Skip to main content
Expand AU Menu

Student Resources

Student Resources

An image of Himalayan Prayer Flags.

The Office of International Programs (OIP) seeks to promote cross-cultural awareness and enhance international understanding by providing students access to international opportunities.  

We also recognize the importance of providing students with access to a variety of resources while selecting a program, and throughout their experience abroad. This website provides general information and links to both internal AU and external resources for various groups of students who are traditionally underrepresented on study abroad programs. By providing access to these resources we hope to assist students in selecting the right program for them, encourage them to plan in advance, and to help students understand and adequately prepare for possible challenges prior to embarking on an international program.

Students Traditionally Underrepresented on Study Abroad Programs

Students with Disabilities

Student Veterans and Active Military Personnel

Students who identify as LGBTQ

Ethnic and Racial Minorities

Online Students

International Students

First-Generation Students

Scholarships for Underrepresented Students Abroad

Students with Disabilities

The OIP makes every effort to ensure that students with disabilities can participate in any of our international opportunities. While we cannot guarantee facilities or support services will be available at each location abroad, we do have a general understanding and knowledge of the resources and accommodations provided by our partner institutions abroad. It is also important for any students interested in study abroad to be flexible and to plan well in advance. For more information, or to schedule an advising appointment, contact sisabroad@american.edu.

N.B. It is important to remember that the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act do not follow you outside of the United States. It is your responsibility to disclose any disability that requires accommodation in order to make plans for your needs well in advance of your international program.

Our central study abroad office, AU Abroad, has created the below checklist for students with disabilities interested in studying abroad:

  • Talk to your counselor in the Academic Support and Access Center (ASAC) about your particular needs, study abroad options, and possible site-specific information about disability issues
  • Consult with multiple resources before making a decision about whether and where to study (e.g., the SIS Abroad staff, your academic advisor, students who have participated in a program of interest, etc.)
  • Identify a study abroad site of your choice
  • Submit the online application to the SIS Abroad office
  • Once admitted, complete the Disability Accommodation Request form
  • You are required to have ASAC send your Accommodation Request form directly to the SIS Abroad Office.
  • Follow up to coordinate your accommodation request between your ASAC counselor, the SIS Abroad office, and the international partner institution

Source: AU Abroad- Study Abroad for Students with Disabilities

Additional Resources:

The Academic Support and Access Center (ASAC) at AU makes every effort to ensure that students with disabilities can participate successfully in study abroad programs.

Abroad with Disabilities (AWD) provides valuable information for students with disabilities abroad including:

AWD Live- A free monthly webinar series to discuss questions concerns, challenges, etc. of studying abroad with a disability

Blogs from students with disabilities studying abroad

Tools for preparing to study abroad with a disability

Diversity Abroad offers tips for students with disabilities to adjust to cultural differences and links to additional resources.

Mobility International USA (MIUSA) offers a many tips and valuable information for students with disabilities abroad including how to bring your service animal abroad and how to get disability coverage abroad.

The National Clearinghouse on Disability & Exchange, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and administered by Mobility International USA, aims to increase participation of all people with disabilities in the full range of international exchange opportunities.

MISUSA Resource Library Over 500 resources including blogs,  country guides, and information about various disabilities and  intentional travel

MIUSA’s Tips for Taking Your Service Animal Abroad

Transitions Abroad: Traveling with Disabilities is a compilation of articles and stories from travelers with disabilities.

University of Minnesota's Access Abroad is a resource for students with disabilities who wish to pursue study abroad opportunities. These materials, including country specific information, were developed as part of a federally funded project and seek to enhance existing study abroad opportunities for students with disabilities.

Veterans and Currently Active Military Personnel

Many Veterans and Active Duty Service members have already represented the United States abroad, but studying abroad can be a very different experience and serve as an excellent complement for their professional development and degree program at AU. The key to participating in a study abroad program for students utilizing their VA Education Benefits is planning. Listed below are resources to help students understand how they can utilize VA Education Benefits towards an international program. One fact students might not know is that for all OIP semester exchange and dual degree programs students pay tuition directly to AU, not to the institution abroad. To learn more, please explore the resources below and contact sisabroad@american.edu, to discuss our programs and your questions. 

All Veterans and current Active Duty Servicemembers considering a study abroad program are strongly encouraged to contact AU Veteran Services as soon possible to discuss how your benefits can be utilized to fund your program: 

Ms. Valerie (Val) Verra, Veteran Services Administrator, vverra@american.edu
Mr. Edward (EJ) Goodroe, Veteran Services SCO, goodroe@american.edu 

Military and Veteran Community at AU

Did you know…? 

  • More than half of the AU Veterans and Active Duty Servicemembers are enrolled at the School of International Service. 
  • You can use your VA Education Benefits to assist in paying for your study abroad program tuition. 
  • Financial Aid may be available to cover additional costs like flights, travel insurance, visas etc.  
  • You may be eligible for an AU scholarship 
  Undergraduate Scholarships
  Graduate Scholarships

Additional Resources: 

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Information About Study Abroad Programs 

LGBTQ Students

AU and SIS are dedicated to creating a welcoming and inclusive environment for the LGBTQ community on campus. However, attitudes towards those identifying as LGBTQ may differ significantly in other parts of the world. LGBTQ students face unique experiences and sometimes additional challenges during their time abroad. The OIP can provide some guidance information on attitudes towards the LGBTQ community in SIS Abroad destinations. For more information, contact sisabroad@american.edu.

Before departing on a study abroad program we encourage you to review the below checklist created by AU Abroad for LGBTQ students interested in studying abroad.

Some suggested areas to research are:

  • What are the attitudes towards the LGBTQ community in my host country?
  • What laws govern the LGBTQ community in my host country?
  • Are there norms and behavioral expectations within the LGBTQ community in my host country?
  • What resources are available in my host country?
  • Are there any LGBTQ-friendly establishments in my host city?
  • Are there any LGBTQ newspapers, magazines, or on-line resources available in my host country?

Some good questions to ask yourself are:

  • How open do I want to be about my sexuality and gender identity when I’m abroad? 
  • Do I want to be open about my sexuality and/or gender identity with my host family/professors/local friends/others that I meet?

Source: AU Abroad-LGBTQ Students

Additional Resources:

Center for Diversity and Inclusion at AU

Diversity Abroad offer tips for LGBTQ students to study abroad.

Diversity and Inclusion at SIS- Keep up-to-date with the latest events at SIS, including hearing from the LGBTQ community and their experiences abroad

Go Overseas- 9 Major Life Lessons I Learned Studying Abroad as an LGBTQ

LGBTQ+ in Quito- A blog posting from a San Diego State student discussing their identity during their time as an in intern in the Mayor's Office in Quito, Ecuador. 

National Center for Transgender Equality provides specific travel considerations for transgendered people

The State Department has developed a guide for LGBTQ people who travel abroad.

Ethnic and Racial Minority Students

Study abroad can be a rewarding experience that helps students with their self-discovery, to overcome challenges, and to reach personal and professional goals. Students from ethnic and racial minority backgrounds may identify themselves differently while abroad and it is important to note that while students might be classified by their ethnicity in the U.S., abroad they may first be considered an American. One difference between the U.S. and the other parts of the world is that not all countries are as ethnically diverse as the U.S.. But there are many valuable things that we can learn from other cultures, even if we do not necessarily identify with them. We have provided the resources below for students, their family, and friends to explore. The “All Abroad” website presents meaningful reflections parents have had on their student’s study abroad experience. The SIS Office of International Programs believes in equal access to international education opportunities and we encourage all students to participate in international opportunities during their studies at AU. 

Additional Resources:

We suggest that you consider the following questions while getting ready for study abroad:

  • How is my ethnic group perceived in my host country? What kind of stereotypes are there?
  • How should I react if I find something to be offensive?
  • Is the person curious or do they have bad intentions?
  • Has my host family housed minority students before? If not, will this be an issue for them?
  • Am I used to being part of the majority at home but will be a minority abroad? Or vice versa?
  • Will there be other minority students in my program?
  • Who will I contact if I do face racial or discriminatory incidents?
  • Does my program have support staff that will understand and help me through any racial or discriminatory incident I may face?

Source: Diversity Abroad

Center for Diversity and Inclusion at AU provides resources for the multicultural community at AU.

Diversity Issues in Study Abroad is a collection of quotes by Brown University students from 1999-2001 about their experiences abroad. These quotes address issues like ethnicity, cultural heritage, and sexual orientation, etc.

All Abroad presents parents' reflections on their student's study abroad experience.

Third Year Abroad has some advice for ethnic minorities on a year abroad

Online Students

Just because students who study online aren’t here on the AU campus, doesn’t mean they can’t take advantage of our many study abroad opportunities! SIS Abroad offers semester and short-term summer programs in addition to summer internship placements abroad to all AU students. The SIS Abroad program application process for online students to study abroad is the same as on-campus students. However, one of the keys to studying abroad for online students is planning early and thinking about how you can fit a program abroad into your personal and professional goals. You can learn more about past online students and their study abroad experiences by visiting their student profiles (coming soon). Also, SIS Abroad is available to talk about studying abroad via email, over the phone or Skype.

If you’re not already studying online at AU, and wish to learn more about the program, please visit the AU Master of International Relations Online Website

International Students

We welcome and encourage all International Students to explore study abroad opportunities offered by the OIP. Since most international students are already on an F-1 or J-I visa, it is possible that they might need to take some additional steps to maintaining their U.S. immigration status while abroad, and to obtain a foreign visa for the duration of their study abroad program. Therefore, we suggest that international students start the study abroad application process as early as possible and to be in contact with ISSS and the SIS Abroad Office throughout the process.

Frequently Asked Questions for International Students:

Can I study abroad as an international student?

Yes--- in fact, we encourage all students to study abroad. Study abroad as an international student means that while you are considering your destination and academic requirements, you will also need to consider how to maintain your U.S. immigration status. Working with both SIS Abroad and ISSS will help you go through this process. Please note that if you want to spend a semester abroad, you will need to be enrolled in full academic credits while abroad.

Do I need a visa to enter my country of destination?

This depends on your citizenship/nationality and the specific country that you are going. For example, student with a nationality from an EU country can study abroad in another EU country without additional visa application. But all students from outside the EU need to apply for a student visa to study in the EU. It is important to remember that you will be applying for a student visa, not a tourist visa. You can find the specific visa requirements on the embassy website of your destination. We suggest that you start researching the visa requirement and application process as early as possible.

How do I maintain my U.S. visa while abroad?

You are required to have a valid F-1/J-1 visa and your I-20/DS-2019 to re-enter the U.S. Before your departure, remember to get a travel signature on your I-20/DS2019 from ISSS. If your visa will expire while you are abroad, contact the local U.S. consulate or embassy to renew your visa. Please refer to the U.S. Embassy website for more information.

Do scholarships apply when I’m abroad?

All the AU scholarships apply to study abroad programs from SIS Abroad since you will be paying AU tuitions. You can also apply for study abroad scholarships.

Additional Resources:

The International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) at AU offers tips on maintaining your status in the U.S. and while abroad.

You can also refer to this ISSS web page for information on requirements for study abroad.

The Department of Homeland Security provides information on how international students can maintain their U.S. immigration status while abroad.

First-Generation Students

First-Generation college students encompass a group of diverse students from varying backgrounds that are often underrepresented in study abroad programs. Some barriers to study abroad opportunities first-generation students might encounter include financial restraints, minimal support from family and friends, and a lack of knowledge about study abroad opportunities and processes. First-generation SIS students, while globally minded, might still encounter some challenges to pursuing study abroad opportunities and we hope the resources below will be useful to students as they explore our programs.

Additional Resources:

Diversity Abroad provides tips for First-Generation students interested in studying abroad.

Diversity and Inclusion at SIS- Keep up-to-date with the latest events at SIS, including hearing from the AU First-Generation faculty, staff, and students!

Scholarships

Scholarship for Underrepresented Students Abroad

Fund for Education Abroad strongly encourages students who represent groups that are traditionally underrepresented in education abroad to apply. The award ranges from $1,250 to $10,000.

Scholarships for Students with Disabilities

Through Looking Glass awards $1000 scholarship to students who are enrolled in college and have at least one parent with disability.

The National Federation of the Blind offers scholarships ranged between $3000-$12,000 to students who are legally blind.

Scholarship for Veterans and Active Military Personnel

Boren Fellowships is an initiative of the National Security Education Program, Boren Fellowships provide funding opportunities for U.S. graduate students to study less commonly taught languages in world regions critical to U.S. interests. Boren Scholarships provide funding for U.S. undergraduate students to study abroad.

Scholarships for LGBTQ Students

The Rainbow Scholarship offers up to $10,000 scholarship to a deserving LGBTQ student who aims to participate in a high-quality, rigorous study abroad program.

The Gamma Nu Scholarships Program

The Traub-Dicker Rainbow Scholarship (TDRS) is a scholarship between $1,500 and $3,000 awarded to LGBTW members who identify themselves as women.

Scholarships for Ethnic and Racial Minority Students

Leeanne J. Dunsmore Study Abroad Scholarship is for SIS graduate and undergraduate students from historically underrepresented groups who wish to study abroad through AU.

The Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship is open to U.S. citizen undergraduate students who are receiving Federal Pell Grant funding at a two-year or four-year college or university to participate in study and intern abroad programs worldwide.

The Hispanic Scholarship Fund assists students of Hispanic heritage to obtain college degrees.

The United Negro College Fund helps students of African American heritage to achieve success in college.