Contact Us

Center for International Affairs
Case Western Reserve University
10900 Euclid Avenue
Tomlinson Hall, 1st Floor, Room 143
Cleveland, OH 44106-7031
Telephone: 216-368-2517
Fax: 216-368-4561

Want to see us in person? Check the university's map to locate Tomlinson Hall.

If this computerized translation is not clear, please contact the Office of International Affairs for more information.

Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

What different types of study abroad programs are available at CWRU?
When is the best semester to study abroad?
When should I start planning to study abroad?
Where can I find a list of programs?
Do I have to speak a foreign language to study abroad?
Can international students study abroad?

Program Specific Questions

There are so many options! How can I choose a program?
Who can participate in semester-long or year-long study abroad programs?
What is a short term study abroad program? Who can participate in short-term study abroad programs?
I would like to participate in a short-term study abroad program. Do I need to go to the Office of Education Abroad?
What if I would like to go on a program that is not approved?
What options are available for the summer?

Financial Questions

Is studying abroad more expensive than staying at Case?
How does payment work for semester-long programs?
How does payment work for non-CWRU summer programs?
How does payment work for short-term CWRU programs?
Can I use my CWRU scholarships on study abroad programs?
Can I use federal financial aid for study abroad programs?

Academic Questions

Are there any majors that can't study abroad?
Do study abroad courses transfer to CWRU?
Will my study abroad courses be figured into my GPA?
What courses should I take when I study abroad?
What sort of internship and research opportunities are available abroad?
What options are available to nursing students?
What programs are available to engineering students?

Miscellaneous Questions

Can I study abroad if I’m an officer in a student organization?
Can I study abroad if I’m a varsity athlete?
I’m applying for a visa, and it says I need an FBI background check. What is this and how do I get one?


General Questions

What different types of study abroad programs are available at CWRU?
There are three main types of study abroad programs at CWRU: short-term, exchange, and direct-enroll. Short-term programs take place outside of the academic year (Spring Break, Winter Break, or Summer) and involve a CWRU faculty member that takes a group of students abroad to complete a course. Exchange programs are generally semester- or year-long and consist of a CWRU student studying at a university abroad (with the assumption that a student from the university abroad will study at CWRU). Direct-enroll programs are similar to exchange programs except no students from the institution abroad are expected to study at CWRU. If you are interested in a nontraditional study abroad opportunity (such as overseas research or an internship abroad), please feel free to use our office as a resource for that as well.

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When is the best semester to study abroad?
This depends on your major and person preference. For pre-med students, the best semester to study abroad is spring of your second year. For other students, it is based on personal preference. Spring of sophomore year and fall of junior year are the most popular semesters to study abroad. For engineering students, going abroad for a full year is easier than one semester, because engineering courses are often taught in one year sequences. It’s better to take both parts at the same university than to split them.

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When should I start planning to study abroad?
We recommend planning for your study abroad program about a year in advance.

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Where can I find a list of programs?
A list of all semester, year-long, short-term, and summer courses can be found in the Studio Abroad system, which can be accessed by going to studyabroad website and clicking on ‘Program Search’ at the top of the page. Spring semester short-term programs can be found at this link. Semester and year long programs can be found here.

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Do I have to speak a foreign language to study abroad?
As long as you are taking courses taught in English, there is no foreign language prerequisite for studying abroad. However, Case does require that you take at least one language course while abroad if you are studying in a country in which English is not the native language. If you plan to take courses taught in a foreign language, we recommend that you are very comfortable with the language before travelling.

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Can international students study abroad?
Definitely! International students study abroad very often. The only difference is in visa requirements, which is rarely a problem. Many international students take courses at a university in their home country when going home for the summer. To have this credit transferred, it must be arranged as a study abroad program through the Office of Education Abroad. Email studyabroad@case.edu for more information.

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There are so many options! How can I choose a program?

At CWRU, we strive to provide you with as many high quality programs as possible so that you can find a program that’s a perfect match for your needs. However, we know that looking at a long list of programs can be daunting! Here are some things to think about when you’re trying to narrow down your options:
Academics

  • What do you hope to accomplish academically with your study abroad experience? Do you wish to take major requirements? Minor requirements? Breadth requirements? Electives? If you are hoping to take major or minor requirements, first narrow down your search by major.
  • How comfortable are you with the idea of a different academic system? Are you the type of student that needs to hand in homework every day to gauge your progress, or are you comfortable with more independent learning? If this is a consideration for you, you may wish to research the academic system in the countries you’re considering.
  • Do you want a traditional study abroad classroom experience, a research opportunity, or an internship?

Location

  • Is there a particular place in which you wish to study abroad? Our online system allows you to search by location.
  • How comfortable would you be if English were not the native language of your study abroad destination?
  • Do you prefer a larger, more cosmopolitan city or a more rural, traditional town?

Time

  • How long do you wish to study abroad? Programs range in length from one week to one year.
  • Do you prefer to follow the US academic calendar, or can you be more flexible? Would it bother you to be overseas for certain holidays? If so, you may wish to compare programs by date.

Finances

  • How much do finances play a role in deciding your study abroad program? If finances play a large role, you may wish to consider a program whose location capitalizes on the exchange rate of U.S. dollars, or the less expensive short-term programs.
  • Consider also the living expenses in various destinations if finances play a role. While the cost of living is much higher in Paris than Cleveland, the cost of living in Bangkok is much lower.

Personal style and preferences

  • Are you an independent traveler, or do you prefer more direction? Exchange programs are excellent opportunities for independent travelers, while short-term programs and a few others offer more logistical assistance to students who prefer more direction.
  • Would you thrive or feel uncomfortable in a situation where you might be the only American in a program?
  • Would you prefer to stay in a homestay, residence hall, or apartment?

Eligibility

  • Different programs have different GPA requirements. Do you meet the GPA requirement for the program?
  • Do you wish to study abroad as a freshman, senior, or graduate student? If so, you may want to consider short-term study abroad. (See Who can participate in semester-long or year-long study abroad programs? above.)
  • If applicable, do you have the required language skills for the program?

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Who can participate in semester-long or year-long study abroad programs?
Sophomores and juniors in good academic standing (those that are not on academic probation), and without any outstanding judicial affairs sanctions, can participate in a semester- or year-long study abroad. Note that many programs require a higher GPA than a 2.0, however. Because we believe freshmen should take at least a year to adjust to campus life (and because they need to build a GPA to be accepted by the overseas institution), freshmen are not eligible for semester- or year-long study abroad programs. University policy states that the final 15 hours of coursework must be completed on-campus, so seniors who choose to study abroad for a semester or longer should note that they generally need to complete at least one more semesters on campus before graduation. (In some cases, there are ways to complete this requirement and still study abroad during the second semester of one’s senior year; however, this is the exception rather than the rule. Students who wish to study abroad during the second semester of their senior year should consult with their advisors to see whether they can meet the senior residency requirement.)

Graduate students should consult with their advisors before studying abroad on a semester-long program. It is not common for graduate students to participate in traditional semester-long study abroad, but sometimes overseas research opportunities are available for graduate students. All judicial affairs sanctions (including probation) must be complete before a student can participate in any study abroad program.

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What is a short term study abroad program? Who can participate in short-term study abroad programs?
A short term program takes place outside the academic year (Spring Break, Winter Break, and summer). All graduates and undergraduates in good academic standing (2.0 or above cumulative GPA) can participate in short-term study abroad. All judicial affairs sanctions (including probation) must be complete before a student can participate in any study abroad program.

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I would like to participate in a short-term study abroad program. Do I need to go to the Office of Education Abroad?
If you’d like to participate in a short-term study abroad program but you aren’t sure which program is the best fit for your needs, the Office of Education Abroad is an excellent place to start. You can email studyabroad@case.edu to set up an appointment. If you already know which program you’d like to participate in, you can contact the advisor for that specific program (listed on our website) and begin the application process.

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What if I would like to go on a program that is not approved?
While Case Western Reserve University has carefully chosen programs and institutions to meet the needs of the vast majority of students and to keep our students safe, we recognize that some students have compelling academic reasons for looking at alternate programs or at programs in areas with a travel or CDC warning. Any student who desires to enroll in an overseas program that is not on the list of approved programs must submit a petition. This is to ensure that students are participating in high quality programs both in terms of academics and student services support. This process also allows CWRU to better manage risk and prepare for emergencies.

Students must have an academically compelling reason for submitting a petition. The petition process is a case-by-case review of the individual student’s academic reasons for wanting to participate in a program or submit an application past the deadline.

The petition review committee meets every month with the exception of June and July. Petitions should be submitted by the 1st of the month in which they are hoped to be reviewed. Students will receive notification if their petitions were approved or denied or will receive a request for more information by the end of the month in which the petitions are reviewed. Petitions submitted in May, June, or July will be reviewed in August. Students should plan on submitting their petitions as early as possible so that they have time to complete the petition process and apply to the appropriate program.

For instructions on how to petition, students must contact one of the study abroad advisors atstudyabroad@case.edu.

Note that, if approved, an additional $500 Study Abroad processing fee will be assessed and the student will pay tuition to the overseas institution, not CWRU

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What options are available for the summer?
There many study abroad options available during the summer. Since Case tuition is not applied, there is a wide variety of programs that you can do. As long as Case approves the program, you can do it and get credit. There are several programs in the Studio Abroad system (go to studyabroad website and go to Program Search) that have already been approved. You can also petition for a program not listed.

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Financial Questions

Is studying abroad more expensive than staying at Case?
It depends on the program. If you are doing a semester program that has been pre-approved by Case, then you pay your tuition directly to Case as you would if you were staying on campus. The difference in cost will come from travel and housing. Depending on where you are going, housing may be more or less than it is at Case. Some students will end up paying more abroad than at Case, but many students actually spend less money studying abroad.

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How does payment work for semester-long programs?
For all approved semester-long programs, you pay CWRU tuition. Note that the cost of the program does not affect the amount of money you pay for your tuition at CWRU. All other expenses (room and board, excursions, etc.) are paid to the institution abroad. For all approved semester-long programs except for exchange programs, you need to bring a copy of your bill to the Office of Education Abroad so that CWRU can pay tuition to the overseas institution / provider. (In exchange programs, no tuition is levied by the overseas university, so this step is not necessary.)

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How does payment work for non-CWRU summer programs?
In summer programs, no tuition is levied through CWRU. You simply pay the overseas program.

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How does payment work for short-term CWRU programs?
Upon applying for a short-term program, you will be asked to pay a $200 deposit with your application. The rest of the program fee is levied through your student account.

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Can I use my CWRU scholarships on study abroad programs?
In almost all cases, yes. The only exceptions are 1) studying abroad over summer and 2) studying abroad on non-approved, petitioned-for study abroad programs. (See What if I would like to go on a program that is not approved?) During either of these cases, you cannot use your CWRU scholarships on your study abroad programs.

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Can I use federal financial aid for study abroad programs?
Absolutely. Simply contact Nancy Issa in the Office of Financial Aid for more information.

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Academic Questions

Are there any majors that can't study abroad?
Absolutely not! CWRU has study abroad programs available for all majors.

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Do study abroad courses transfer to CWRU?
Yes! All of your study abroad coursework can be transferred to meet major or minor requirements, breadth requirements, and/or electives.

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Will my study abroad courses be figured into my GPA?
No. You will receive credit for your study abroad coursework if you receive a C or better, but the coursework will not be figured into your GPA.

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What courses should I take when I study abroad?
You can take courses to satisfy major or minor requirements, breadth requirements, and/or electives. If you’re unsure of what to take abroad, consult your academic advisor.

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What sort of internship and research opportunities are available abroad?
Some CWRU students complete internships, research, and co-ops abroad. The Office of Education Abroad can share with you various internship opportunities, but note that it’s very difficult to find paying internships abroad due to visa regulations. However, the Office of Education Abroad is happy to share with you tips and procedures for searching for internships, research, and co-ops abroad. After you’ve secured an internship, research position, or co-op, the Office of Education Abroad will work with you to ensure that you are registered properly at CWRU and that you receive health insurance and cultural preparation for your experience abroad.

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What options are available to nursing students?
Nurses frequently do their capstones abroad during their senior year. Nurses are also able to do faculty-led, short-term programs. Talk to your School of Nursing advisor to find out which options are available to you.

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What programs are available to engineering students?
There are a wide variety of programs available to all types of engineering majors. In the Program Search function of the study abroad website you can search by courses offered. This will bring up a list of all programs that offer courses in your field of engineering. Additionally, Case is part of a global engineering exchange partnership called GE3. There are GE3 programs in many different locations, and all have engineering programs comparable to Case. To find GE3 programs, go to the study abroad program search and search for ‘GE3’.

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Miscellaneous Questions

Can I study abroad if I’m an officer in a student organization?
Definitely! Varsity athletes frequently study abroad. Sports that are confined to one semester (baseball, track, cross-country, football, etc.) are easier, since you can go abroad during the off season. Varsity athletes often compete in sports at their study abroad host school. Talk to your coach to see if and when you can study abroad.

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Can I study abroad if I’m a varsity athlete?
It depends on your role in the organization. If you have responsibilities that require you to stay on campus, it’s probably best to choose a different semester to study abroad. However, if you can do your work while abroad, you can still go. Several study abroad students have maintained their roles in organizations while abroad. Talk to other members of your organization to see if studying abroad would be feasible.

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I’m applying for a visa, and it says I need an FBI background check. What is this and how do I get one?
Information on FBI background checks can be found here

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