BEFORE YOU GO ABROAD
What is Boston University Study Abroad?
Boston University Study Abroad makes it possible for college and university students to realize their dreams to study abroad. We operate language, liberal arts, fine arts, science, engineering, and internship programs in 35 cities in 25 countries on 6 continents, all fully approved by Boston University.
How do I know what study abroad program is right for me?
Spend some time doing self-reflection before you begin your search. Think about why you are studying abroad and how your program will align with your personal and academic goals. Please also check out the Plan section on our website.
When can I study abroad? Can I only study abroad once?
Some programs are offered all semesters, some only during the academic year, some only a single semester. Sometimes students even study abroad the summer after their senior year.
Many students spend consecutive semesters at their study abroad destination or combine two different sites for a year abroad. Studying abroad multiple semesters is possible but keep in mind the importance of planning ahead.
We had a student study in five different study abroad programs; we challenge you to beat that!
I haven’t studied a foreign language. Can I still study abroad?
Absolutely! Language learning is not the only reason to go abroad, and Boston University offers many programs in English-speaking countries as well as multiple programs where the courses are taught in English. On our study abroad website, students can tailor their search by language as well.
How can I learn more about BU Study Abroad?
BU Study Abroad offers information sessions and events throughout the year to help you learn more about our programs. We also offer Walk-In Hours. Our study abroad staff is always happy to meet with prospective students and answer your questions about planning your abroad experience. If If you are a non-BU student, we are happy to talk over the phone or work with your study abroad office. Study abroad also visits institutions throughout the school year so no matter where you are, we can help you find the right program for your needs.
Is it expensive to study abroad?
Tuition and housing on a BU Study Abroad program is generally comparable to the Charles River Campus. Most financial aid may be applied to BU Study Abroad programs – talk to your advisor in BU’s Financial Assistance office about your individual financial aid package. If you are a non-BU student, we recommend starting with your study abroad office to determine costs.
Will studying abroad cost more than a regular semester at Boston University? Does aid travel?
Generally, the cost of study abroad is the same or less than a semester at Boston University, but study abroad fees sometimes include extras like air fare and great excursions. Most forms of Boston University financial assistance travel with students; however, some forms of financial aid (such as work/study arrangements) may not transfer. It is the student’s responsibility to contact the Office of Financial Assistance for full information: 617-353-2965.
I am a BU student, will my financial aid transfer?
Yes, almost all aid can be used by BU students attending BU programs. The exceptions to this general rule are work study (for most programs) and supplemental grants. Tuition scholarships will be based on the tuition portion of the program fee. Students must contact the Office of Financial Assistance for specifics about their individual circumstances, and to notify them of study abroad plans. BU students can apply for summer SAGs.
I am a Non-BU student. Will I be the only non-BU student on a particular program?
No. In general, about half of the students on our programs come from Boston University; the others come from hundreds of schools across the United States and abroad.
How early can I start applying? When is it too late to apply?
Our deadlines come three times a year: October 1 for spring programs (Sept. 15 for some), March 1 for summer programs, and March 15 for fall or academic year programs. It is often possible to apply after the program deadline, on a space available basis. We can accept applications for most programs until the program is full. Please call our office for more information or check the Study Abroad website.
Do students with only certain majors study abroad?
No. Students from all majors study abroad. Some students, such as language, business, engineering, science, and fine arts majors are able to find programs in their own majors, and others take a semester to broaden their education or take advantage of an internship.
Where will I live?
Housing accommodations vary from site to site. On some programs students are housed with other students on the program, some live in university housing, some live in city apartments, and some in homestays. Learn more about housing accommodations.
May I talk to a student who has participated in a BU Study Abroad program?
Yes. In fact, returned students are one of your best sources of information about all aspects of the program, and many have volunteered to talk to students thinking about going abroad. Call our office (617-353-9888) and we’ll put you in touch with the Program Manager who can connect you with a returnee. Study Abroad also has Study Abroad ambassadors, student leader volunteers who are eager to share study abroad stories and experiences, raise awareness and interest in study abroad opportunities, and increase on-campus participation and outreach. We are always happy to put you in touch.
Is it possible to study abroad on a non-BU or external program?
Yes, for more information please see External Programs.
Can I obtain syllabi to give to my study abroad office so they'll approve the program?
Yes. We maintain up-to-date syllabi for courses at all of our sites. Most are available online, or you can call us at 617-353-9888, and tell us what you need.
I am ready to apply. What do I do?
Once you’ve selected your program, you’re ready to apply!
All programs require the following material:
- Advisor form signed by your academic advisor(s) or your Advising Office, unless you are in COM, in which case it should be signed by the COM Undergraduate Affairs Office. Non-BU students should start with their Study Abroad Office. Please keep in mind:
- If you are a double major within same school, one advisor form is sufficient.
- If you are a Dual Degree major, you will need advisors from both colleges.
- CGS students should start with the Advising office of the college they are entering after CGS.
- Additional required documents: once you select your semester and program online, you will see the additional required documents.
- Recommendations, including specific required recommendations like General, Science, Studio Art.
Remember to submit your application, and use the green check marks to track when our office receives and processes your application materials.
What if my grades during my first year weren’t great?
Make sure you address your past academic performance as part of the application questionnaire. Talk about the challenges you have faced, what you have learned and how you have overcome them, and how you are prepared to handle similar challenges abroad. Also, focus on improving your grades now—show us that you’ve learned from your experience.
Can I apply to two programs at once?
No, applicants are only considered for one program at a time. However, we encourage you to think carefully about alternate programs and list those you would like to apply to, should you not be admitted to your first choice program. The application questionnaire allows for answers to multiple programs.
What if I don’t meet a program’s prerequisites?
Please contact our office so that we can advise, either on alternate program options or alternate semesters to study abroad.
What happens after I submit my application? When can I expect to receive an admissions decision?
Applications will not be reviewed until all materials are on file including the most recent transcript showing coursework completed prior to the application deadline. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that all required materials have been received by the BU Study Abroad office.
Once the notification period begins, students with a complete application will receive an admission decision in two to four weeks. Applicants will be notified by email.
For competitive programs or tracks, BU Study Abroad may in some cases place applications on hold until a review of the full applicant pool is completed.
Can you confirm that you received my application materials?
Due to the high volume of application materials we are currently receiving, we are unable to confirm the receipt of every document by email. We will communicate regarding receipt of documents via the ‘Check Application’ tab of your online application; please visit this checklist for updates. The green checkmarks correspond to items that our office has received and processed.
I just submitted my document yesterday, but don’t see a green checkmark next to that item. How long does it take to show up on my checklist?
Please allow up to 5 business days for processing. Items will always be back-dated to the date they were received.
What if I don’t get into my first choice program?
Unfortunately, we cannot always accommodate every student on their first choice program. Space is limited in some programs, and some programs and semesters are more popular than others. For this reason, it’s really important to think about listing a second choice program on your application.
What if I miss the application deadline?
Please check our website to see if we are still accepting applications for your program of interest. We are often able to extend the deadline for certain programs on a space-available basis.
Can I submit my application after the deadline?
Yes, however please keep in mind that your application will be reviewed once it is complete. If you complete your application after the deadline, it will be reviewed on a space-available basis at that time.
Can I get an extension to the application deadline?
Unfortunately, we cannot provide extensions to students however your application will still be reviewed after the deadline, on a space available basis.
Who should write my recommendation/who should complete my advisor form?
Most programs require a general recommendation from a professor, TA, or TF with whom you have had a university level class for a letter grade. Some programs may require a recommendation from a language or specialty instructor. Please refer to your application for more information about the requirements for your program. Only one letter of recommendation is required. However, you may choose to include an additional, supplemental recommendation from anybody if you’d like.
BU students should discuss with their school or college to find the appropriate person to complete the advisor support of participation form. Non-BU students should have this form completed by the person at their home institution responsible for approving study abroad transfer credit. Non-BU students may want to discuss with the study abroad office at their home institution to determine the appropriate advisor.
I've already been admitted but don't know what to do next
Will credits from a Boston University study abroad program transfer to my college?
In many cases, yes. You will receive an official Boston University transcript on completion of your program which you can submit to your own college or university. It is your responsibility, though, to consult with your advisor beforehand, to determine whether the credits can be applied to your degree program.