Find adventure with the Study Away program

You feel your heart pounding. The plane’s engines rumble, and before you know it, your feet no longer touch the ground. As the plane soars, your heart and your nerves go right along with it.

Does this sound like the sort of adventure you might be seeking? UAF offers a variety of exchange programs to students hoping for travel and adventure opportunities. The potential destinations are numerous, ranging from colleges around the U.S. to far-away destinations like Europe and Asia.

If the opportunity to study away sounds intriguing, there are a few steps that students must first follow in order to pursue a semester, year, summer, or internship away. First should be arranging an appointment with their degree adviser and discuss if an exchange program is right for them academically, financially, and personally.

UAF Senior Sara Williams, who spent four weeks studying Spanish in Granada, Spain, said that prospective study away students should make weekly appointments with an adviser and complete their forms.

“Take advantage of every situation,” Williams said, discussing what students should do once they reach their host country. “If you have a chance to go rock climbing, do it. Don’t overplan.”

There are further requirements for studying away, such as holding a 2.50 GPA or higher and having spent at least the previous two semesters before departure fully enrolled at UAF. After an initial meeting with a degree adviser, students can make an appointment with Nicole Balazs, the study away adviser, in order to further discuss one’s country of choice, getting credit for courses taken while on exchange, and other preparatory measures.

It is a good idea to begin looking into study away programs about a year before students plan to leave according to Balazs. This allows plenty of time to select a program, apply, and prepare for departure. Balazs said that when it comes to the application process, “The earlier, the better, especially if [a student] is interested in getting scholarships.”

If a student is seeking exchanges within the United States, Canada, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, then the National Student Exchange may be the right fit. Likewise, if a student wishes to spend time in Europe, Africa, or even Cuba, then perhaps the American Institute for Foreign Study is the ideal program. Other possibilities include the north2north exchange or Academic Programs International.

If a student’s worries stem from a financial nature, there are numerous scholarships of various degrees available. Any student who already receives scholarships for UAF, such as the UA Scholar scholarship, can also use this money towards their time studying away.

On the subject of being able to keep credit earned while abroad, they can talk to their adviser and confer with Nicole Balazs about entering a program which will allow them to transfer external credits to UAF. Due to the wide variety of exchange programs and schools in partnerships with UAF, finding one that is right for everyone is no daunting task.

For more information regarding specifics of studying abroad, explore the site It contains helpful information regarding scholarships, exchange programs, and also features student blogs about exchange experiences. Then, schedule a visit to the study away office on the second floor of the Eielson Building to begin preparing for a semester abroad.

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