Study Abroad

Immerse yourself in a foreign language and culture – travel abroad! We encourage you to explore the many terrific study-abroad opportunities available to you during your career at U-M.

Our department's role in the study abroad process is to assist Romance languages concentrators and minors in selecting appropriate programs and courses that will meet their degree requirements.

A Quick Guide to Study Abroad

^ Check out this printable guide!

Guidelines for Study Abroad

Before going abroad, all students planning to count study abroad coursework toward an RLL major or minor are required to meet with a faculty to discuss the pre-evaluation of courses. Upon return from abroad (once credit has been posted to the UM transcript), RLL majors and minors are required to meet again with an RLL faculty advisor for the final evaluation of their coursework.

French I Italian I Portuguese I Spanish



  • Enroll in courses that are taught in French with a 50% (or more) focus on France and Francophone cultures.
  • Students should seek programs which allow enrollment at a local university with French-speaking students.
  • Students should avoid conversation classes.
  • Language courses and introductory thematic courses (i.e.  “Introduction à l'analyse littéraire”), often count toward the 270-level.
  • Content courses with a specific focus (i.e. “Littérature du XVIIIe siècle”) often count toward the 300-level.


  • Students should seek programs which offer courses conducted in Italian (a limited number of courses taught in English may be accepted).
  • Study abroad courses generally count at the 200 or 300-level.
  • You will complete your 400-level Italian coursework at UM.


  • Students should seek programs which allow enrollment at a local university with Portuguese-speaking students, rather than “courses for foreigners". 
  • It is advisable that students enroll in regular university courses, taught solely in Portuguese at local universities, where they will be mainstreamed with local students.


  • Students should enroll at a local university with Spanish-speaking students, rather than “courses for foreigners”.
  • All regular university courses, taught solely in Spanish in Hispanic universities, in which our students are mainstreamed with local students, will count at the 400-level toward the major and minor.  No major/minor level credit will be granted for fine arts, studio, and physical education courses.

3rd Party Providers and 400-level credit

3rd party study abroad program providers (CIEE, ISA, CEA, etc.) generally do not offer center courses which transfer as 400-level UM Spanish credit.  An exception to this is IES, which does offer a few center courses transferrable at the 400-level.

Study Abroad Credits

Although UM transcripts may grant more than three credits for each course, a maximum of 3 credits for each course taken abroad will only be applied toward a Spanish major/minor.

Internship courses as part of a study abroad

Some study abroad programs offer an internship course, which can be taken in place of the normal center or university course.  To be considered as elective credit toward a Spanish major/minor, the seminar portion of the course needs to be taken in Spanish and all coursework should also be completed in Spanish.  If taken in English, the course may be considered a cognate toward the Spanish major.  Please keep the syllabus and all completed coursework.  A Spanish faculty advisor will use this information to grant final approval of the course.

*UM students who study abroad as part of the IES Barcelona program are required to take the seminar which is taught in Spanish. (IES has agreed to guarantee that the Spanish-taught seminar is offered). As part of the Spanish-taught seminar, students will complete their assignments, field studies, presentation, and placements in Spanish. These guidelines apply to the Liberal Arts & Business and Advanced Spanish Studies (Fall/Winter), as well as the Intensive Internship (summer) programs.*

Choose a Program

UM Study Abroad Programs | Non-UM Study Abroad Programs

Like many students, you may feel overwhelmed when beginning your search for a high-quality study abroad program, but the following information about study abroad is designed to guide RLL majors and minors toward a program that best serves your RLL degree requirements.

If you are not a student in our department, please consult an advisor within your degree program for recommendations.

If you are planning to complete an LSA language requirement course while abroad (courses numbered 101-232), please consult an RLL language director.

UM Study Abroad Programs

The best place to start is in the Center for Global and Intercultural Study (CGIS),which manages most of the UM study abroad programs. Some UM programs are offered through other departments and colleges on campus. For more information visit the LSA Study Abroad pages.

Credits earned in programs that are under the direction of the University of Michigan are considered in-residence credits.

You must meet with an RLL advisor upon your return to finalize the distribution of credits taken abroad toward the major or minor. You must bring the following documents: course syllabi and description and additional course materials (papers, exams, and class notes) to receive 200-, 300- or 400-level credit.

UM Summer Programs

Information about UM summer study abroad programs can be found on the Center for Global and Intercultural Study (CGIS) website.

Non-UM Study Abroad Programs

Many students choose to go on a non-UM program each year. This requires careful planning, so be certain to talk with an RLL advisor as you make your decisions. To make an advising appointment, click here or call (734) 764-5344, or stop by 4108 MLB. 

Review and follow this checklist which outlines the approval process for non-UM study abroad credit.

Please note:  Students are required to have coursework pre-evaluated by an RLL faculty advisor prior to going abroad; syllabi and specific course descriptions are needed. A final evaluation of coursework is required upon return from abroad. Specific courses and credits must appear on the transcript; syllabi and completed coursework are needed.  

Searching for a non-UM program can be a daunting task, as nearly every university in the country has programs abroad. A good place to start on the web is the Institute of International Education.

Attributes of a great program:

  • Sponsored by a North-American university or college (a degree-granting institution)
    Avoid programs with names such as "Language Institute," as these tend to provide basic language instruction rather than upper-level courses.

  • Allows students to take courses in a host university
    Many programs offer courses only in their own center, or in a separate facility (sometimes a branch of a host university). The better programs provide a few courses of their own, while also encouraging students to take courses in a host university.

    Taking regular courses in a host university offers opportunities to become acquainted with students from the host country, as well as to experience a different academic system. Look for programs that offer classes with students from the host country, rather than courses exclusively for foreign students.

  • Offers a sufficient number of advanced courses
    Many programs appeal to students with varying language abilities, and consequently, may primarily offer lower-level courses. Some students have difficulty finding programs that offer enough advanced courses. Look for programs that provide a substantial list of advanced courses (including descriptions) in their promotional material, keeping in mind that only some of these courses may be offered in a given semester. Also request syllabi, if they are available in advance. Before you decide on a program, show these course descriptions (and syllabi, if available) to a RLL advisor, who can indicate which courses could potentially count at an advanced level.

  • Provides home-stays with a host family
    Living with a host family will allow greater opportunities for everyday language use and immersion in the culture. Most programs do provide home-stays, and a few place students in residence halls with students from the host country. Avoid programs that place students in segregated residence halls with other North-American students.

Non-UM Summer Programs

Special note about non-UM summer study abroad programs:
Non-UM summer programs differ from semester/year-abroad programs in two important respects:

  • Many universities are not in session, so you may not have the opportunity to take courses in a host university.

  • Most summer programs focus on language and culture and offer few (if any) courses at the advanced level. In selecting a summer program, look for those that offer more advanced courses. Show the course descriptions to an RLL advisor, who can indicate whether they may count as advanced-level courses.

Questions? Contact

While you are abroad

If you are planning to study abroad, you are expected to see a RLL advisor both before you leave and when you return. However if an unexpected course-related issue arises while you're abroad, our advisors will do their best to answer questions through e-mail. Keep in mind that we may not offer advising during the spring and summer half-terms, as most faculty are on leave at that time.

It is imperative that you keep your syllabi, transcripts and any course materials available (such as quizzes, assignments and papers). The more details you have in support of your classes, the more accurate your advisor can be when assigning credit.

If you are on a non-U-M study abroad program make sure the sponsoring university sends your transcript to U-M Undergraduate Admissions.

If you are on an CGIS U-M program, your transcript will be sent for you to CGIS after the end of the academic term.

If you have questions while you are abroad, please send an e-mail to

  • Your name
  • Your student ID number (the 8-digit number on your M-Card)
  • College or School (such as LS&A, Residential College or Engineering)
  • Uniqname
  • An e-mail address to which we can send responses
  • The name and sponsoring university of your study abroad program
  • The city and country you are currently in
  • Your current degree program, including major and minor
  • The name of the RLL advisor you met with before going abroad
  • Your questions. Be specific! For example, if your question is about how classes will count toward your degree program, be certain to include class titles, descriptions and syllabi if available.

After you return from abroad

The UM Office of Undergraduate Admissions assigns general transfer credits from non-UM study-abroad programs.

Credits earned on a CGISUM study abroad program are assigned by the Center for Global and Intercultural Study (CGIS).

Once the study abroad credits appear on your UM transcript (available on Wolverine Access), you are ready to make an advising appointment with a RLL advisor. The advisor will be able to officially evaluate the credits for your major or minor requirements. A given course need not exactly match a course in our curriculum, but it must be sufficiently advanced to qualify for upper-level credit.

For your RLL advising appointment, bring all of the materials from you study abroad courses, including:

  • course syllabi and description
  • course materials (papers, exams, and class notes)

The RLL advisor will review these materials to determine if and how the courses will count toward your major or minor. While study-abroad courses may be accepted for transfer by the University, the RLL evaluation will determine whether the courses meet specific Department requirements for your plan of study for your concentration or minor.

To make a RLL advising appointment, click here or please call (734) 764-5344 or visit 4108 Modern Languages Building. Appointments cannot be made via email. Keep in mind that we may not offer advising appointments during the spring and summer half terms, as most faculty are on leave at this time.