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Study Abroad

International students who wish to study abroad during their programs are encouraged to do so. There are some key considerations to think about when planning to study abroad.

Immigration Status

Enrollment Requirements

  • If you want to maintain your F-1 status, you should be enrolled full-time (12 credits for undergraduate students, 10 credits for graduate students).
  • Students who do not enroll full-time may wish to request a leave of absence or take a vacation quarter.

Returning to the U.S.

When you come back to the U.S. to resume your studies at UW, you’ll need to make sure that you have a valid F-1 visa. If your visa is expired you must renew it before travelling back to Seattle. You should also check the validity of your travel signature before you make plans to return to the U.S.

Academic Calendar


Many study abroad programs follow the semester system. If you choose a spring semester study abroad program, for example, you’d be outside the U.S. for winter and spring quarters at the UW. The credits for your study abroad program would need to transfer back so that you are full time for both quarters which requires 24 UW credits.

Final Quarter

If you’re considering studying abroad, ISS and the Study Abroad Office recommend that international students choose to do so during winter and spring quarters. These quarters offer the smoothest transition for international students. While it is possible to do so, studying abroad in your final quarter can present challenges to your immigration status. If you’re thinking about this option, we recommend that you consult with an ISS advisor.

For general questions about Study Abroad, please consult UW’s Study Abroad Office.