"We highly encourage our Technical Writing and Communication majors to consider studying abroad for a portion of their undergraduate studies. Study abroad offers students rewarding cultural and educational experiences, and can enhance their understanding of global contexts for technical communication. Technical communication increasingly involves intercultural tasks such as translation of documentation and virtual teamwork that involves collaboration across the globe. The cultural experience students gain through study abroad can help sharpen student sensitivities to language and perception in other cultures."
—Lee-Ann Kastman Breuch, Director of Undergraduate Studies, Department of Writing Studies
“My favorite part about studying abroad was how much I learned about myself while I was there.”
—Joanne Steinhofer, STC class of 2011
Study Abroad Process
This is the basic process you'll complete in order to study abroad. The order in which you do things is somewhat flexible.
Review the undergraduate major and minor requirements before beginning your study abroad research.
Align study abroad with your personal, academic, & professional goals.
- No program is “best” for everyone. The trick is to find the right learning abroad option for you.
- Consider programs that offer courses that would meet Sub-Plan requirements.
- As you plan your learning abroad experience, be sure to refer to the Major Advising Page associated with your SubPlan. Work with your adviser to explore how you might integrate an experience abroad into your undergraduate career.
Sub-plan 1. Information Technology and Design
Consider study programs as well as programs that focus on internships and service-learning.
Sub-plan 2. Biological and Health Sciences
Consider programs such as Biology/Public Health field schools that offer cultural integration.
Sub-plan 3. Legal Discourse and Public Policy
Consider programs that allow you to gain experience through Parliamentary Internship or a service-learning placement.
Sub-plan 4. Environmental Science
Consider programs that provide Internships/Volunteer activities in Ecology and Community-based Natural Resource Management.
Fulfill Liberal Education requirements
- Advance planning can help you apply study abroad credits to many of the University’s Liberal Education requirements.
- Decide early which requirements you want to satisfy through courses taken abroad and plan your coursework accordingly.
- Consult the U-Credit Abroad database of classes that have been approved for Liberal Education.
Once You Have Selected a Program
- Use the Academic Planning for Study Abroad (APSA) form to structure your academic planning.
- Once you have identified the courses that you want to take abroad (always choosing more courses than you intend to take), meet with the Writing Studies adviser—preferably at least 3 months before departure. Bring your transcripts, your APSA form, and the course descriptions. Do the same in other departments for declared minors.
- If your preferred study abroad program is not credit-bearing, explore with your advisers the possibility of earning credit for your experience abroad through credit by exam or as a Directed Studies course under faculty supervision. Be aware that both options have cost implications.
- To complete the APSA process you will also need a signature from a college adviser.
While You Are Abroad
- If, once you are in country, you become interested in a course that was not included on your APSA, and if you hope to apply that course to your major or minor, gather as much information as you can about the course and then consult by email with the undergraduate adviser or the director of undergraduate studies before committing yourself.
- Hold onto your course materials (e.g., exams, papers, reports, and at least a photocopied table of contents of any key textbook) and bring them home with you.
WRIT 4196 Internship in Technical Writing & Communication
- International internships are a great way to further develop your knowledge and skills. The Learning Abroad Center provides a number of resources for you to explore and learn about international internship opportunities.
- The Learning Abroad Center offer programs with a credit-bearing internship component.
- A Work, Intern and Volunteer (WIV) database (link) is also available on the LAC website. These programs are non-academic and not for credit.
- The IVPA Principles and Practices are criteria developed by the International Volunteer Programs Association (IVPA) to give prospective volunteers a reliable basis on which to choose worthwhile program experiences. While academic options (credit-bearing) through the Learning Abroad Center adhere to these principles, the programs in the WIV Database may or may not. In any case, it is up to you to research programs and make an informed decision on what type of program is appropriate for you.
- Must be pre-approved by adviser.
After You Return
- Make an appointment with the Writing Studies undergraduate adviser to review overseas courses for which you wish to obtain final approval for use toward Technical Writing and Communication major or minor. For other minors you will need to do the same in a different department.
- Bring to that appointment the course materials plus a brief explanation of why you think the course should be counted.
- Check to see if your study abroad coursework has been posted to your U of M transcript. If your study abroad courses were evaluated and approved for liberal education requirements and completion of these requirements is not reflected on your APAS report, please contact the Learning Abroad Center.
- Be aware that courses taken abroad may require many weeks, or even several months, to get accepted and posted at the University of Minnesota. Times vary with programs. Let the Learning Abroad Center know well in advance if impending graduation or other special circumstances lend urgency to your case.
Africa and the Middle East
- Academic program built around grassroots development internships. Homestays and research further enrich cultural immersion.
- Past MSID health internship foci have included: public health/nutrition, maternal health, pediatrics, HIV/AIDS awareness, environmental monitoring, animal care for conservation/rehabilitation. Interns observe daily activities, assist with non-sensitive care, and engage in discussions involving health care in developing countries.
- Instruction is in English; no prior Swahili is required
- Sub-Plan 2: Biological and Health Sciences
Asia and Oceania
Australian National University, Canberra (available through Arcadia Australia or ISFA-Butler Australia)
- At the Institute for Applied Ecology, Environmental Science sub-plan students can take a variety of classes. At the Human Computer Communication Laboratory, Information and Technology sub-plan students will find entrance into several related courses.
University of New South Wales (available through Arcadia Australia or IFSA-Butler Australia)
- Situated in Sydney, the University of New South Wales is a leader in teaching and research in Australia
- The Program in Science Communication provides courses in professional science communication and communication science in theory and practice.
Arcadia Australian Parliamentary Internship
- Enjoy an exceptional opportunity to complete research for a member or senator of the Australian Parliament, lobby group, industry organization, public service agency or community organization. Check the Arcadia Australian Parliamentary Internship website for specific eligibility requirements and program features.
- Sub-Plan 3. Legal Discourse and Public Policy
University Study in New Zealand: University of Otago, Dunedin
The university has a strong interdisciplinary program in Communication Studies.
CIEE Spain – Seville
- Advanced students of Spanish can continue to improve their language skills and study communications at the Universidad de Sevilla.
- Students in the program also have access to a very wide range of courses in CIEE’s Liberal Arts program and, through it, in the program for foreigners at the University of Seville.
- Instruction is in Spanish; five semesters of prior Spanish a required.
University Study in Ireland: University of Limerick
- On the banks of the River Shannon above the ancient city of Limerick.
- The university has one of the few programs in Technical Communication in Europe.
City University, London (available through Arcadia UK)
- City offers several full-year opportunities of interest such as Professional Communications Skills and Principles of Human Computer Interaction.
University Study in the UK: Lancaster University
- Their Culture, Media and Communications program takes an interdisciplinary approach to the study of society, language, visual representation, media, marketing and the individual.
- For relevant courses in Lancaster’s online catalog look first under Communication Systems (heavy on technology) and Media, Film & Cultural Studies (heaviest on film studies).
University of Leeds (available through IFSA-Butler England)
- One of the largest institutions in the UK, with a huge selection of courses and departments.
- Their top ranked Department of Communications offers courses in topics such as Science Journalism, Internet Communications and Interface Design.
University College, London (available through Arcadia England or ISFA-Butler England)
- UCL’s program in Science and Technology Studies offers courses such as Science and Mass Media, and Communication of Scientific Ideas.
Additional Options to Consider
- Participate in a short term international experience, earn credit and fulfill liberal education requirements
- Ten or more locations and themes offered each year during winter break and May session
- Non-credit opportunities can be a great option for students who do not need academic credit but want to gain skills and experience abroad related to their field of study.
Visit the Learning Abroad Center's Student Experiences web page for details on other students' experiences studying abroad.