Program Models: Setting Expectations

Knowing what type of program you are applying to will help you understand what to expect in terms of support during the application and pre-departure phases and during your semester abroad.

Direct Enroll and Exchange

In these programs, you will enroll in courses taught in English at a local university alongside other international and local students. You will receive support from the host university’s international student office. An independent student thrives on this type of program.

Center-based Programs

These programs have full-time staff dedicated to working with study abroad students (usually from the United States). These programs usually offer courses exclusively taught for the students on the program, and they may also offer some direct enroll courses at local universities.


Center-based programs that also offer access to local direct enroll courses are referred to as Hybrids. Center-based and Hybrid programs may offer resources and activities for students, which can be ideal for students looking for more onsite support, if needed.

Field-based Programs

These programs include some type of independent study, internship, and/or research. Examples include Frontiers Abroad in New Zealand, the School for International Training (SIT) programs in Africa and India, the Organization for Tropical Study (OTS), and SEA Semester. The academic themes of these programs vary widely, but students should expect to immerse and engage deeply in the subject matter of the program.