Penn State University Mark - Go to PSU.edu

Global Penn State Initiative Headline

Special Announcement

The University Office of Global Programs (Global Penn State) will be closed December 24 through January 2 for winter break and staff will have limited access to email.

Offices will reopen Monday, January 5, 2015. Have a safe and happy New Year.

Note: Individual staff days off may vary.

 

Education Abroad Programs

Choosing an Education Abroad Program

Penn State Education Abroad offers nearly 300 programs each year to many different countries and spread across six continents. While searching for a program, students should note the different program types and program lengths available. Students can review and compare program offerings by searching for education abroad programs on the program search page. Then, they can meet with an Education Abroad adviser.

The view at the beach volleyball venue at the 2012 London Summer Olympics with London in the background.

Program Length

  • Short-term: programs last from a few days up to a few weeks
  • Summer: typically four to eight weeks
  • Semester: 12 to 16 weeks; does not usually follow Penn State's semester schedule
  • Academic Year: anywhere from seven months to an entire year abroad

Program Types

Direct Enrollment

  • Students enroll as an international student at a host university.
  • Students are fully integrated with local students.
  • Housing is often acquired by the student independently or in cooperation with the host university's international office.

Exchange

  • Exchange programs are often, though not always, the least expensive options.
  • Students from Penn State and the host institution are exchanged, typically on a one-to-one basis.
  • Exchange programs have the most competitive admissions process.
  • Each student will enroll as an international student at a host university.
  • Penn State students are fully integrated with local students.
  • Housing is often acquired by the student independently or in cooperation with the host university's international office.
Two men, a female student and a young girl sit around a large bowl of food to share a meal in Senegal.

Study Center

  • "Study Center" programs are often organized by a non-profit educational organization such as IES, CIEE or Arcadia (note: not all programs on the IES, CIEE or Arcadia website are approved by Penn State).
  • The program fee often includes housing, field trips and some meals.
  • Study Centers provide on-site staff to assist students.
  • PSU students are less integrated with local students; courses usually taken with other U.S. students.
  • Some study centers also offer direct enrollment course options with local universities; although there may be a higher language requirement for those courses.
  • Many programs offer homestays.

Faculty-Led

  • Programs organized and led by a Penn State faculty member.
  • Courses taken with Penn State students only.
  • Programs typically focus on a single theme or academic discipline.
  • Some programs only open to students in specific majors.
  • Most programs offered during the summer semester.

Embedded Programs

An embedded program is any undergraduate or graduate course taken at a Penn State campus that includes an international, credit-bearing travel component.

What is a Non-Penn State Program?

Students may choose to participate on a study abroad program that is not officially approved and endorsed by Penn State Education Abroad. These programs are referred to as "non-Penn State programs," and they often involve several additional steps that students must complete in order to receive academic credit.