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Center for Global Education
Center for Global Education

Study Abroad FAQs

Watch this video to see Butler University's Center for Global Education Peer Advocates talk about the misconceptions surrounding study abroad- it may answer some of the questions you have!

Learn more about what their fears were before leaving for their semesters abroad and how those fears were assuaged once they arrived in their countries and throughout their study abroad experiences. 

Why should I study abroad?

There are many personal and professional reasons to study abroad. Most past participants have said that studying abroad helped them focus their academic and career goals, taught them about living and working with people of different cultures, and even taught them more about themselves. Study abroad provides an opportunity to develop your leadership skills and gain new skills. Studying abroad also enhances your preparation for living in a culturally diverse social environment and working in a global marketplace.

What majors can study abroad?

Students from every major can study abroad for a full semester. When considering study abroad, particularly for majors that tend to be very rigid in their course plans, it is very important to talk to your academic advisor as soon as possible to create a four-, five-, or six-year plan (depending on your major) to see when your best semester to study abroad is, as well as to discuss what classes you’d need to take during that semester to keep you on track. Once you know that information, you can research programs that offer those courses in that specific semester to keep you on track.

If you would rather do a short-term study abroad program, we have many opportunities over the summer, as well as a few fall break, winter break, and spring break options.

Do I have to speak a language to study abroad?

No! There are many programs, in English-speaking and non-English speaking destinations alike, that offer courses across all majors of study in English for our students. Students are then able to either take a course in a secondary language or find a program that does not have a language requirement at all (though we recommend taking at least an into level language course to help you get around your host country!).

If you are interested in beginning or continuing to learn a language while abroad, we have many study abroad opportunities that will help you in this pursuit.

Can I use my financial aid while abroad?

Yes, but there are restrictions on the type of aid you can use while abroad. Regardless of the type of program you choose, you will continue to pay Butler University tuition for the semester you are abroad (instead of the cost of the program listed on their website). Your federal, state, and outside scholarships/grants/loans will continue to apply to all types of programs, as allowed. In regard to your Butler institutional scholarships and grants:

  • If you select a semester-long Faculty-Led program (GALA or Butler Semester in Spain), then 100% of your Butler financial aid will apply toward the cost of tuition.
  • If you select a reciprocal Exchange through Butler or ISEP, then 100% of your Butler financial aid will apply toward the cost of tuition.
  • If you choose to study on a 3rd Party Provider program, then 50% of your Butler financial aid will apply toward the cost of tuition (only for that semester).

**These above-stated policies may be different for tuition remission, tuition exchange, and Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Program students. Please check with Financial Aid for more information.**

If you are planning on going abroad on a summer study abroad program, no financial aid can be used. Summer study abroad is just like summer school.

If you have questions as to how a certain type of study abroad program will affect your financial aid for that semester, please reach out to Financial Aid directly.

What extra charges will I encounter when I go abroad?

The costs of study abroad can vary based on the type of program that a student chooses, as well as the location that a student chooses. For students who study in locations that have lower costs of living, they can actually spend less than what a semester or summer at Butler would cost. Students can use this PDF iconStudy Abroad Cost Comparison Worksheet to compare what they normally spend at Butler for a typical semester (including: tuition, activity & HRC fees, housing, meals, transportation, books/class materials, miscellaneous expenses) vs. what a semester abroad would cost. Many of Butler's fees can be found on Butler's Tuition & Fees page, which is updated annually.

Some standard study abroad costs include:

  • Round-trip flight
  • Health insurance
  • Local transportation (by bus, train, etc.)
  • Passport
  • Student visa
  • Miscellaneous costs (extra travel, souvenirs, food - typically a meal plan is not an option while abroad and you'll have to go grocery shopping to make your own food)
  • Butler study abroad fee ($450 per semester, $250 per short-term experience, $100 for non-credit bearing experience)
    • For semester-long Faculty-Led and 3rd Party Provider programs, this study abroad fee is charged instead of Butler's activity fee and HRC fee, which is around $480.
    • For semester-long Exchanges, this study abroad fee is chaged instead of Butler's HRC fee, which is around $307.

Who can help me decide whether study abroad is for me?

  • The Center for Global Education's Study Abroad Advisor Caitlin Moore, an experienced professional in the field of international education.
  • Faculty members, many of whom have extensive international experience and advised other students on reasons to take some of your courses in a foreign environment.
  • 3rd Party Provider and university representatives, who can point out the particular features of the programs they offer.
  • Butler students who have returned from study abroad, like our peer advocates!

Where do I begin my search for a study abroad program?

Please check out our Steps to Study Abroad webpage to see what your steps to study abroad are. There are six important steps, the first of which is to attend a general Study Abroad Information Session.

What is the difference between a Faculty-Led program, an Exchange program, and a 3rd Party Provider program?

The Center for Global Education (CGE) offers three types of programs for our students to study abroad on. Each type of program has it's own merits and we offer all three types of programs, because each student is ready for different levels of support and independence:

  • Faculty-Led programs are offered for Butler University students and led by Butler University faculty-members, who serve as professors, as well as resident directors to guide their program. This type of program is collaborative, as students spend a large portion of the program with the other members of their cohort. The CGE offers two semester-long Faculty-Led programs, including the fall Butler Semester in Spain program and the spring Global Adventures in the Liberal Arts (GALA) program. In addition to our semester-long offerings, faculty members also run their own winter break, spring break, and summer Faculty-Led programs.
  • Exchanges provide an opportunity for a limited number of Butler students to enjoy an independent, full-immersion experience by attending selected partner universities abroad while students from those universities attend Butler on a one-for-one basis. Some of these Exchanges have been developed by Butler; others are available through the International Student Exchange Programs (ISEP).
  • The approved 3rd Party Provider programs are administered by respected professional organizations or other colleges and universities. All provide a wide range of student services and give careful attention to safety and security issues. These programs represent a broad range of geographic regions. Educational opportunities may be classroom based or experiential, including internships, service learning, research, and student teaching.

If you'd like to learn more about the experiences students have on each program type, reach out to one of our peer advocates!

What is ISEP?

The International Student Exchange Program (ISEP) is a worldwide network for international education, consisting of over 250 member institutions. Through ISEP, you have access to over 100 study sites in Africa, Asia, Canada, Europe, Latin America, and the South Pacific for a full academic year, semester, or summer. Through ISEP, you can study in English or in a foreign language. It is best to research ISEP's extensive list of exchange opportunities through the ISEP website to get detailed information about each member institution's structure and course offerings.

When can I study abroad?

Students can study abroad during the sophomore, junior, or senior year for a semester or for the entire academic year. There may be some residency requirements that seniors need to fulfill, so all seniors should check with their academic advisors for details. There are also hundreds of opportunities for summer study abroad that can be researched online at or

Butler University's faculty members also offer summer faculty-led programs each year that are listed on the List of Approved Programs under "Butler Faculty-led Programs—Summer"

When should I apply to study abroad?

Every program has its own deadline. You typically start applying for your program one semester prior to departure. You should always confirm directly with the Center for Global Education (CGE) or the 3rd Party Provider to make sure you are applying by the deadline. Typical deadlines are:

  • Faculty-Led
    • Butler Semester in Spain—February 1 for the following fall semester
    • GALA—mid-March to early April for the following spring semester
  • Butler Exchange
    • February 15 for the following fall semester
    • September 15 for the following spring semester
  • ISEP Exchange (while the ISEP deadline listed on their website may be later, the CGE has the following internal deadlines)
    • February 8 for the following fall semester
    • August 25 for the following spring semester
  • 3rd Party Providers
    • Varies! Check on each program's individual page for program-specific deadlines.

How do I apply for my study abroad program?

You can find program type-specific application instructions on our How to Apply to Study Abroad webpage.

Can I fulfill my GHS requirement by studying abroad?

Students who study abroad for a semester, academic year, or summer and successfully complete a minimum of 9 credit hours while abroad are eligible to waive one semester of the GHS requirement. This waiver does not grant the student 3 credit hours, but does take care of the requirement.

How do I get credit for my courses abroad?

First, you must participate on a program that is approved by Butler University. Second, you will need to complete a Course Approval Form, included in the Center for Global Education's study abroad pre-departure paperwork. The Course Approval Form requires you to obtain signatures from various department chairs and offices on campus, including your academic advisor who will help you get your coursework approved before the start of your study abroad program. Once you submit this form to the Center for Global Education (CGE), a copy will go to Registration and Records (R&R) to be reviewed again once your overseas transcript arrives upon completion of the program. R&R, along with the CGE, will evaluate your overseas transcript and post the credit to your Butler transcript. Students must pass courses with a grade of C-minus or better in order to receive credit. Students may also take a Pass/Fail course, but it cannot fulfill Core or major requirements.

Where should I have my overseas transcript sent?

An official unopened transcript should be sent directly to the Center for Global Education:

Butler University Center for Global Education
Jordan Hall, Room 133
4600 Sunset Avenue
Indianapolis, IN 46208

How long does it take to obtain a passport?

Ordinarily, you should receive your passport within six weeks. For detailed information regarding application procedures, commonly asked questions or emergency situations regarding passports, please visit the U.S. Department of State's website.