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Non-Traditional Students

A non-traditional student is defined as someone who identifies with any of the following:

  • did not enter postsecondary education immediately after high school
  • has a GED instead of a high school diploma
  • works full-time while enrolled at ASU
  • has dependents other than a spouse

Participating in a study abroad program is a great resume and career builder for any ASU student, so we certainly encourage you to study abroad! You can learn another language, develop and practice cross-cultural communication skills, and better understand the global challenges of the 21st century. However, as a non-traditional student, you may face unique challenges when it comes to study abroad. You may be a parent, have responsibilities to other family members or have a full-time job, and taking classes when you can. Yet in spite of the obstacles you may have faced, you continue to overcome them and understand how important furthering your education is for your career. We encourage you to consider study abroad as an experience critical to your future success, and one worth investing in.

Questions you may be considering

Is it possible for me to take my child or spouse/partner/fiancé(e) along with me when I study abroad?

Depending on the program, you may be permitted to have your child and/or spouse accompany you while you study abroad. However, there are many challenges that you should consider: 

    • Accounting for unanticipated additional costs, housing restrictions and/or special visa requirements
    • Developing a separate itinerary for your child and/or spouse*
    • Arranging childcare for accompanying children**
    • Purchasing comprehensive international medical insurance for your child or spouse***

*Your child or spouse will not be permitted to participate in any of the program activities (classes, group activities/meals, excursions, etc.). This will greatly impact faculty-directed and global intensive programs and will be less relevant for partnership or exchange programs.

**Enrolling your child in a local school may be a great opportunity to have your child be involved with other children in the host country during the day, but it may be challenging to find a school from here in the U.S. 

***The comprehensive international medical insurance you receive as a study abroad student will not be provided for your child or spouse. It will be your sole responsibility to determine if you have adequate medical insurance for your family members.

You might also consider studying abroad without your child. A number of ASU students who are parents leave their children with a spouse, close family member or friend while studying abroad.

If I am not able to be away for very long due to family and/or work obligations, how could I possibly study abroad?

Consider a shorter program offered during spring break or the summer. These programs are as short as one week, yet provide you with an opportunity to receive credit toward your degree completion requirements! Regardless of how long you are living in a different country, immersing yourself in another culture will help improve your ability to think more complexly and creatively – and you may also be a more competitive job or graduate school applicant as a result.

Consider looking into the few programs or countries that would allow you to work part-time while you are studying abroad if you are concerned about taking a leave of absence from work. This option is not available in most countries, so be sure to plan ahead.

Can I request to not have a roommate, or to live with people of my age that share my interests? 

It may be possible to live without a roommate while abroad, but it depends on the program. It is your responsibility to research available housing options and secure alternative arrangements as needed, and it will likely cost you more to live without a roommate. Ultimately, your ability to live abroad without a roommate depends on the availability of local resources in the respective program location and is at the discretion of the individual faculty directors and/or program providers with whom we work. If you are interested in living alone while abroad, be sure to speak with your International Coordinator about this possibility.


It may be possible for you to live with other students of your approximate age. If your study abroad program includes housing, make sure you indicate this preference when completing your housing application. Availability will vary by program, so be sure to speak with your International Coordinator if this is a concern for you.

Resources for more information