Ohio State Navbar

The Ohio State UniversityOffice of International Affairs

give a donation

Independent Education Abroad

Independent education abroad programs are those in which students are not enrolled at Ohio State, but rather participate through another university — either the university offering the program or the accredited institution facilitating it. Before you choose to study abroad independently, consider all Ohio State approved study abroad programs. Ohio State offers more than 100 study abroad programs in 40 different countries, and close to 20 percent of undergraduates have an education abroad experience before they graduate. Be sure to explore current offerings at Ohio State before making a decision.

Learn the differences between studying abroad through Ohio State and studying abroad independently. Participation on an independent education abroad experience is very different from studying abroad with Ohio State. You will not be registered at Ohio State during the term(s) in which you are abroad, but will instead take a “leave of absence.” This means you will not pay Ohio State tuition, will have limited or no access to Ohio State financial aid and may receive transfer (K) credit on your Ohio State transcript.

Ohio State education abroad Independent education abroad
Maintain registration at Ohio State Do not maintain registration at Ohio State
Earn Ohio State graded credit Will not earn Ohio State graded credit credit, but rather transfer (K) credit
Determine course credit prior to your departure May determine preliminary course credit prior to your departure (in some cases)
Retain access to Ohio State scholarships and/or grants Will not retain access to Ohio State scholarships and/or grants
Retain access to federal financial aid May retain access to federal financial aid; subject to consortium agreement eligibility
Will be enrolled in International Supplemental Insurance providing not only health insurance, but coverage for emergency assistance, evacuation and repatriation. Will be enrolled in International Supplemental Insurance to provide health insurance and coverage for emergency assistance, evacuation and repatriation.

Determine if an independent education abroad experience is the best academic and financial fit for you. The use of transfer (K) credit toward major/minor requirements varies widely. Consult your academic advisor to determine if/how this type of credit will apply toward your degree requirements before making a financial commitment to the program. Be sure to consider potential program costs and funding sources.

Should you determine that an independent education abroad experience is appropriate for you, carefully evaluate your options. Considering the following features:

  • Does the program offer a comprehensive website? You should be able to access a thorough program overview, host city/country information, staff contacts, current information on travel dates and costs, application submission instructions, course descriptions and alumni feedback.
  • Does the program offer pre-departure services? These may include responsive and accessible staff, advising services, visa assistance (if applicable) and comprehensive orientation materials.
  • Does the program offer in-country services? These may include on-site staff to provide airport pick-up (or assistance) and housing placement, as well as 24/7 emergency and day-to-day support.
  • Does the program adhere to best practices in the field of education abroad? Look for programs affiliated with NAFSA Association of International Educators and/or the Forum on Education Abroad.

Some web resources that may help you identify an appropriate program include the NAFSA International Education Marketplace, StudyAbroad.com and GoAbroad.com.

When applying, you will likely need: 

  • Official Ohio State transcript (you may order your transcript online via the Office of the Registrar)
  • Disciplinary Clearance Form (the Office of Student Conduct must complete this form)
  • Education Abroad Advisor Form (contact Jenny Kraft to complete this form)
  • Course Selection Form (If an advisor's signature is required, please see your academic advisor)

While you await your admission decision:

  • Apply for your passport immediately and a visa, if required
  • Meet with your academic advisor to discuss transfer (K) credit and whether it may be used toward your degree requirements, as well as assistance with program course selection and help manually opening your Ohio State registration for the term following your studies abroad
  • Complete the transfer credit pre-approval process using the Departmental Credit Evaluation Form

Ohio State Travel Policies

Your desired program must provide a transcript issued from an accredited university in order for you to receive transfer (K) credit on your Ohio State transcript for any coursework completed abroad.

All Ohio State students pursuing independent education abroad that are related to their Ohio State academic or co-curricular objectives (regardless of if the program is Ohio Stateapproved or non-Ohio State approved) are required to adhere to the policies and guidelines set forth by the University’s International Travel Policy Committee.

  • Be sure to check the status of your prospective host country with the list of Ohio State Risk Designated Countries. If your host country is currently listed as a Risk Designate Country, you must submit a petition to the International Travel Policy Committee.
  • Students traveling to international locations for academic or co-curricular purposes are required to enroll in the university's supplemental travel insurance. Visit supplemental travel insurance for detailed steps on how to apply for the supplemental insurance online.

Self-report Form and Pre-departure Checklist

Once you have been accepted to your program, be sure to complete the online independent study abroad self-report form and the pre-departure checklist.