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international programs

Semester & Academic Year Study Abroad

office of international programs

Photo of two stories of springtime windows in Europe with yellow and blue shutters, red flower and fern window boxes

It is never too early to begin thinking about study abroad. As soon as students arrive on campus, they are encouraged to talk with returning study abroad students and their academic advisor, so as to consider how study abroad will fit into their academic plan. They should also attend OIP information sessions and the  annual Study Abroad Fair. First year students are welcome to apply for summer programs, which are available to students of all years and majors.

For semester and academic year programs, students  start the application process at the beginning of their second year. Please see below for details on how to research and apply for programs.

Read on to learn more about the process from BC to abroad!

BC program application process

Approved external program application process

Post-acceptance

Returning to BC


Research programs

Students should begin researching programs as early as possible. The annual Study Abroad Fair in September is a great place to start and other info sessions and events throughout the year offer opportunities to learn more about the range of programs offered. Searches may be conducted by discipline, country and/or language through the OIP’s search engine. At an early stage, students are encouraged to think broadly about the range of countries and areas of study open to them. It is important to consider programs that allow for the maximum room for professional, academic, and personal growth, including those in less traditional locations.

Application process (BC and approved external programs)

Students are responsible for reading and responding to important emails from the OIP promptly, reading all instructions carefully, and completing application steps and materials by the posted deadline.

Students may only apply to one program, either BC or approved external. The application process is different depending on the type of program. Please read below for instructions for each.

BC Programs

1.    Advising

All students are required to meet with an Advising Assistant (AA) before beginning the application process. Students are encouraged to also meet with a region-specific advisor. If you are a member of the Montserrat Coalition, you should first meet with the Montserrat Coalition Liaison, before you meet with an Advising Assistant For a select number of programs, students are required to meet with a region-specific advisor. These programs noted within the OIP database.

Prior to the first meeting, students should click the ‘Apply Now’ button on any program of interest and complete the form. This form is designed to help the OIP identify programs that fit a student’s needs.

2.    OIP online application

After students have completed all required advising, access will be granted to the online OIP application system. The application must be completed and submitted by December 15th for early deadline BC programs and February 5th for regular deadline BC programs.

3.    OIP review and clearance

An OIP advisor will review each student’s application and academic record before approving them to continue in the application process for their preferred program. Students will receive an email whenever a change is made to their record in the OIP online application system, which will prompt them to log in to see the update. Students who do not receive a spot on their preferred program will receive follow up advising until a suitable program is found.

4.    Host institution application and approval

After students receive approval to continue in the process, application instructions will be visible in the OIP application system. Students should complete all requirements, read instructions carefully, and abide all OIP deadlines. Application materials will often be submitted directly to the host institution through an online portal, but in some cases they will need to be submitted in hard copy to the OIP.

While the majority of students approved to apply by the OIP are accepted by the host institution, acceptance is not guaranteed. Students who are not accepted will be contacted by an OIP advisor, who will assist them in selecting a second choice.

5.    Acceptance and registration

Students will receive notifications of official acceptance from the host institution sometime between April and June for most fall/academic year programs or between September and early November for spring programs. Students with any questions regarding the status of their application should contact the OIP directly, not the host institution.

After accepted, important information about accommodation, course registration, and semester dates will come to students via email or through a host institution’s online portal. Students should check their BC email regularly to make sure they do not miss important follow up steps.

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Approved External Programs

1.    Advising

All students are required to meet with an Advising Assistant (AA) before beginning the application process. Students are encouraged, yet not required, to also meet with a region-specific advisor. If you are a member of the Montserrat Coalition, you should first meet with the Montserrat Coalition Liaison, before you meet with an Advising Assistant

2.    OIP online application

After students have completed all required advising, access will be granted to the OIP online application.

3.    OIP review & clearance

A student’s OIP application and academic record will be reviewed by an OIP advisor. If approved to study abroad by the OIP, the student will receive an approval message and instructions for completing subsequent steps.

Students will need to get BC approval from the home academic department before proceeding directly to the external program provider’s application. Students are responsible for completing and submitting all application materials to the provider.

4.    Acceptance

Students will receive notification of the admissions decision directly from the approved external program provider. Upon receiving acceptance students should forward a copy of the acceptance letter or email to the OIP.

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Post-acceptance

After receiving acceptance, all students must complete the following:

•    Confirm program participation (all students)

Students confirm program participation and agree to Boston College study abroad terms by submitting the final confirmation form. The final confirmation form must be returned in order for students to be registered for study abroad.

•    Apply for a student visa (if needed)

Dependent on country of study and/or citizenship, some students will be required to apply for a student visa prior to the program. The OIP can often provide information and guidance on the visa application process, but cannot complete visa applications for students. Local consulates and embassies are the best source of information.

•    Complete pre-departure requirements (all students)

In preparation for the study abroad experience, students are required to take part in an OIP pre-departure orientation, comprised of both online modules and an in-person meeting. Students will receive an invitation from the OIP with the time and date of orientation in October (for spring programs) or April (for fall and full year programs).

•    Contact academic departments for course approval (if desired):

Contact departments for course approval as needed (major, minor or core courses only; general electives do not need approval). More details regarding course approvals can be found on the OIP academic planning page.

Note: The OIP cannot approve courses to fulfill any academic requirements. Students must contact to the appropriate BC academic department to secure course approval in all cases.

•    Activate HTH Worldwide Insurance account

•    Review travel, health, and safety information on the OIP website.

•    Learn as much as possible about the host country through newspapers, magazines, film, and websites.

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Returning to BC

To complete the process of studying abroad, students should do the following upon returning to campus:

•    Complete an on-line post-program evaluation.

•    Attend OIP reentry events

•    Share photos, videos, and/or blogs, with the OIP

•    Share experiences with classmates, teammates, friends, family and others

•    Update resume/professional profiles to include study abroad. Keep in mind the skills gained while abroad, e.g. adaptability, independence, language proficiency, intercultural competency

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