Education Abroad is a Pretty Serious Occasion!

Because you will be investing time, effort and money in this venture, it is important to START THE PROCESS EARLY. And when we say early, the ideal time to begin exploring your options is at least 9 - 12 months prior to the desired departure date. 

Also imperative is that you look at the process of education as you would a college course: the time and energy you will spend exploring programs, applying for programs, and submitting required documents by specified deadlines can be time-consuming and requires good time-management skills. What we mean to say is, take this process very seriously. 

Getting Started

UM-Flint offers over 300 programs in over 45 countries. To determine which program is right for you, complete the  Pre-Planning Worksheet and bring it to your appointment with the education abroad advisor. 

Submit an Inquiry to an Education Abroad Advisor

The Study Abroad Decision also provides relevant information and resources as you consider an education abroad program.

Stages of Education Abroad

In general, these are the stages of studying abroad:

I. Search & Find Program!

II. Apply!

  • Complete any course evaluation processes, if seeking credit from non UM-Flint program
  • Submit an application and all requested items

III. Prepare!

  • Make all payments
  • Book airline ticket
  • Purchase travel abroad health insurance 
  • Apply for travel visa, if required
  • Participate in pre-departure orientation 
  • Register for applicable course(s)
  • Register travel in the U-M Travel Registry

IV. Go !

  • Learn, explore, GROW

V. Return!

  • Confirm coursework
  • Leverage Education Abroad in your educational and professional endeavors  

Choosing a Program

With so many education abroad options, it is important that really think about why you want to learn abroad, which can help narrow your option to what you specifically need. Consider the following questions:

Personal goals:

Why do you want to study abroad? What do you consider to be the most important components of your study abroad experience?


What subjects do I want to study? Do I need to fulfill major, minor, or general education requirements? How will my time abroad affect my scheduled graduation? What are the languages of instruction?


what country or region? Do I prefer to live in a big city, or small city? Is there easily accessible transportation within the city or between cities in the country?

Continue your research by:

  1. Attending an Education Abroad Information Session. You can also connect with past education abroad participants who can help you prepare better and think about things you would not have otherwise thought of.
  2. Meeting your academic advisor who will help you fit education abroad into your academic plans.

Program Types

Internal Programs

With UM-Flint Programs, you can receive direct UM-Flint credit. There are two types of UM-Flint programs:

  • Faculty-Led Programs: Each year, UM-Flint faculty lead international travel programs to different regions around the world. Programs vary annually and encompass a variety of disciplines and generally take place during the Spring and Summer terms. In these programs, the faculty/staff leader(s) are generally referred to as “faculty-leader” or “site leader.” These intercultural endeavors are selected from proposals submitted by UM-Flint faculty and enable students to learn in rich cultural environments, while gaining a greater understanding of global situations and processes. Faculty and staff have also been known to lead non-credit service learning programs during various times of the academic year.

    Faculty-led programs are usually 1 – 3 weeks in length, and take place mostly in spring the summer semesters.

  • Exchange Programs: Exchange programs allow current undergraduate and graduate students to study in a foreign country for a certain period of time while receiving credits toward their UM-Flint degree. In return, UM-Flint accepts an equal number of students from these partner schools around the world. Students pay tuition at their home universities but may pay be required to pay for housing, health insurance, meals, books, etc. within the host country.

    Exchange programs are usually a semester or year in length. Some summer internship and research opportunities are available to students within specific disciplines.


External Programs

With External Programs (non-UM-Flint), you can receive transfer credit.

  • Provider Programs: Provider Programs refer to an entity which administers study abroad programs open to students from many various colleges and universities. Students pay tuition and program fees directly to the program provider that organizes these programs. Students may be in classes with other American students from around the country or with students at the host institution. Provider Programs offer a wide range of education abroad options, including semester, year, and summer programs, as well as volunteer, internship, research, and teaching opportunities.
  • Programs through U.S. and Foreign Colleges/Universities: Students may also participate in education aboard programs through other U.S. colleges/universities or foreign colleges/universities. Typically, students are considered “guest students” at that institution and may need to complete a guest student process required by the institution. Students all pay all tuitions/programm fees directly to the U.S. or foreign college/university. 

Financial aid may be available to those eligible who are participating in external programs. Certain conditions apply. Please consult a Financial Aid advisor early.

  Faculty-Led Program (credit-bearing) Exchange Program External Programs
Do I pay UM-Flint Tuition and Fees?          Yes Yes No
Are UM-Flint Scholarships and Grants Available? Yes Yes No
Federal and State Financial Aid Available? Yes Yes Yes
Grades Letter Grades Letter Grades & Pass/Fail Pass/Fail
Ideal for?
  • Students who want to travel UM-Flint and UM-Flint faculty
  • Students wish to have experience of studying abroad and getting a taste of another culture but perhaps do not have the time, money, or resources to complete a traditional or year abroad
  • Students who want a longer experience but still want direct UM-Flint credit
  • Students from a specific discipline who want to take courses for their major abroad
  • Students who want a longer experience in a part of a world that is not offered through
  • Students who are seeking volunteer opportunities and internships opportunities

Academic Planning

While some programs have a set curriculum, many give you the freedom to pick the courses that are right for you. You will choose what is most interesting to you, what is appropriate for your level (linguistic/academic), and what will work best in your academic plan.

UM-Flint Programs

  • Faculty-Led Programs: For UM-Flint faculty-led programs that are credit-bearing, students generally register for the course associated with the program within Student Information System (SIS). Students are not required to complete any transfer paperwork with an academic advisor.
  • Exchange Programs: Students identify the courses they plan on taking and complete a Off-Campus Experience Course Approval Form with the designated Academic Coordinator of the program. The agreement is submitted to the host institution along with the application. Prior to departure, the student registers for the courses in Student Information System (SIS). After the student completes the program and a transcript is received, the Academic Coordinator will post the courses/credits and grades on the student’s transcript.

External Programs (non-UM-Flint)

  • Provider Programs & Programs through U.S. and Foreign Colleges/Universities: Courses taken at foreign institutions or other American institutions are considered as transfer courses and students will need to complete an Off-Campus Experience Course Approval Form (also accesible via M-Flint WorldLink) and acquire the appropriate signatures to gain approval to take these courses. Upon receipt of the transcript, the appropriate admissions office will post the credits on the student’s transcripts as Pass/Fail.

Transfer Courses for Non UM-Flint Programs

About Transfer Credit

Students participating on external programs generally receive transfer credit for the courses taken.  Advisors will assess course content of the overseas course content and determine course equivalencies and/or whether elective credit can be given – within majors, minors and/or general education requirements. Note that courses which are passed overseas with a “C” average or above may be awarded transfer credit, but the grade does not transfer in or impact the student’s GPA.

To learn more about transferring courses, please visit the catalog and scroll to the section "Transfer of Credit."

Specific Rules to Know

More than one course. Current university policy allows students to enroll for just one off-campus course. If a student wants to register for more than one course, they must petition the Academic Standards Committee of their school/college for permission to do so before leaving Flint.

30-hour rule. Students must complete 45 credits including the final 30 credits at UM-Flint. Therefore, UM-Flint students with 90 or more credits must petition the appropriate Academic Standards Committee for a possible exception to this policy.