Top 5 myths about study abroad

Myth 1: I can't afford to study abroad

Fact: If you can afford to be at Concordia, you can afford to study abroad!

  • There are numerous programs we offer where students actually save money compared to being on-campus for a semester!
  • For most semester programs, tuition is the same as at Concordia, except housing and cost-of-living expenses can be much cheaper
  • Financial aid applies to semester abroad programs
  • There are additional scholarships available just for study abroad programs that most students qualify for
Myth 2: Studying abroad will delay my graduation

Fact: We can help you find a program that keeps you on track to graduate on-time!

  • With some advance planning, anyone can study abroad, so talk to the Study Abroad Office as early as possible!
  • With over 400 different program options for students to choose from, there is something for everyone to allow you to find the courses you need to stay on track
  • We coordinate advising between the Study Abroad Office and your Academic Advisor to make sure the program you select gets you the courses you need
  • Summer, Winterim, and Global Ed. Courses definitely won't delay your graduation. They may actually help you get ahead!
Myth 3: I don't speak a foreign language, so I can't study abroad

Fact: Most students who study abroad don't speak a foreign language

  • English is the most spoken language in the world
  • We offer dozens of programs in English-speaking destinations like the England, Scotland, Ireland, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore
  • Even in non-English speaking destinations, the VAST majority of courses are taught in English
  • There's no better way to learn a foreign language than studying abroad, even if you have no previous experience in the language
Myth 4: I can't leave for a whole semester because I'll miss out on being with my friends and family

Fact: Not studying abroad is a bigger regret than not being at home for 4 months.

  • Graduating seniors were surveyed and not studying abroad was one of their biggest regrets
  • Most students who study abroad say it was the best experience of their lives. Can you say the same about one semester at home?
  • You'll be with other American and international students during your program, and it's a great opportunity to make life-long friendships
  • You'll have to grow up and strike it out on your own at some point, and studying abroad is GREAT preparation for that
Myth 5: Studying abroad isn't for me

Fact: It can be!

  • Not only do we have programs that are catered to your academic needs, but we also have programs that fit you uniquely
  • More of a home-body? Do a home stay with a local family. More of a small-town person? We've got plenty of options in small cities
  • More of an independent spirit? Stay in an apartment and plan your own adventures! More of a big-city, nightlife person? Plenty of options there!
  • Looking to develop yourself spiritually? Check out Westfield House. Want to do some volunteering? Add a service-learning experience to you program!

Frequently asked questions

Deciding on a place and program for your semester abroad

How do I decide where to study abroad?

Consider what is most important to you. Is it more important to be in a particular geographic location, or are you willing to go anywhere as long as it fits your budget? Can you afford to take some core requirements and electives, or are you on a strict course schedule and need to take specific classes within your major? Do you want to be more flexible and independent while abroad or do you desire more structure and support? Answer these questions first and it will help give you some direction. Schedule an advising meeting with the Study Abroad Office to help you narrow down your options.

What's next after I've chosen my possible destinations?

Look at our semester programs page to see if Concordia has specific affiliated universities in the places you are considering. If not, research some other programs such as API or TEAN to see what they offer. Figure out what classes you could possibly take abroad and if those programs offer similar courses.

I'm pretty set on my destination and program, but how do I know if it's possible?

Once you have thoroughly researched and settled on a place/program make sure to set up a meeting with your academic advisor to talk about study abroad and how it will fit in with your Concordia education.

Coming prepared with a list of courses offered and other information about the foreign university will help your advisor work with you on deciding if it fits with your degree aspirations. Also make sure to confirm your class options with the Registrar's office after applying to make sure the credits will transfer.

After acceptance

How do I make sure that the classes I take will meet my degree requirements?

The process is straightforward:

  • Review the foreign university's class/module list (one that includes descriptions)
  • Match up their classes with classes required at CUW
  • Set up a meeting with your advisor to discuss and approve your classes
  • Bring the advisor-approved list to the Registrar's office for a final approval
How much luggage should I bring with me?
We recommend bringing one checked bag, one carry-on, and your designated personal item. Any more luggage is extremely hard to navigate through the airports and will usually incur extra baggage fees. See the packing checklist sheet for more details.
How do I prepare for my study abroad experience?

While you can never be fully prepared for the adventure of spending time abroad, there are a few things you can do for a smoother transition.

  • Research the country so you know what's acceptable and what key differences exist
  • Contact other students who have studied abroad in your destination
  • Identify the parts of studying abroad that may be the most difficult for you and develop plans to minimize them
  • Attend the mandatory orientation hosted by Concordia's Study Abroad Office
What if my health insurance doesn't cover me overseas?
Concordia students are required to have insurance to cover them during the duration of their program. For Global Education courses, Concordia will register you for coverage through CISI. For most semester-abroad programs, your program provider will include insurance in the cost of your program. For more information about insurance, please contact study.abroad@cuw.edu.

While abroad

How can I stay in contact with people back home?
Students can use Skype which is a free VOIP service. Skype also has the option of allowing you unlimited calling to any U.S. land line from your laptop for a subscription fee under $5 a month. There are a number of other VOIP services as well as local pay as you go SIM cards. It’s also possible on most cell phone carriers to extend service abroad, although it’s not usually the cheapest option. The Study Abroad Office or your program provider advisor can give you recommendations.
How do I keep up-to-date on Concordia happenings while abroad?
You'll still receive regular Concordia emails while abroad. You must make sure to keep track of major dates such as class registration, FAFSA deadlines, housing hand-in dates, etc. Just because you are abroad does NOT mean that these can be extended for you if you forget to fill something out on time.
Can things that happen abroad affect my status with Concordia?
Even though you are abroad you will still be registered as a Concordia student. Therefore your actions abroad do affect you as a Concordia student. Class failures, violations of conduct code, etc. will go through the same processes as they would if you were still on Concordia's campus.

Finances

Which university's tuition do I pay?

As long as you are enrolled in one of Concordia's study abroad programs, you're still considered a Concordia student while abroad, so you will still pay regular tuition to Concordia. Concordia will then pay the foreign university's tuition up to the amount of Concordia’s tuition.

This means that as long as your foreign university tuition doesn't exceed Concordia's, you'll still pay the same tuition you would at Concordia. (There aren't many cases in which tuition abroad will be more expensive.) Students must contact the Financial Aid office to verify all tuition costs.

What about housing and meals?
Housing is separate and you pay the fees set by the program or university in which you are enrolled for the semester via your Concordia bill. Some programs include a meal plan in their program cost. Others require students to shop for food on their own and make their own meals. There are also programs where students stay with a host family who will provide most of the student's meals.
Can I still use my financial aid to study abroad?
Short answer: Yes, though some restrictions may apply based on which kind of aid is part of your aid package, and what you will be doing/studying abroad. Direct any questions about your financial aid to a financial aid advisor.
Are there scholarships/grants available?
Yes there are many! Concordia has made scholarships available in the past depending on eligibility and the number of applicants. The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship offers on average $4,000 to one out of every three applicants. See the “Scholarships” page for details. There are dozens of other private scholarships and grants available if you are willing to put in the work of researching and applying.
What other expenses will I need to consider?
Additional costs can fluctuate between programs and countries. The main expenses associated with a semester abroad include airfare to/from, passport, visa, additional traveling during the semester, necessities bought while abroad, and spending money. Also keep in mind that exchange rates fluctuate, which may affect the total cost of your study abroad experience as well.
What do I need to know about health, safety, and insurance?
Once you apply, you will gain access to Learning Content through your study abroad portal that will cover vital information about health and safety.

For more details about any of these topics, contact study.abroad@cuw.edu.