There are three different types of academic structures commonly found within study abroad programs. The first type is direct enrollment, where students will enroll in courses at a local university, taught by local professors and alongside local students. This option typically offers the most variety in the types of courses available as in most cases they are eligible to enroll in any course where they have the appropriate pre-requisites. In some cases, students may be limited to certain departments or units depending on the nature of the agreement between the program and the host university. These programs tend to require students to be the most independent and provide a natural avenue for cultural immersion.

Center-based programs offer courses for US-based students either in a local university or at an independent location. In these programs, students are still taught by local faculty, but classmates tend to be other US-based study abroad students. Most of these programs facilitate cultural or language immersion through other activities such as language exchange. Some programs may offer the opportunity for direct-enrollment in a limited number of courses. Some center-based programs have a specific focus or theme where students have pre-established course curriculum and tend to be smaller in size, such as biology research programs.

Faculty-led programs offer coursework taught by an IU faculty director who accompanies the IU students abroad. Some programs may be embedded in a course that begins on campus while others may be independent and offer the full course abroad.

Direct Enrollment Center-Based Faculty-Led
  • Directly enroll in courses at a local university
  • Taught by local professors
  • Take courses with local students
  • Offers widest range of course options
  • Take courses at a center for U.S. students
  • Taught by local professors
  • Take courses with U.S. students
  • May have direct enrollment options
  • Course(s) taught by IU faculty members
  • Take courses with other IU students
  • Short term or summer programs