Frequently Asked Questions

Schools in many countries offer courses taught in English, or a mix of English and the language of the host country. Studying overseas is a great way to increase your knowledge and fluency in a language you've already been studying -- especially if you live with a host family. An overseas experience adds weight to your resume, too! Scholarships are available for study abroad programs and in many cases federal financial aid may also be used. PLEASE NOTE: In accordance with the UM System Guidelines, students may not participate in study abroad programs in countries with current travel warnings issued by the State Department. Trying to decide where to go? Look under Study Abroad Programs--semester programs are arranged by country; summer programs are arranged by country, academic program & language. Your first step? You're doing it right now! Research your options using this website! Then come to a  Study Abroad Information Session  and we'll answer all of your questions! Information sessions are held every Friday at 2pm at IAP (Student Success Center, Rm #120) while classes are in session.


Who can study abroad?
Is study abroad for every student?
What are the special requirements/suggestions for students with chronic medical or psychological problems?
Why should I study abroad?
Where can I study?
What can I study?
How do I select a study abroad program that suits me?
When can I study abroad?
How long is a study abroad program?
Do study abroad programs generally run August-December and January-May like our semesters, or can they overlap with existing semesters here?
Are the summer study abroad programs just like fall/spring programs only shorter and with fewer classes? Are there advantages/disadvantages to summer and semester?
What is the “pink form” and why do I need it?
What information do I need to put on the “pink form”?
How is credit awarded?
Will I have to delay graduation if I study abroad?
What does it cost?
Can I apply my Financial Aid and Scholarships to Study Abroad?
Can I study abroad if I don't speak a foreign language?
Can students participate in a study abroad program in a foreign speaking country, but have the courses taught in English?
I've studied a foreign language, but studying abroad entirely in a foreign language sounds scary. What kind of academic achievement is expected of me?
Where will I live if I study abroad?
Okay, I’m convinced, where do I start?


Who can study abroad?

You can! UMKC undergraduate students in good standing who have completed at least one full time semester at UMKC with those grades on their transcript are eligible to study abroad, although individual programs will have their own particular eligibility requirements. Students must have a minimum cumulative UMKC GPA of 2.75. Some programs require sophomore or junior standing and many have additional minimum GPA requirements, usually from 2.75 - 3.0. Please consult specific program information for further information about eligibility requirements. UMKC strongly encourages its students to study abroad: direct experience of another culture is the best way to communicate across barriers of customs, language, geography, and politics. An encounter with different values, educational methods, and with a foreign culture can broaden a student's understanding of the world.


Is study abroad for every student?

While some might argue that every student should study abroad, we realize that is not really the case. Some find it impossible due to their schedules (athletes or students with multiple majors) and others who are on disciplinary and/or academic probation are not allowed to study abroad. Also, students who have fragile physical or mental situations need to consider the feasibility of study abroad for themselves in a given program circumstance or time.


What are the special requirements/suggestions for students with chronic medical or psychological problems?

Students should consult with their physicians, psychologists, psychiatrists and counselors extensively regarding study abroad plans, especially for those considering long-term programs. They should also self disclose to the program administrators about their circumstances. This will allow the program administrators to appropriately assist the students. They may wish to pay special attention to availability for treatment of their medical condition in the destination and also, insurance options for medical evacuation from the country back home depending on the nature of their condition. Students should also continue their prescribed medications while abroad, which may mean bringing a supply sufficient for the duration of their sojourn.


Why should I study abroad?

Everyone will give different answers to this question. UMKC students who have studied abroad enthusiastically agree about its advantages. They find class work in a foreign country stimulating and their encounters outside the classroom educational and exciting. They come back with a broader, deeper understanding both of another country and of their own cultural background. Entering UMKC students should start planning early to enjoy this unique opportunity and students further along in their academic career should come talk to IAP as soon as possible to see if we can help you fit an international experience into your education before graduation.


Where can I study?

UMKC offers programs in approximately 40 countries throughout the world. Students can study in Africa, the Americas, Asia, Australia, or Europe. In accordance with the UM System Guidelines, students may not participate in study abroad programs in countries with current U.S. State Department Travel Warnings.


What can I study?

Some programs focus on a particular field of study while others offer a general curriculum. Most students are able to fulfill graduation requirements and maintain progress toward their degree while studying abroad. Discipline-specific programs include those for law, classics, dentistry, nursing, medicine and foreign languages. Courses are taught in many different languages and many semester and academic year programs allow qualified students with demonstrated language proficiency to choose from regular university course offerings at the overseas institution. Instructional offerings in English are also plentiful and incorporate a wide variety of disciplines. Students who cannot meet their academic objectives through an existing UMKC study abroad program may, with IAP and academic approval, develop their own programs (with IAP support and approval).


How do I select a study abroad program that suits me

Read the select a program guide to ease your process of choosing a study abroad program


When can I study abroad?

You can participate in many programs as soon as the summer after your freshman year. Programs are available for both undergraduates and graduates. Generally, students should explore the opportunities for study abroad during their first two years and plan their UMKC course work to permit them to study abroad in their 4th, 5th, 6th, or 7th semester (second semester sophomores, juniors, and first semester seniors). In certain cases, students will need to complete prerequisites in a foreign language. Students interested in studying abroad for a semester or academic year need to make plans for completing their major requirements by identifying programs which provide instruction in the major field, by doubling up on major courses during the semester before departure or by taking major courses in the summer on campus. It is possible to complete a pre-medical or engineering program and incorporate a semester abroad; it simply takes planning from the start. It is possible to start a new language upon arriving at UMKC and then to study abroad in that language.


How long is a study abroad program?

It depends. IAP encourages students to consider studying abroad for a semester or academic year. Summer programs are also available. The length of time you spend abroad will depend on your particular needs and goals, your financial resources, as well as the limits placed on you by your academic program at UMKC. You may be hesitant to apply for a year-long program because you feel that this is a long time to be away. However, if your goal is to master a language or become completely immersed in another culture, you may find that even a year seems like a short time. Returning study abroad students often report back about how fast their time abroad went by and how much they regretted having to return home after one semester, just as they were "getting the hang of things" in their host country.


Do study abroad programs generally run August-December and January-May like our semesters, or can they overlap with existing semesters here?

Program beginning and ending dates vary considerably, and can certainly overlap and cross terms at UMKC. Many European universities continue the fall semester into late January, limiting your ability to return to UMKC for your Spring Semester. Programs in the southern hemisphere (e.g. Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, South America) start in early July and run through November/December and then from February until June. Program dates are available on the web.


Are the summer study abroad programs just like fall/spring programs only shorter and with fewer classes? Are there advantages/disadvantages to summer and semester?

The GPA requirement is more flexible for summer programs and admission requirements can be less stringent. More summer term classes are taught in English versus a foreign language. Also, the majority of our summer programs are led by UMKC faculty who teach at least one of the courses abroad, whereas most of our semester programs are administered and taught by host nationals. A disadvantage to a summer program is that the students do not have as much time to fully immerse themselves in the host culture and are studying primarily with other Americans.


What is the “pink form” and why do I need it?

The official name for the “pink form” is the UMKC Study Abroad Approval Form for the Administration of Credit and Financial Aid. We prefer to call it the “pink form” because a) who has time for an official name that long? and b) the form is actually pink and is very recognizable because of its color and size. This form allows your Financial Aid to be processed for a study abroad experience at the levels required by the cost of your international program, which may be very different than what you’d normally need here at UMKC. Your program must be an approved program for which you are eligible and which you have been approved to attend. If/when the transcript from your study abroad experience is mailed to our office at UMKC, we will use this form to facilitate the transfer of credit onto your academic record. For all of these reasons, this form is important and must be obtained by visiting our office (Student Success Center: Room 120).


What information do I need to put on the “pink form”?

This form requires that you obtain signatures and do some research. You will need to estimate costs such as international airfare, tuition/books/fees, personal necessities (like soap and shampoo), housing, meals, and study abroad health insurance (the UMKC HTH policy). You will also need to provide the start and end dates of your program and the name of the organization that will provide your transcript (which may or may not be the same entity as your host institution). Lastly, you will need to get the signature of an academic advisor who will determine how the study abroad credits will transfer back to UMKC, and for this you will need to: a) make an appointment with your academic advisor and b) print off the course descriptions of the courses you hope to take, plus a few extra for back up. After you complete ALL of that, you will bring the form to our office (Student Success Center: Room 120), where we will sign it and give it back to you. You will then take it to the Financial Aid office and wait to hear back from them


How is credit awarded?

Through the International Academic Programs Office, students remain enrolled at UMKC and receive UMKC credit. You may earn credit toward your major, general education credit, or elective credit. Students work with an academic advisor in conjunction with a study abroad advisor to ensure continued progress toward a degree. Undergraduates can transfer up to 15 credits hour per semester from study abroad, although we recommend you take a maximum of 12 hours. Students should consult the Director of Undergraduate Studies in their major department to find out if, and how many, transfer credits may be applied towards their major as applicable.


Will I have to delay graduation if I study abroad?

Not necessarily. With careful planning, you can remain on track to graduate in four years and still study abroad for up to a year. We advise students to start planning early and to work closely with their college and academic advisers to design the best course of study and to ensure that they remain on track toward graduation. Some students find that it is best for them to remain at UMKC for an extra semester or year after studying abroad because of the new focus they gained as a result of their time overseas. Of course, your own circumstances and needs will determine the best course of action for you.


What does it cost?
Individual program costs vary, but studying abroad does not have to be prohibitively expensive. UMKC study abroad programs strive to keep costs down while maintaining high-quality programs that are available to as many students as possible. Many programs are based on exchange agreements with universities abroad. For instance, UMKC has exchange agreements with universities in Austria, England, Germany and Spain and the Mid America Universities International (MAUI) consortium to provide study abroad opportunities of great value at tuition, room and board costs close to those of staying on the Kansas City campus. What this means is that UMKC students can study at an international university for essentially the same cost as remaining here in Kansas City. Tuition and fees are paid at UMKC, while housing is usually paid for in the host country. Additional expenses would include international travel, passports and visas, and incidentals, such as travel within the host country or region. Some programs, in countries where the cost of living is significantly less than in the U.S., such as China or Mexico, can turn out to be much cheaper than a comparable period of time at UMKC. Other programs, in high-cost cities, such as London or Tokyo, can be substantially more expensive than studying at UMKC. Please refer to information about specific programs for detailed information on costs.

Can I apply my Financial Aid and Scholarships to Study Abroad?

Yes!! Most federal, state and some campus-based aid can be applied to the costs of studying on most UMKC or UMKC Partner study abroad program. International Academic Programs also offers a limited number of study abroad scholarships each year to qualified applicants and a number of departments offer scholarships for study abroad. Awards typically range from $500 - $1,000. In addition, there are a growing number of third-party scholarships available expressly for study abroad. Inquire at International Academic Programs for more information. A broad range of national scholarships is available to students as well. Scholarships that UMKC students have been awarded recently include the Freeman-ASIA, the Rotary Fellowship and the Gilman International Scholarship.

If you receive a scholarship that can only be used for UMKC tuition, look for schools on the programs page that charge UMKC tuition. Sort the list by clicking on the word "sort" in the 4th column entitled "Tuition/Program"


Can I study abroad if I don't speak a foreign language?

Yes–you can study in a country where English is the local language, of course. Alternatively, even in countries where another language is spoken, study abroad programs taught mainly in English usually are available. Many programs, including some in countries where English is not spoken as a native language, do not require any foreign language background because the foreign institution recognizes the need for its students to know English if they are to be competitive and offers many of its courses in English. Many of these programs in non-English speaking countries also emphasize language study, especially in languages such as Romanian that are not readily available on US university campuses.


Can students participate in a study abroad program in a foreign speaking country, but have the courses taught in English?

Yes. But if they participate in such a program during the semester, they are usually required to take one course in the host country language.


I've studied a foreign language, but studying abroad entirely in a foreign language sounds scary. What kind of academic achievement is expected of me?

Many study abroad programs offer special foreign language courses for program participants which are designed to be appropriate for the student's level of competency in that language (this will be stated in the eligibility requirements). Students who take regular classes in a foreign language alongside host-country students should expect a challenging academic environment and should be prepared to put forth extra effort in overcoming the language barrier. But it is important to note that most professors understand the situation of international students and will usually issue grades and evaluate effort with a student's language difficulties in mind.


Where will I live if I study abroad?

This will vary by program. The most common types of accommodation arranged for study abroad students are: residence hall-type housing, homestays, or private apartments or rooms. Residence hall housing abroad is usually quite different from here at UMKC. Most students are housed in single rooms with shared bathroom, kitchen and "living room." These are often self-catering arrangements, in which students are responsible for buying and preparing their own meals. There is a great deal more freedom and responsibility for the students than is usual in American university residence halls. Homestays may be the best way to immerse yourself in the host country. The experience of living with a family can provide profound insights into the host culture in a way that other arrangements cannot. However, homestays may be more restrictive in that you will be expected to conform to the rules and norms of the family, which will certainly be different from your own family. Private rooms or apartments generally offer the most freedom, but they are generally the most expensive and difficult housing arrangements to make. Students must make all arrangements themselves for leases, payment of rent, utilities, etc., and must often pay a sizable deposit before being allowed to move in.


Okay, I’m convinced, where do I start?

To begin a search for a study abroad program, students are encouraged to attend a STUDY ABROAD INFORMATION SESSION in the IAP office, Room #120 in the Student Success Center (5000 Holmes). Info sessions are held Tuesdays and Fridays at 2pm (while classes are in session) and will walk you through the first steps towards studying abroad. Walk-in advising hours, held on Wednesdays at 9:30-11:00am, are available to all students who have attended an info session. Early planning generally affords more options. Application deadlines are generally Feb 15 for the following fall, academic year, or summer, and October 1 for the following spring. Early application is encouraged, as programs often fill early. We look forward to hearing from you soon!


***In accordance with the UM System Guidelines, students may not participate in study abroad programs in countries with current  U.S. State Department Travel Warnings.
CHOOSE PROGRAM TYPE: If you have questions about these or any other study abroad programs before choosing one, please contact us by calling 816.235.5759 or email: international@umkc.edu