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UWEC defines non-traditional students as students who are:
  • 25 years or older
  • students who are married or are parents
  • students who are U.S. military veterans, and/or
  • any student who had a significant break (two or more years) in their education
This page is intended to help all non-traditional students with questions about study abroad. 

Length of Program

Short-term programs may work better for students with multiple commitments. There are programs available in both Winterim and summer terms, ranging from two to nine weeks. However, don’t automatically discount longer programs, because past UWEC non-traditional students have gone abroad for as long as an academic year! We also have internship only programs that may be of more interest.

Living Situation

If you feel uncomfortable living with a host family or a roommate, several programs offer the option of a single room. We encourage you to chat with a general advisor to learn more about those programs. 

Level of Independence

Program vary in how much independence is given to students, things to consider:
  • group-oriented/hands-on experience or individual and independent experience
  • be with other Americans or be with local/international students
  • program structure from faculty leader or international office (not all universities off the same level of services)
  • live on campus or off campus

Expectations Back at Home

The CIE recognizes that non-traditional students often have familial, financial, or professional commitments that may complicate the decision to study abroad. 
  • If you have a job, do you know what your employer will expect of you when you go abroad/return?
  • What normal duties do you have that will need to be covered for the time period you are abroad? 
  • Do you have dependents and/or pets that will need to be cared for?
  • How will you maintain communication with loved ones back home?
  • Do you have financial obligations (rent, mortgage, car payment, internet, etc.) that you need to plan for?

ROTC, Military, Veteran Considerations

  • ROTC students will need to speak with their reporting officer about expectations of participation while they are on their study abroad experience
  • Will you need to maintain a fitness plan while abroad? If so, can the program offer those facilities?
  • Will you need security clearance in the future, thus needing to know important addresses and dates? If so, maintain a spreadsheet with that information.
  • For specific information on how veterans' benefits apply to study abroad, please visit our "How to Fund Your Study Abroad Experience" site.

Financial Assistance

Financial aid will travel with you on UWEC programs! There are a number of UWEC Study Abroad Foundation scholarships, including one, the Herlihy Women of Substance Study Abroad Scholarship, specifically for non-traditional women students. Find details here.

Other Resources

"Blazing a New Trail: 6 nontraditional study abroad students took the road less traveled & found their way" - article from NAFSA magazine
No age limit for study abroad - An article about a 29-year-old who studied abroad in France.
"Must Ask Questions for Adult Students Traveling Abroad" - article from Diversity Abroad