International Education

O'Dowd Hall, Room 328
586 Pioneer Drive
Rochester, MI 48309-4482
(location map)
(248) 370-2889

Office hours
Mon - Fri: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Virtual advising hours
Mon - Fri: 9 a.m. - noon and 1 - 4 p.m.

Alex Zimmerman, Director
(248) 370-2843

Study Abroad (international)

Are you curious, adventurous, or looking for a change? If so, you are the perfect candidate for studying abroad!

OU has study-abroad programs that span six continents. All Oakland students can study abroad, and there are programs available in most disciplines. Study abroad as early as the summer semester after your freshman year, and as many times as you would like!

Congratulations 2014 Digital Storytelling Contest Winner Jennifer Jacob!
Experience Jennifer's exciting study-abroad exchange at Nanzan University through her three-minute production.

Before you study abroad, you don’t know what to expect. You pack your entire life into two little suitcases and take that first leap of faith onto the airplane and hope for the best. You can imagine what it’ll be like, and listen to others experiences but you will never truly understand the life changing process that it is until you take the first step and experience it for yourself. I have been wanted to study abroad in Japan since I was twelve years old and it took me eight years to realize that dream.

That doesn’t mean I was nervous. Would I fit in? Would I understand? How hard would classes be? Would I get lost? What about roommates? What about — but studying abroad in Japan, I can honestly say has been one of the best experiences of my life. Everyday is a new adventure and you never know what to expect. From singing your heart out at karaoke one day to parading the streets in festivals the next, exploring shrines and temples, experiencing two typhoons and a small earthquake, eating food you’d never thought you’d try before, doing things you didn’t ever know you could do. I not only learned about the culture of Japan but I also gained a cultural understanding of my own country and the culture of those I studied with.

I made friends with Brazilian, Dutch, Swedish, Australian, Chinese, Mexican, Taiwanese, English, Russian and of course American and Japanese students over the course of my stay. All of us were sharing the common bond of studying a language and culture and willing to share our own culture with each other as well. It truly was an international experience. There will be mishaps of course or some or some troubles in your journey but that’s what makes everything a memorable experience. And of course you have to study, too.

One of my favorite memories in Japan was traveling with some friends to a local festival, as we arrived to the main event we were showered in small bits of paper being thrown from a portable shrine. It was being paraded throughout the city by the people as they played various traditional instruments and made puppets all around it dance.

The whole event was so beautiful and it turned all of us so giddy and free. With wide smiles we began to heap up mounds of paper now scatter along the ground like leave sand we get to throw them at each other with the local Japanese children, running and laughing throughout the streets.

I learned so much in just the short time that I lived in Japan and I’ve changed so much as a person in the way I think and perceive things in my daily life. Not only have my language skills improved tenfold but I think all aspects of my life have been bettered by the experience and knowledge I’ve learning here. I would highly recommend anyone who is considering taking that first step and to explore another country, language or culture by studying abroad to go forth with both arms open and an open mind and get ready to be changed yourself.

It may take time and effort to make it a reality, as it did for me. But with the help of your teachers, family and friends you can make a festival and experience a way of life that you’ll never forget.
Additional Info
There are programs all over the world taught in English and many study sites in non-English speaking countries offer the opportunity to take beginning language classes. Accommodation type and style varies by location, but typically students stay in residence halls, apartments, or with a host family. Other highlights include: 
  • A comprehensive international education (universities outside of North America)
  • Global experience
  • One semester or full academic year options plus short term possibilities, including summer programs as short as 10 days or as long as 9 weeks
  • Possibility of language immersion
  • Courses focused on disciplines (i.e., health sciences, international relations, literature) specific to location
Simple Steps
to Study Abroad
Follow these simple steps for any Study Abroad/Away program:

1. Create an online account. To begin the study abroad/away process, you must create an account. This is the first step in the application process and gets you into our system so we can assist you.
2. Determine your goals and priorities. What are your academic and personal goals? What resources are you looking for? When will you be able to study abroad/away? How will your study abroad or study away fit into your progress toward your degree?

3. Attend an information session or advising appointment.
We’ll help you determine the country, college and program that’s right for you. Meet with a student or staff adviser to learn more about available programs and how to prepare for them. You’ll get answers to your questions, obtain basic information and learn about available resources. Advisers may also connect you to students who want to share their recent study abroad/away experiences.

4. Narrow your search. Based on your specific needs and goals, start to narrow your search by region, semester, course of study or housing arrangements.

5. Meet with your OU academic adviser.
Determine how studying abroad/away will fit into your degree program. You will need to develop a multi-year schedule so that you can continue to make progress toward your degree while away.

6. Apply for OU approval to study abroad/away. Submit your preliminary application, start the application process early and plan ahead! Once you've been approved by OU to apply to your program, you'll go on to complete the application for the program you've chosen. Allow plenty of time to complete applications, write essays, gather faculty recommendations and gather course credit approvals. Check application deadlines online.

7. Apply for financial aid. To apply for financial aid, including loans, schedule an appointment with an adviser in OU’s Financial Services office after you've been accepted by your program and determined how much it will cost. Remember, all students can apply for financial aid to study abroad/away.

8. Choose your courses. Meet with academic advisers in the appropriate school or department to determine OU equivalent courses. Advisers will determine whether your study abroad/away classes meet your course and curriculum requirements.

9. Register for OU courses.
While studying abroad/away, you are an Oakland University student and you are required to be registered for your study abroad/away courses at OU. The International Education will work directly with the registrar to register your for your courses using the International Course Equivalency worksheet that you complete and upload to your online account.

10. Attend the study abroad/away pre-departure orientation.
Attend this orientation to gather important information about academics, health and safety, travel and cultural adjustments. You’ll also get to meet other OU students who are preparing to study abroad/away and hear from students who have recently returned.

11. Book your flight! Register with the OU International Travel Registry online and prepare to enjoy the most incredible experience of your life! *If you are studying away, please visit the National Student Exchange (NSE) website for additional requirements.