Getting Started | FAQ

Welcome! We’re very excited you’re considering studying abroad. Please feel free to browse through the following frequently asked questions if you’ve got something specific in mind, or you can start by watching our Study Abroad Basics video or reading our Study Abroad Handbook. This application timeline and checklist is another great place to start as well.

How do I know if I am eligible to study abroad?

In order to be eligible to study abroad in the junior year, students must have declared a major and be in good academic standing. Most programs have minimum GPA requirements, which vary from 2.5 and guaranteed admission to 3.7, and a competitive application process. For study in a foreign language destination, Wellesley strongly recommends that students have a background in the predominant local language, even if the program does not have a language requirement. All students planning on studying abroad during their junior year should begin planning during the summer before their sophomore year.

What are some reasons to study abroad?

Studying abroad can be a life-changing experience. You learn new perspectives, cultures, and languages. You can pursue a career interest or passion, travel, and step out of your comfort zone. It allows you to become more of a global citizen. Every year, around 25% of Wellesley students travel abroad for academic credit, internships, research, community service, or personal enrichment. 

What sorts of study abroad programs does Wellesley offer?

Wellesley offers a multitude of programs, including some Wellesley-sponsored and Wellesley-affiliated options. These are great choices because they have been designed by Wellesley faculty with the particular needs of our students in mind. The Wellesley programs provide extensive pre-departure assistance, easy credit transfer, and seamless portability of financial aid.

In addition, Wellesley students may select from among more than 160 programs or host universities located in every world region and offering courses in every subject offered at Wellesley. 

How do I choose a program?

There are a multitude of things to consider when deciding on study abroad programs, from location to academic interests to extracurriculars to language and everything in between. This video on choosing a study abroad program is a great resource. In general, students are expected to select curricula abroad that will complement studies undertaken on campus, in relation to work in the major field planned for the senior year. 

As a starting point for selecting a program, students are encouraged to log into our Study Abroad App in MyWellesley and explore the programs there. You can also meet with OIS staff for a follow-up conversation. Advising hours are posted on the OIS calendar, where you can also find information about OIS information sessions, panel discussions, and the annual Study Abroad Fair.

How do I decide when to go?

Most Wellesley students study abroad during their junior year. Occasionally, a second semester sophomore or a first semester senior will study abroad but, in most cases, the junior year makes the most sense because students will have had the opportunity to declare a major and start taking courses in the major field but will not be at the point where they are taking 300-level seminar courses. Whether to spend a single semester or full year abroad is a personal decision. See some of the advantages and disadvantages of each.

But you don’t have to study abroad during the academic year at all. Some students choose to do a wintersession abroad, while others study abroad over the summer. 

I’m concerned about being able to afford studying abroad. What resources are available to me at Wellesley?

Wellesley is committed to helping make study abroad affordable for students. The Office of International Study and Student Financial Services work together to further this goal and to guide students and their families through the billing and financial aid process for study abroad. To this end, your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) remains the same while studying abroad as it would while studying on-campus.

This finances overview postcard gives a nice overview of study abroad financial matters. You can also visit our Affording Study Abroad page. Additionally, we keep a detailed spreadsheet of scholarship opportunities available for students looking to study abroad.  Abroad101 and MoneyGeek are also good resources for browsing study abroad scholarships.

How does the application process work?

That depends on the program, but all Wellesley students must complete the following application timeline and checklist. This includes submitting a Proposal to Study Away, a Study Abroad Agreement, and Financial Responsibility Agreement, and attending pre-departure meetings.

How do I navigate diversity and identity while abroad?

OIS maintains a page specifically on diversity and identity while abroad that we highly suggest you look into. There are resources and guides on being abroad for students belonging to a racial or ethnic minority, LBGTQ+ students, first generation students, students with disabilities, economically-disadvantaged students, and students from religious minorities. 

How does credit transfer work?

How or if credits transfer for courses taken abroad depends on the program. Transferring credits for courses taken through Wellesley-sponsored or Wellesley-affiliated programs is easy, but it may require a bit more work for other programs.

Students typically earn four units of credit per semester of study abroad. Most majors will accept two 200-level courses from study abroad, and some will accept four. Students can earn major, minor, distribution, and in some cases 300-level credit while abroad, and we have programs suitable for any major.

Full details on credit transfer can be found on pages 16-19 in the Study Abroad Handbook.

How do I deal with money while abroad?

Depending on the location and how you prioritize your time, living abroad can add up. It’s best to think about budgeting in advance. To start, take a look at this presentation from OIS and SFS about the cost of study abroad, including slides about financial aid, living expenses, travel fees, etc. You can also look at specific cost breakdowns by program. We also encourage you to view these slides on budgeting while studying abroad. And here is a financial planning workbook that can help you budget each month. 

More information and advice can be found on pages 23-25 of the Study Abroad Handbook.

What should I know about health while studying abroad?

Before you go abroad, be sure to read up about potential differences in quality of medical facilities, as well as different cultural standards towards medical treatment. is a great resource for this. If you have a chronic illness or mental health issues, you should discuss studying abroad with your physician. 

All Wellesley students are required to complete the OIS Pre-Departure Orientation Health Module and quiz prior to departure, and all students who submit a leave of absence form for study abroad will be subscribed to a supplemental travel insurance policy through International SOS, providing 24-hour emergency medical, evacuation and repatriation assistance. 

For more information on health while studying abroad, visit pages 29-32 in the Study Abroad Handbook.

How can I stay updated with students who are currently abroad?

The OIS Instagram page is a great place to start! You can also look through current and past student experiences.

I have a question that wasn’t covered on this page. What should I do?

There are a few other places you can check! First, our Essential Resources page covers a great many topics and has some really useful links. You can also read through our Study Abroad Handbook or watch our Study Abroad Basics video. 

Of course, you can always contact the Office of International Study directly by emailing or calling 781-283-2320.