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Santa Clara University


It’s not where you go, it’s what you do while you are abroad that matters. Often students tell us their goals for study abroad are: fluency in another language, research abroad, an internship, a fantastic homestay, making new friends in the local culture, a great academic experience.  Most students are able to accomplish one or maybe two of their goals during their term abroad.  The more you can prioritize your goals for study abroad the greater likelihood is that you will achieve them. 

There is no one perfect program; rather programs provide structures that make it easier or harder to accomplish certain individual goals.  Start reflecting on your goals and perusing programs here.   Note enrollment caps for each program.  Summer study abroad is not competitive, but because competition is fierce for Fall, Winter, Spring we recommend you identify up to two back-up program choices for study abroad.

Program Models 

A variety of study abroad program models or structures exist. There is no single, perfect model for all students. Rather, different program models will allow students to accomplish different goals during their term abroad. Understanding program models will help students determine which Santa Clara programs may best meet their needs. The three program models are: Direct Enrollment, Island Programs, and Hybrid Programs. 

Direct Enrollment

Direct Enrollment programs offer integrated university studies alongside host country students. Students are taught by host country faculty and may participate in all aspects of foreign university life. Students must possess language proficiency to participate in direct enrollment programs. Direct enrollment programs may offer students the greatest array of choice when selecting courses, still, students should be aware that universities overseas may, or may not, permit cross-enrolling in more than one or two academic departments. Independent students with clear goals for their study abroad experience may find that they are well served by this model. While direct enrollment programs provide the greatest access to an integrated university student experience, there is often little opportunity for formal reflection on the cross-cultural experience. Direct enrollment programs may offer a variety of housing situations from homestay to university residence hall to apartments.

Island Programs

Island Programs offer a set curriculum of courses for students on the program only. Courses may be taught by host country nationals or on-site program staff, and may be taught in English or the language of the host country. Island programs allow students to study in non-English speaking countries, such as the Czech Republic or Greece where integrated university study would be impossible for most Santa Clara students. Typically, if students pursue coursework in English, a host-country language course will be taught and required of all students to afford basic cultural interactions. Students on Island Programs may find that they improve their language proficiency, but less dramatically than on Direct Enrollment or Hybrid model programs. Island programs may be thematic and focus on such areas as Social Justice, Economic Development or Sustainability. Island programs may have ten to twenty-five other American students participating in the same curriculum together. While the Island Program model provides great fodder for personal reflection, it may, or may not, be ideal for students who desire a great degree of independence from the group. Students on Island Programs typically live in homestays or apartments. On Island Programs, students may find that they gain the greatest exposure to a broad cross-section of the host culture through their field-based coursework, homestays, excursions, as well as volunteering or independent project work. Frequently, there is a great deal of formal reflection on the host culture and cross-cultural experience, as well as coursework in field research methodology.

Hybrid Programs

Hybrid Programs combine the characteristics of Direct Enrollment and Island Program models. Hybrid programs offer students an opportunity to create a program of study combining one or more integrated university courses alongside host country students, and courses taught for students on the program, only. As with Direct Enrollment programs, language proficiency is required, but students who are less confident with their language abilities may find that the Hybrid model allows the opportunity to explore regular courses overseas in an environment with a great deal of American-style support. Students eager to improve their language skills may find that the Hybrid model will serve them well.. Hybrid programs which provide “all the comforts of home” may require students to make greater efforts toward cultural integration and experiencing the host country like a local. Programs can range from ten to 100 students or more. Students on Hybrid Programs may be accommodated in homestays, university residence halls or apartments.