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Is Study Abroad Right for Me?

April 17, 2020
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By Micaela Myers 

Maybe you’ve never considered studying abroad during college—or maybe you think it’s too expensive or you won’t be able to graduate on time. Think again! At the University of Wyoming, education abroad is accessible for everyone. With careful planning, students from all majors and minors can earn credit toward their degrees by participating in education-abroad programs.

UW Education Abroad offers a variety of programs in over 70 countries that have been selected to address the diverse needs of our student body. Programs vary in length, as students may go abroad for the academic year, semester, J-term or summer. “All students at UW are able to participate in education abroad, whether that be a traditional study-abroad program or on an international internship program, a global service-learning program or undergraduate research abroad,” says Associate Vice Provost for Global Engagement Anthony Ogden. “UW students can essentially study any topic, in most any part of the world, for most any duration of time. There is something here for every UW student.”

At UW, education abroad is incredibly affordable, thanks to generous donors who have established a variety of scholarships for students—as well as affordable program options such as exchanges where students pay the same cost as if they were staying on campus. “Being home to the largest endowment for study-abroad funding of any land-grant public institution thanks to the Cheney Scholarship, we feel very lucky to provide additional resources to so many UW students,” says Education Abroad Director Shelley Jewell.

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Banana Farm Manager Cipriano Benitez (right) teaches UW students about traditional agricultural systems during their 10-day Haub School class to the Canary Islands this winter.


Education-Abroad Options

Faculty-directed programs are popular among UW students, as nearly 70 percent of all students participate in these short-term offerings. These courses generally spend two to eight weeks overseas doing fieldwork during the summer or winter terms. Students earn credit from the courses, which are led and taught by UW faculty members. You’re with other UW students, and you don’t need to worry about learning to navigate a foreign country by yourself. UW also offers a long-standing semester-long faculty-directed opportunity, the UW London semester. The UW London semester provides students the opportunity to earn a full semester of credit alongside a UW faculty member using London as the classroom for weekly field trips and excursions.

If you seek a longer, more independent experience abroad, you can consider an exchange program for a semester or year at more than 30 exchange partner universities overseas. On an exchange, you pay UW tuition at select universities around the country and across the globe.

“We have 38 active bilateral exchange partners, and UW is a member of ISEP (, which is a consortium of over 300 universities all over the world,” Jewell says. “So UW students can participate on an ISEP exchange program paying UW tuition and fees as well as room and board.”

Some students have a particular city or university they would like to attend that is outside the exchange list. For this, students can choose a provider or direct enroll program where, rather than paying UW tuition and fees as they would on an exchange, students pay a fee directly to the program or university that often includes tuition, fees, room and board, on-site support, excursions and cultural activities.

In addition to the above options, students can seek a paid or unpaid internship to gain valuable experience overseas. UW’s office of Service, Leadership and Community Engagement (SLCE) also offers Alternative Break trips to domestic and international locations where students conduct service work over winter or spring break.

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Olivia Cole (Photo courtesy of Olivia Cole)


Why Consider Education Abroad?

“It was my pivotal moment in my college career. I learned so much about who I am and what I value. I want to encourage more people to go and see the world.” – Olivia Cole, Social science/gender and women’s studies, Cody, Wyo. 

“I really thought the classes (abroad) helped with my international business management mindset. A lot of international companies want people who have international experience. I think that will definitely give me an edge.” – Jacob Forkner, Finance, Cheyenne, Wyo. 

“UW makes study abroad very accessible, because there are so many options and so many places you can go. It’s the best experience I’ve ever had. It really pushes you out of your comfort zone. I always encourage other students to go abroad—it’s a time where you experience a lot of personal growth.” – Rachael Troxel, Physiology/Spanish/honors, Lander, Wyo. 

“Studying abroad, you realize there are different ways to do business, different ways to interact with people and different ways to manage. I absolutely loved it.” – Adriana Ramirez, Marketing, Evanston, Wyo. 

“You’ll probably never get the opportunity to travel the world again like you have in college.” – Cross True, Engineering, Casper, Wyo. 

“I actually chose UW because of its study-abroad endowment. With in-state tuition plus all the money that goes into education abroad at UW, it’s very convenient and affordable.”  –Francheska Riley, International studies/Spanish/honors, Green River, Wyo.

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