Office of International Programs

Study Abroad Options

University of Southern Maine students have the opportunity to study abroad in almost any country for as short as ten days to an entire year. There are four general options for studying abroad:

Reciprocal Exchange Programs: USM has formal agreements with specific universities to exchange or “swap seats” with their students. The advantage of these programs is that you continue paying your regular USM tuition and fees, making direct exchanges the most affordable study abroad option.

  • Payment: You will be charged a flat rate for tuition and fees (usually 15 credits) and will take the corresponding number of credits at the host university. You will take regular courses alongside students from the host university.
  • Housing: Housing varies from campus to campus, but in most cases you will have the option to live on-campus in university-managed dormitories.  You will pay the overseas university directly for any housing you arrange through them. 
  • Application: You will need to first complete USM’s study abroad approval process. Then, you will be given paperwork specific to your host university to complete for admission.

Partner Institutions: USM has partnered with select universities overseas who have agreed to give USM students a discounted rate on their tuition and fees. The tuition and fees are close in price to USM’s in-state rate.

  • Payment: Depending on the arrangement, you will either pay the university directly for their tuition and fees or their tuition and fees will be added to your USM student bill. You will pay a flat rate for tuition and fees (usually and will take the corresponding number of credits at the host university).Royal Wedding
  • Housing: Housing varies from campus to campus and on-campus housing depends on availability. You may need to arrange your own housing, though the university accommodations office can often assist in locating local housing. You will pay for your housing directly to the university or landlord.   
  • Application: You will need to first complete USM’s study abroad approval process. Then, you will be given paperwork specific to your host university to complete for admission.

Approved Providers: You can work through an approved study abroad program provider if you wish to study in a country where USM does not have any direct exchanges or partnerships or if one of our exchanges does not meet your needs. Study abroad program providers offer options all over the world and often offer programs that allow students to take courses in English. These programs are often more expensive than USM’s exchanges and partnerships, but they offer a lot of services like an on-site orientation and excursions.

  • Payment: You would pay the provider directly for their program fee which typically includes a flat fee for tuition, housing, services, and accident insurance.Venice
  • Housing: Housing varies from program to program. Depending on the program, you will either live in the host university dorms, an apartment shared with other students on your program, or live with a host family. You will pay the program provider directly for your housing and it is often included in the program fee.
  • Application:  You will need to complete USM’s study abroad approval process and also apply directly to the program provider. Depending on the provider’s application deadline, you may need to complete their application at the same time that you are completing USM’s study abroad approval process. 

Travel Courses: USM offers courses that are taught overseas. You will travel with USM faculty members and other USM students during the summer or winter session for anywhere from ten days to three weeks. Travel courses are a great option if you don’t have a lot of travel experience or can’t go abroad for a whole semester. You will pay USM tuition and fees for the credits at the in-state rate (regardless of residency) plus a program fee to cover the travel costs.

  • Payment: Tuition & fees and the program fee will be added to your USM bill and you will automatically be registered for a payment plan. The travel arrangements are made by USM and include airfare, housing, site visits, accident insurance through iNext and typically some meals.
  • Housing: Housing varies by program, but most programs stay in hotels.
  • Application: The application process for the travel programs is shorter than the regular study abroad approval process.  The application process usually requires only one recommendation, a short essay, transcript, and $200 deposit. The travel program descriptions include the applications.

If you cannot find a study abroad program that meets your needs, you may petition to participate on a non-approved program. USM will not approve any student to study abroad in a country that is on the State Department Travel Warning List, regardless of whether the program is sponsored by an approved organization.