General guidelines for study abroad
If you are a language minor or major and you are thinking of studying abroad and using those credits towards your language minor or major, here are some general guidelines and information that you will need to keep in mind.
Visit the office of International Programs and Exchanges to do initial research on sites and programs. This is also the place to inquire about financial aid, cost of the various study abroad programs, and other logistical matters. If possible, narrow down to a couple of choices and consult the study abroad advisor if you have questions about sites, living abroad, etc.
The only way to ensure that your study abroad credits will transfer back to Western is to travel on a Western-approved Study Abroad program. All programs found in the IPE office are Western-approved.
Once you have decided on a program, meet with the appropriate advisor(s) in the language section to sketch out a plan of study for the study abroad site, how the courses you will be taking abroad may fit in the language program here at Western, and to discuss credit transfer.
IMPORTANT: Always meet with a language study abroad advisor before you leave on the study abroad program. Meeting with the language study abroad advisor will help you be aware of what level of language courses you will need to place into in order for those credits to fulfill the program requirements you need.
Be aware that most language study abroad programs will require that you take a placement exam. This exam will determine the level of language courses in which you will be enrolling.
There is no limit to the number of study abroad credits that may transfer back to Western. However, keep in mind that, as per University policy, at least 50% of the credits needed for a minor or major need to be completed on campus. So, regardless of how many credits you get from studying abroad, you will need to complete at least 50% of the credits for your language minor or major at Western.
Before you leave for your study abroad program, your advisor will advise you on what types of classes would be best for you to take while abroad. However, exact credit transfer will not be determined until the IPE office (International Programs and Exchanges) has received your official study abroad transcript and shares it with your advisor. Make sure you keep study materials and syllabi for the courses taken abroad. Your advisor will need to look at these to determine how your courses will transfer and how they will be used towards your major or minor.
Credit transfer is determined according to the content and level of the course taken abroad. Once content and level is determined, the advisor determines how that would transfer into our language programs at Western.
Official transcripts from your study abroad program may take up to three months to arrive. You will need to be patient.
The grades that you get in your study abroad courses do not impact your Western GPA or your major/minor GPA. They will be transferred as S/U grades, unless they are WWU Global Learning Program courses, in which case you will receive an actual grade in your transcript.
Keep in mind that for several of our language majors and/or minors, there are certain courses that have to be taken on campus. You will never get study abroad credit to replace such courses. Check the requirements of each major or minor for more information.