Learning Abroad for Student-Athletes

Learning Abroad for Student-Athletes

The Athletics Department and the Lindahl Academic Center for Student-Athletes fully support student-athlete participation in the University's Learning Abroad program.  We see this as an extraordinary opportunity for a one of a kind student learning experience in a different part of the world and have had many student-athletes participate over the years."
JT Bruett, Director of the Lindahl Academic Center for Student-Athletes

Department Recommendations

Student-athletes can go abroad with careful planning. The University wants you to include an international experience as an integral part of your undergraduate career. Learning abroad can fit very effectively into your University of Minnesota degree plan without delaying your graduation.

Programs vary in length, academic focus, teaching format, language requirements, cost, and degree of independence demanded of the participant.

Student-Athlete Study Abroad Process

  1. Getting Started with the Lindahl Academic Center for Student-Athletes

    • Pick up Lindahl Academic Center Study Abroad Form—signatures are required through this process
    • Discuss appropriate travel time and training needs with your coach
    • Ask your Lindahl Academic Center counselor about specific academic degree requirements you must meet
  2. Getting Started with the Learning Abroad Center

    • Follow the steps outlined in the Learning Abroad Center's Process.
  3. Consult with Your College/Major Adviser(s)

    • Download the Academic Planning for Study Abroad form
    • Discuss the list of items your Lindahl Academic Center counselor generated to be discussed with your college/major adviser
    • Meet with your major adviser and discuss how your study abroad program fits into your curriculum. Have them sign the Academic Planning for Study Abroad form
  4. Select and Finalize your Program in Consultation with your Lindahl Academic Center Counselor

    • Complete the Athletics Study Abroad Program Form
  5. Meet with the Scholarship Coordinator in the Compliance Office

    • Discuss athletic scholarship issues related to study abroad and obtain the corresponding signature on the Checklist (scholarship athletes only)
  6. Submit Program Application

    • Work directly with the Learning Abroad Center if you have questions about submitting the application 

Special Considerations for Student-Athletes


Credit Arrangments

As a student-athlete, you MUST choose a program that yields resident credits, meaning that you will earn an actual grade for the course on your University of Minnesota transcript, rather than just transfer credits.


Speak with your Lindahl Academic Center Counselor and the Compliance staff with regards to any specific eligibility issues. The NCAA has strict requirements regarding participating in outside competition; be sure to obtain all the necessary information from Compliance and your Lindahl Academic Center Counselor prior to going abroad.


Even more so than most students, it is essential that while you are abroad you continue to maintain your physical fitness. Speak with your coach and/or trainers about developing a plan for while you’re away.


The listings below reflect institutions with well-equipped workout facilities or programs that have special topics that might be of interest to student-athletes.

Africa and the Middle East


  • Empowering Youth Through Sports
  • Program type: Faculty-led
  • Located in Nairobi, Kenya
  • Program Term: summer
  • Explore the relationship between physical activities and youth empowerment in both urban and rural settings

Asia and Oceania


University Study in Australia: University of Melbourne

  • Program Type: Host University Study
  • Program Term: fall semester, spring semester, academic year, calendar year
  • The University of Melbourne is an internationally acclaimed institution, known for academic excellence and achievement in education and research
  • Comprehensive athletic facilities: http://www.sport.unimelb.edu.au/fitnesscentres

University Study in Australia: University of Sydney

  • Located in the vibrant capital city of Australia
  • Strong sports science program with access to a multitude of outdoor activities
  • Comprehensive athletic facilities: https://www.susf.com.au/
  • Credit-bearing internships available

New Zealand

University Study in New Zealand: University of Otago

  • Program Type: Host University Study
  • Program term: fall semester, spring semester, academic year, calendar year
  • The University of Otago, one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in the southern hemisphere, is located in Dunedin, on New Zealand's South Island.
  • Dunedin, New Zealand's "college town," is friendly and intimate with a population of 120,000 and a thriving student population. While there is a relaxed feel about the city, opportunities abound for pursuing outdoor and sporting activities
  • Courses include Exercise Testing and Prescription, Nutrition for Exercise and Sport, Sports Injuries, Sport and Exercise Psychology, Coaching 
  • Comprehensive athletic facilities: http://www.otago.ac.nz/recreation/index.html



Sports & Culture in France:  La Vie Sportive

  • Program Type: Study Center
  • Program term: May term, 3 credits, 3 weeks
  • Study sports tourism, sports psychology and sports pedagogy in one of France's most sporty cities


University Study in Ireland: University of Limerick

  • Program Type: Host University Study
  • Program Term: fall semester, spring semester, academic year
  • Study in Limerick, located in western Ireland on the banks of the Shannon River
  • The Physical Education and Sport Sciences (PESS) department in the University of Limerick is the principal centre in the republic for tertiary education and research in Physical Education and one of the main centres for the teaching of Sport and Exercise Sciences
  • The University offers innovative academics, state-of-the-art sports facilities, and vibrant campus life
  • Comprehensive athletic facilities: http://www.ulsport.ie/

United Kingdom

Study & Intern in London

  • Program Type: Study Center
  • Program Term: fall semester, spring semester, summer term
  • Offers an internship and courses in humanities and social sciences for liberal education credit
  • Earn 6 credits of professional internship placement
  • Past placements include Lansdowne Club, Wembley Hospital, Pimlico Secondary School, St.  Katherine’s Health Club 

University Study in the United Kingdom: Northumbria University

  • Program Type: Host University Study
  • Program term: fall or spring semester, academic year
  • Physical activity and human movement courses are available in addition to courses available in a wide range of science and liberal arts areas
  • There may be prerequisites for specific courses
  • Comprehensive athletic facilities: https://northumbriasport.com/facilities
  • Wide variety of sports activities: https://northumbriasport.com/

Additional Options to Consider

Global Seminars

  • 3-week, 3-credit programs at the 3000-level led by University of Minnesota faculty and staff over Winter Break or May Session.
  • Fulfill Liberal Education requirements, or earn major/minor credit.

Timing by Sport

The table in the following section provides some general guidelines by sport; however, it is essential to speak early with your coach and Lindahl Academic Center Counselor to determine the most appropriate times for your particular case. Note: Some of the times listed on the sheet will work only if you are able to find sufficient training facilities to train while studying abroad; consult early with your coach.

SportFall Sem.Winter BreakSpring Sem.May TermSummer*Spring Sr. yr.
Basketball        Y M  
Golf   Y     Y  
Gymnastics       Y Y  
Hockey       Y Y  
Rowing  M M     Y  
Soccer   M   Y Y Y
Softball         Y  
Swimming/Diving       Y M  
Tennis   M   Y  
Track & CC         Y  
Volleyball   M   Y M Y
Baseball   Y     Y  
Basketball       Y M  
Football       Y M Y
Golf   Y     Y  
Gymnastics       Y Y  
Hockey       Y Y  
Swimming/Diving       Y M  
Tennis   M   M Y  
Track & CC         Y  
Wrestling       Y Y  


Y - Times generally work for students 

M - Times that are less than optimal but might work after speaking with Lindahl Academic Center Counselor 

Blank - Times that most student athletes should not consider except possibly during a redshirt year


* For many sports summer suitability depends on length of program and which months.  Consult with your Lindahl Academic Center Counselor and coach when planning a study abroad experience.  

** If you plan to use your scholarship or financial aid to study abroad consult with your Lindahl Academic Center Counselor and the Scholarship Coordinator in the Compliance Office about its applicability.


Will studying abroad conflict with my athletics schedule and commitments?

I'm worried about staying in shape while I'm away. Are there programs that would have the time and resources so I could maintain my physical fitness?

 What if the application deadline for my program is before the date I will know whether I get into post-season competition?

Have other student-athletes studied abroad, and if so, what was their experience?

A number of student-athletes have studied abroad in recent years, and all of them have described the experience as one of the most significant of their undergraduate years. One student referred to her time in Australia as the “best two months of my life! For example, you can use a short-term introductory program to get your feet wet as a freshman or sophomore, then spend a semester or year abroad, often in a different location, as a junior or senior. Or you may want to do two or three short-term programs, especially if your calendar constraints as a student-athlete make longer periods of time abroad difficult.

Student Experiences

Visit the Learning Abroad Center's Student Experiences web page for details on other students' experiences studying abroad.