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Advising Students About Study Abroad

Advising Students About Study Abroad

You may have studied abroad yourself as an undergraduate, spent time overseas conducting research or currently teach our students on one of 30 off-campus programs. As a faculty or staff advisor to St. Thomas students, you play a key role in encouraging them to study abroad while they make progress towards their degree. 

Why Should You Encourage Students to Consider Study Abroad

  • Students with an informed global perspective will help internationalize your classroom.
  • Interest in opportunities abroad can create majors or minors in your academic area.
  • After they return, students tend to participate in department activities.
  • Students who study abroad are often more articulate and confident and can add depth to course discussions.

Some Essential Information That Advisors and Students Need to Know

Application Deadlines

October 1: Spring Semester programs
Early October: Janauary Term programs
March 15: Summer, Fall and Year-Long Options

Academic & Eligibility Requirements

  • GPA minimum: 2.5 for semester and year-long programs; 2.0 for short-term programs. Some programs may require a higher GPA.
  • Sophomore status is required for semester and year-long programs. First-year students may apply for January Term and summer programs provided they meet the prerequisites.
  • Students on conduct or academic probation will not be approved to study off campus.

Financing Study Abroad: Costs and Scholarships

Financial Aid awards (grants, loans and scholarships) typically apply to a semester or year-long off- campus program. Students should meet with a Financial Aid Counselor to confirm that awards will be applied to a term abroad. Financial aid is not available specifically for January Term or summer programs. 

Perceived Barriers to Study Abroad

You may find that students have misperceptions about Study Abroad that may serve as a hindrance. Some of the more common myths are listed below with some matter-of-fact responses.

Study Abroad is not affordable

Grants loans and scholarships typically apply to a semester or year-long program, and tuition, room and board on many study abroad programs is comparable to those same costs on  campus. While there will be additional costs such as airfare and personal expenses, there are a wide variety of program options that range in cost. With a little flexibility, students may find a program that costs no more than spending a semester at St. Thomas.

Obligations to Athletics or other responsibilities do not allow Study Abroad to fit into a four-year degree

Studying abroad in the summer is a perfect solution. St. Thomas sponsors and co-sponsors many options, ranging from three to ten weeks.

Study Abroad would keep a student from graduating in four years 

A Study Abroad Advisor will assist students in finding a program that supports making progress towards the degree while abroad. They also work closely with St. Thomas academic departments to obtain pre-approval for courses intended to be taken abroad.

Fluency in a foreign language is required to Study Abroad 

While language study is always encouraged (and supports the Core Language requirement), there are many programs available where English is the primary language, where fluency is not required, and students can take most or all of their courses in English. 

The Next Steps  

For Majors and Minors

St. Thomas strives to offer an off-campus study option to students in all academic areas. With appropriate planning, it is possible for a student study abroad regardless of their major. The Major Advising Sheets below are meant as a tool for students to investigate study abroad and off-campus opportunities. Study Abroad staff have worked closed with these academic departments. Watch for more advising resources in the future:  

If a student's major is not listed above encourage them to make an appointment with a peer advisor or a Study Abroad advisor to research programs that could provide courses which fulfill major/minor requirements. Call 651-962-6450 to set up a meeting.

For Students Interested in Semester or Year-Long programs

  • Attend a First Step session
  • Review program possibilities online
  • Meet with an advisor in the Office of Study Abroad 
  • Submit application materials by deadlines above.

For Students Interested in a January Term Program

  • Review course offerings online
  • Submit application materials by deadlines above

For Students Interested in a Summer Program

  • Review options of Co-sponsored and UST-sponsored June programs
  • For co-sponsored programs, meet with an advisor in the Office of Study Abroad 
  • For UST-sponsored courses, apply online
  • Submit application materials by deadlines above