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 Study Abroad 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 Study Centers

Valpo administers four study centers in England, Germany, China, and Costa Rica. These centers feature a local Valpo faculty director who provides academic and cultural guidance throughout the semester. The programs feature built-in group excursions, housing in homestays or residence halls, and some room in the calendar for personal travel. Semester dates at the centers will follow the Valpo academic calendar. Study Center programs do not require prior language education for participation.

Exchange Programs

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.

International Education Programs (IEP)

Valparaiso University has a partnership with International Education Programs (IEP), who in turn has a strategic partnership with Center for International Studies Abroad (CISabroad), which offers additional programs to Valpo students. This includes semester and summer programs, internship placements, and support for volunteer projects and faculty-led programs. IEP also has an advisor that works on campus in the International Programs Office alongside the Valpo Study Abroad staff.

U.S. Affiliate Programs

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. Approved affiliate programs will allow students to take courses that come back as Valpo credit.

Non-Valpo Programs

Valpo students are able to participate in non-Valpo-approved programs through another institution in the U.S. or abroad or a program provider. These programs can be great options for students looking for specific academic curricula not offered in an existing Valpo Study Abroad 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 Study Abroad 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.

What’s Next?

Consider your Options

Now that you have more information about the types of programs available, you will likely have some more specific questions. In addition to looking at specific program pages or talking with Study Abroad staff, a great way to get many questions answered and learn more is to attend a Study Abroad Fair or an info session.

Once you have narrowed down your options, consult with both your academic advisor and International Programs staff, who will ensure you’ve made the best choice and talk to you about more specifics of the program.

Start an Application

The application is facilitated by our online software. To get started, visit the individual page for the program you want to apply to participate in and click the Apply Now button. From there you will get a checklist of items that need to be completed prior to the application deadline. There is no formal “submit” button, so be sure all of the boxes are checked. Once they are, you’re done!

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) and may schedule more appointments if desired. Students are encouraged to do so as they encounter more questions or concerns. To schedule an appointment, stop into the office, call 219.464.5333, or email

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