Learning Abroad for Student-Athletes

Learning Abroad for Student-Athletes

The Athletics Department and the McNamara 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 McNamara 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 McNamara Academic Center (MAC) for Student-Athletes

    • Pick up MAC Study Abroad Form—signatures are required through this process
    • Discuss appropriate travel time and training needs with your coach
    • Ask your MAC 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 MAC 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 MAC 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 Office 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 MAC 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 MAC 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 either institutions with well equiped workout facilities or programs that have special topics that might be of interest to student-athletes.

Africa and the Middle East


Asia and Oceania


University of Wollongong (available through Arcadia)

University Study in Australia: University of Melbourne

University Study in Australia: James Cook University

New Zealand

University Study in New Zealand: University of Otago



Sports & Culture in France:  La Vie Sportive


University Study in Ireland: University of Limerick

United Kingdom

Study & Intern in London

University Study in the United Kingdom: Northumbria University

 Additional Options to Consider

Global Seminars

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 MAC 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 MAC 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 MAC 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 MAC 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.