Study Abroad 101

What is study abroad?

Definition from google:

“…The act of pursuing educational opportunities in a country other than one’s own.”

How can study abroad help you?

Studying abroad helps individuals develop cross-cultural skills; provides alumni with an advantage in the job market upon graduation; and, cultivates life-long learning.

Through WMU study abroad, you will develop:  

  • Knowledge: demonstrating an understanding of a host culture’s values through a global lens.
  • Proficiences: increasing global cognitive, professional and/or language skills. 
  • Perspective: gaining heightened awareness of your own individual origins, practices and habits, and empathizing with other cultures.
  • Connections: understanding that humans are interdependent and should work toward a just and a sustainable future.

Recent studies by the University of Florida, Singapore Management University, and the European Institute for Business Administration have shown that students who study abroad are more flexible and creative and are able to think at a more complex level. Surveys conducted by the University of California Merced, International Education of Students, and Inside Higher Education show that study-abroad alumni achieve higher GPAs, graduate at higher rates, receive more job offers, and make higher starting salaries compared to students who do not study abroad. 

How do you begin your journey?

   Advising   Apply  Pre-departure  Health/Safety  Returning

Selecting a program

Finding the perfect program takes time. There are many exciting opportunities around the world, but, with so many options, narrowing the search requires careful consideration.

Stage I: Pinpointing the possibilities

As you enter your program-search use the following questions to pinpoint your study-abroad possibilities.

  • What would you like to study? Would you like to study in your field, a foreign language, or both?
  • When would you like to study and for how long?
  • Where would you like to study?

You can travel anywhere in the world for as long as you want in any field without having to know a foreign language!  

Stage II: Narrowing the possibilities

Once you have pinpointed your study-abroad possibilities, use the following questions to help you narrow down which options better meet your needs. Search programs by visiting our BroncosAbroad search engine available through the WMU Study Abroad website.

  • How deeply do you want to be immersed in the culture?
  • Do you want to travel with a professor, study at a Host University, or do something more independent involving research and/or an internship?
  • Do you want to live with a host family or in a dorm/apartment with fellow American students?
  • What about community engagement? Do you want the opportunity to engage in meaningful volunteer work while you are abroad?
  • When are you coming in for an Information Session with a Peer Advisor?

Stage III: Applying for the possibilities

Once you have narrowed down your study-abroad possibilities, the next stage in the process is applying for your chosen program. This can be done directly through our BroncosAbroad search engine available through the WMU Study Abroad website.  Use the following questions to help you through the application process.

  • Why do you want to go abroad?  What will you gain from studying abroad?

This question will help in writing a personal essay for your study-abroad application.

  • Who will write letters of recommendation for your application? Most applications require two letters of recommendation.
  • When is the deadline for your application? Are you on track to submit it early?

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, so the earlier you apply, the better! Do not wait until the last week before the deadline to apply; the application might take several days to complete.

Application deadlines:

  • Fall semester programs: mid-February
  • Spring semester programs: mid-October
  • Summer programs: late January

 See general deadlines here.

Have questions or need further information? Contact Study Abroad at (269) 387-5890 or