Santa Clara University

Study Abroad

Frequently Asked Questions

1) Where can I study abroad?

Santa Clara's study abroad opportunities continue to expand.  We have over 100 locations around the world where Santa Clara students can study a summer, semester, or year. Browse our Program Search site to find all the approved program locations by country, city, and providers and for language and GPA requirements, language of instructions, housing options, specializations, websites, etc.

2) Who is eligible to participate in a study abroad program?

Students from virtually all majors are eligible to petition to study abroad provided they are in good standing with the University (academic, disciplinary, financial), declared a major, achieved 88 academic units by the start of their program, and fulfill other program-specific requirements such as minimum GPA and language requirements. For more details on these University requirements, please visit the Eligibility Requirements page on this site.

3) Are there language requirements?

Many programs require language preparation, although opportunities exist at every level in many locations.  Students are encouraged to acquire as much language skill as possible before undertaking a study abroad program, but there are many options for which no specific language preparation is needed. Classes are taught in English in some places, and in the local language in others. You can find the minimum language requirements by browsing our Program Search options.

4) What are the GPA requirements?

Your cumulative GPA is very important in determining which program/location for which you should petition. Most programs will require a minimum GPA of 2.75 at the time you submit applications. If your GPA is not high enough to study abroad program during your junior year, you can always work harder to improve it and go during your senior year. You can find the minimum GPA requirements for each location by browsing our Program Search option.

5) Can courses taken abroad fulfill my graduation requirements?

Yes. Every course taken in any of the SCU-operated programs, Direct Exchange Programs, or Affiliated Programs will transfer automatically to SCU at minimum as elective credits, but can also fulfill major, minor, or core requirements provided they have been pre-approved by the appropriate Department Chair. You can information on how to get courses approved in the Prepare section of our website.

6) What does study abroad cost?

Like all University fees, the study abroad fees are set by the University Board of Trustees. By standardizing the study abroad fees, the Trustees enables students to pay the same tuition as on campus students. The difference is in the "Housing & Program Fees" which are based on program and location. For a complete list of the study abroad cost, please visit:

7) Can I study in a non-approved study abroad program?

Yes, but you will need to withdraw from the University for the term, cannot use your financial aid, and the courses you take on a non-affiliated program provider will not fulfill major, minor, or core requirements. You will need to check with the Drahmann Center for the transfer credit protocol and to complete the leave of absence paperwork.

8) How do I apply for study abroad?

All students must follow the University's procedure as outlined in the How to Apply page.

9) Who should I talk to about study abroad options?

Prospective study abroad students must get proper advising from your academic adviser, the study abroad staff, and parents. We also recommend you contact the Returned Study Abroad Students whose contact information can be found in the Explore section on our website.  You can walk-in at the Study Abroad Office to talk to the staff and our Peer Advisors on duty, call us at 408.551.3019 to talk with a Peer Advisor or set up an appointment with a staff advisor. You can also email your questions to

10) Can I use my financial aid towards study abroad fees?

Yes, you can use your aid programs towards study abroad fees as long as you participate in an approved program for the regular terms.

11) Do I have to purchase additional insurance to go abroad?

Students who participate in study abroad programs should continue their primary insurance (SCU or other). In addition, SCU and affiliated program providers have emergency insurance for all SCU programs and all affiliated programs respectively. This emergency coverage is included in the study abroad fees. 

12) Can I travel while abroad?

Of course! However, students participating in study abroad should wait until they arrive at their program and go through orientation to book any weekend/break trips. Some mandatory weekend field trip dates are not finalized until students arrive and/or could depend upon classes students register for. Additionally, students are encouraged to travel with other students.

13) Can family visit me while I am abroad? When should they visit?

On average, approximately 20-30% of parents or guardians visit students while they are abroad. Of course, all students are different and some will be more homesick than others.

Do not plan trips until the student is in his or her program and knows exact dates for breaks and/or mandatory weekend excursions essential to certain courses.

One recommended time to visit students abroad is during a break or at the end of the program. This way, students can show family members around and share their experiences. However, if planning to travel with a student prior to the start of his or her program, it is advised that parents or guardians depart before orientation as to promote a smoother transition into the program early on.

14) What will my housing/meal situation be like abroad?

Housing (either apartments/dorms or homestays) is arranged by the program provider and included in study abroad fees (the only exception to this being exchange programs). With homestays, study abroad fees include a certain number of meals made by the family or individual that the student is staying with. However, with apartment/dorm living situations, prices do not include food and students will be required to purchase and cook their own meals (usually a kitchen is provided in the housing and grocery stores can be found on or near campus).

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