Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do I get started?

    WMU student Kylie Abernathy studying abroad in Ireland through International Perspectives on Aging faculty-led course.

How do I get started?

Students seeking a global academic experience can learn the how-tos of studying abroad at information sessions held daily during the fall and spring semesters in the Study Abroad office, located in the Haenicke Institute for Global Education on the second floor of Ellsworth Hall. Students are strongly advised to attend an information session, which lasts about 40 minutes, as the first step in planning their study abroad experience. They may also search for and learn specific details about programs in the Broncos Abroad online application system. Once a program has been selected, students may complete the online application. For additional advising prior to applying to a program, students may request an appointment with a study abroad specialist at (269) 387-5890 or study-abroad@wmich.edu.

Where is the Study Abroad office? What are the hours?

The Study Abroad office, which is located in 2425 Ellsworth Hall, is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST Monday through Friday.

What if I don't know a foreign language?

WMU offers many programs taught in English in countries around the world, including the United Kingdom, Australia, Russia, Asia, South Africa, Norway, Sweden and Egypt, among others. Study Abroad also offers short-term programs taught in English by WMU professors.

A study abroad experience can greatly enhance learning of a foreign language and provide an intense cultural immersion. Programs are available taught in Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Russian and Spanish. Mastering a second or third language can set you apart from the masses in the job market.

What will my living situation be like?

Accommodation choices vary depending on the program and can include residence halls, apartments or living with a host family.

How long can I study abroad?

Generally speaking, study abroad programs range from two weeks to one year in duration. Some students who go abroad for a semester or an academic year decide to extend their stays. Some students also elect to participate in more than one study abroad program while pursuing a WMU degree.

Will I have time to travel while I'm abroad?

Absolutely! Some students plan extra time at the beginning or end of their study abroad program to travel regionally. Universities abroad, just like WMU, also have breaks during which you can travel; many programs are located near excellent public transportation systems. Excursions are built into some programs. We encourage study abroad students to explore as much of the country or region as possible.

What is the difference between a WMU program and a University-approved provider program?

  • WMU programs are typically hosted by WMU faculty representing various disciplines. Offerings include semester-long programs, academic-year programs (two or more semesters), and short-term programs; there is a program applicable to almost every major offered at WMU. The program fee is billed to a student’s WMU account and paid directly to WMU.
  • University-approved study abroad providers are nationally or internationally accredited. The application is initially submitted to the host university or program provider, which requires a signature from a WMU study abroad specialist. Upon acceptance, applicants must complete a University-approved program provider application in the Broncos Abroad system. The host institution or program provider will bill fees directly to the student.

All WMU students planning to study abroad must apply for programs through WMU Study Abroad to ensure credits earned are transferable to WMU.

What is a WMU exchange program?

WMU exchange programs are formalized agreements with overseas universities in which the institutions trade students for a specified duration. Participants pay their home university tuition for credits earned abroad.

How can I be sure credits earned abroad will count toward my WMU degree?

To ensure credits taken abroad will count toward a WMU degree program, visit the Academic Credit page.

Once I apply to a WMU program, when will I know if I am accepted or not?

In general, applicants are advised of acceptance within one month of the program application deadline.

How much will it cost to study abroad?

The cost to study abroad varies greatly depending on location and length of stay. WMU offers many programs that cost near the same amount as studying on campus for a semester. In most cases, any financial aid, grants or scholarships you are already receiving can be applied to study abroad costs. Additionally, there are several WMU department-based scholarships available and some scholarships facilitated by the Haenicke Institute to help offset the costs of studying abroad. Each online program brochure includes a detailed budget sheet. To learn more, visit the Scholarships page.

When are the application deadlines for study abroad programs and scholarships?

Program application and scholarship application deadlines are determined by the specific program and time of year you plan to be abroad. The information below gives general guidelines for planning, however, students should check the online program brochure for the exact deadline. Students are encouraged to begin the application process at least six to nine months prior to the semester they want to study abroad. Do not wait until the last week before the deadline to apply; the application might take several days to complete.

  • Fall semester programs: mid-February
  • Spring semester programs: mid-October
  • Summer programs: late January

Who handles my WMU registration for study abroad courses?

WMU study abroad staff will complete your WMU registration for the semesters during which you plan to study abroad. Any holds on your student account must be resolved before study abroad staff can complete study abroad registration.

Do I have to pay tuition at WMU in addition to the study abroad program fees?

In most cases—no. The program fee usually covers the cost for the academic credit you will receive from WMU. Exceptions are spring break programs and end-of-semester programs.

When will grades for courses taken at a host university appear on my transcript?

Study abroad transcript evaluation can take up to six months after completion of a study abroad program. Study abroad students are required to provide WMU Study Abroad with an official transcript from the host institution after conclusion of the program. The WMU Registrar's Office is unable to process study abroad grades without the official transcript of the host institution. Study abroad students are encouraged to handle this transaction in a timely manner to avoid delays in having academic credits posted which may be prerequisites for upper-level classes at WMU, or to avoid delays with graduation audit.

Do I need a passport?

Passports are required for all international travel, including Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. Processing can take up to 12 weeks; expedited service is available for an extra charge. Visit the U.S. Department of State website for comprehensive passport application information.

Passport renewal reminder: Some countries require a passport to be valid for a set number of months beyond the planned travel time; the rules of each country are accessible via the U.S. Department of State website.

Do I need a visa?

A visa is a validation on your passport signifying that you have been approved to enter a particular country. The application process can take two to six weeks to complete and requirements vary widely by country. For country-specific information, visit the U.S. Department of State online.

What about health insurance? Will I be covered while I’m abroad?

All WMU students participating in a study abroad program will be enrolled in international health, natural disaster, security and political evacuation, and emergency insurance, which is included in the program fee for WMU programs only. For programs hosted by University-approved study abroad providers, the insurance is required, but it is billed separately to the student account. For more information, visit the Health and Safety Abroad page.

What about medications? Can I get prescriptions refilled abroad?

In most cases, pharmacies abroad will not refill prescriptions written by out-of-country physicians. Students should speak with their physicians well before traveling to arrange for sufficient medications to cover the duration of their program abroad.

Can I complete an internship while studying abroad?

Of course! Internships are a great way to gain professional experience and to enhance your study abroad experience. Visit the Intern Abroad page to learn more.

How does the MET or the Kalamazoo Promise apply to study abroad?

MET or Kalamazoo Promise funding can be applied to study abroad programs approved by the WMU Study Abroad office. MET and Kalamazoo Promise funding questions should be directed to the WMU Student Financial Aid and Scholarships office or Accounts Receivable. Study abroad staff members do not have authority to make any funding determinations for MET for the Kalamazoo Promise.

What if I have other questions?

Contact the Study Abroad office at (269) 387-5890 or study-abroad@wmich.edu.