Are you hoping to practice language skills while abroad? Ask yourself these questions to help pinpoint a region or country for your study abroad program. It's also important to keep in mind that regions of the world have different cultural and societal norms relating to gender roles, the LGBT+ community, and accessibility. Do some research beforehand to help narrow down your options:
If the thought of traveling by yourself makes you anxious or uncomfortable, consider faculty-led programs. These are UTD courses with an international learning component. Some programs have class meetings on campus throughout the semester with 7-10 days spent abroad, while others are taught entirely abroad over a 4-5 week period. Since most faculty-led programs include around 10-20 UTD students, these may be better suited for those who would feel more comfortable traveling in a group. Alternatively, if you're interested in achieving more independence while abroad, consider participating in an exchange program, an internship, an independent study, or an affiliated partner program. Depending on the semester, these types of programs typically include anywhere from one to ten UTD students.
Education Abroad programs vary in length from one week to an entire academic year. When deciding on program length, you should consider your degree requirements, comfort level, and home/work obligations. If you can commit to being abroad for an entire semester or academic year, consider exchange or affiliated partner programs. If you're looking for a more short-term option, consider faculty-led programs (1-6 weeks), affiliated partner programs (3+ weeks), internships (variable but typically 4-8 weeks), or independent studies (variable but typically 1-4 weeks).
Education Abroad programs are offered in the fall, spring, and summer terms. If you're interested in a fall or spring semester, consider exchange programs, affiliated partner programs, or faculty-led programs taking place over a semester break. For summer options, look into faculty-led programs, affiliated partner programs, internships, or independent studies. You will also want to consider the best timing in terms of your entire experience at UT Dallas. Most programs require students to complete at least 24 credits prior to studying abroad, and students within 30 credit hours of graduation should only participate in UTD credit-bearing programs (faculty-led, internship, and independent study). Because of these credit requirements, most students decide to study abroad during their sophomore or junior year.