Frequently Asked Questions

How do I begin?

The Center for Education Abroad is here to you and support students through the entire process of planning a term abroad.  To begin, students can:

  • Visit the Center for Education Abroad in Dewey Hall
  • Schedule an appointment with an education abroad advisor
  • Attend a General Information Session

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When can I study abroad?

Either semester junior year or first semester of your senior year; a number of programs are open to sophomores. Study abroad is not permitted in the final semester.

You may study abroad for a maximum of two semesters. You may also consider combining your time abroad with the Take Five Scholars Program.

Certain University of Rochester programs allow participation by students in other class years. Most summer study abroad programs accept applications from students after completion of their first year. Transfer students must complete at least one full-time semester at Rochester prior to studying abroad. Likewise, students who have been on inactive status or who have withdrawn from the University must return for at least one semester before studying abroad.

Certain University of Rochester programs allow participation by students in other class years. These include:

  • University of Cologne Exchange in Germany allows juniors and seniors
  • Jagiellonian University, in Krakow, Poland, allows sophomores, juniors, and seniors
  • ORT Braude College Exchange, in Karmiel, Israel, allows sophomores, juniors, engineering and computer science majors
  • Rochester in Arezzo, Italy, allows sophomores, juniors, seniors
  • Uppsala University Exchange in Sweden allows sophomores, juniors, seniors
  • Meiji Gakuin Exchange in Japan allows sophomores, juniors

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Where can I study?

It’s possible to earn credits toward your Rochester degree in over 100 countries! Some are more appropriate than others for what you want to study. The publications of the Institute for International Education (including Academic Year Abroad and Short Term Study Abroad)—available in the Center for Education Abroad—are indexed by subjects, so you can find out what is available and where.

For example, if you are interested in theatre arts, France and England offer the most drama courses. On the other hand, economics and political science courses are available just about everywhere. If you want to study sciences or engineering, your choices will be more limited, but there are still many opportunities.

Another popular resource is

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Do I need University of Rochester approval?

Yes, education abroad programs require that you obtain the approval of your home institution. You obtain Rochester approval by submitting an application through the Education Abroad Portal.

Travel Approval to high-risk destinations
To minimize health and safety risks, all students going to high-risk destinations on University-sponsored or supported programs or activities must get special permission from the University well in advance of departure. For more information on definitions, timelines, and process, see the Office for Global Engagement’s Travel Review page.

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Do I have to know a foreign language to study abroad?

No. We currently offer a number of study abroad programs in English-speaking countries. In addition, there are English-language programs in many other locations where English is not the native language. The exchange program with Uppsala University in Sweden and the American University in Cairo are two examples of programs that offer science courses in English.

If you’re interested in learning a foreign language or brushing up on your skills, Rochester offers numerous courses and programs. Visit the foreign languages page for a complete list of languages offered.

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How do I know if I have enough of a foreign language background for a program?

Language requirements vary widely. Some programs require no prior experience and offer introductory language courses. Others will expect some familiarity. "One year prior German language study" means the equivalent of GER 101 and 102: Elementary German I and II, even if it was taken during high school. "Four semesters of French" means you should have the equivalent of FR 101, 102, 151, and 152. "Five semesters" would assume that you've had an advanced language or literature course as well.

Programs are flexible; if you are a native speaker or have practical exposure to the language without formal study, you may meet the requirement. The bottom line: you'll have the opportunity to brush up on language skills during most programs' orientations. Don't pass up a program because you think you're not good at languages. Most people find that learning a language in context is very different from learning in a classroom environment.

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How will study abroad fit into my four years at the University of Rochester?

Faculty and study abroad advisors will help you. Most students who go abroad are juniors, but studying abroad may be a good choice for some first-semester seniors or second-semester sophomores.

Know before you leave where you stand in terms of credit hours and course requirements. You do not necessarily need to take courses only toward your major or minor while abroad. If you plan carefully, you may be able to study something completely different on your study abroad program. The Career Center staff can offer advice about how a term abroad fits in with your long-range goals.

Some undergraduate programs cannot easily include a semester abroad, so you may want to consider other options, such as summer study abroad or the Take Five Scholars Program.

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What is required for education abroad pre-departure?

All students who plan on going abroad will be required to complete the Pre-Departure Orientation found in their application in the Education Abroad Portal prior to departure. The online presentation will consist of a series of videos that will address academics, finances, health, safety, and cross-cultural matters in an interactive format.  

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Will I get credit for my courses abroad?

Yes, provided that you have carefully planned your program and have obtained approval before you leave the University of Rochester. For major or departmental credit, see your faculty advisor. For elective credit, consult with a study abroad advisor.

Sometimes you will find that course offerings have changed when you arrive abroad. Although this rarely causes problems, promptly notify both your faculty advisor and the Center for Education Abroad. Students abroad may not overload or underload.

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How will study abroad affect my plans to go to medical school?

Study abroad can provide you with a global perspective that is invaluable for a career in the health professions, and it will distinguish you from other medical school applicants.

If you want to enter medical school immediately after completing your undergraduate degree, plan to study abroad no later than the fall of your junior year. This will allow you time to prepare for the MCATs and complete medical school applications after you return from abroad.

Keep in mind that if you plan to attend medical school in the United States, some schools expect that all your core pre-med coursework will be taken in the US. Be sure to consult with a health professions advisor during your first year or sophomore year.

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If I have a disability, can I study abroad?

Yes. You will want to meet with an education abroad advisor and with an access coordinator in the Office of Disability Resources to discuss what accommodations you'll need.

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Can I study abroad if I am planning to be an RA?

The Office for Residential Life requires all RA candidates to complete a course on paraprofessional counseling prior to becoming an RA. If your study abroad plans would cause you to miss this course, you should make arrangements to complete the course in an earlier semester. This will require planning well in advance, such as taking the course during your sophomore year.

If you have already been approved as an RA and are later approved to study abroad during your RA year, the Office for Residential Life can usually make arrangements to fill your place.

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Can study abroad be part of the Take Five Scholars Program?

Yes. The Take Five Scholars Program allows students to spend an additional semester or year at Rochester, tuition-free, pursuing a series of courses around a particular theme for the purpose of intellectual enrichment. The Take 5 program covers tuition costs only for a study abroad program. Students are financially responsible for the required accommodation fee.

If the focus of the Take Five Program lends itself to study abroad, then you may propose to include a semester or even a full year abroad. Early planning is essential, since study abroad should be completed prior to your fifth year. As you formulate your Take Five proposal, attend a Take Five information session and consult with the Take Five program advisor in the College Center for Advising Services.

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Can I take a Leave of Absence and study abroad?

No. Students who study abroad and want to transfer credit must be on Study Abroad Status and cannot declare a Leave of Absence.

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Can I talk to students who have already studied abroad?

Yes! Study abroad peer advisors are students who have studied abroad and who are eager to speak with interested students. They are a good source of information on budgets, classes, traveling abroad, and more.

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If I am an international student, can I still study abroad?

Yes. Remember that visa and immigration requirements will likely be different for non-US citizens. You should consult the appropriate consulates and embassies as soon as possible. You also need to discuss your plans with an international student advisor.

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What will it cost?

Your daily out-of-pocket costs may be considerably higher or lower than a typical semester at Rochester. Nonetheless, you can expect to spend about the same on a semester abroad as you would on a semester at the University of Rochester. Be aware that daily costs of living are much higher in places such as London and Paris. See the finances page for more information.

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Is it safe to study abroad?

Many study abroad destinations provide an environment that is as safe as studying in the United States. Nevertheless, all students should be aware of the cross-cultural implications of their actions, since certain behaviors acceptable at home might be offensive, disruptive, or unsafe elsewhere. During your orientation, your program director will provide you with essential information about personal safety. 

Additionally, all students should thoroughly research destination-specific health and safety risks before travel by using the Worldcue Planner tool (Net ID required). 

For specific health and safety questions or concerns, contact Alan Ryon (, the Manager for International Travel and Security in the Office for Global Engagement.

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