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More and more ASU graduate students are pursuing study abroad opportunities. Although studying abroad as a graduate student presents unique challenges, it can also provide a meaningful opportunity to deepen your educational experience and connect an international opportunity with your career aspirations.
Many ASU exchange programs allow graduate students to participate. Exchange programs are typically designed for undergraduate students, so you will have to consider if the program meets your academic needs. You will need to work closely with your academic department to make sure this type of program will fit within your degree plan and consider if it is a good fit for you. Generally, there is less flexibility with graduate degree programs, so it’s important to plan early and carefully.
Summer faculty-directed programs can also be a great choice for graduate students. You can earn ASU graduate course credit without interfering with your progress during the academic year. Faculty-directed programs also give you an opportunity to connect with ASU faculty and expand your professional network internationally. Since the programs are shorter in duration, many graduate students who work full-time or are parents consider faculty-directed programs.
For any international experience, there are financial factors to consider. Graduate students who are funded through teaching or research assistantships will need to consider how studying abroad will affect funding. Generally you are not able to continue assistantship work if you participate in an exchange program, and you should not expect to be able to work abroad. On the other hand, there are other funding sources for graduate students. The Lorraine W Frank Office of National Scholarship Advising (ONSA) offers guidance and advising on the Boren and Fulbright programs, plus other national scholarships that are a great fit for graduate students.
“While it may seem challenging to meet the demands of a graduate program, study abroad can actually help graduate students fulfill their degree requirements and contribute to their research. I chose a two-week, faculty directed program in Dubai that departed in mid-May and returned to the States before June. This schedule allowed me to still have three full months to conduct summer research. I am actually including my experiences in Dubai as a case study for my doctoral thesis, and I was also able to count the course as a core requirement for my degree.
Graduate students that wish to study abroad should think creatively about how they can include the experience in their research and petition for the study abroad course to fulfill degree requirements.”
-Matt Cohen, PhD student in Sustainability, Studied abroad Summer 2014 in Dubai