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 2.75 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. (See details of the Wellesley College language policy.) All students planning on studying abroad during their Junior year should begin planning during the summer before their Sophomore year.
Selecting a Program
In general, students are expected to select curriculum abroad that will complement studies undertaken on campus, in relation to work in the major field planned for the senior year. Occasionally, a student will spend a semester overseas on a program unrelated to her major, but which gives her the opportunity to explore another dimension of her interests. Study abroad is a great way to master a foreign language begun on campus or to learn a new language that is not offered at Wellesley. Learn more about language study at Wellesley (video).
Wellesley College students are encouraged to first consider enrolling in a Wellesley-sponsored or Wellesley-affiliated study abroad program. These programs 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.
Students who are seeking a more independent immersion experience should consider direct enrollment in one of the Wellesley Exchange Programs. The exchanges are reciprocal, with students -- and sometimes faculty -- going to and coming from the partner university, enabling our students to develop long-term relationships with some the local degree students and to serve as Wellesley ambassadors abroad.
In addition, Wellesley students may select from among more than 150 programs or host universities located in every world region and offering courses in every subject offered at Wellesley.
Because there are so many options, most students need some help identifying programs that will be a good fit and will need to do a good deal of research and soul-searching. As a starting point, students are encouraged to:
Follow up with an in-person, skype or phone meeting with OIS Staff. Advising hours are posted on the OIS calendar.
In addition, the OIS offers information sessions and panel discussions throughout the fall semester as well as the annual study abroad fair, all opportunities to get first-hand information from program representatives and alumnae. Check the calendar for dates and times.
Deciding When to Go
Most Wellesley students study abroad during the Junior year. Occasionally, a second semester sophomore or 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 the 300-level seminar courses. Whether to spend a full year or single semester abroad is a personal decision. See some of the advantages and disadvantages of each.