Get prepared to take your studies abroad while gaining new perspective on the world. You'll start by confirming your eligibility, and then begin researching which programs will best support your academic and personal goals. You'll also start thinking about what you'll need to do to be ready to travel and live abroad.
Study abroad is an experience that enables students to earn academic credit toward their Mills degree while studying outside of the US through an approved program. To be eligible for any Mills Study Abroad Program, you must meet all of the following criteria:
If you don't meet all of these eligibility criteria and would still like to apply to study abroad, you may submit a petition to the Academic Standing Committee to waive a specific Mills criterion before beginning your study abroad application.
Please note that any study abroad program to which you apply may have additional eligibility requirements specific to that program. These requirements may include foreign language coursework prerequisites or different GPA requirements, among other considerations. It is your responsibility to understand any additional eligibility requirements prior to applying to the program.
Most study abroad programs offered at Mills are designed for undergraduate academic credit. In some cases, programs may authorize graduate students to enroll. However, it is at the discretion of your program at Mills whether the credit earned on study abroad will count towards your program’s graduation requirements. If you're a graduate student who is interested in studying abroad, you are encouraged to first speak with your academic advisor about your interest in studying abroad while you are at Mills. This will help you determine whether study abroad is feasible, or whether other types of international opportunities outside of Mills may be a better option.
When choosing a study abroad program, there are a variety of factors you should consider to ensure that your experience is a good fit. Before selecting your program and applying, it's critical that you reflect on your intended goals for your study abroad experience so you can choose the appropriate coursework. Your considerations should include:
Courses taken for major, minor, or elective credit through a study abroad program will require pre-approval by your faculty advisor(s) as part of your Mills study abroad application. It's important to meet with your advisor in advance to discuss how study abroad will fit into your Mills degree and time to graduation. This is especially important if you plan to study abroad for a semester or longer. Keep in mind that students studying abroad in the fall or spring semesters are required to enroll in a minimum of 12 course credits per semester.
Some important questions to ask your faculty advisor(s) are:
After speaking with your faculty and study abroad advisors, consider both your academic plan and what you wish to gain from the experience when choosing the timing for your study abroad program. Participating for a semester or a full academic year can afford you an exciting opportunity to immerse yourself in a new culture, all while making academic progress towards your major and/or minor requirements. In fact, many students who return from study abroad report wishing they had gone for longer. With careful academic planning, a semester or year abroad is possible for many students and won’t delay your graduation from Mills.
Depending on your goals and academic plan, you may decide that studying abroad over the summer term or January term (J-Term) is a better fit than a semester or an academic year abroad. A shorter program can offer the opportunity to get ahead on your degree requirements, or even explore an area of study outside of your major. If you're excited about gaining international experience, but not sure you are ready to spend three or more months in another country, you may decide that these shorter-term options are a better fit—and these shorter programs may inspire you to study abroad again during a later semester.
Whenever you decide to study abroad, keep in mind the various practical and personal considerations to guide your final decision. Your best time to study abroad will depend on a number of factors including course planning, your major, funding, and your personal goals.
As you research and compare programs, consider the various academic settings offered for study abroad and which are the best fit for you. The most common settings are:
Other questions you may want to consider include:
A key consideration for any study abroad program is where you want to study. Beyond considering which countries are of greatest interest to you, also bear in mind the particular destination in which you'll be studying and its geographical, political, and social context.
Questions you may want to consider include:
However, when considering different program locations, we encourage you to keep an open mind. Think not only about the destination, but about choosing an opportunity that best serves your interests and goals—wherever that opportunity may be located.
Resources for researching your study abroad destination(s) include:
Another central question when considering where to study abroad is what sort of living arrangements your program offers—for example, dorms, homestay, or shared apartments. Consider what living situations you are comfortable with and contact the study abroad program directly if you have additional specific questions about room and board for that program.
Questions you may want to consider include:
If you're a student who receives accessibility accommodations at Mills through Student Access and Support Services, it's important to consider whether those same accommodations will be available on your study abroad program. In many cases, accommodations you receive at Mills can be met by your study abroad program. As you select a program(s), the assistant director of international scholars and global learning at Mills can assist you in identifying which programs and program destinations are most accessible. You are responsible for disclosing any accessibility needs directly to your program, and you're advised to do so early in your process of selecting a program. Additionally, you may need to work with the Mills director of accessibility services to arrange for accommodations while abroad.
Questions to consider:
Study abroad programs vary in terms of tuition, fees, and other costs. In most cases, federal and state aid that you receive to attend Mills can be transferred to apply to these program costs. You are responsible for any remaining balance for your program after your available aid has been applied. For this reason, it's important to consider how the cost of attendance for your study abroad program compares to your cost of attending Mills and which scholarships and other funding opportunities you may wish to pursue.
Other questions you may want to consider include:
Visit our Funding Your Study Abroad Experience page for more information on study abroad program costs, financial aid, and scholarships.
To study abroad, you'll need to have a current, travel-ready passport, and your passport must be valid (not expire) for six months after your planned return date. If you need to apply for a new passport or renew your existing passport, start the process early. Passport applications and renewals can take several months to process. In certain cases, it's possible to expedite the process, though at extra cost.
You should investigate your destination’s visa requirements, as some countries and programs may require that you apply for a student visa—a document, usually affixed in your passport, issued by a country’s embassy/consulate that allows you to enter the country for a specified duration and for a specific purpose (studies, tourism, etc.). The requirements and process for obtaining a particular visa can be acquired through the country’s embassy or consulate. For assistance with your visa, contact your study abroad program directly.
We encourage you to consider your health and wellness needs when preparing to apply to study abroad. Keep in mind that Mills, in addition to your chosen program, will require you to enroll in personal medical insurance that will provide you with essential medical coverage in your country of study for the duration of your program. Some countries may require certain vaccinations or health clearances for visa or entry purposes.
Questions for you to consider:
Health abroad informational resources include:
As you research the culture of your study abroad destination, reflect on what it means to bring your own intersecting identities abroad. Your host culture may adhere to beliefs, stereotypes, attitudes, and perceptions that are very different than those you are accustomed to at Mills. As a result, it may be that your perception of your own intersecting identities differs somewhat, or significantly, from your host culture’s perception of those identities.
The process of navigating your identity abroad can be challenging, but it also poses an opportunity to learn more about yourself and deepen your understanding of the host culture. While each student’s experience abroad is unique, we encourage you to consult resources based on others’ experiences navigating identity while abroad as you engage in your own reflection process. The Office of Advising, Career, and Global Learning also is here to support you in that process and connect you to additional resources.
Suggested resources include: