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FAQs for Study Abroad

Why Study Abroad

Studying abroad can be the most rewarding, exciting and challenging experience in your college career. It complements and enhances your academic and student life experience at the University of Maine and helps you obtain global competency skills. Visit the 'Understand Study Abroad' tab on the left for more information.

Study Abroad Programs Offered Through UMaine

Students can study abroad, intern, research or teach abroad. Visit the 'Understand Study Abroad' tab on the left for more information.


All students who want to study abroad must have a valid passport for at least 6 months after the end of the study abroad program. Visit the 'Passports' tab on the left for more information.


How much does Study Abroad cost?

Some study abroad programs are the same price as a semester at UMaine and some are more expensive. Price is determined by the type of program, accommodations and cost of living in the country. Typically programs in developed countries (Australia, Western Europe, Japan and New Zealand) are more expensive than programs in Africa, Asia, Central and South America, and Eastern Europe, which tend to be more affordable. For students attending UMaine at the in-state or NEBHE rate, direct exchange is strongly recommended for financial reasons because they are the most affordable options for those locations. Out-of-state students typically go abroad through recommended programs.  The Study Abroad Advisor will assist you in researching these details.

May I use Financial Aid for Study Abroad?

Most federal, state and institutional financial aid can be applied for study abroad. Most merit scholarships can also be applied for study abroad. UMaine financial aid funds are released on the first day of the UMaine fall, spring or summer semester regardless of the start date of the study abroad program. You must plan accordingly for all expenses prior to departure before your financial aid disburses (airfare, visas, deposits).

Are scholarships available?

Many scholarships are available. For more information, visit the 'Scholarships' tab on the left. 


Will Study Abroad set me back in my studies?

With proper planning, studying abroad should not set you back in your studies. You will work closely with the Study Abroad Advisor, your academic department and college in selecting the right courses to satisfy your major, general education or general elective requirements.

How do my credits transfer? 

The Office of International Programs and your academic department/college will approve your courses prior to departure. Grades earned abroad will show on your UMaine transcript but are not computed in your GPA. For more information visit the 'Transfer Credits' tab on the left. 

Which subjects may be studied abroad? 

Courses can be found to complement nearly every major offered at UMaine. Many students study abroad to fulfill their major, general education or general elective requirements.  Others use the experience as an opportunity to explore subjects new to them.

Health and Safety

What vaccinations do I need before studying abroad?

This depends on your destination. See the Center for Disease Control for specific requirements.

What if I have dietary restrictions? Can I still study abroad?

Yes. Clearly note any dietary restrictions in your program forms. On-site coordinators will then be aware of your needs and may make necessary accommodations.

What if I have a disability? Can I still study abroad?

Yes. Disclose your disability needs to the program staff early so appropriate arrangements can be made in advance. Remember that other cultures may provide disability access in a different way. You should learn about what types of accommodation are typically provided in your host country, and be flexible and open to different ways of accommodating your disability.

  • Mobility International USA Mobility International USA (MIUSA) aspires to empower people with disabilities through international exchange, information, technical assistance and training, to ensure the inclusion of people with disabilities in international exchange and development programs.

  • National Clearing House on Disability & Exchange: This site is a comprehensive one-stop resource for people with disabilities, exchange and disability staff interested in study, work, intern, volunteer, research or teach abroad programs. It includes personal stories from study abroad participants sorted by region or by disability type.

Will I have health insurance coverage while abroad?

Yes. All UMaine students studying abroad are required to purchase an international medical and accident insurance prior to departure. Most recommended programs provide the insurance plan as part of the program cost.

What are suitable locations for LGBTQ students?

LGBTQ students face some special considerations when choosing a study abroad program. Laws pertaining to sexual orientation, same-sex sexual contact, and gender expression vary widely around the world, as do popular attitudes. Cultures also vary in terms of how sexual orientation and gender identities are defined and understood. Some countries are more liberal on these matters than the U.S. and some less so. Also, there will always be pockets of difference and personal idiosyncrasies.

Is it safe to study abroad?

UMaine does not approve study abroad programs in areas of political unrest or recent natural disasters. Safety information is provided prior to departure and during on-site orientation. All programs have a 24/7 on-site staff available to students in case of emergencies.

General Questions

Is it necessary to speak a foreign language?

You can now find a study abroad program in English in almost every country. Most programs do not require language prerequisites and use English as the language of instruction. If you do study in a country where the native language is not English, we still encourage you to learn some helpful phrases!

Where will I live?

Most students choose to live in on-campus residence halls provided by their host university, though some find their own apartment after they arrive.  Some programs also offer the opportunity to live with a host family.

When do students typically study abroad?

Students typically study abroad during their second or third year. Most programs require at least two semesters of college.  Students are advised not to study abroad during their last semester at UMaine due to academic requirements. Summer study abroad programs are available also.

How long can I study abroad?

Students should consult their academic advisors about how long they can study abroad. Some majors are very flexible and students can spend as many as three semesters abroad and stay on track. Other majors have many sequenced courses and only summer programs are an option.

Can graduate students study abroad?

Yes, UMaine graduate students in many disciplines have successfully studied abroad.

Can older students still study abroad?

Yes. Non-traditional students often participate in study abroad programs.

Can student athletes study abroad?

It is possible to fit study abroad in, even with demanding athletic schedules. The key to a successful study abroad experience is early planning, with the approval of your coach and the help of your academic advisor(s), the Study Abroad Advisor, and others. Many May term and summer programs are available. Some student athletes have studied abroad after the end of their season in countries where the spring semester starts in February, like Australia and New Zealand.

Can I take dependents with me?

Some programs do allow students to bring dependents. Check with the Study Abroad Advisor for more information.

When should I begin to look for a program?

As soon as possible!  It is recommended to plan at least two semesters in advance. Contact the Office of International Programs to get started.

Can I study abroad in my very last semester of college?

Students are discouraged from studying abroad in their very last semester of college because most programs end after the UMaine commencement date. It takes time to get your transcript back so we can transfer your credits as well. Students also must seek permission from their academic department to study abroad in the last semester of college if they would like to complete any required courses for their major while abroad.


When should I apply to study abroad?

Students should apply soon after selecting a program. Deadlines are October 15 for spring programs and February 20 for summer and fall programs. Direct Exchange spaces fill up fast, so we recommend applying a year in advance. Applying at least a semester in advance will give students sufficient time to prepare for the program and complete all required paperwork without additional stress.

What is involved in the application process?

Students must apply to UMaine to study abroad AND to a recommended program/exchange university. Application materials vary by program.

How competitive is the selection for direct exchange programs?

Direct exchange programs have a rolling admission and students are admitted until all spaces are full. UMaine can send a limited number of students (between 1 and 3 students) per semester to each partner university. Students are strongly encouraged to apply for direct exchange as soon as possible.

How competitive is the selection for recommended programs?

Recommended programs have much greater capacity than direct exchange. They also use a rolling admission process. Students are strongly encouraged to apply early because popular programs fill well before the deadline.

When would I hear I was accepted into my study abroad program?

You will receive an email from the UMaine Study Abroad Team within two weeks of submitting your application. Recommended programs usually process applications within 3 weeks.

University of Maine Office of International Programs