Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I study abroad?
What is the difference between study abroad and exchange?
How can I tell if a program is an exchange program?
How do I apply for an exchange position?
When can I study abroad?
How long can I study abroad?
Where can I go and what types of programs are available?
How much does it cost?
Are scholarships available?
Can I use financial aid?
Where would I live?
What are the requirements and/or restrictions?
How do I apply?
Do I need to know another language?
How does credit work?
Will courses taken abroad fulfill graduation requirements?
Will I graduate on time?
Where can I get more information?
What are the next steps?

Why should I study abroad?
The benefits to studying abroad are enormous for academic, professional and personal reasons.

  • Study abroad encourages cross-cultural communication, understanding and acceptance.
  • You will examine your academic interests from new perspectives.
  • You can make professional connections through faculty, other students, and volunteer and internship programs.
  • Your flexibility and openness to new languages, cultures and ideas will improve.
  • You’ll enjoy academic and experiential learning and become a more independent thinker.
  • Your intellectual maturity and self-confidence will be enhanced.
  • You’ll gain a new level of self-reliance and enhance your problem-solving abilities.

You’ll enrich your life with skills that are highly valued by today’s employers. Whatever your field, and wherever you end up, you will be part of the global marketplace — employers are looking for the skills you can build during a program abroad.

Interested? Go to Getting Started!

Back to top

What is the difference between study abroad and exchange?
An exchange program is a reciprocal agreement between two institutions. For example, Binghamton has exchange agreements with several of our university partners in the United Kingdom. On an exchange program, students from each university study at the other university, maintaining a one-to-one ratio. In other words, the University of Bath sends us two students, and we send them two students. For many of our programs, we send students as both exchange and study abroad. We fill the exchange spaces, and then the remaining students attend as study-abroad students. There is no practical difference in how study abroad and exchange students are treated at the foreign university: both are integrated fully into the university community. However, there is a cost difference: exchange students pay SUNY tuition, while study-abroad students are responsible for the foreign university tuition — expressed as a tuition differential paid on top of the regular SUNY tuition.

Back to top

How can I tell if a program is an exchange program?
All Binghamton exchange programs are described as exchange — or exchange and study abroad — in program materials. For other SUNY programs, it is best to first visit the sponsor-campus website to review the full program description and details. If it is still not clear, contact the international programs office at the sponsor campus to ask.

Back to top

How can I apply for an exchange position?
There is not separate application process for Binghamton’s exchange programs. We consider all on-time applications for the available exchange places. If there are more applicants than exchange places, we will make a decision based on a combination of financial need and academic merit. Some of our programs have more exchange places than others, and you can find out the number of available places from the program advisor. For SUNY programs, it’s best to contact the particular SUNY campus to find out how it considers applications for exchange places.

Back to top

When can I study abroad?
Traditionally, most students have studied abroad as juniors, and that remains a popular time to go abroad. However, students study abroad as early as the summer after their freshman year and as late as the summer after their senior year. Some students even study abroad more than once! Meet with an advisor in your major department or in your school to discuss your study-abroad plans and determine the best time to go. Also, visit our office early so you can plan the most convenient and effective time for you to study abroad.

Back to top

How long can I study abroad?
You may participate in short-term (2-3 weeks, usually during winter session or over spring break), summer (2-8 weeks), semester or academic-year programs. Most students choose to go for a semester. If you so choose, you may also be able to study abroad multiple times!

Back to top

Where can I go and what types of programs are available?
Binghamton University offers over 20 active study-abroad programs and new programs are constantly being developed. Many take place in the United Kingdom. Other locations include Australia, Austria, China, Costa Rica, Germany, Morocco, Spain and Turkey. In addition, schools in the SUNY system work together to facilitate participation in programs offered by any SUNY campus. Altogether, SUNY programs number over 400 in some 50 countries. Students may also choose to study in a non-SUNY program. Visit Program Options to learn more.

Back to top

How much will it cost?
It depends. The cost of studying abroad varies greatly from program to program and according to the destination. Factors that influence costs include instructional costs, cost-of-living and airfare. Be sure to look at program details and cost sheets to determine the exact costs of the programs you are considering. We can also help you find a program that meets your financial needs.

Back to top

Are scholarships available?
Yes. The Office of International Programs administers several scholarship programs.  Most offer competitions twice a year — once for students studying abroad during the spring semester and again for those going during the summer, fall or academic year. Multiple awards are given out each competition cycle. In addition, many Binghamton students have been successful in winning national scholarships.

Back to top

Can I use financial aid?
Federal and New York state financial aid may be applied to the costs of Binghamton and other SUNY study-abroad programs. It is recommended that you speak to your financial aid advisor once you have an idea of what program(s) interest you to get a general idea of how much aid you may expect. Bring program cost information with you to the financial aid advising appointment. Then, once you’ve been admitted to a program, your financial aid award will need to be re-determined. Financial Aid is not applicable to all non-SUNY programs; meet with an advisor in our office immediately if you’re considering a non-SUNY program and plan to use financial aid.

Back to top

Where would I live?
You’ll likely have several choices, depending upon the program, including campus residential halls where you may stay with other American students, international students or students from the host campus; home-stay situations; or various types of off-campus apartments or residences. Housing arrangements often influence students’ choice of programs so be sure to learn about the housing for the programs you are considering.

Back to top

What are the requirements and/or restrictions?
There are very few requirements or restrictions. For most programs, there’s a GPA requirement, which may range from a 2.0 to a 3.5. Programs in non-English-speaking countries may have a language requirement and some programs are restricted to juniors or seniors. The vast majority of programs are open to all students, regardless of major.

Back to top

How do I apply?
The application process is quite simple. First, be sure you meet the program eligibility requirements. Then, obtain a standard SUNY study-abroad application. You can obtain one in our office or download it from our website; however, we strongly recommend that you download the program-specific application from the sponsor-campus website. Other SUNY schools may have specific application materials or program-specific additions that are not included in the general application. The application will request biographical information, a study statement, letters of academic reference and transcripts from all colleges or universities where you have studied. Applications are submitted directly to the SUNY campus offering the program. Deadlines for submission are generally between October 1 and November 1 for spring semester programs, and between March 1 and April 15 for fall, academic-year and summer programs.

Back to top

Do I need to know another language?
Not necessarily. Many students choose to study in English-speaking countries like the United Kingdom and Australia. Others may choose a program in a non-English speaking country, but with coursework in English — the spread of English-speaking universities abroad has made this an attractive option. For example, you can study at Kansai GaidaUniversity in Japan, or at Al-Akhawayn in Morocco, and take your courses in English. Many of these types of programs require you to take one course in the language of the host country, but not all do. Alternatively, students may take regular university courses in the language of the host country. There are also options for some courses to be taught in the host language and some to be taught in English.

Back to top

How does credit work?
It depends on the program’s sponsor campus. Credit works differently when you study abroad in a Binghamton-sponsored program than it does when you go on a program administered by another SUNY campus. Credit recognition for non-SUNY programs differs from both Binghamton and other SUNY programs. See Credit Recognition and Academic Policies for full explanations.

Back to top

Will courses taken abroad fulfill graduation requirements?
Many times they can, though there is some variation depending on whether you choose a program within the SUNY system or not.  Regardless of whether your program is offered by Binghamton, another SUNY or a non-SUNY school, credit toward the requirements of a major or minor is determined by the appropriate department.

Back to top

Will I graduate on time?
Most often, study-abroad participants take courses that fulfill major, minor and/or general education requirements while abroad so there is no problem graduating on time, even if you are abroad for an academic year or longer.

Back to top

Where can I get more information?
Start by visiting the Office of International Programs — we have a resource center with lots of program information and brochures. Contact us with questions via phone, e-mail or on Facebook (fan page: Binghamton University Study Abroad). We offer weekly information sessions, walk-in advising hours, program and area-specific information sessions and one-on-one advisor appointments to help guide you through the study-abroad process. Our staff is also happy to help you with quick questions or introduce you to the materials in our resource area.

Use the Getting Started section of our website for more detailed instructions and next steps.

Back to top

What are the next steps?

  • Visit Getting Started to begin the study-abroad process. We offer lots of resources for you including a resource center, information sessions, walk-in advising hours and this website!
  • Make an appointment with a study abroad advisor in the Office of International Programs to discuss program choice details, ways to internationalize your Binghamton degree or other academic and practical planning issues.
  • Ask specific questions about your program from the program sponsor, a faculty director or department, the Office of International Programs or the international programs office of the sponsoring campus.
  • Consult with the appropriate department for credit toward major, minor or general education requirements.
  • Consult with the academic advising office for approval of credit toward general degree requirements or for approval of transfer credit from a non-SUNY program. Review credit recognition and academic policies.
  • Look at the cost of each individual program you are considering and review financial aid rules and general cost information.
  • Consult with the financial aid office before applying to a program so you have a general sense of how financial aid will work for you.
  • Apply for the program early in the semester before you wish to go, preferably in advance of the deadline. If you are caught in last-minute planning, contact the sponsor to see if a late application is feasible.
  • As soon as you are accepted to a program:
    • For Binghamton programs, come to the pre-departure meeting and follow the instructions in your acceptance packet.
    • For SUNY and non-SUNY programs, return to the OIP to pick up an administrative packet. Follow the steps in our checklist for students who have been admitted to a program.
    • Visit our Outbound Students page for more information about preparing for departure.
Back to top

Last Updated: 9/15/14