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Process and Resources

Study Abroad Process

Processes and ResourcesSet Goals

Consider what you want to accomplish during your study abroad.  Common goals include following an avocation like music or art, exploring your heritage, improving language fluency or setting yourself apart from your peers while having an incredible adventure in an exotic locale.

The purpose of study abroad is to ensure students expand their understanding of other people by experiencing a new culture. Therefore, it is recommended that you choose a country that is not your own country or that does not have a similar culture.


Attend Study Abroad 101 to learn about available programs, their eligibility requirements, course choices, program structure, and financial information.  Peer Advisors in 426A Boucke Building will discuss and compare programs abroad.

Consult Resources

An appointment with the Smeal Office of International Programs is recommended during the program selection process to ensure your goals fit well with the chosen program.  As you narrow your choices find out more about academic program details.

Academic Issues

Meet with academic, international, and minor advisers to plan how available courses will fulfill degree requirements. Some departments will give special permission in advance to use one or more classes from abroad for a minor. The Education Abroad Planning Document form can be helpful during these meetings. Smeal major courses must be taken at University Park.  Credits taken in programs abroad that are approved by both PSU and Smeal may fulfill:

  • Arts (GA)
  • Humanities (GH)
  • Social and Behavioral Science (GS)
  • Natural Science (GN)
  • Language
  • Electives
  • General Health (GHA) - select nutrition, health or classroom-based exercise science as approved by the department (not sport activity like volleyball or dancing)

Application Process

The online application must be complete before the deadline for your first choice program. This is a competitive process and some programs have more applicants than can be accepted, so carefully consider the second and third choices you include on your application. Attend a Tips for a Successful Study Abroad Application workshop to learn how to strengthen your application essays. Workshops are offered multiple times in a semester. Visit the Upcoming Events page to sign-up.

For over-subscribed programs selection will be based on an applicant's academic record (not just GPA) including, but not limited to, evidence of academic planning in consultation with academic advisers, recommendation, and application essays. Essays should be well written, personal, and address the questions in an insightful manner, with answers specific to the program to which the student is applying.

World Campus

Penn State World Campus is NOT a Penn State Study Abroad program. Please read this brochure for a better understanding of the differences.

Non-PSU Programs

Beginning fall 2016 and thereafter, credits earned abroad during fall or spring semester at a non-PSU program will NOT be accepted toward any Smeal degree requirements including general education and electives. Credits toward Smeal majors will be accepted from programs on the full list of Penn State Education Abroad Office programs. Candidates for the International Business Minor must attend a program on the Choosing a Program list.


Smeal Office of International Programs

202 Business Building
Schedule an Appointment Online or by calling 814-865-4264

Contact Us

To discuss how your goals fit with available programs, please call to make an appointment to meet with us, either in person or a telephone appointment. We also administer the International Business Minor and can help plan how to fulfill its requirements at PSU and abroad.

International Internships

Please see the International Internships page for a complete discussion of your options.

International Business Minor

Smeal OIP staff will discuss how I B Minor requirements may be met at PSU and abroad. The education abroad program you attend must be on the list of approved study abroad programs to qualify for the IB Minor. The study abroad portion of the International Business Minor is to ensure students expand their understanding of other people by experiencing a new culture.

Smeal Global Representatives

You can get in touch with Smeal Global Representatives who may be study abroad alumni or international students here at Smeal to ask them about their experiences abroad. As returned students and international students, they have a wealth of local knowledge about the many destinations in our study abroad portfolio. 

Global Programs Office of Education Abroad

410 Boucke Building
Phone: 814-865-7681

College or Campus Representatives List

This office manages Penn State's education abroad programs, online application process, eligibility requirements, course choice, program structure and financial information. This is the appropriate place to get information about program specifics and logistics: application details, accommodations, location, campus characteristics, size, program structure, and costs.

Peer advisers are available in 426A Boucke Building to talk about their education abroad experience M-F 11:00-4:00, answer questions, share literature and give more detailed information about the program in which they participated. Staff Advisers, assigned by region, are also available to discuss programs and offer advice to narrow or focus your choice. Schedule an Appointment with a Penn State Education Abroad Adviser.

Smeal Undergraduate Advising Center

202 Business Building
Phone: 814-863-1947

Schedule an Appointment with a Smeal Academic Adviser.

Smeal students may consult their Adviser about academic and degree requirements relating to study abroad courses, recommendations, course exceptions, financial aid, and course transfer procedures. All students should consult with their Adviser to plan ahead each semester.