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Study Abroad


Set Goals and Plan for Results

Communication Arts and Sciences students can study abroad at any time during their four years, but the faculty highly recommend that you do so before your senior year. With proper planning, study abroad can help you prepare for your professional life in a global context. The process of selecting a study abroad program is similar to selecting your major or minor.

  • Begin planning right away. It is never too early to start planning.
  • Set some goals. There are many excellent study abroad programs, and the best one should match your objectives.
  • Consider and prioritize your long-term academic and professional goals.
  • Give yourself time to research and talk to advisers and students who have studied abroad.

What are my Next Steps?

Meet with an International Abroad Adviser

Learn about study abroad resources and advising by meeting with an intake abroad counselor in the International Programs office in 410 Boucke Building. Appointments are not necessary, as you can walk in from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday and meet with someone that day. You can also check out the web site.

Investigate Programs

Use the International Studies resources, website, and advisers to find a program that fits your goals.

Meet with Your Advisor

Talk your advisor, to discuss the time frame and coursework that will fit best with your academic program. There are numerous courses already approved to transfer in and be used towards your major, general education, and bachelor of arts requirements from various colleges and universities around the globe. The equivalencies can be found here.


Financial Aid

Can I Afford Study Abroad?

YES! Early planning for study abroad helps you make cost-effective program decisions, and it also helps you prepare your finances through savings, scholarships, and financial aid. Financial aid applies to study abroad and, in some cases, your eligibility will increase to cover additional expenses.

When comparing study abroad costs, note that program fees often cover full-time tuition, housing, and most meals. Some programs actually cost less than enrollment at the University!

Penn State does offer scholarships for abroad students, and, here’s something to keep in mind, MILLIONS of dollars in grants and scholarships go unused because no one has applied. Funding is available, but it will take some time and patience to seek and discover! The International Programs Office provides resources on these and a variety of other scholarships available to undergraduate students. Be sure to stop by and start researching the many financial options available to you soon!


Academic Considerations

Seek Cultural Immersion

Look for Programs that Offer Significant Cultural Integration. Deep involvement in the host culture leads to personal growth and instills cross-cultural skills. You are encouraged to consider programs that get you into classes with host-country students at a host university and programs that get you out of the classroom and into the community. Seek a program that houses you with a family or host country roommate, or look for systematic experiences outside the classroom such as internships, service learning or research opportunities, or the option to take some courses in a host-country university. Be realistic; not all students are ready for the same amount of cultural immersion.

Look for a Program that Provides Insights into Another Society

Seek to study in a society that contrasts with yours. The department encourages students to consider study at non-Western sites. Countries which are former British colonies provide exceptional opportunities for students to experience cultures out of which some very current literature and films are created, works which address issues germane to the challenges and conflicts and benefits of globalization, (e.g., African and South Asian countries.) These regions also provide exceptional opportunities for the linguistic study of worked Englishes. Learn about other traditions and perspectives in Communication studies. See how scholars in another country view their discipline; chose a program where your professors are from the host country. Consider taking at least one U.S. American literature course taught by a host-country faculty member. An outside perspective on your own society can be a real eye-opener. Look for opportunities to study educational systems differing from what you have previously experienced, especially if your professional goal is teaching.

Study at a Host-Country University

Study in a university alongside degree-seeking students from the country in which you are studying. Some programs consist entirely of such study, whereas others combine it with special courses aimed at non-native students. Study at host-country university works especially well for student interested in experiencing a different academic system and for students who want to select classes from a wide variety of offerings, including lots of coursework toward their major or minor. If the language of instruction is not English, you need at least 2-3 years of college-level language background. Students with sufficient language skills can study in almost any host country-language (over 70 countries available).

Develop or Improve Second Language Skills

Beginning or intermediate level students: consider a program where you can study a language and be surrounded by it. Students with advanced language skills: consider a program taught in the language. Plan your language course sequence carefully or you may find yourself out of sequence upon return to PSU. French, German, Italian, Latin, and Spanish are the only languages at PSU which offer each of the first three courses both Fall and Spring Semester. For all others, only the first and third courses are offered Fall Semester and the second in the Spring.


Choosing Classes

Work on your Communication Arts and Sciences Major or Minor

The Communication Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Coordinator will screen overseas coursework and help you fit appropriate courses into your major requirements. Courses must offer a study of communication (e.g., gender, intercultural, rhetoric, personal identities, organizational communication, research methods, interpersonal, debate, political communication), but don’t have to be listed under "CAS". Look for junior-and senior-level courses. Many programs offer communication courses, including classes in all of the aforementioned subjects. Look for internships and service learning that bear credit. Internships abroad will apply toward the 400 level area, or the elective component of the major, but the academic documentation must be approved prior to going abroad, whether it be an internship you are doing on your own, or through the abroad program. It is suggested that you have more courses than you plan on taking reviewed and that you structure and document the consultation with your major adviser. A particular course schedule may not be available onsite, and it will be useful to have prior feedback on additional courses from the CAS adviser. If your course choices change, notify the CAS adviser via email. For tentative pre-approval of a course abroad, provide a syllabus to the CAS Undergraduate Coordinator at least a month before departure. For exact course substitutions (CAS 200, 201, 202, 204, 203, etc.) the course needs to be equivalent. In some cases, it may be easier to apply study abroad credits to the general elective area.

Fulfill General Education and Bachelor of Arts Requirements

Plan early to apply study abroad credits to the University’s General Education and Bachelor of Arts requirements. Decide early which requirements you want to satisfy through courses taken abroad so you don’t fulfill them on campus. Consult the admissions web site of courses that have been approved.


University Office of Global Programs

Begin your search for the right program here.  Check out the website or drop by for a visit!

410 Boucke Building : The Pennsylvania State University : University Park, PA 16802
Phone: (814) 865-7681 : Fax: (814) 865-3336


College of the Liberal Arts & Ed Abroad

The College of Liberal Arts offers more great resources and information about studying abroad as a Liberal Arts student.  Check out the website!


Study Abroad Can Help You:

  • Expand your career opportunities; prepare for an increasingly diverse and international workplace.
  • Compare another educational system to your own educational experiences.
  • Improve your second language skills.
  • Enhance your critical thinking skills.
  • Gain confidence in yourself personally and professionally.
  • Experience journalism written in English from many cultural and national perspectives.
  • Understand English language and its multiple world dialects from an international perspective. Comparative perspectives and experiences allow you to place communication and language in much larger and more diverse context. Such experiences will change your life and career options in many ways. Employers and professional schools today seek applicants with significant cross-cultural experience.