As a student in the College, you'll have the opportunity to participate in study abroad programs around the world, taking coursework that integrates into your major, or continuing your study of a language and culture, or broadening your curriculum through electives.

College Office advisors stand ready to help you plan for an abroad experience. Depending on your interests and academic goals, you may need to take language courses (if you intend to study in a non-English-speaking part of the world) or other relevant coursework. An advisor can also help you understand how these courses will fit into your academic career in the College.

Over 50% of students study or work abroad. Students considering study abroad should begin the process a full year in advance.

Study Abroad

Learning about languages and cultures through an immersive experience abroad can be a valuable component in your Liberal Arts education.

Penn Global promotes, assists and coordinates international activities throughout the University of Pennsylvania.

Through Penn Abroad, Penn Global provides information to Penn undergraduates about semester and academic year study abroad and administers Penn Abroad programs. Consult the Penn Abroad website for a full listing of services and for comprehensive information regarding study abroad.

Students wishing to study in a semester or year-long program that is not affiliated with Penn should contact Nadine Gabbadon in the College Office.

Students who wish to study abroad on a Penn summer program should contact the College of Liberal and Professional Studies.

Students may choose to study abroad in the summer through a four-year, degree-granting, accredited institution other than Penn. In order to do so, they must seek prior Penn individual course approval from Penn departments through the External Course Approval Tool (XCAT) in order to transfer their credits. These courses are considered credit away, and the grades will not be calculated into the Penn g.p.a. Students who need help in this process should contact Nadine Gabbadon in the College Office.

Students interested in a shorter period abroad may wish to investigate Global Seminars. These courses combine an intensive semester-long seminar with a short-term travel component led by the course’s instructor.

Following these steps and watching the recommended tutorials will help in selecting a program, planning courses and enjoying your experience abroad.

It is best to complete Penn Abroad 101 during the semester prior to the application deadline.

  • Penn Abroad 101 can only be completed online.
  • This is the first step in the study abroad application process. Subsequent steps in the process, including meeting with a Program Manager, are explained in this session.
  • Pay close attention to the information that is covered.
  • Consult with the College study abroad advisor responsible for the program you're investigating.
  • Consult with departmental advisors and faculty in departments/programs relevant to your interests abroad and your major and minor interests.
  • Confer with peer counselors, past participants, exchange students.
  • Take note of program prerequisites listed on program brochures on the Penn Abroad website.
  • Think about who might write your letters of reference, and ask professors early.
  • In the semester preceding that of the application deadline, make an appointment with the appropriate Penn Abroad Program Managers.
  • Come to your appointment on time and be prepared to discuss what you have learned about your options.
  • Prepare a list of questions.
  • Read all application instructions thoroughly.
  • Watch Obtaining Penn Credit for Study Abroad.
  • Obtain letters of reference. Be sure to give your references at least 2-3 weeks notice.
  • View the XCAT Tutorial.
  • Select abroad courses from appropriate site catalogues. Consult the list of course precedents for abroad programs using the College’s External Course Approval Tool (XCAT). This list includes all College courses that have already been approved for credit at Penn. You may request College credit for courses not found on this list at any time after your Penn Abroad application has been accepted. (See below for Obtaining Course Approval and Equivalent Penn Credit.)
  • Meet with the College study abroad advisor who oversees the study abroad program to which you have applied.
  • Request academic approval. The advisor will work with you to determine if the program is a good academic fit. The advisor may recommend that you apply to a more appropriate program.
  • Discuss how your course choices fit with your overall academic plan at Penn.
  • Make this appointment well in advance of the deadline by calling 215.898.6341 or stopping by 120 Cohen Hall.