At Home Anywhere: Study Abroad with UM

The Foreign Exchange/Study Abroad Program, which allows students to spend spring break, summer, or an entire semester studying in another country, is becoming one of the most popular programs available to UM students.
“After studying and traveling throughout Europe, I realized how important it is to get out of your fishbowl hometown and learn about other cultures and environments outside of the states,” Zach Ordonez, a senior who traveled to Prague to study, said.
Among the benefits of traveling abroad is the intensive practice of a foreign language and immersion into a new culture. Also, students in nearly every major can find classes in their field taught from a different point of view.
“At Buckinghamshire Chiltern’s University in High Wycombe, England, I learned about British colloquialisms and culture while adapting to my surroundings,” Liz Lowry, senior, said. “My professors were extremely interested in learning the American teachings of music industry management, and I was intent on understanding theirs.”
According to those working with the program, the earlier a student plans a semester abroad with an academic advisor, the easier it will be to meet any academic requirements.
“First-year students are encouraged to consider a summer program abroad after their first year at UM,” Chris Tingue, assistant director of the International Education and Exchange Program, said. “It’s best for students to plan study abroad into their program of study as early as they can.”
Historically, the most popular destinations for study abroad were in Western Europe. However, UM has recently seen an increase of participation in programs to Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Africa, Latin America, and Australia.
On average, about 60 students travel for the fall semester, and approximately 90 in the spring. The tuition cost and all aid and scholarships that an enrolled full-time student at UM has earned will apply to study abroad. Some travel stipends are also offered.
On the down side, a student traveling abroad will be away from UM for a period of time, “out-of-the-loop”, which is hard on students involved in extra-curricular activities. Also, some students experience culture shock, or simply find that a certain country was not all they had hoped for.
However, Tingue says the experience outweighs
“The rewards are endless-most students who spend a semester abroad wish they had planned to go for a full year,” Tingue said. “The world awaits.”
For more information about the exchange/study abroad programs at UM, contact the International Education and Exchange Programs office at 305-284-3434, or visit