Q: Why should I study abroad?
A: The benefits to studying abroad are enormous for academic, professional and personal reasons.
- Education abroad encourages cross-cultural communication, understanding and acceptance.
- You will examine your academic interests from new perspectives.
- You can make professional connections through faculty, other students, and volunteer and internship programs.
- Your flexibility and openness to new languages, cultures and ideas will improve.
- You will enjoy academic and experiential learning and become a more independent thinker.
- Your intellectual maturity and self-confidence will be enhanced.
- You will gain a new level of self-reliance and enhance your problem-solving abilities.
- You will enrich your life with skills that are highly valued by today’s employers. Whatever your field, and wherever you end up, you will be part of the global marketplace — employers are looking for the skills you can build during a program abroad.
A: Traditionally, most students have studied abroad as juniors, and that remains a popular time to go abroad. However, students study abroad as early as the summer after their freshman year and as late as the summer after their senior year. Some students even study abroad more than once! Meet with an advisor in your major department or in your school to discuss your education-abroad plans and determine the best time to go. Also, visit our office early so you can plan the most convenient and effective time for you to study abroad.
Q: How long can I study abroad?
A: You may participate in short-term (2-3 weeks, usually during winter session or over spring break), summer (2-8 weeks), semester or academic-year programs. Most students choose to go for a semester. If you so choose, you may also be able to study abroad multiple times!
Q: Where can I go and what types of programs are available?
A: Binghamton University offers nearly 40 active education-abroad programs and new programs are constantly being developed. Many take place in the United Kingdom. Other locations include Australia, Austria, China, Costa Rica, Germany, Morocco, Spain and Turkey. In addition, schools in the SUNY system work together to facilitate participation in programs offered by any SUNY campus. Altogether, SUNY programs number over 1000 in some 50 countries. You may search SUNY programs by going to suny.edu/studyabroad. Students may also choose to study in a non-SUNY program.
Q: Do I need to know a foreign language?
A: Not necessarily many students choose to study in English-speaking countries. Others may choose a program in a non English-speaking country but with coursework in English. **When researching programs make sure, to note the language of instruction.
Q: How much will it cost?
A: It depends. The cost of studying abroad varies greatly from program to program and according to the destination. Factors that influence costs include instructional costs, cost-of-living and airfare. Be sure to look at program details and cost sheets to determine the exact costs of the programs you are considering. We can also help you find a program that meets your financial needs.
Q: Are scholarships available?
A: Yes. The Office of International Education and Global Initiatives administers several scholarship programs. Most offer competitions twice a year — once for students studying abroad during the spring semester and again for those going during the summer, fall or academic year. Multiple awards are given out each competition cycle. In addition, many Binghamton students have been successful in winning national scholarships.
Q: Can I use financial aid?
A: Federal and New York state financial aid may be applied to the costs of Binghamton and other SUNY study-abroad programs. It is recommended that you speak to your financial aid advisor once you have an idea of what program(s) interest you to get a general idea of how much aid you may expect. Bring program cost information with you to the financial aid advising appointment. Then, once you’ve been admitted to a program, your financial aid award will need to be re-determined. Financial Aid is not applicable to all non-SUNY programs; meet with an advisor in our office immediately if you’re considering a non-SUNY program and plan to use financial aid.
Q: What is the difference between study abroad and exchange?
A: The term exchange program means that a university has an made agreement with an overseas partner to exchange students in both directions with each student paying their home university's tuition. For Binghamton students, this often leads to the opportunity to save a significant amount of money since our overseas partners' tuition tends to be higher than SUNY tuition.
A: For a study abroad program you pay the tuition and fees set by the overseas university.
Q: How can I tell if a program is an exchange program?
A: All Binghamton exchange programs are described as exchange — or exchange and study abroad — in program materials. For other SUNY programs, it is best to first visit the sponsor-campus website to review the full program description and details. If it is still not clear, contact the international programs office at the sponsor campus to ask.
Q: How can I apply for an exchange position?
A: There is no separate application process for Binghamton’s exchange programs. We consider all on-time applications for the available exchange places. If there are more applicants than exchange places, we will make a decision based on a combination of financial need and academic merit. Some of our programs have more exchange places than others, and you can find out the number of available places from the program advisor. For SUNY programs, it’s best to contact the particular SUNY campus to find out how it considers applications for exchange places.
Q: Where would I live?
A: This depends on the program...different possibilities include campus residential halls where you may stay with other American students, international students or students from the host campus; home-stay situations; or various types of off-campus apartments or residences. Housing arrangements often influence students’ choice of programs so be sure to learn about the housing for the programs you are considering.
Q: What are the requirements and/or restrictions?
A: There are very few requirements or restrictions. For most programs, there’s a GPA requirement, which may range from a 2.0 to a 3.5. Programs in non-English-speaking countries may have a language requirement and some programs are restricted to juniors or seniors. The vast majority of programs are open to all students, regardless of major.
Q: How does credit work?
A: For Binghamton programs, credits count as Binghamton credits and count in your GPA.
For other SUNY programs credits are considered SUNY transfer credits and are issued in a SUNY transcript supplement, but the grades do not count in your GPA.
For non-SUNY programs, credit is not guaranteed. You should get approval from your academic advisor or department prior to participation.
Q: Will courses taken abroad fulfill graduation requirements?
A: Many times they can, though there is some variation depending on whether you choose a program within the SUNY system or not. Regardless of whether your program is offered by Binghamton, another SUNY or a non-SUNY school, credit toward the requirements of a major or minor is determined by the appropriate department.
Q: Can I take any courses abroad on a pass/fail basis?
A: The pass/fail policy is as follows: Students who study abroad on Binghamton sponsored programs may choose to take one class on a pass/fail basis, providing the class is not a requirement for their major or minor, and provided they have not exceeded the limit allowed by Binghamton University. Students must notify the Office of International Education and Global Initiatives of their intention to take a class on a pass/fail basis no later than the mid-point of the semester at the host university (not at Binghamton University). We recommend that you use the pass/fail option for individual courses sparingly on study abroad. You do not want to give the impression that your semester abroad was a semester off from serious academic work. Non-Binghamton students are responsible for ascertaining that they are following procedures established by their home universities.
Q: Will I graduate on time?
A: Most often, study-abroad participants take courses that fulfill major, minor and/or general education requirements while abroad so there is no problem graduating on time, even if you are abroad for an academic year or longer.
Q: What are the next steps?
- Make an appointment with a education abroad advisor in the Office of International Education and Global Initiatives to discuss program choice details, ways to internationalize your Binghamton degree or other academic and practical planning issues.
- Ask specific questions about your program from the program sponsor, a faculty director or department, the Office of International Education and Global Initiatives or the international programs office of the sponsoring campus.
- Consult with the appropriate department for credit toward major, minor or general education requirements.
- Consult with the academic advising office for approval of credit toward general degree requirements or for approval of transfer credit from a non-SUNY program. Review credit recognition and academic policies.
- Look at the cost of each individual program you are considering and review financial aid rules and general cost information.
- Consult with the financial aid office before applying to a program so you have a general sense of how financial aid will work for you.
- Apply for the program early in the semester before you wish to go, preferably in advance of the deadline. If you are caught in last-minute planning, contact the sponsor to see if a late application is feasible.
- As soon as you are accepted to a program, be sure to continue following the directions for next steps on the education abroad application website. You will need to complete the pre-departure phase of requirements before going on your program.
A: For Binghamton programs, online applications can be found on our website.
A: For other SUNY or non-SUNY programs, apply through the sponsoring campus and once accepted go to the Binghamton website to complete the non-Binghamton online application so that we have a record of your participation on another program.