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Office of International Studies and Programs


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Phone: +1-509-963-3612
Fax: +1-509-963-1558
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Central Washington University
Office of International Studies and Programs
Hebeler Hall 102
400 E. University Way
Ellensburg, WA 98926-7408

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Welcome to Study Abroad and Exchange Programs!


Getting Started     |     Before You Go     |     While Away


Getting Started

Step One: Define your goals and objectives

To begin, define your academic and personal objectives as the top priority. While it’s easy to imagine that the best way to begin your program search is to decide on a location, it can be helpful to consider other factors first. If you begin by first determining what you want to gain from the experience, it can help you to define the kind of program that is the best fit for you. Some factors to consider:


  • Do you want to study a specific subject while abroad or would you prefer to choose from a broad selection of courses?
  • Do you need to satisfy degree requirements while abroad or do you prefer to take elective courses of personal interest to you?


  • Do you want or need to take courses in a language other than English while abroad?
  • Do you want to learn another language abroad?
  • Do you want to take content courses taught exclusively in English?


  • Are you flexible about the timing of your study abroad program?
  • What quarter, semester, or year might be best for your graduation plan?
  • Do you want to study abroad for more than one CWU quarter? On multiple programs?


  • Do you prefer an independent, autonomous experience in a foreign country or guided learning with CWU peers and instructors?
  • Do you prefer a highly structured program or one requiring a higher degree of personal motivation and self-reliance?


  • How important is the program’s location to your decision to study or intern abroad?
  • How comfortable are you in new environments?
  • How similar to or different from your lived experience in the U.S. do you want to experience?
  • Are you interested in destinations in the developing world or the more developed parts of the globe?
  • How do you define your travel comfort zone and how far are you willing to push your boundaries?



Step Two: Research your education abroad options

Use our Programs website to research your education abroad options. There, you can search different program types, use online databases to search for programs, and explore pre-approved partner programs by country.

Be sure to identify barriers to participation before you get too far along in the process. Identifying logistical and financial constraints will help you to narrow your program choices; identify the methods you will use to pay for your program and define how much you can spend early on.

  • Do you meet the program’s eligibility requirements?
  • Do you have any personal needs that require special accommodations or consideration?
  • Do you have any academic or health concerns that might make a particular program’s location, activities, or schedule difficult for you?
  • Do you have degree requirements that might limit your options (e.g. program duration, timing)?
  • Are the number and types of credits offered in line with your needs?
  • Can you afford the cost of a given program?

When calculating the costs of an education abroad program, it’s important to consider the program’s duration, the number of credits you can expect to receive, and what the program’s price does and does not include. Be sure to have a look at our Education Abroad Budget Planning Worksheet to help compare costs for different programming. Some things to consider when thinking about cost:

  • Does the program fee include housing, food, transportation, and books?
  • The costs of your round-trip airfare, passport, visa, and insurance are generally not included in study abroad program fees.

When considering affordability, review the financial resources available to you and create a personal budget to include personal savings, job earnings, parent contributions, financial aid, and confirmed scholarships. Visit the Finances section of our website and check with the Office of Financial Aid to determine whether you qualify for additional assistance.



Step Three: Meet with Advisors

Once you have narrowed your options to a few programs and/or locations, visit the CWU Study Abroad And Exchange Programs Office and attend a student-led study abroad information session (Tuesdays at 2 pm and Wednesday at 3 pm in Room 101 of the International Center). Then schedule a meeting with a study abroad advisor to discuss your selections and ask questions. Study abroad advisors are usually available to meet with you on a drop-in basis Monday through Friday, from 9 am to 4 pm. If you would like to talk to a specific advisor and their drop in hours do not work with your schedule, you can email them to set up an appointment.

In addition to consulting with the advisors at the education abroad office, you will also want to meet with the academic advisor within your major (or general academic advisor if you are undeclared). This is an integral part of determining the best program for you. Discussing your education abroad plans with your academic advisor and developing an educational and graduation plan will help you stay on track and get the most out of the experience. Some questions to discuss with your academic advisor:

  • Which courses should I take while abroad?
  • How will courses completed abroad apply to my degree requirements?
  • Are there specific degree requirements that I cannot fulfill abroad?
  • Are there academic terms that work particularly well – or not at all – for my experience abroad?



Step Four: Apply

Every student participating in an education abroad program (i.e., study abroad, exchange, internship, faculty-directed program, etc.) must first complete the CWU Education Abroad Application.

The application packet is three pages. The first page collects information about you and your program. The second page consists of the Statement of Understanding, which outlines several important conditions of your participation. The final page is the Disciplinary Clearance Form. This form is submitted to the Dean of Student Success for judicial and academic clearance.

Along with the application, you must also submit a copy of your unofficial CWU transcripts (transcripts may be printed for free from MyCWU), as well as a non-refundable application fee ($75), which is payable at the Cashiers Office in Barge Hall 104. The receipt should accompany your application materials.

A complete application packet includes:

  • Education Abroad Application
  • Statement of Understanding
  • Disciplinary Clearance Form
  • Unofficial transcripts
  • Receipt for application fee

After your application has been reviewed and you are determined to be eligible to participate in your program, you will receive an Education Abroad Acceptance Packet. These materials are typically due within two weeks of receipt.

CWU Education Abroad Application

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Before You Go

To help you prepare for the experience, there are processes to understand and tasks to complete before you depart. Taking care of all your pre-departure items is vital to ensure that you have a successful, productive and safe experience abroad.

In this section, we will give you the tools that you need to prepare for your time abroad. Here you will find important information that covers everything from study abroad registration while abroad to medication precautions and insurance. Use the pre-departure checklist to get organized and visit the various pages within the “Before You Go” section to find out more.

Pre-departure Checklist

Passports & Visas

CWU Learning Agreement (Internships)

CWU Education Abroad Handbook

Medical Precautions & Insurance

Managing Money Abroad



While Away

After much preparation, you are finally ready to depart for your program. We hope your journey will rank among the most rewarding and memorable experiences of your life.

The “While Away” section of our site contains practical information on a variety of topics such as: managing your relationships while abroad, tips for personal health and safety, and ideas for documenting your experience. Take some time to carefully read and consider the information in this section before you leave and refer to it as often as needed while you are away. It is full of useful tips that will help you have a successful program abroad while maintaining your personal well-being.

Managing Relationships

Health & Safety

Documenting your Experience

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