If you're an OU student, it's likely you know someone who has studied abroad — after all, large numbers of OU students leave Norman each year to study in locations around the world. You've probably seen the photos on social media, heard the anecdotes and been told of this "life-changing experience" that you simply must have. But the process of studying abroad can be daunting. How do you decide where you want to go, or what program is best for you? How do you actually apply for programs and scholarships, and prepare to spend a summer, semester or even year abroad?
We don't want you to miss out on this experience simply because you're confused, a bit scared or ever-so-slightly disorganized. To help, we've put together a brief guide to study abroad, including the step-by-step process, explanation of the types of programs, and tips for getting ready.
But First, Deadlines:
Application deadlines for summer and fall 2020 study abroad programs are approaching — don't delay!
Exchange, Affiliate, and Direct Enroll programs: February 21
Faculty-Led Summer and for International Study Center Semester programs: February 28
Presidential International Travel Fellowship: February 28
The first step in your study abroad journey is to attend Study Abroad 101, a general information session which will go over the basics and give you the opportunity to ask questions. You can sign up online. To begin, you should also use the Education Abroad website to research our programs and get an idea of what you want in terms of place, duration and timing, and type of program.
Once you've narrowed down your options, schedule an appointment with the study abroad adviser that works with your country or countries of interest. Study abroad advisers are a great resource for you to better understand the different types of programs, costs and scholarships options. Once you've decided what program you'd like to apply for, your adviser will guide you through the simple application process.
One more thing to note as you begin your journey is OU's study abroad eligibility requirements. To be accepted to a study abroad program, you need to be in good academic and student conduct standing (and remain in good standing throughout the duration of the program); to be a degree-seeking student enrolled full-time at OU the semester prior to study abroad; and have completed two semesters of college-level course work in residence as a full-time student on a college and/or university campus.
OU Education Abroad allows you to choose from a variety of program types. Not only does this mean more destinations to choose from, but it also means there's something for every type of adventurer, whether you want to travel with your OU classmates and faculty, immerse yourself in a completely new environment, or something in between.
OU Study Center Semester Programs
You may have heard about a lot of OU students choosing Italy or Mexico for their study abroad destinations. That's because OU has two International Study Centers — one in Arezzo, Italy and the other in Puebla, Mexico — where you can study for a semester or year, living in OU facilities with other OU students and taking courses from OU professors. At OU in Arezzo, students reside in a newly converted monastery, while OU in Puebla offers modern apartments and homestays. Both offer some major-specific programs but are open to all. OU in Puebla students have the additional option of taking classes at UPAEP, OU's partner university in Puebla. You do not need to speak Italian or Spanish to study at our centers. These programs have OU tuition and fees, so you can apply tuition waiver scholarships and any applicable financial aid. Our study centers also offer internship opportunities to give you valuable career experience while studying abroad, as well as paid student assistant positions.
Some of OU's most popular study abroad experiences are Faculty-Led Programs, many of which take place during the summer. On these programs, you will take OU courses with OU professors, all while traveling with other OU students. These programs have OU tuition and fees as well. We offer a variety of long term and short term program options.
Exchange Programs allow you to take classes at a university abroad, but continue paying OU tuition and fees at your normal rate. These programs are highly independent and ideal for students who want to be immersed in a new cultural and academic setting. Choose from long term and select short term options.
Affiliate Programs are facilitated by approved Affiliate Providers (like CAPA International Programs, CEA, ISA and more) with which the University of Oklahoma has an active agreement. These programs offer a variety of academic courses and internship opportunities, and will show up as transfer credit on your transcript. Tuition and fees are paid directly to your Affiliate Provider, not to the University of Oklahoma. Some financial aid may still apply.
Direct Enroll Programs
Direct Enroll Programs are for the most independent of travelers, as they allow for true immersion in a new cultural and academic setting. You will take classes at a partner university abroad, and courses will come back as transfer credit. Tuition and fees will be paid directly to the partner university abroad, not to the University of Oklahoma. Some financial aid may still apply. Choose from select long term and short term options.
The Presidential International Travel Fellowship (PITF) is the most popular form of scholarship assistance for
study abroad at the University of Oklahoma. The fellowship was created by former OU president David Boren to support international travel. Awards are given on a competitive basis to qualified students who demonstrate a high level of financial need. This year's applications are due February 28. Visit our website for more details.
Students are also encourage to apply for additional scholarships to help cover the cost of study abroad. To read about various options, visit the College of International Studies scholarships page.
Once you've selected a program, met with a study abroad adviser and turned in your application, the fun part begins! Your study abroad adviser (as well as your faculty program leader, if you have one) will guide you through the process of preparing to go abroad, from figuring out courses and credits to safety, housing and packing. All OU students attend a pre-departure orientation session to review rules and processes and get your questions answered. The Education Abroad website is a great resource, providing health and safety and emergency information, a guide for parents and pre-departure videos on a number of topics to help you prepare.
For updates from our Study Centers, recaps of programs, and study abroad reflections from students who have been there, check out our Study Center Stories, Study Abroad Recaps and student Guest Posts here on the CIS Snapshot. And follow @ouabroad on Instagram to see photos, stories, and videos from students studying abroad.
We hope this guide has helped demystify some of the study abroad process. Remember that the staff in Education Abroad is here to assist you on your journey! For questions not answered here or on the website, you can contact EA at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (405) 325-1693.