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Decision-making and Choosing a Program

Deciding to Study Abroad

Study abroad is about much more than just visiting another country. You will grow in more ways than you can imagine - personally, intellectually, professionally, and socially.

Benefits of study abroad include:

  • Building your resume
  • Earning credits toward your degree
  • Meeting people from around the world
  • Exploring the world
  • Experiencing different cultures
  • Learning and/or enhancing skills in another language
  • Finding out who you are and what you believe in
  • Enhancing your social skills

For help in your decision-making:

If you are not sure how to get started, or maybe you aren't sure what questions to ask, check out our FAQ. This is a great place to start for general information.

Walk-in Advising

Stop by the Study Abroad Office anytime during normal business hours for walk-in advising with one of our peer advisors. They can tell you about different program options, general program requirements, and answer any questions you may have. They are also happy to share their own study abroad experiences. Once you have selected a program, they can then help you start your application and help you make an appointment with the program coordinator to discuss program-specific details.

General Advising Sessions

General Advising Sessions take place at the beginning of each semester. Students can learn more about program options, the application process, how to finance study abroad, and discuss other academic issues. The staff is prepared to answer general or program-specific questions. Advising sessions allow plenty of time to ask any questions you might have.





The Study Abroad Office also facilitates other advising sessions, for example the Financial Aid Advising Sessions. You can find all of the sessions, as well as other events, on our events page.

Study Abroad Fair

Attend the Study Abroad Fair held early in the Fall and Spring semesters in the Union Concourse. There you will be able to:

  • Meet and speak with staff from the CIE Study Abroad Office
  • Speak with program leaders directing UWM faculty-led study abroad programs
  • Learn about a wide range of study abroad opportunities
  • Chat with international exchange university students about their home universities
  • Get financial aid advising from UWM financial aid officers

Education Abroad Library

During normal business hours you are welcome to make use of our extensive Education Abroad Library. The library contains material with information about different cultures and countries, best travel practices, as well as opportunities for working, volunteering, and teaching abroad.

Choosing a Program

Selecting a program that is right for you is key to having a positive experience while abroad. To make an informed choice, you are encourage to consider the following:

Type of Program

UWM Study Abroad offers a variety of programs with various durations. The three programs offered by UWM Study Abroad are: short term (6 months or less), an entire semester, or an entire academic year. To help you deicide which type of program is right for you, a few questions you should consider are:

  • Would you rather travel independently or with a group?
  • Do you have obligations that limit your length of time abroad (family, work, etc)?
  • What program is the best fit for your life commitments?

The answers to these questions should help you determine which program is the best fit for you. 

Most of the short-term programs are taught by UWM faculty and take place during the summer or UWinteriM terms. UWM offers two types of Education Abroad programs; study abroad and exchange. Exchange programs are restricted to UWM students and are one-on-one exchanges with partner universities around the world, usually lasting for one semester or academic year. Students on exchanges pay UWM tuition plus a program fee that includes CISI health insurance.

Important note: Individuals receiving tuition-based scholarships should consult with the CIE before applying for an exchange program.

Location & Housing

There are many factors in deciding which program is right for you. Some factors to take into consideration are:

  • Where would you like to study?
  • What type of culture and environment do you wish to live?
  • What regions of the world interest you?  
  • Would you prefer living in a large city or a small town?
  • Would you prefer living with a local family or independently in an apartment or dormitory?

 CIE Study abroad offers programs all over the world, including places such as Europe, Latin America, and Asia.


There are a variety of options for courses taken abroad. Some main points to consider when picking out your academic courses are:

  • Are you more interested in improving your language skills and learning about a different culture?
  • What is your academic area of interest? 
  • Do you need certain classes that will satisfy your degree requirements? 
  • Is there a limit for you major on how many transfer credits you can earn?
  • Is the program sponsored by UWM or is it one in which you will receive transfer credits?
  • Are you interested in doing an internship while abroad?
  • Do you prefer to take classes with host-country students and is your language proficiency sufficient to do so?
  • Would you like to mix your course load and have some courses in English and some in the host country language?


It is important to know about cost when selecting where to study abroad. It is important to know the cost of living in your desired location, whether or not you will need financial aid or other funding to afford your program, and whether financial aid will apply to your program. It is also a good idea to check whether your desired program offers additional scholarship opportunities or special incentives.