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Understand Study Abroad

Why Study Abroad

Nothing in your educational experience will compare with the eye-opening adventure of studying abroad! Consider some of the many benefits of including a study abroad experience in your college education:

  • Be exposed to new ways of thinking, living, and viewing the world through the eyes of another culture.

  • Learn a new language or increase your fluency in a language you’ve studied.

  • Develop new intellectual pursuits, skills, and perspectives.

  • Make friendships and create memories to last a lifetime.

  • Gain a competitive edge in the job market by increasing your skills in cross-cultural communication, international knowledge, adaptability, and resilience in an increasingly global economy.

  • Study abroad students get hired quicker, get more jobs in the field they desire and are better paid.

  • 8 of 10 human resource executives say that student abroad is important.

Types of Programs Abroad

UMaine offers the following type of study abroad programs:

  • Direct Exchange - UMaine has an exchange agreement with a number of foreign universities. Students pay tuition and fees at UMaine and swap locations with a student from the partner university. Direct exchange programs allow for total cultural immersion because UMaine students attend courses with local students at the host university. This is a good option for the independent student with some travel experience. Direct exchange programs are very cost effective for students attending UMaine at the in-state or NEBHE rate.

  • Recommended Programs -UMaine has partnered with organizations which design study abroad programs exclusively for U.S. students. These programs provide opportunities that may not be available through the regular curriculum of a foreign university. They may be housed at a study center rather than a university. The recommended program offers a variety of study abroad support services and excursions. This is a good option for the less experienced traveler. Recommended programs are a very cost-effective option for students attending UMaine at the out-of-state rate.

  • Direct enrollment - Explore colleges and universities in other countries, and directly enroll in a program that allows “transient” or “international” students. Participation in a direct enroll program is limited. Consult your Study Abroad Advisor before making any decisions.

  • Travel Study - Participate in a program led by a professor from UMaine or another University of Maine System institution.

  • Internships - Intern abroad as part of your study abroad program or as a stand-alone program. Semester-long internships for 9-15 credits also available for most majors.

  • Research - Complete a semester of undergraduate research with faculty and graduate students at a host university.

  • Student Teaching Abroad - A unique UMaine program for education majors who teach abroad in their very last semester of college. UMaine has partnered with API to provide education majors with the opportunity to spend 6-8 weeks of their last semester student teaching in another country.

Other UMaine Programs

  • Travel Study Courses - Participate in a program led by a professor from UMaine or another University of Maine System institution. Very suitable for students looking to go abroad in May term, winter break or during the summer. Travel Study courses are run through the Division of Lifelong Learning, not the OIP.

Advising Philosophy

We encourage UMaine students to challenge themselves when choosing a study abroad program. Some of the criteria we encourage students to look for in a study abroad program:


  • Choose a semester or year-long program


  • Take courses with host country nationals

  • Live with a host-country family or host-country roommate

  • Participate in volunteering, internships or student activities with local peers

  • Take at least one area studies or culture course to learn more about the host country or region


  • Take at least one upper level course in your major or minor

  • Work on an independent study or research project


  • Choose a study abroad program in a less-traveled city, country or region

  • Study the language of your host culture (where applicable)

  • Take courses in a language other than English (where applicable)

Choosing a Program

UMaine offers a large number of programs in 79 countries. Consider the following important questions when choosing the program that is right for you:

  • Location - Where do you want to go? Why? Do you prefer a developed or developing country? Big city, small town, or rural area?

  • Timing and Duration - Eligible students may study abroad after their freshman year is completed. Some programs allow graduate students. Work with your academic advisor to plan the best timing and length of stay for your study abroad experience.

  • Types of Learning Experiences - Consider if you prefer to study alongside foreign nationals, whether you seek classes taught in English or the host national language, and if you prefer to travel with a group of U.S. students or as an individual.

  • Types of Courses Available - Consider the course offerings available to you with each program and how they will fit with your degree requirements.

  • Living Arrangements - Apartment living, residence hall living and host family living are options to consider. Many programs offer more than one option.

  • Foreign Language Fluency - Many programs do not require proficiency in the host language, while other programs are located in English-speaking settings. Some courses may be available in English where the host language is different. Immersion in the host language is also available in some programs.

Eligibility - Programs vary in their eligibility requirements with consideration of academic standing, minimum GPA requirements (2.5 cumulative GPA), foreign language proficiency, and course prerequisites. Students are selected based on academic performance, maturity and motivation.
University of Maine Office of International Programs