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Q: When should I study abroad?

A: You should aim to study abroad for either one or two semesters of your junior year.  It is also possible to study abroad during the summer and the first semester of your senior year. Study abroad cannot be your final semester at Brandeis.

We strongly encourage you to consider the option of studying abroad for a full academic year. By spending nine or ten months in another country you will become more integrated in the local scene and improve your knowledge of the language and culture.

If you plan to study abroad for one semester, we encourage you to consider the fall semester. Many study abroad programs have fewer students in the fall.   Fewer students means less competition for the best internship, research and field placements abroad in the fall.   Another thing to consider is that going abroad in the fall means you can be back on campus in the spring which is the prime season to interview for summer internships.

If you plan to study below the equator (i.e. in Australia, South Africa or South America) we encourage you to begin your year or semester away in the spring. That way, your study abroad experience will coincide with the academic calendar of your host country.

Q: Do I have a better chance of getting approved if I apply for the whole academic year, fall or spring?

A:  The full academic year will likely be the least competitive option. We strongly encourage you to consider the option of studying abroad for a full academic year. By spending nine or ten months in another country you will become more integrated in the local scene and improve your knowledge of the language and culture.

Please note, if you wish to apply for one semester, you will be asked to list your preferred semester (fall or spring), as well to provide a rationale for your preference. While every attempt will be made to honor each applicant’s preference, we also must help the university archive some balance between the number of students on campus during the fall and spring semesters. Colleges with large study abroad programs must balance participation between the two semesters so their on-campus enrollment stays at an optimal level. The on-campus academic program (especially in terms of course enrollments), housing, and student activities are undermined if the semesters are not balanced.

The fall semester is frequently less competitive than spring, and there are many good reasons to spend fall semester abroad.

Q: When should I begin my search?
A: Although it is never too early to begin planning your study abroad experience, we encourage you all, and first year students especially, to remain flexible about the process. Initial steps include researching destinations and programs, comparing academic and residential options, and investigating scholarship possibilities. Students are often surprised to learn that many scholarships have application deadlines a year or more in advance of the overseas study period. Most students begin the actual application process six to eight months in advance, although select programs may fill even a year ahead of time. Application deadlines for overseas programs vary, though most applications are due one semester prior to the program. Check the calendar of events for this year's internal Brandeis University deadlines or consult a study abroad staff member for advice on planning.
Q: How do I choose a program?
A: Choosing a program can sometimes seem like a daunting task as there are many options to pick from. No two programs will meet the same set of needs, so our office aims to provide you with guidance and appropriate suggestions about the many study abroad options that Brandeis approves. Meeting with a member of the study abroad staff can help you begin the process of focusing your academic and personal goals while simultaneously helping you narrow your selection to a few programs. Brandeis has an Approved Program List for off-campus study during the academic year. Information on these programs can be found through our linked webpage. If you are seeking a program or country currently not on the list, please schedule an appointment to speak with a member of the study abroad staff about your goals and options.
Q: Where can I find more information, applications and brochures on study abroad programs?

A: In addition to this Web site, you can visit the Office of Study Abroad in Usdan 169, which contains brochures, books, and other country country information anytime from 9am-5pm, Monday through Friday. If you still have questions, give us a call at 781-736-3483 or drop us an email at: abroad@brandeis.edu. You can make an appointment with an advisor after completing the first steps.

The Office of Study Abroad hosts a study abroad fair each fall and many other programs throughout the year (see the calendar of events for details). The fair is a great opportunity to learn about the many options to study abroad and to meet representatives from overseas institutions and programs.
Q: Can I talk with other Brandeis students who have studied abroad?
A: Yes, you can speak with a Study Abroad Ambassador who has recently returned from their study abroad experience.  The website Abroad101.com is the primary resource for Brandeis student program evaluations.
Q: Can I be pre-med or a natural science major and still study abroad?
A: ABSOLUTELY! With good planning and the right program overseas, many pre-med and natural science majors find a way to study abroad for at least a semester and often for the full year. Check the Pre-Health page for more detailed information.
Q: Can I apply to go one place in the fall and another in the spring?

Spending a full academic year in one location allows for the greatest integration and maximizes learning opportunities. Splitting two semesters abroad in two separate locations can be a logistical challenge but is possible in many cases. Pairing a summer and semester abroad (in one location or two) is a viable option, and a great method of gaining knowledge of different languages and cultures. Please meet with an advisor if you're considering any of these options.

Q: What if I only speak English?
A: In addition to English-speaking countries such as Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa and the United Kingdom, please note that our approved program list includes many programs where the language of instruction is English even if English is not the official state language. For example, you can choose from programs taught in English in the Czech Republic, Denmark, Japan, Kenya, The Netherlands, Vietnam, and many others!
Q: Do I have to take all of my classes in the host country's language?
A: No, but at least one of your classes must always be taken for a letter grade in the host country's language. The course can be a language instruction course (i.e. Foreign Language Level I) or you can take an advanced content-based course (i.e. History of Your Host Country taught in Host Country's Language). Failure to complete this requirement will result in loss of all credit for the year or semester abroad. Prior to leaving campus, all students studying abroad in a French, Italian, German, Spanish or Hebrew speaking country must have completed a minimum of two semesters of college level instruction in the respective languages (or the equivalent). There are no exceptions to the foreign language policy and students who plan to study in these languages are encouraged to take as many courses before they apply to study in that language.
Q: I am looking to go abroad in spring of junior year, and Brandeis requires that I have two semesters of my foreign language before going abroad, but by the February deadline I will only be in my first semester. How will this affect my Brandeis application?
A:  As long as you complete the second semester of language before departure, this will not affect your Brandeis application.
Q: The program I want to apply to for spring of junior year says I need three semesters of a foreign language, but by the February deadline I will only be in my second semester of language classes. Will this affect my program application?
A:  You should always check with your program for specific eligibility criteria, but generally speaking, this will not be an issue as long as you complete the third semester before your departure to study abroad.
Q: My GPA isn't a 3.0 yet but I think it will be by the end of the spring my sophomore year and I want to go abroad spring junior year, am I still eligible to apply for study abroad?
A:  The Brandeis eligibility requirements for study abroad state that a student’s GPA be at least a 3.0 at the time of application. If you have concerns about this requirement, please plan to meet with a study abroad staff member. Students should also note that there is no minimum GPA for summer study abroad.
Q: Where will I be living overseas?
A: Accommodation is a key area to research when you are comparing different programs. Generally, the options range from family homestays, dormitory living, or sharing an apartment with either foreign students or other Americans on your program. We encourage you to talk with students who have experience with the different options in order to decide what housing is best for you.
Q: If I plan to study abroad in the fall, will campus housing be available in the spring?
A:  We anticipate housing to be available during the spring semester. Spaces become available for spring semester because of seniors who graduate in December and from students who go abroad for spring semester. More information.
Q: If I plan to study abroad in the spring, how will that affect housing during the fall?
A: If you indicate your intent to study abroad in the spring, you will participate in a special room selection process for fall-only housing. The spaces that are vacated at the end of fall semester will be assigned to incoming midyear students and students returning from studying abroad in the fall. More information.