Frequently Asked Questions

Is it dangerous to study abroad?
The world is full of all kinds of people. AND, just like the USA, most people are good. However, you should use the same caution you would exercise when visiting a big U.S. city when you travel. In addition, the Office of International Relations & Global Engagement monitors the situation in each country where we have programs and will cancel a program if the U.S. Department of State issues a Travel Warning. Be careful, but don't be afraid to travel and study away.

Wouldn't it be better to wait until I graduate to study abroad?
You may have more money after graduation as hopefully you'll have a full-time job, but you won't have more time. Now is when you have the most time-flexibility in your life. Make the most of it. Remember also, if you enroll in a BHSU Partner Program or an affiliated program you can apply your federal financial aid toward the costs of your study away experience. And, in some cases, you can teach abroad and make money while you are still attending BHSU classes.

Will I have to commit to a whole semester or year if I want to study abroad?
While there is much to be gained from a longer experience, such as a semester or year, that immerses you in the culture, there are shorter programs available that can be as short as one or two weeks in length. Sometimes a shorter experience can give you a small taste of studying abroad and lead to longer options when you are ready. The International Office can help you craft the right study abroad experience based on the time and budget you have available. We have a study abroad option for ALL students.

Will I still be able to use my financial aid?
BHSU partner exchange programs allow students to utilize both their federal financial aid and BHSU institutional scholarships because you are paying BHSU tuition. Outside Affiliated Programs give students the opportunity to apply their federal financial aid to their study away expenses. Financial aid eligibility for other programs offered by study away organizations or other U.S. universities that do not have an official partnership agreement with BHSU is determined on a case-by-case basis; BHSU institutional scholarships are not applicable to these programs. Confused? Come by and talk to the international office to work on your individual financial plan for study abroad.

Will studying abroad matter to future employers or graduate schools?
The job market and admission to graduate or professional schools gets more competitive every day. Employers and graduate/professional school admissions officers are looking for something that sets you apart from the mass of applications they receive for each opening. Study abroad is a quality that sets you apart from the crowd. And, more and more employers are looking for diverse learning experiences. Studying Abroad can tell employers that you can work independently, aren’t afraid of challenge and can thrive in any location.

Will my credits earned abroad transfer back to BHSU?
When you apply for a BHSU International Relations Program, you'll complete the Learning Agreement Form (LAF). Before you ever leave Spearfish, every course you plan to take while studying away will be approved and a BHSU equivalent will be determined. Completing the LAF and the rest of the Study Abroad application process ensures the credits you earn away will transfer back to BHSU.

Will I still graduate on time if I study abroad?
As long as you consult with your advisor, department head, and International Relations and Global Engagement Office, there's no reason why you shouldn't be able to graduate on time, even if you attend a full-year program away. The key is to plan and approve coursework before leaving and then sticking to the agreed upon plan. If there will be any changes to your agreed upon plan while you are abroad, every effort must be made to work with International Relations to approve the new courses.

Will I be able to meet my major requirements while studying abroad?
While some BHSU majors are very specific about how you need to fulfill major requirements, most majors offer some flexibility and many students are able to complete one or more major courses while overseas. What is required is advance planning and consultation with your academic advisor and the international office.

Do I need to learn another language to study abroad?
Although some of our programs are designed for students with a foreign language capability, many programs are taught exclusively in English and in countries where English is either the native language or is widely spoken, such as Germany, Korea or China.

How much does it cost to study abroad? Is it very expensive?
Studying away is much like buying a car. Many types and styles are available to fit a variety of budgets. At BHSU, we offer many high-quality, low-cost, partner university programs that are easily affordable by most students. These options allow students to utilize both their federal financial aid and pay BHSU tuition, making these programs incredibly affordable study away options. You don't need to go into major debt to study away. And, in some cases, you can teach English abroad while attending classes and actually make money in the experience! Come to the International office to learn more!