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Learning and Engagement Abroad: Methods and Goals

Study abroad is the pursuit of educational opportunities and activities in an international setting. These come in many different shapes and sizes as they vary in academic objectives, length, location, and price. The most common types of study abroad programs are listed below, although there are other types that can be loosely defined as any academic work performed abroad related to students' on-campus curriculum.

Duration of Programs

Program durations typically fall into the following categories: calendar year, academic year, semester, summer (2-8 weeks), winter break (1-3 weeks), fall break (1 week), and spring break (1 week).

Types of Programs

Illinois faculty-led programs

Illinois faculty lead groups abroad in a variety of ways, including teaching an Illinois course abroad, adding an international component as a non-credit-bearing or credit-bearing segment to an on-campus course, and taking a group abroad for a non-credit-bearing program to examine a theme that complements on-campus curricula. Often these programs are called Courses Abroad or Study Tours

Programs for U.S. students

These programs are those in which students are in an international setting, but where courses are designed for U.S. students, largely following U.S.-style curricula. They typically have full on-site support including orientation, advising, housing assistance, and cultural activities and excursions.

Direct enrollment/exchange programs

These programs are those in which a U.S. student is directly enrolled in a foreign university and takes classes side-by-side with local students. On-site support ranges from full (as with programs for U.S. students) to basic.

Internationalizing Your Curriculum

Incorporating an international experience into your curriculum is a great way to take what you teach at Illinois to a new level. This integration helps prepare students for the demands of today's global society. Some ideas include: project-based work abroad; experiential, hands-on activities (e.g., a senior design project created jointly with students at a host university); a community-based learning experience, a study tour abroad connected to a course taught on campus; a lecture-based course abroad; or an on-campus class focusing on the international aspects of your discipline.


To learn more about how to integrate international study, speak with the personnel of your college or Stacy Billman, Senior Coordinator for Short-Term Programs who handles new programs. For information on publicity and classroom visits, please contact Bridget Doyle. For information on credit for international study please contact Tatiana Nikolaeva. For study abroad contacts in your college and others, please see our Contacts page.

Faculty or Staff Research and Travel Abroad

The Study Abroad Office (SAO) encourages faculty and staff to register with SAO when they go abroad. This serves three purposes. It allows us to enroll you in CISI international health insurance. It allows us to be of assistance to you and your family in the event of an emergency. Finally, it provides us a better picture for talking about international activities at the University of Illinois.

Registering with SAO as a faculty/staff person doing research or just independently traveling abroad is a two-part process. The first part is completing the Faculty/Staff Activity Abroad Form and submitting it to SAO, at which point you will be given an international insurance card and brochure. The second part is optional. Once your information is entered into the online study abroad application system, you may log in and provide us with an emergency contact number. We also encourage you to submit a photocopy of your passport as well.

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