Study Abroad as an International Studies Major

As an International Studies major major you are encouraged to consider incorporating study abroad into your academic program.

International studies students

Working with your academic advisor and the Office of International Education (OIE) you can plan an an experience that fits your academic and personal goals.

Why study abroad?

Students of all majors benefit from study abroad and the International Studies program naturally encourages its majors to do so. As an International Studies major, you can:

  • gain comparative and cross-cultural perspectives on politics, economic life, and history
  • expand your critical thinking and problem-solving skills
  • enhance your intercultural communication and improve world language skills
  • broaden your world view and deepen your understanding of yourself
  • examine your values and beliefs in new ways
  • prepare for life after college by becoming a globally engaged citizen

How will study abroad count toward my major? Will it take me longer to graduate?

With planning, you can study abroad and graduate on time. Your academic advisor will help you determine how many credits you may apply toward the major. 

Many International Studies majors complete their language requirement while studying abroad, and fulfill elective requirements. The department recommends spreading study abroad credits across the elective categories, for example, one course each in the fields of politics, history, and economics. 

An OIE advisor can help you to find a program that matches your academic needs and helps you to meet your personal goals and interests as well.

When should I study abroad?

Programs are offered during the summer, fall or spring semester or for a full academic year.

International Studies majors typically study abroad as juniors, either in fall or spring semester, but the major is flexible enough to allow students to participate during the sophomore or senior years.

Summer programs are open to students at all levels, unless otherwise noted.

Can I afford to study abroad?

Yes! Willamette-sponsored semester programs are comparable in cost to being on campus for a semester and most forms of financial aid can be applied. See the OIE website for more details about program costs and additional expenses to consider.

Scholarships for study abroad are available and can be found on the OIE website. It is critical to begin to research scholarships early, even before you apply for study abroad.

How should I choose a program?

Explore! Just as you spent time researching colleges before deciding on Willamette, you will want to spend time investigating programs abroad to ensure a good fit.

  • Research class offerings to know whether there are classes that meet your academic needs.
  • Consider your personal goals for the experience and seek out programs that will help you to meet them.
  • Investigate which programs offer support services you may need during your time there.
  • Meet with an OIE advisor!

Programs of interest to International Studies majors

International Studies supports its majors applying to any study abroad program that suits their interests. Many majors choose a country whose language they have studied for their general education requirement, while others opt for English-medium programs and a few begin the study of a new language. These are some options to consider as you begin the process. See the OIE website for a full list of available programs, most open to all majors. 


Resources for study abroad:

Office of International Education

Visit the Office of International Education’s website to learn more about program options, scholarships how to apply and more.

Credit considerations

The department recommends spreading study abroad credits across the elective categories, for example, one course each in the fields of politics, history, and economics. 

Willamette University

International Studies

900 State Street
Salem Oregon 97301 U.S.A.

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