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Is Studying Abroad for Me?

Why Should I Study Abroad?

"The Big 3" Reasons

1. Academic perspective

2. Personal development

3. Career enhancement

Through studying abroad you can:

  • Earn academic credit that will help you progress toward graduation while experiencing a new environment.
  • Become more mature and self-confident as you learn the skills to succeed in unfamiliar environments and enjoy adapting to new places.
  • Get a once-in-a-lifetime international experience.
  • Understand how culture guides values and behaviors and learn to respect different cultures while gaining greater insight into your own culture.
  • Understand your academic major from an international perspective.
  • Practice intercultural competencies that enhance your career and social relationships.
  • Add a significant element to your résumé that will make you more appealing to employers and graduate schools.
  • Enhance your personal and career opportunities with a second or third language.

Who Can Study Abroad?

All college students are encouraged to study abroad! Regardless of your academic major or your career goals, studying abroad is relevant. The minimum eligibility requirements are:

  • Must be in good standing (academic, disciplinary, financial) with the university
  • Earn and maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 before participating in study abroad. (Students with a 2.50 to 2.99 will be considered on a case-by-case basis and are encouraged to apply.)
  • Successfully complete at least two semesters of college-level coursework (a minimum of 24 credit hours at OCU) before participating in a program. First-year students are welcome to apply to some summer programs while in their first year at OCU, however, they will not be accepted until after their first semester grades have been posted.

Can I Study Abroad if I'm an Athlete?

Yes, athletes have studied abroad for semesters before. You will need to discuss it with your coach first, but we do have study abroad programs at universities with elite athlete facilities. Summer programs are always an option as well.

What Credit Will I Earn on a Study Abroad Program?

For most programs you will earn transfer credit for all courses taken abroad. The exception is OCU faculty-led study tours for which OCU credit can be earned. Courses must be pre-approved to earn credit.

Can I Still Focus on My Major?

Yes, there are many different routes to take for specific majors. Within each program, we have listed courses and fields that can be studied during a semester abroad there.

I've Already Earned 12 hours of Transfer Credit by Taking Courses in My Home State Over the Summers. Am I Allowed to Study Abroad?

Yes, students may earn up to 30 hours of approved study abroad credit in addition to the 12-hour limit set for domestic transfer credit following matriculation at OCU.

Will I Still Graduate on Time?

In most cases, yes. Students will fill out a Course Approval Form prior to going abroad to ensure that credits will transfer towards their degree. It is possible that students will be taking fewer credit hours abroad than they could at OCU, but choosing your courses abroad carefully, should enable you to study abroad and graduate on time.

When Should I Study Abroad?

The earliest term students are eligible to study abroad is the Summer after two successful semesters on campus (having earned at least 24 credits). It is common for students to study abroad during either their Sophomore or Junior year. A student should plan to study abroad no later than the fall semester of their Senior year. In some instances, a student may petition to study abroad during their final semester at OCU.


  • Fall
  • Spring


  • Summer
  • Fall
  • Spring


  • Summer
  • Fall
  • Spring


  • Summer
  • Fall
  • Spring by petition only

How Would This Benefit Me?

According to a 2017 study the Institute of International Education, 68% of alumni who studied abroad for one academic year reported that studying abroad contributed to a job offer or promotion, compared to 43% of alumni who studied abroad for fewer than eight weeks.

  • More than half of the survey respondents reported believing that their study abroad experience contributed to a job offer.
  • Participants reported using skills developed abroad in their current work environments.

Helpful Links:

Can I Use My Scholarship to Help Pay for My Study Abroad Program?

  • All of our semester programs now allow students to pay OCU tuition and fees and therefore, most scholarships that OCU accepts or offers should be transferrable.
  • There is a study abroad scholarship offered through the Study Abroad Office that all students studying abroad are eligible to apply for. Visit this page to see other popular study abroad scholarships for undergraduates.

How Can I Afford to Study Abroad?

Institutional policies on payment for study abroad

Students are encouraged to discuss financial aid and scholarship opportunities first with their study abroad advisor and, after a program has been selected, with their financial aid advisor to learn more about alternative forms of financial support for study abroad.

Cost comparison of programs

Your study abroad advisor can help you understand how to compare the various Study Abroad options. Each program listing includes a budget for the coming semester or term. Use that budget to help determine your cost for studying abroad. Typically, international airfare, books, the cost of a visa and passport, and personal expenses are not included in the program fee. Some programs include the cost of room and board, while others do not. Thus, it is critical that students “read the fine print” understand “What is Included” and “What is NOT Included” in an advertised program price. It is also the student’s responsibility to meet with the financial aid office to understand what financial aid is eligible or ineligible to use on study abroad programs. The study abroad advisors can also help students identify sources for study abroad scholarships.

Financial aid information

Do not assume that you are (or are not) eligible for financial aid. All students are encouraged to apply for the OCU Study Abroad Scholarship, which has several deadlines throughout the year. In addition, students in the University Honors Program and the World House Scholars Program has access to university funding specifically for studying abroad. Explore financial aid options, whether you are currently eligible for financial aid at OCU or not. There are costs related to study abroad and alternative financial aid resources specifically for study abroad that may change your eligibility.

Financial aid sources come from:

  • Federal student grants
  • Federal student loans
  • Private student loans
  • Scholarships
  • Program discounts
  • Family and friends
  • Many other sources

See Financial Resources for details of a number of scholarship opportunities for studying abroad

Explore scholarship opportunities here.

The Application Process

Should I Apply for More Than One Program at the Same Time?

  • No. Unlike the process for applying to universitiess, it is not advised to apply for more than one program at the same time. The application processes may be very different for every program, so it is best to focus your time and energy on the sole program you are most interested in.
  • If you are a BA Theatre and Performance major applying for your mandatory semester abroad, you may be asked early in the process to rank your top 3 programs to ensure all BATAPs do not attend the same program.

Once I am Accepted into a Program, What Happens Next?

  • Follow up with your host university and find out what additional documents they require
  • Follow up with the Financial Aid office ([email protected]).
  • If your program requires a visa, be sure to apply for it early. Some visas can take several months to receive. Others countries don't allow you to apply more than 45 days prior to your arrival date.
  • Attend the “You’re Accepted!” information session hosted by the Study Abroad Office
  • Research where you are going and learn about the culture, climate, terminology, etc.
  • Attend your Mandatory Pre-Departure Orientation at OCU.

Can I Study Abroad More Than Once?

Yes! There are many combinations that students choose for study abroad. Our summer programs, especially, make studying abroad more than once attainable.

Didn't Find the Answer to Your Question?

E-mail the Study Abroad Office