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A page within International Education & Engagement

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There is no one way to choose a program. Different factors will take priority depending on who you are and what sort of goals you have. There will likely be several programs that fit most of your criteria, but perhaps not one program that meets all of them. It is important to know what priorities are most important to you. 

In selecting your program, give careful attention not only to such factors as location, length, or language of instruction but also to the type of academic experience the program will provide.

All UWL Education Abroad programs are specifically designed to ensure that participants will:

  • Expand their knowledge through multiple academic perspectives.
  • Gain awareness and appreciation of their host cultures and deepen awareness of their own culture.
  • Identify and communicate the impact of their experience abroad personally, academically, and professionally.
  • Become more self-reliant and self-aware.
  • Navigate differences more effectively.

An experience abroad is really about you! Here are some ways in which you can help us, help you.

  1. Determine your priorities.

    Academics:  Meet with your academic advisor to map out the rest of your academic track at UWL, so you know what courses you will need to target each semester to remain on track for graduation. This also helps you figure out which term would be most appropriate for you to spend abroad.  UWL requires students to have a 2.5 minimum combined cumulative GPA (including transfer credits) in order to study abroad. However, there are some programs or institutions abroad that will require a higher GPA and students will need to meet that requirement. 

    Finances: If you have not done so, take a look at what kind of financing options you have at your disposal. Whether it is through the Financial Aid Office, Scholarships, Loans, or possibly research grants. This may help us narrow down the location options for you. Learn more about financial aid and education abroad here!

  2. Learn the program options, timelines, locations and cost.
    • Programs: Search based on program, area of study, location, language, or time frame.
    • Cost: Students will receive a Budget Fee Summary after committing to a program, but estimates are available on online brochures for each program.

  3. Meet with Office Staff
    Schedule your appointment through Navigate, or just drop by and make an appointment with our front desk in 1140 Centennial Hall.

  4. Attend an Education Abroad 101 Session. Join IEE staff every Thursday at 4PM in 1140 Centennial Hall to learn more about international program opportunities!

  5. Attend the spring or fall Education Abroad/Away Fair. Learn about the National Exchange Program (NSE) and all the education abroad opportunities offered at UWL.

  6. Apply for a Program. Before applying for a program, it is important that you know which program you are applying to. Please take a look at the "How to Apply" page before starting an application.

  7. Join our Social Network. Whether you prefer Facebook or Instagram, we would like you to join our online network and share your experience from start to finish with us. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Instagram.

Using the Programs link, you can search all programs that are approved by UWL and the International Education & Engagement team. Once you choose one of the options, you will see information about the kind of program you are looking at, and how to search the options available at UWL under that kind of program. 

If you are interested in a provider program or program through another university that is not on that list, please review the information under the Non-UWL Approved Program tab.

Non-UWL Approved Program Process

  1. Application & Payment
    Students are independently responsible for the program application, payment of fees, insurance coverage, orientation sessions, visa procurement, etc., directly with the chosen provider or institution.
  2. UWL Eligibility
    Students applying for non-UWL approved programs will NOT be enrolled at UWL for the term of study. Therefore, students will be required to re-apply prior to their return to campus (see Admissions Re-entry section here). There is no guarantee that a student will be readmitted to UW-La Crosse.
  3. Transfer of Credit
    It's possible that no credit will be awarded for unapproved programs. The student is responsible for obtaining international transcripts, having the transcript translated and evaluated,  and forwarding them to Records and Registration. It cannot be guaranteed that any credits taken on an unapproved program will transfer. As such, students are highly advised against participating on unapproved programs as it could jeopardize their status as a UWL student and could delay graduation.
  4. Financial Aid
    The Financial Aid Office (FAO) will not process Consortium Agreements/Financial aid for UWL students participating in Non-UWL Approved Programs. Only students participating in approved programs are able to receive financial aid to assist with study abroad.
  5. Visa
    Some countries require that students submit proof of enrollment at a U.S. institution in order to obtain a student visa, which will not be provided by UWL to those students who choose to participate in a non-UWL approved program.

All students, regardless of which program they intend to participate in, will need to complete the internal UWL education abroad/away application process. Application requirements vary by program. Please read the following step-by-step process on applying to UWL programs.

1. Read Steps to Studying Abroad

2. Search and select your program

  • Using the program search, search and select the program for which you would like to apply. On each program page, there is an "Apply Now" button. Select this to begin the application process. Remember: You must complete all application materials and submit your application before the program's deadline, so give yourself plenty of time to do so.
  • The system will ask you to answer some questions to create your profile and to take a Match Quiz to provide suggestions that closely match your interest and goals.

3. Start the application process here!

Thank you for applying to education abroad! It is important that you continue to check your online account and keep up to date with your education abroad application and follow-up steps. Additionally, keep in mind the following items during your application process:

Note: Once a student has officially confirmed their participation by completing the application materials, they become subject to the standard withdrawal policy.

Pre-Departure Orientation
Our mandatory Pre-Departure Orientation is usually scheduled for:

  • Summer, fall and academic year programs: Last week in April.
  • Winter and spring programs: First week in December. 

After Acceptance 
Once students have been accepted, they must complete additional requirement that will become available in their applications. Additionally, UWL Exchange/Direct-Enroll Education Abroad Program applicants must complete the host institution's application by their deadlines. Instructions will be provided during the application process. 

Other Things to Consider

Once You Have Been "Officially Accepted" By the Host Institution or Provider Program:

  • Have you received your official acceptance letter from the provider program or Host University?
  • Have you applied for a student visa? (Usually required for semester/year long programs)
  • Have you booked a flight and forwarded the information to IEE?
  • Did you have to submit a housing deposit to confirm your housing/accommodations?
  • Did you sign up for airport pick-up/drop-off services?
  • Did they have a buddy program that you could sign up for?
  • Did you enroll/sign-up for classes at your host institution? Or, do you complete this after your arrival in the host country?

UWL DOES NOT arrange student visas. Students are required to independently arrange for their student visa and need to be aware that this is a TIME SENSITIVE requirement that will include an additional out-of-pocket cost. Students should learn about the process and requirements as soon as they start the UWL application, but they won't be able to apply for their visa until they receive their acceptance letter from their host institution. Get more information under the "Exit, Entry and Visa Requirements" section for a specific host country at Travel.State.Gov, or visit the Consulate General's website of the host country that serves your area of U.S. residency. 

Is a student visa required?

In many countries students are required to obtain a visa in order to study for a summer, semester or year.

Best Resources Are:

  • Embassy or Consulate Website for the host country
  • Visit the U.S. Department of State Travel Website to search for a specific countries regulations
  • Many students, will receive more visa information, or visa guidance, from the host universities or program providers after being accepted into their program
What is the Process for Apply for a Student Visa?

This varies from embassy to embassy, so it is best to contact each directly. Some things to keep in mind and ask the embassy would be...

  • Average time it takes to process a visa.
  • Whether a student should apply in the jurisdiction where they go to school or through their permanent residence is located.
  • Whether a student must appear in person to obtain the visa.
  • Whether students need to appear in person to get biometric data (photo & fingerprints) taken.
What Are the Requirements to Obtain a Student Visa?

Each country will have different requirements; however, items that may be required include:

  • Photos
  • Fee
  • Proof of funds to support program abroad
  • Proof of enrollment
  • Fingerprints and other biometrics
  • Criminal Background or FBI background check
Does a Student Have to Appear in Person at the Consulate to Obtain a Student Visa?
  • Sometimes. Student may be able to use a visa service that stands in on their behalf, such as Zierer Visa Service ( or Perry Visa ( Some visa applications such as the Australian visa can be completed online. 
Can a Non-U.S. Citizen Apply For a Student Visa Through a Consulate in the United States?
  • This will depend on both the country of the student and also the country the student wishes to study abroad in.
  • Please refer to the embassy or consulate page of the country the student is looking to study in.
How Long Does a Student Visa Take and When Should I Apply?
  • Visa processing can take as little as a few days for some countries to months for others
  • Be sure to plan in advance in the event that it does take several months
  • Keep in mind, students will not be able to apply for a visa until they have been officially accepted by a program, host university, and has received their official admissions or offer letter
  • Students studying France, will need to initiate their visa application process with CampusFrance before being able to secure a visa appointment.
Will Consulates Make Exceptions and Allow for Emergency Applications if a Student is Leaving Sooner Than the Standard Processing Time?
  • In general, trying to rush an application is not advised.
  • This will vary greatly from country to country. Review the website of the consulate or embassy to see if this is a possibility.
Can a Student Obtain a Student Visa Once Overseas?
  • A Tourist Visa, often yes. However, it is important to research this in advance and know the legal ramifications of coming in under the wrong visa status.
Can a Student Extend His/Her Visa in Country (for a second semester, for example)?
  • In certain countries it is very challenging to extend. In others it is very easy to make the change.
  • Generally speaking this is something a student should discuss with his or her host university or program in order to determine if it is feasible.
Can a Student Travel After the Program Even if His or Her Student Visa Has Expired?
  • Do extensive research on the country and their rules before deciding to travel on an expired visa.
  • Not researching or following the rules and regulations of a country could leave students with a fine or stuck in a situation where they are unable to return to their original country of study.
If a Student is Having a Problem Obtaining a Visa, What Should They Do?
  • Contact the consulate directly!
  • If the problem persists, contact IEE and they will try to contact the consulate on the student's behalf to resolve the issue.