Academics are at the heart of the education abroad experience. Education abroad encompasses any type of overseas academic experience: from traditional classroom-based learning at a foreign university, to short programs led by UNL faculty, to independent field research, to internship programs.

It's essential to plan ahead and incorporate your experience into your degree completion plan. Use the resources below to help plan your academic experience. Keep in mind that your academic advisor and college requirements are your primary resources for your academic questions and planning.

Sand Boarding Photo
Sarah Wilson, an Education Abroad alum, enjoys sandboarding in Brazil

UNL expects education abroad participants to perform academically at standards commensurate with on-campus performance. This includes attending class, taking exams, reading required materials, completing homework, etc. You must follow the local (not UNL) academic calendar for these activities. If you are not maintaining good academic standing while abroad and fear that you may fail one or more courses, you can notify the on-site director or leader and seek academic assistance.

Cambodian Monks

Adjusting to a different educational system

You are likely entering an educational system different than what you are used to. While participating in your study abroad program, you may be surprised by how much free time that you have outside of class or you may be unsure of the expectations that your new professors hold. Many educational systems outside of the United States focus more on a final essay or exam, giving the appearance that there is little to be completed throughout the semester. The expectation is that you will spend this time reading the suggested materials and researching the topics discussed in class. Here are some tips that may help you to have a successful academic experience abroad:

  • Although it may not be specifically stated in the syllabus, attendance is important! You should to attend all classes.
  • Read all required and suggested readings that your professor assigns.
  • Start early! Do not wait until the end of the semester to begin working on your final project, or you may quickly become stressed. You'll want to enjoy your last few weeks so plan ahead.
  • Introduce yourself to your professor at the beginning of the semester. Establishing this connection early will create an open line of communication, which will be especially helpful if you find yourself having difficulties in the course.
  • Establish contact with students from your host country. These students will know what to expect in terms of coursework and may be able to offer advice throughout the semester. It is also a great way to make friends in your host country.

Grading system or scale

Grading scales in different education systems are different than in the U.S. Grades abroad are typically not as inflated so grades are typically lower than a student would normally earn.

Number of credits while abroad

All students participating in year-long and semester-long programs must enroll for a minimum of 12 credits per semester, or the minimum number specified. Students participating in short-term programs are required to enroll in the minimum number specified in the program information sheet or the program's webpage.

Your enrollment status will be checked by the Education Abroad Office. If you are not enrolled in the minimum number of credit hours, the Education Abroad staff will contact you, University Registrar, and/or your department/college to adjust your enrollment.

Language of Study

You will have options to study in English or another language. If studying in another language consider your current language ability and what additional courses you will complete prior to departure. Seek advice from your current language instructor or another instructor in the department to help determine what level of language course and what level of immersion would provide the most benefits.