Study Overseas basics
Are you brand new to studying overseas?
If you're yet to begin your Study Overseas journey, find out all you need to know here.
Why should I study overseas?
Diversify your studies, become a global citizen, and make the world your classroom!
Overseas study offers a broad range of personal, academic, and professional benefits. It presents a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in a foreign culture, and make connections with people from all corners of the globe. 98% of our returned students would recommend overseas study to their friends!
Whether it’s a short 2-week study tour in China or a whole year of exchange in France, you can choose an experience that suits you.
Don't just take our word for it - hear more from our students!
Types of study overseas programs
Study Overseas supports students in undertaking a wide variety of international study programs. This table summarises the main program types. Click the name of the program type for more information.
Program type What is it? Who should apply? How do you apply? What costs are involved? Semester exchange A semester- or year-length program which involves students from the University of Adelaide attending a partner institution on a fee-waiver basis. Students with the flexibility and independence to leave Adelaide for a semester or year, and who are on track to have completed at least one semester of full-time study at the time of application. Apply through SMART before the advertised deadline. All exchange programs close at the same time each semester. Enrol at Adelaide; tuition fees are paid or deferred as usual and overseas tuition fees are waived. You are responsible for all living expenses. Study Tours A short program, usually 2-4 weeks in length, co-ordinated by University of Adelaide academic staff and with pre-set academic requirements and credit arrangements. Students who may not have the lifestyle or degree flexibility to study overseas for a full semester, or who would prefer to try a shorter program first, and would like to travel in a group setting. Apply through SMART before the advertised deadline. Study tour deadlines vary depending on the program. As a study tour is an Adelaide course, you enrol at Adelaide and pay or defer fees as usual. Program fees do apply separately and require upfront payment. Short Programs Short intensives, including summer or winter exchange programs and third party provider programs. Students who wish to take a shorter program but may wish to choose from a wider range of study options beyond University of Adelaide study tours. Application process varies; follow the instructions on the Short Programs page. Tuition and/or program fees may be payable to the program provider, or in some cases a fee-waiver may apply to selected Adelaide students.* Self-reporting programs Any type of overseas study experience including study abroad, internships, placements, third party provider programs and so on, where a student organises their program independently of Study Overseas. Students who are interested in an overseas experience that is not offered or managed via the University of Adelaide (i.e., is not one of the program types listed above). Apply to your program provider directly. Register your plans in SMART.
Tuition and/or program fees will usually apply and are payable directly to your provider.*
*Any program that does not require enrolment at the University of Adelaide while overseas may impact on your ability to access Centrelink while away. Always check your travel plans with Centrelink before committing.
Fitting overseas study into your degree
In most cases, students do not need to extend their University of Adelaide degree when they study overseas. This is because their overseas study is approved for credit before they depart.
It is expected that any overseas study you take through us will receive either a number of units' credit (3 or 6 for a short program, 9 or 12 for a semester program) or fulfilment of a required component of your degree program (for example, a required placement or work experience).
Some programs, such as exchange programs and study tours, require confirmation that credit will be granted in order for you to be eligible to participate.
Some self-organised programs will not receive credit or fulfil degree requirements. In this case, you should be aware that you will need to have approval from your Head of School to participate in the overseas program in order to be covered by the University's travel insurance policy.
For students who wish to receive credit towards their degree for their overseas program, all Faculty credit approvals are made through your application in the Student Mobility Applicant Registration Tool (SMART). If you have not received a response from your Faculty regarding your application for credit after 3 weeks, you should contact your Faculty Advisor directly. Your credit is never guaranteed until your Faculty Advisor has finalised their approval in SMART.
Explore our programs
Semester or year programs, including exchanges at our 120+ partner universities around the world.
Short-term intensive overseas programs during semester breaks.
An extra-curricular, intercultural program here in Adelaide, closely linked with the Adelaide Graduate Award. Participate either before going overseas, after coming back or as an alternative to an overseas experience.
What is SMART?
SMART is the online application system Study Overseas uses to manage students' applications to overseas programs. If you participate in an exchange program, study tour, or Government funded program, you will apply for your program through SMART. If you arrange your own program, you will register your program in SMART after applying for it directly with the program provider.
In SMART, you have an applicant profile and complete an applicant checklist that contains questionnaires and important information for you to read. You will also obtain credit approval from your Faculty via a SMART questionnaire.
Insurance and safety
All students travelling on a program that is either for credit or recognition towards their degree, or otherwise endorsed by their Head of School, are covered by the University of Adelaide's corporate travel insurance policy.
In addition, students travelling overseas must register their travel plans with the University's risk management provider, AIG Travel.
For more information about insurance and safety when studying overseas, visit support for students.
Seeking help and advice
Your best contact for assistance with organising your overseas program may vary depending on what sort of experience you're undertaking. Use the table below for quick reference, but you can always contact Study Overseas in the first instance if you're not sure where to go next.
Application process Credit and degree questions Program logistics and advice Exchange programs Study Overseas Faculty advisor Study Overseas; your host university once you have been accepted Study tours Study Overseas Faculty advisor Study Tour leader Short programs
May be Study Overseas, or your program provider - check the program brochure
Faculty advisor Your program provider Self-reporting programs Your program provider Faculty advisor Your program provider
Student feedback and advice
Study Overseas publishes many student stories and testimonials on our news page, and organises information sessions and events for students who are thinking about applying or who are already in the application process with us.
For the most part, international students enjoy the same opportunities as domestic Australian students when it comes to studying overseas. If you are an international student, there are a few things you should note before you apply for a Study Overseas experience:
- You must ensure that the course load you intend to take overseas will correspond with your Australian CoE duration.
- You should be aware of the impact any offshore study may have on your post-study visa application - particularly the two year onshore study requirement.
- If you are in Australia on an Australia Awards Scholarship, please note that the guidelines require that you reside in Australia, and the Scholarship cannot be used to study in a third country.
- Some overseas partners do not permit applications from students who are or have been citizens or residents of that country. If you wish to study in a country of which you are or have been a citizen or resident, please speak to Study Overseas first.
- Some funding options are restricted based on citizenship (as well as other eligibility requirements). If you will be relying on accessing funding in order to finance your overseas experience, please review the eligibility criteria before you apply.
If you are unsure about your visa or CoE status, or other matters in relation to your international student status, you can seek advice from International Student Support.
Students with a disability
Students of the University of Adelaide who have a disability or ongoing medical condition can and do go on exchange and study abroad programs.
Disabilities and conditions may include learning difficulties, medical conditions, mental illness (including anxiety and depression), sensory impairments (eg vision or hearing), mobility issues and so on.
To help you decide what you may need to consider in relation to your specific condition you will need to make contact with a Disability Advisor via the Student Life Disability Support page.
It is important that you advise a Study Overseas staff member of your specific requirements at the time of application or earlier so that we can do everything possible to help you find an appropriate host institution that can support your needs. Students should be aware that services and processes can differ substantially overseas and by initiating contact early you can maximise your chances of finding a suitable host institution.
Applying for a program
If you are interested in applying for a study tour, in addition to registering with Disability Support, you should contact the Course Coordinator or responsible staff member as listed on the program brochure in SMART to discuss your requirements.
Students completing an overseas internship, placement, or study abroad program (including summer and winter schools) will usually organise these independently or through a third party provider.
In addition to registering with Disability Support, you should contact your program host or third party provider directly to discuss your requirements.
As part of the application process, exchange applicants are required to find three preferences of destination, in accordance with the preference guidelines. While researching your preferences, you should look for information on their website about any relevant Disability / Support / Accessibility Service that institution may offer.
Once you form an idea of your preferred institutions, you should contact us to let us know your situation and what you are considering. In some cases we may be able to find out if your preferences can accommodate your needs.
Please note: Some institutions may only be able to give a general indication of available support services at this early stage. In many cases they will not be able to provide specific advice until you have applied directly, at a later stage of the application process.
- Make contact with the Disability Support before you commence your exchange application.
- Research your preferred institutions to see what information about their support services can be found on their website.
- Contact Study Overseas to start a conversation about suitable destinations based on what you have found. You will need to give us permission to discuss your case with Disability Support and our partner institution(s) for us to take action on your behalf - we take confidential matters seriously and will only disclose what you tell us with your permission.
- Maintain an ongoing dialogue with Study Overseas and the Disability Service as we continue your application process.
Can I take a reduced study load while on exchange?
There is an expectation that students will study a minimum 9 unit load per semester while on exchange. If you wish to be exempt from this rule, you will need to speak with us prior to the application deadline. Students will need written support from both Disability Services and their Faculty. Written support for a reduced load from your treating medical practitioner can be lodged with Disability Support who can liaise with Study Overseas on your behalf. Written support for a reduced load from your Faculty can be via email to Study Overseas. Study Overseas can then contact your preferred institutions and investigate whether a part-time arrangement is possible.
Please note that a reduced study load may impact your eligibility to access OS-HELP loans and Government support for students studying overseas. If you receive support such as Centrelink payments, you should contact Centrelink directly to confirm whether or not you will still be eligible while overseas.
If you want to stay up-to-date with Study Overseas opportunities and experiences, we recommend you follow our social media accounts:
Family and friends
Study Overseas sees many students realise their dreams by studying overseas every year. We also recognise that this leaves many proud (but also potentially anxious!) loved ones.
However, we understand that it is useful for loved ones to have an understanding of how our processes work, so that they can support students in their adventures. We hope this information will be of assistance.
We help facilitate your student's overseas experience. In the case of exchange programs, we select students for nomination to our partner institutions. Decisions regarding admission and enrolment rests with the host institution, rather than with Study Overseas. We will nominate and advocate for students, but cannot force any decisions on behalf of host universities.
We also assess eligibility and process applications for scholarships, grants and OS-HELP loans. More details can be found on our funding page.
Study Overseas is the only party that should liaise with the partner institution, at least until the student has been accepted by that institution. If you have any questions regarding a partner institution, they should first be addressed to Study Overseas (from the student). This does not apply for self-reporting programs.
Studying overseas is excellent for fostering a sense of self-reliance and independence in students. The need to research and work through processes is normal in order for an application to be successful. It should be the student's expectation that some independent work will be required in order to participate in an overseas experience.
Students are responsible for ensuring that they are applying to appropriate programs, meeting deadlines as well as supplying information in an accurate and timely fashion. It's also necessary for students to monitor their emails to ensure they are receiving all instructions and updates.
A student's faculty makes all decisions regarding their academic program, including credit eligibility and transfer. Students often complete all correspondence with their faculty office via SMART, our online application system. Students are advised to allow 3-4 weeks for credit approval before following up with their faculty adviser. It is the student's responsibility to allow adequate time.
For study tours, the relevant Faculty or School will also be responsible for the selection process and program logistics.
When students are accepted to a host university, they become a student of that university and as such are subject to the same rules and requirements as local students. Agreements and contracts signed by a student to that university are binding, and the University of Adelaide will not interfere except in circumstances where a student's safety or wellbeing may be in question.
Visas, flights, insurance, immigration
Our applicant support page contains information regarding these matters.
Study Overseas is not legally able to advise students on visa matters. Students can find information about how to obtain a visa from their acceptance documents for their overseas programs, or by checking with the relevant Embassy or Consulate. We have no involvement in the logistics for students' programs as most are independently organised, which means that students need to obtain visas, book flights, arrange transfers and so on. For some Some Study Tours, the relevant School or Faculty may make some of these arrangements for the student, and in that case the relevant Course Coordinator or School should be contacted.
It is never recommended for students to book flights until they have been officially accepted into their program from the host organisation and have qualified for a visa. This may mean booking within a couple of months of departure. Some students may choose to book flights in advance to obtain cheaper airfares, but should be aware that Study Overseas will not pressure host institutions to expedite acceptances or other paperwork to accommodate their plans. As such, they do so at their own risk. Students who plan to leave Australia earlier than necessary to travel in advance of their program may run into similar issues.
The University's travel insurance policy covers all students travelling on University business - this automatically applies if a student is receiving academic credit for an overseas program, or is otherwise endorsed by the Head of School. Students should read the university's travel insurance policy carefully. Queries regarding travel insurance should be directed towards the University's Legal and Risk Branch. In some cases, students will need to purchase local insurance at their destination.
What if something goes wrong?
The University of Adelaide has partnered with AIG Travel to provide students with medical and security assistance whilst abroad. In an emergency, students should contact AIG Travel directly using their membership card (+60 3 2772 5642) and quote the policy number as listed on the University of Adelaide Travel Insurance Guide. For international travel trips, students will have 24/7 access to medical and security specialists, online information and destination specific email alerts. We also ask that students download the AIG Travel Assistance app (iOS, Android), packed with a variety of features including a one touch ‘help’ button and a check-in feature.
If a student is having issues overseas with their studies, accommodation or host institution they should contact Study Overseas directly. We understand that those close to the student wish to assist by contacting us on their behalf, however it is far more effective for students to contact us in writing (via email) with an outline of their issues so that we can take action on their behalf if needed. It’s important to note that Study Overseas cannot take action on a student's behalf without the express consent of that student.
Once a student has contacted Study Overseas with their concerns, we will act on their behalf and liaise with any relevant parties.
How can students stay safe?
Health and safety is of paramount importance to us and to our partner institutions. Before students travel overseas on one of our programs, they are given detailed briefings regarding what to expect and what they can do if they need support.
Students will receive advisories from AIG Travel prior to their travel which include:
- Vaccination requirements
- Passport and visa requirements
- Quality of health care
- Advice on prevalent diseases
- Personal and driving safety information
- Hygiene: quality of food and water
- Culture and customs
- Weather and what clothes to take
- Compatibility of electrical items
- Personal safety advice
Students are always encouraged to become familiar with their host institution's health, safety and wellbeing services once they arrive.
In addition, students can always reach out to the University of Adelaide for support while they are away - whether from Study Overseas, or other ancillary services such as Counselling Support and Disability Service.