Academics Abroad

Study Abroad Credit

  • If you are trying to graduate with College Honors (e.g. cum laude, magna cum laude, summa cum laude) from the College of Arts & Sciences, then your study abroad grades will be factored into your expanded GPA. Note: graduation with College Honors in A&S requires a minimum cumulative and expanded GPA of 3.5.
  • If you are not trying to graduate with College Honors (e.g. cum laude, magna cum laude, summa cum laude) from the College of Arts & Sciences, then your study abroad grades will only count toward your degree hours, but they will not be factored into your expanded GPA.
  • For questions, please email the Office of Study Abroad & International Travel.

Taking Classes Abroad

Never forget the "study" in study abroad.

It's important to familiarize yourself and be aware of the different academic culture you may face while studying abroad.

For students taking classes with the local faculty, here are some various themes in which the classroom culture may differ:

  • The student and teacher's role:
    Expectations for students may differ than what teachers expect of American students. Students may be expected to be more independent and pro-active with their studies, and may receive less personal attention from their professor.
  • Formal and informal setting:
    Often times U.S. college classroom are viewed as informal settings in which students dress informally (such as wearing sweatpants, sweatshirts, tennis shoes, flip flops, etc.) and bring personal items or food and drinks with them.  You may find that in other cultures, classrooms are viewed much more formally, and that students may dress up for class to appear professional. Some universities may even require uniforms and not allow food or drinks into the classroom.
  • Asking questions and making/fixing mistakes:
    In many cultures, students may be less likely to speak against or correct the teacher since it may be a form of challenging or embarrassing the teacher. Asking questions may also not be encouraged and students may be expected to ask their classmates for help instead.
  • Names and Titles:
    Specific titles in other cultures may denote a sign of formal respect to a professor. Unlike in the U.S., where it may be okay to address a professor by his or her first name, in other cultures, their title (such as "Professor" or "Doctor") must always be used.
  • Views and Methods of Grades:
    Some education systems may view and rate grades differently than the U.S. For example, unlike with some instances in the U.S. in which A's are given based on effort and participation, A's or high grades may only be given as a sign of fully mastering the subject. The number of grades given may also differ in which students final grade is based only on a midterm and final.
  • Time Orientation:
    Your host country may view time differently than in the U.S. and classes may not start on the specified time of the course. Your host country's view on time may even effect how and when assignments are given, when grades are dispersed, etc.

When in doubt, please feel free to contact our office, and we will try to connect you with a previous student who has had studied in your host country.

    (Adapted from Cultural Differences in the Japanese Classroomby Alex Caseand Classroom Etiquette: A Cross-Cultural Study of Classroom Behaviors by Kristina Beckman-Brito).

    Teaching and Learning Styles

    For information on how teaching and learning styles may differ from the U.S., read over page 11 from U.S. Culture Series: U.S. Classroom Culture by Michael Smithee, Sidney L. Greenblatt, and Alisa Eland (sponsored by NAFSA).

    Country Specific Information

    To learn more about your specific host country's education and classroom norms, visit Culture Crossing website and search for your country on the right hand-side of the screen. After you click your host country, click the Class Rules link to read over the specific information. Please keep in mind that every situation is different.