Study Abroad FAQ’s for Music Majors

  • Take classes that aren’t offered on campus
  • Explore the musical world outside of the Midwest
  • Enjoy the financial benefit of using direct tuition costs to pay for international study
  • Pursue languages beyond the classroom
  • Develop independence and enjoy personal growth
  • Build your resume
  • Hone your problem solving skills
  • Learn to live and work with people of different cultures

There are lots of different programs to choose from. Here’s a quick overview:

• IFSA (Institute for Study Abroad)-Butler
• Exchange
• ISEP (International Student Exchange Program)
• IES (International Education of Students): Vienna, Milan, Paris, Amsterdam
• GALA (faculty-led programs that last for an entire semester)
• Faculty-led summer trips

These programs represent a broad range of geographic regions and program options.

Most universities with a music program will allow study abroad students to take lessons and play in ensembles. Timing may be tricky with ensemble placement auditions, but the private teacher at the institution should be able to provide additional information. If you choose a program that isn’t specifically designed for music majors (for example, IES Vienna), we suggest that you reach out to the applied teacher overseas and ask about studio space, ensemble availability, and instrument rental options.

If instrument rental is a factor for studying abroad, it would be wise to select a program based on the availability of an instrument. Do your research to find out about rental options. If you would rather bring your instrument with you, know that there will likely be an airline fee for oversized cases. Since the Center for Global Education generally books the flights, be sure to let them know about your instrument and ask for an additional checked bag or carry-on. If you do not own a travel case, check with the School of Music office or the Cage about borrowing a travel case, especially for larger instruments.

We currently don’t have any specific programs which focus on performance, but there are plenty of opportunities to create a performance-based curriculum while abroad. For example, the Vienna (IES) program offers numerous performance classes and opportunities.

Students who study abroad will pay Butler University tuition during their semester(s) abroad. Students are also billed for any additional program charges such as room, board, and orientation expenses. Butler pays the program fee directly to the program on the student’s behalf. Students are responsible for paying the enrollment deposit directly to the program. This deposit is then credited toward the Butler charges. In all cases, transportation, immunizations, books, optional program activities, and personal expenses are paid by the student.

Students who participate in reciprocal exchange programs through Butler’s bilateral exchanges or ISEP may apply 100% of their Butler institutional financial aid to their tuition for their semester(s) abroad. Those who participate in other approved study abroad programs may apply 50% of their Butler institutional financial aid toward their tuition for their study abroad semester(s). In most cases, federal and state aid will apply to study abroad costs if the student is currently receiving aid. Students who receive federal or Butler financial assistance or scholarships are encouraged to contact the Office of Financial Aid should they have questions about how study abroad may affect their financial package. There is a limit of two semesters for Butler’s institutional financial aid to apply to study abroad.

Summer study abroad programs are NOT covered by academic-year tuition, and therefore also not assisted with any institutional aid.  Summer programs are completely paid out of pocket.

By starting your search early and working with your advisor, you can create a semester-by-semester plan that will allow you to study abroad and still graduate on time. While abroad, be sure to take courses that will fulfill your degree requirements in some way.

First, you must participate in a program that is approved by Butler University. Next, you will need to complete the study abroad pre-departure paperwork by obtaining signatures from various offices on campus, including your academic advisor who will help you get your coursework pre-approved. Once you submit this form to the Center for Global Education, a copy will go to Registration and Records to be reviewed again once your overseas transcript arrives upon completion of the program. Registration and Records, along with the Center for Global Education, will evaluate your overseas transcript and post the credit to your Butler transcript. Students must pass courses with a grade of ‘C-‘ or better in order to receive credit. Students may also take a Pass/Fail course, but it cannot fulfill core or major requirements.

One of the many benefits of study abroad is your personal growth and independence. That being said, you will likely be studying with other Americans who are in the same situation. If you are in an exchange program, you will be placed with a host family and will likely have a built-in network. Even if you don’t study abroad with other Butler students that you know, you will make life-long friends through this mutual experience.

Timing depends on your degree plan and the progress you have made within your program.  Music Education majors, for example, are encouraged to study abroad in the fall of their junior year. We can allow you to take your basic conducting a year early, in order to continue in your curriculum appropriately. Consult with your advisor about when will be the best time to go.

No worries, mate!  There are quite a few programs that are in English-speaking countries and English-speaking institutions (in non-English speaking countries).

The office of Student Disability Services (SDS) and the Center for Global Education (CGE) provide joint support for students with disabilities who are interested in participating in an off-campus study program.

Services are offered for students registered with SDS for apparent and non-apparent disabilities.

Students need to be aware that disability laws differ outside the USA, so the level of accessibility and accommodations vary among programs; flexibility may be needed. In some situations, transportation, technology, architecture, and overall infrastructure may be inaccessible to people with certain types of disabilities. For this reason, students need to disclose to SDS their disability-related needs as early as possible in the application process. This allows adequate time to assess needs, determine possibilities, and identify locations that are conducive to the student’s disability-related needs, and make any necessary advance arrangements. While students with disabilities are expected to take an active role in initiating a discussion about their intention to participate in an off-campus study program, assistance is available in helping students determine program fit, course selection, and ways in which personal needs might be addressed.

Each student’s situation is unique and must be reviewed on an individualized basis in order to help ensure a successful experience. It is important for students to engage in an honest self- assessment regarding the disability, to anticipate any potential issues that could occur, and to develop a plan for managing the disability while away from campus. Without appropriate advance planning, there is increased potential for a problematic experience.  Visit to learn more.

The Center for Global Education will help you sort out what medications can be taken and in what quantities. Some countries require documentation to import certain medications, so be sure to check with the CGE before you go.

The Center for Global Education will assist you in finding housing. If you study abroad, you will generally reside in a dormitory. If you choose an exchange program, you will likely be placed with a host family.

Students participating in study abroad during the academic year must maintain full-time status with a minimum of 12 semester credits per semester. Students should check with their Academic Advisor to see how many credits and what courses are needed to fulfill graduation requirements. And remember that you are exempted from 1 semester (3 credits) of the Global and Historical Studies requirement of the university core curriculum after successful completion of 9 or more credit hours of coursework while studying abroad in a Butler-approved program.

Start with your academic advisor to discuss timing and course registration potential. Next, attend a study abroad information session (the dates are listed on the study abroad website). Third, research program offerings. Fourth, after meeting with your academic advisor and researching the programs, meet with the study abroad advisor. Lastly, apply for your program.

The Center for Global Education offers more general FAQ’s and additional information about how to search for an approved program at