Choosing a Program
Study abroad will allow you to earn credits and make progress toward your degree while participating in a cross-cultural learning experience. Programs vary greatly in structure, length, and benefits. Deciding to study abroad can be exciting, overwhelming, and even a little scary. There is a lot to consider among many different program types and destinations.
As you consider your options, it’s important to think about what kind of experience you want to have and what you are looking for in a program in addition to destination. Here are a few questions to get you started:
- Are you looking to master fluency in another language? What about starting to learn a new language?
- Do you need to take specific classes, or do you have electives or general education requirements that you can fulfill abroad?
- Are you looking for an immersive, independent experience, or would you prefer to travel with a group of Valpo students to a center that offers full-time support from a Valpo faculty member? Maybe you are looking for something in the middle.
- Are you interested in doing an internship as part of your program abroad?
The key for study abroad, regardless of which program you choose, is to research your options and plan ahead with your academic advisor and Global Education staff.
Below is some more detailed information on the different types of programs Valpo offers that you can use as you consider your options.
Valpo administers four study centers in England, Germany, China, and Costa Rica. These centers feature a local Valpo director who provides academic and cultural guidance throughout the semester. The programs also include built-in group excursions, housing in homestays or residence halls, and some room in the semester for personal travel. Semester dates at the centers will be similar to the Valpo academic calendar. While in some locations, some prior language study would be helpful, Study Center programs do not require prior language education for participation.
Exchange programs are designed to be a reciprocal exchange of students from one institution to another. Students will enroll directly in the partner universities abroad while earning credit at Valpo. Exchange programs are designed for independent students who want a very immersive experience and are comfortable with limited academic and social support abroad. They can be ideal for those studying a language and/or who have a more flexible study plan. In some cases, students need to have prior language education to participate.
Valpo students can choose to study abroad in a program administered by a partner U.S. university or provider that admits Valpo students as part of their semester cohort. These programs feature an on-site director, built-in excursions, and logistical support. While students who participate in affiliate programs maybe the only Valpo student participating, they will likely find they are part of a cohort of other US students from all over the country. Approved affiliate programs will allow students to take courses that come back as Valpo credit.
Faculty-led programs are great opportunities for students who are looking for a specific type of experience, or who may not be able to study abroad for a full semester. These programs are lead by a Valpo Faculty member on a program that they’ve proposed and designed. They typically focus on one particular subject and provide unique experiences to the students who participate. Most of these programs take place over the two-week Spring Break, although they may also take place over the Summer. There are some departments who consistently lead similar programs each year. One example is the College of Nursing & Health Professions. They lead around five or six programs each Spring Break sending more than 100 students abroad each year. These programs are intentionally designed for CONHP students and give them hands-on, practical experience abroad. Another example is the Theater program that travels to London. This program, while focused, offers general education credit and is open to students in any major wishing to participate.
While there are departments running programs consistently, there are often new programs each year. Be sure to attend the Fall study abroad fair to find out which programs will be offered.
Valparaiso University Study Abroad is proud to have students traveling abroad through a variety of different activities and opportunities. However, we also want to make sure that your time abroad is as safe and enjoyable as possible. To ensure your health and safety while you are traveling, it is important that you register with the Office of Global Education. This registration is perfect for students headed out to do research, attend a conference, or any other kind of international travel with the University. By doing so, students will be included in pre-departure orientations, and receive support prior to departure, while abroad, and upon returning home as needed for their travel.
Valpo students are able to participate in non-Valpo-approved programs through another institution in the United States, a program provider, or by directly enrolling in an institution abroad that accepts short-term international students. These programs can be great options for students looking for specific academic curricula not offered in an existing Valpo Global Education option, but students should be independent and comfortable with limited academic and social support. Students directly enroll, pay tuition and fees directly to the program provider, and receive transfer credit that they can bring back to Valpo (but no grades).
Students interested in this option should meet with their academic advisor and Global Education staff as early as possible to discuss details. Specific credit approvals from the appropriate Valpo academic departments must be secured by the student before departure.
Consider your Options
Now that you have more information about the types of programs available, you will likely have some more specific questions.
Once you have narrowed down your options, consult with both your academic advisor and Global Education staff, who will ensure you’ve made the best choice and talk to you about more specifics of the program. No matter what point you are in the planning process, Global Education Staff is happy to meet with you to go over information, the process, and answer questions, even if you’re just getting started, or you don’t know how to start.
Start an Application
The application is facilitated by our online software, TerraDotta. To get started, search through our online program listings, and visit the individual page for the program you want to apply to participate in. You will see a lot of information listed there, and once you’re ready to apply click the Apply Now button. From there you will get a checklist of items that need to be completed prior to the application deadline.
All semester/year program applicants will be required to meet with the staff member serving as the primary advisor for that program as part of the application. Students may schedule this appointment any time prior to the application deadline (and are welcome to schedule it as early as they’d like), even if applications are not yet open, and may schedule more appointments at any time in the process as desired. Students are always encouraged to reach out to their program’s advisor as they encounter more questions or concerns.
To schedule an appointment, stop into the office, call 219.464.5333, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.