Faculty & Staff - Study Abroad Information for Faculty
Between 120 and 150 UMaine students study abroad every year for a semester (80%), academic year (10%) or summer (10%) abroad. For academic year 2011-2012 UMaine sent abroad the same number of sophomores, juniors and seniors, but traditionally juniors study abroad in greater numbers. Other study abroad data: women (60%) and men (40%); in-state students (80%) and out-of-state students (20%); 85% of students going abroad use UMaine financial aid for their program;
Destinations – Western Europe (38%), Oceania (22%), Central and South America (10%), Asia (10%), Middle East (5%) and Eastern Europe (5%). The top 6 countries are traditionally Australia, Spain, France, England, New Zealand and Italy.
Study abroad students are expected to take a full semester course load to work towards completing major, minor, general education or language requirements while they are abroad.
Most students who study abroad for a semester/year do so in their junior year, but sophomores and seniors can also study abroad. For some majors (like Education and Nursing), sophomore year is a better fit than junior year. Students from any major can study abroad and graduate in four years as long as they plan ahead.
Hundreds of study programs are available in most countries. The study abroad adviser helps students select a suitable program.
Students who excel academically can apply for competitive research programs abroad.
Students can satisfy an internship or practicum requirement for a major or minor abroad.
Options are available for students with varying foreign language skills. Some students focus on studying a foreign language and others take all of their courses in English. Students who already have strong foreign language skills may be able to take courses in that language at a university in their host country.
For some programs the student pays tuition and fees at UMaine (direct exchange programs) , and for others the student pays a program fee to the program provider.
Study abroad programs may cost more than, less than, or about the same as UMaine. Federal financial aid can be applied to any study abroad program, including UMaine merit scholarships, for which UMaine accepts credit. Additional scholarships are also available.
Employers consistently list study abroad experience as an attractive attribute in a potential hire, because students who spend an extended period of time immersed in a foreign culture typically gain or improve the following knowledge and skills: understanding of own cultural values and biases; increased self-confidence, independence, maturity, self-awareness; cultural awareness/sensitivity; exposure to diverse people/situations; improved language/communication skills; adaptability/flexibility; ability to identify and achieve goals; open-mindedness; patience; problem-solving; listening/observation.
We encourage UMaine students to challenge themselves when choosing a study abroad program. Some of the criteria we encourage students to look for in a study abroad program:
- Choose a semester or year-long program
- Take courses with host country nationals
- Live with a host-country family or host-country roommate
- Participate in volunteering, internships or student activities with local peers
- Take at least one area studies or culture course to learn more about the host country or region
- Take at least one upper level course in your major or minor
- Work on an independent study or research project
- Choose a study abroad program in a less-traveled city, country or region
- Study the language of your host culture (where applicable)
- Take courses in a language other than English (where applicable)
- Encourage students to start their study abroad research from the very first semester at UMaine.
- Many students need guidance in designing an alternative course sequence (if the major allows it) in order to study abroad for one or two semester.
- Academic advisors and department chairs/coordinators assist the student in selecting courses abroad and the Study Abroad Advisor assists in transfer credit evaluation.
- Once the student starts the study abroad pre-departure process, the student will complete a International Study Away Registration form. The student needs to include a wish list of courses abroad for pre-approval, and obtain the signatures of the (1) Study Abroad Advisor, (2) Academic Advisor, and (3) College Dean. The Study Abroad Advisor provides information on credit hour equivalence and course level.
- All information related to pre- and post-program advising, visas, predeparture preparation, in-country logistics, and transfer credit evaluation are provided by the Study Abroad Advisor.