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Why Study Abroad

In today's interconnected and global world, having an international experience can help set you apart and give you valuable skills that will help you in the future.  WVU is committed to providing unique, educational, and rewarding international opportunities to its students.

Students from the United States have traveled abroad to study with university-led programs for almost one hundred years. Programs have differed in length, means of transportation, destination, subjects of study, participants, and goals. Even as one begins the process of thinking about study abroad there are already unconscious motives about why studying abroad is something one should do.

Studying in another country and culture is the best way to gain knowledge of that place. Nothing besides the experience itself will teach the nuances of cultural norms, expectations, and perspectives. Many students find that they cannot specifically articulate why they want to study abroad except to say that they want to “travel, see how others live, and compare the new experiences with those at home.”

Many students find more practical reasons for studying abroad, such as learning a new language or perfecting language skills already obtained. Study abroad can enrich an academic background by giving you the opportunity to take courses not available at home or by learning through another country’s approach to education. Not all places in the world view education, learning, and knowledge the way we do in the United States. With programs ranging from one week to a full year, its easier than ever to find a program that meets your academic goals.

Some young people perceive an international experience as a way to gain a competitive edge in the employment marketplace. Study abroad can enhance your coping skills, flexibility, and ability to deal with stress and ambiguity. In addition to the specific knowledge you gain about another country and culture, having an international study experience says that you are able to go beyond your own personal comfort zone and that you are not afraid to be challenged.

Finally, regardless of the reason you choose to study abroad, one result that seems to happen to everyone is that you learn more about yourself than you ever imagined. Regardless of why you think you want to study abroad, the results are always profound and varied and usually undetectable for a while.

Program Types

Exchange Programs

An exchange program is the most traditional type of international experience. WVU maintains exchange relationships with over 50 partner institutions across the globe. These university partnerships allow us to send and receive students through reciprocal exchange. A reciprocal exchange is where a student pays their Tuition & Fees at their home institution, and they receive the same benefits abroad (depending on the exchange, you may pay for housing and meals abroad or here at WVU). These programs provide credit from the partner institution that will be transferred via Global Affairs - Education Abroad.

Short-Term Programs

Short Term programs include faculty-led programs and international internships. 

Faculty-led programs are WVU courses taught abroad by WVU faculty. Participants receive WVU credit similar to WVU courses taken on campus. These programs aim to teach course material "in place" and provide first hand experiences to students within the framework of the academic material. Faculty-led programs can range from one week to a semester in length.

International Internships
are customized, professional placements. Typically, summer internships are 8-weeks in length. Students participate in a reflective course for 6 WVU credits during their time abroad. Students work with trusted providers to find the placement that best fits their experience and professional career goals.

Affiliate Programs

Affiliate programs are third-party companies that WVU works with to allow students a wider variety of education abroad experiences. Our affiliates can help students study abroad at their dream location, allowing us to connect in areas where we can't support a traditional exchange.     

Other Programs

Students may opt for programs that are outside of WVU's pre-approved programs. These programs require special approval from the Office of Global Affairs - Education Abroad.

Virtual Programs

Virtual Programs are global opportunities that do not require travel. These opportunities vary greatly and can include courses taken online through an exchange partner, a group program hosted on Zoom by an affiliated provider, or a work-from-home internship with an international company. Course credit may be provided by transcript from the host institution or WVU credit, if organized by a WVU faculty member. Students must schedule appointments with our Ed Abroad Coordinators to discuss these options!