Penn State Education Abroad Programs

Penn State students participating in for-credit education abroad programs must maintain full-time enrollment, either at their home university or at the host institution/provider of their study abroad program. Failure to do so may result in early departure from the program.

Coursework taken on an approved education abroad program will be reflected on the student’s transcript with an A-F letter grade.

Information Session

Study Abroad (sometimes referred to as Education Abroad) allows students to complete credits toward their Penn State degree in another country. It can be a semester, an academic year, or a summer program. Students will need to meet all the eligibility requirements for their chosen program and have an academic adviser approve them before going on their Education Abroad experience.

These sessions are an opportunity to learn about the different types of Education Abroad programs and how to apply. Students will also have an opportunity to speak directly with an Education Abroad Adviser.

In this session, we will explore the resources available to help fund your Education Abroad experience. We will discuss how to use your existing financial aid toward the cost of a study abroad program and what scholarships, fellowships and grants are available to students.

Embedded Programs

Embedded programs combine courses taken on campus with a short-term international travel component. These types of programs are especially well suited to students who do not want or cannot take an entire semester or academic year abroad.

For example, the Embedded Course in Energy Abroad combines energy-related coursework with an onsite field trip to Aruba. Students first learn together remotely with a class in the College of Liberal Arts, then go to Aruba for a week to participate in lectures and cultural tours, as well as collaborate on a project with students from University of Aruba.

Students are enrolled in the course they are taking while abroad, and the course credits will transfer to their home college. In most cases, students are required to attend all classes and activities, unless they have been granted an exception by the program director and/or education abroad adviser (e.g., internships, weddings). Students should not drop below full-time enrollment because this may impact their financial aid status and/or visa eligibility.

Short-Term Programs

Students can choose from a variety of semester (fall and spring) and academic year study abroad programs. These programs allow students to have a more immersive international experience and may fulfill some degree requirements for their majors.

Students are enrolled as full-time students during the semester or academic year in accordance with Penn State and host institution/provider policies, whichever is greater. Dropping below full-time status while participating in an Education Abroad program can jeopardize financial aid eligibility as well as a student’s academic or visa status with the host country or United States.

All courses taken on an Education Abroad program will appear as A-F letter grades and will be counted in a student’s overall GPA. Courses do not transfer on a pass/fail, satisfactory/unsatisfactory or audit basis. For this reason, it is important for students to meet with an Academic/Faculty Advisor in advance of going abroad to plan the most efficient way to fulfill degree requirements.

Long-Term Programs

For students interested in a more immersive study abroad experience, we have several semester-long and academic year programs. Students on these types of programs must maintain full-time status at both Penn State and their host institution/provider (whichever is higher). Students should meet with their academic adviser to make sure that they are taking a course load that will be compatible with their chosen program.

All education abroad courses receive Penn State credit, and grades will appear on a student’s transcript. These credits can count towards general education requirements, supporting coursework, major electives, or even Bachelor of Arts degree requirements.

Most types of financial aid can be applied to education abroad. If a student is considering applying for funding, they should start early by attending an information session and speaking with an adviser. Many scholarships are available for education abroad, including the Boren Award, Distinguished Scholarships and Global Penn State. Additionally, the School of LER has enrichment grants that can be applied to education abroad.

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