Skip to content

Academics Abroad

As a representative of Augustana University, your academic performance reflects as much on Augustana as it does on you.  Strive for excellence, just as you do at Augustana!

Adjusting to Your New Academic Environment
Academic cultures abroad vary and are often very different from those in the United States.

  • Many undergraduate students at foreign universities specialize in only two or three subjects.  They tend to take few courses outside of their areas of specialization.  The liberal arts philosophy that we espouse here at Augustana is typically not found abroad.
  • Students tend to receive less personal support from faculty and mentors than they do at Augustana.  Independent research is frequently required.  Self-motivation and self-advocacy are two skills you'll work to develop while abroad if you don't already possess them!
  • Modes of instruction vary considerably, but many overseas universities still use large lecture classes.
  • Assessment practices also vary, but in general there are fewer grading opportunities than you have here at Augustana.  It is common for the entire semester grade to be based on one final exam plus one or sometimes two other pieces of work.  Participation and attendance rarely factors into any grading structure abroad.  It is essential that you inquire about and understand the grading practices early in your studies abroad so that you can manage your academic preparation accordingly. 
  • Exams abroad rarely involve short-answer or multiple choice questions.  They are much more likely to require short or long essay responses, so bring your writing skills up to par!
Remember that you are learning 24/7 when in a new culture, both in and out of the classroom.  You'll certainly want to travel and take advantage of available local entertainment.  Everything is so new that it is hard to learn not to overdo it!  Fatigue may affect your academic performance as well as hinder your involvement in the local community.  Consider your academic responsibilities when making plans and be realistic about how much is too much.

If you need advice, do not feel shy about approaching the instructor!  Other resources include your classmates, your on-site program director or the international student office.  You can also be in touch with your academic advisor and your study abroad advisor here at Augustana.   If you don't understand something or are feeling overwhelmed, ask for help.  The most important thing is to seek help when you need it!

Adding/Dropping Courses When Abroad
It is not uncommon for students to change courses once they are abroad. If the desired course is not included on your course approval form, you are required to email the appropriate department chair (for major/minor pre-approved course changes) or the Registrar (for General Education pre-approved course changes).  You will need to attach a course description of the course(s) you are proposing, and specify which requirement you are now hoping to meet.  It is your responsibility to follow up for written confirmation of these changes! Failure to get approval could lead to a delay in graduation and failure to get the course equivalencies that you seek.

Registering for the Upcoming Semester at Augie
While abroad, it is your responsibility to register online for the next semester at Augustana.  You will receive an email from the Registrar's Office with a date and time for your online registration.  Be in touch with your academic advisor if you need help deciding which classes to take.  Failure to register could jeopardize your ability to get into your desired classes the following semester.