Types of Study Abroad Programs

GEO offers a wide range of programs that vary by cost, location, length, and program type. To help you navigate through the many programs listed on our website, we have outlined the key characteristics of the following program types:   

Faculty-Led
A faculty-led program is usually 2-6 weeks long, but some may last an entire quarter or summer. Led by faculty from the UO or a partner university, these programs tend to focus on one topic or discipline, allowing for deeper specialization. Most faculty-led programs are designed to satisfy specific major and minor requirements in the department associated with the faculty leader. Coursework and travel for excursions is done together as a group, which helps build closer bonds between fellow students and the professor(s) in a relatively short period of time. The preplanned itinerary and group dynamics makes this a very supportive and structured program type. This type of program is great for students who would like to work closely with a faculty member and a group of students interested in a specific discipline. These are usually short-term programs where the itinerary is planned ahead of time and the group travels together.

GEO Centers
A GEO center program has dedicated on-site staff. Many GEO centers like London, Siena, Segovia, and Oviedo have different programs available throughout the year. Some programs may be a month long in the summer, and some may be semester or a full year. GEO centers offer a variety of classes and program themes that range from language to journalism, liberal arts, business, global health, and more. These centers offer a strong “home base” for students, which includes the expertise and resources of local staff and a dedicated facility for students to visit for classes, advising, studying, tutoring, etc. GEO on-site staff take care of arranging your housing, organizing excursions, and offering emergency support among other services. Note: Some GEO Centers also offer faculty-led programs.

Language Learning
These programs focus on the acquisition of language skills, and are often very intensive and immersive! Some language learning programs allow a student to bring back a significant number of language credits – even up to the equivalent of one year of language coursework. Students often engage in cultural activities and excursions to better understand the target culture and language they are studying. For language learning, homestays are the most common form of housing in order to encourage further language acquisition outside of class. Several language immersion programs are based in GEO Centers

Exchange Programs
Exchange programs are open to UO students only. An exchange allows students to enroll directly at a foreign university for a semester or for an entire academic year. Students have access to most courses that the university offers in a wide range of academic disciplines. Exchanges sometimes have lower overall costs than other programs of similar length. This is because exchange students have fewer planned excursions or on-site services and customized support. Students participating in exchange programs need to be prepared for an independent experience. Students who succeed in exchange programs typically have high levels of self-reliance, resourcefulness, and willingness to adapt to unfamiliar teaching styles and living arrangements. Depending on the exchange program, students may be required to take courses in the local language with native speakers of that language. Students should also be flexible, as classes cannot always be arranged or guaranteed before arrival; registration often happens on-campus after the arrival date; and individual courses may need to be approved later once the student has access to the course syllabi. However, an exchange program also allows students the flexibility to customize their experience and get deeply involved in the local culture and community.

NOTE: Admission requirements, term dates, exam styles, and course load vary by location. Many exchanges are competitive; it is usually a good idea to consider more than one exchange program in case there are limited exchange spots for one university. Consult with your GEO Advisor before applying to an exchange program.

Research
Some programs sponsored by GEO involve a research component in addition to classwork. This includes both Field Research and Lab Research options. If students are looking to build their research portfolio, possibly for future graduate school applications, or for a senior thesis, this may be a great way to get practical experience in research.

Internships
GEO has programs that offer both full internships and internships blended with coursework. In all cases, these internships are unpaid and offer academic credit towards the student’s degree. Depending on the program, the internship placement may be pre-selected or students may be able to customize their experience to meet their own needs. These are an excellent way to build practical experience and add substantial skills to a student’s resume.

Service-Learning
A few select programs offered by GEO involve service-learning opportunities, where students can earn credits through a service-learning placement assisting with local issues in addition to coursework abroad. The nature of the service is often set by the program offering it. Students are usually enrolled in additional courses as part of the program. Academic credit is awarded based on demonstration (through reports, papers, multi-media projects) of learning associated with the service they have performed.

Third-party Sponsored Programs
UO students may also consider participating in programs that are sponsored by GEO and approved for UO credit. These programs are operated by organizations such as  CIEE, IE3 Global, SIT, and DIS, and add to the wide diversity of programming options available to UO students. All of the programs from these organizations listed in the GEO website have been approved. Students may choose third-party programs that satisfy major, minor, or elective requirements, as well as internships. Sponsored programs are great for students who want to study abroad with students from other colleges and universities all over the United States. Third-party sponsored programs have on-site staff to support.