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.  Please note that particular programs may have higher minimum requirements. 

    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.

    • Faculty-Led Programs range from one to five weeks, include 10-20 students, and are led by UWL faculty members. Students can usually earn between three to six UWL credit-hours in these programs. Faculty-led programs usually take place during Winter Break, Spring Break, or summer.

    • Exchange and Direct Enroll programs are programs in which UW-La Crosse has an agreement with a specific university abroad. Exchange programs are based on a reciprocal exchange, which allows UWL to send students to these universities, and allows these universities to send students to La Crosse. Exchange programs are more cost effective because they are based on an even balanced exchange program between UWL and the host institution, and UWL students pay UWL resident tuition during their term abroad. However, they are also very competitive and placements are limited. Direct enroll programs have the same benefits as exchange programs, but students pay host institution's tuition. Placements in these programs are guaranteed as long as students meet the requirements.

      Though both exchange and direct enroll programs will cost more that studying at UWL, these programs can be more affordable than provider programs since UWL and the host institutions try to minimize costs as much as possible. If cost is an issue for you, we encourage you to take a look at our direct/exchange programs first.

    • Provider Programs are third party organizations or affiliates who have their own partnerships overseas; UWL has an agreement with the following organizations, allowing students to participate in their programs as a sponsored UWL program.

    • Cost: Students will receive a Budget Fee Summary at Pre-Departure Orientation. Information regarding provider program fees can be accessed here: Program Provider Fees

  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 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 Twitter, 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 and Twitter @IEEUWL

Using the Programs link, you can search all programs that are approved by UWL and the International Education & Engagement team. If you are interested in a provider program or program through another university that is not on that list, please review the following information.

  1. Application & Payment
    Students are independently responsible for the program application and its submission, payment of fees, insurance coverage, orientation sessions, visa procurement, etc.
  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 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.

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

1. Read Steps to Studying Abroad

  • Have you already researched programs and selected one that fits your priorities?
  • Have you talked to an Education Abroad staff member?
  • Do you meet the 2.5 minimum GPA (including transfer credits) requirement?

2. Search and select your program

  • Using the program search, search and select the program for which you would like to apply. On your programs 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.

3. Apply

  • A prompt will appear after selecting Apply Now. Students must select "okay" to continue. At this point you will log-in based on the following:
    • Current UWL Students will need to select "I have a UWL NetID username and password." Using your NetID username and password, log into the system.
    • Non-UWL Students with emailed log-in credentials will select "I have log-in credentials..." Use the emailed log in credentials on the next page to enter your account.
    • Non-UWL Students creating their application on their own will select "I do not have log-in credentials..." You will be directed to another screen that will ask for some information from you in order to create your account within the system.

4. Creating the Account

  • Students will be asked a series of questions (Date of Birth; Gender; Term; etc.) before reaching their actual account within the system. All successful log-ins or account creations will lead students to a profile page that will list the student's program information as well as a checklist of items that will need to be signed and/or submitted.
  • Click on each checklist item to learn what needs to be done in order to complete that item.
  • Once you have completed all the items, click "Submit" and your application will be ready for review. 
  • Students will be notified of their acceptance a week after the deadline at the latest. 

Hints and Tips:
UWL students who are having issues logging-in, after successfully creating their accounts, may need to change their passwords in order to get back into the system. Because the Terra Dotta log-in system is similar to the EAGLE/NetID system, your password should change every time you change your username and password for the Eagle/NetID system.  

Students who had their log-in credentials emailed to them, please note that there is a time limit as to how long the temporary user name and password will last. Please be sure that you log-in and change the password as soon as possible after you receive the email. We suggest that when creating your account, use an email address that you check regularly or periodically.

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 materials. 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: Second week in April.
  • Winter and spring programs: Second week in November. 

Post-Decision Checklist
Once students have been accepted, they must complete the post-decision section of the UWL application. Additionally, Exchange/Direct-Enroll Education Abroad Program applicants must complete the host institution's application by their deadlines. 
Additional process for Non-UWL students applying from other Universities: Complete a special, non-degree application for UW La Crosse here. This is to ensure that students can be enrolled at UW-La Crosse for their time abroad. By completing the special, non-degree application, non-UWL students will be given a UWL Student ID number, UWL Student email address, as well as have access to WINGS student account/help center. Most students, when communicating with UW-La Crosse offices, will need to refer to their UWL Student ID, or will be notified via their UWL Student email. If you are a non-UWL student who intends to use Financial Aid, be sure to communicate with the Financial Aid Office on your home campus, so you are aware of the Financial Aid policies and guidelines for your home campus. If you will need to transfer your aid to UWL, start the Financial Aid Consortium Agreement process with the Financial Aid Office on your home campus.

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? 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? expanding section

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? expanding section

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? expanding section

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? expanding section
  • 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? expanding section
  • 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? expanding section
  • 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? expanding section
  • 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? expanding section
  • 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)? expanding section
  • 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? expanding section
  • 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? expanding section
  • 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.

All education abroad students on UWL SPONSORED PROGRAMS such as: UWL EXCHANGE, UWL DIRECT-ENROLL, and UWL FACULTY-LED PROGRAMS, are enrolled in emergency and medical insurance through Cultural Insurance Services International (CISI) for the term of their education abroad program.

Education abroad students participating in the following programs:  API, CEA, ISA, ISEP ARE NOT enrolled in CISI and are enrolled in insurance through their education abroad program provider. Please click on your programs Health/Safety information below for more information.


Contact information:
Cultural Insurance Services International (CISI) Insurance:
Policy plan #: STB009987904

24/7 Emergency Assistance Provider: Assist America (AA)
ID number: 01-AA-CIS-01133
Note: AA will ask for this ID number when contacted.
Tel in the U.S.: 800-872-1414
Tel outside U.S.: (01) 609-986-1234 (collect calls accepted)


CISI Non-Emergency Contact Information:
Tel: 203-399-5130
Fax: 203-399-5556