Students from the United States have traveled abroad to study with university-led programs for almost one hundred years. Programs have differed in length, means of transportation, destination, subjects of study, participants, and goals. Even as one begins the process of thinking about study abroad there are already unconscious motives about WHY studying abroad is something one should do.
Studying in another country and culture is the best way to gain knowledge of that place. Nothing besides the experience itself will teach the nuances of cultural norms, expectations, and perspectives. Many students find that they cannot specifically articulate why they want to study abroad except to say that they want to “travel, see how others live, and compare the new experiences with those at home.”
Many students find more practical reasons for studying abroad, such as learning a new language or perfecting language skills already obtained. Study abroad can enrich an academic background by giving you the opportunity to take courses not available at home or by learning through another country’s approach to education. Not all places in the world view education, learning, and knowledge the way we do in the United States. With programs ranging from one week to a full year, its easier than ever to find a program that meets your academic goals.
Some young people perceive an international experience as a way to gain a competitive edge in the employment marketplace. Study abroad can enhance your coping skills, flexibility, and ability to deal with stress and ambiguity. In addition to the specific knowledge you gain about another country and culture, having an international study experience says that you are able to go beyond your own personal comfort zone and that you are not afraid to be challenged.
Finally, regardless of the reason you choose to study abroad, one result that seems to happen to everyone is that you learn more about yourself than you ever imagined. Regardless of why you think you want to study abroad, the results are always profound and varied and usually undetectable for a while.
An exchange program is the most traditional type of international experience. WVU maintains exchange relationships with over 50 partner institutions across the globe. These university partnerships allow us to send and receive students through reciprocal exchange. A reciprocal exchange is where a student pays their Tuition & Fees at their home institution, and they receive the same benefits abroad (depending on the exchange, you may pay for housing and meals abroad or here at WVU). These programs provide credit from the partner institution that will be transferred via the Office of International Programs on a Pass/Fail basis.
A faculty-led program is a study abroad experience led by a WVU faculty member. The faculty member teaches a course (or series of courses) abroad, and the participants receive WVU credit and a letter grade. Faculty-led programs can range from one week to one semester in length. Also, WVU International Internships fall under this category.
ISEP is a non-profit consortium of over 300 colleges and universities around the world. ISEP offers WVU the opportunity to go on exchange or direct enroll in many different universities around the world, at a comparable cost, and allows them to use their financial aid.
Affiliate programs are third-party companies that WVU works with to allow students a wider variety of study abroad experiences. Our affiliates can help students study abroad at their dream location, allowing us to connect in areas where we can't support a traditional exchange.