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Military-Connected Students

Student Experiences Abroad: Military-Connected Students

As a military-connected student, you may already be accustomed to unique challenges and experiences, making you a perfect fit for an international experience. An international experience can provide you with a completely different perspective that can manifest different skills/techniques that you never knew you needed or already had, including adaptability. Besides gaining a new cultural perspective, choosing to travel abroad can have a profound impact on your academics, career, and personal growth.

Planning Your Experience Abroad

Use the information on this page to explore the considerations, opportunities, and challenges of traveling abroad as a military-connected college student.

As you consider and prepare for an international experience, use the following questions as a guide. Keep in mind that this is not an exhaustive list, and you may relate to multiple identities. You are encouraged to discuss these topics in person with an education abroad advisor in your school or college.

Ensure your eligibility to participate in education abroad

If you are currently serving in the military, you are required to speak to your military service unit about the possibility of studying abroad. If your military service unit declares you eligible, speak to the Office of Veteran & Military Services at the University of Michigan for additional procedures.

Learn about Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) for global experiences

If you receive BAH while at U-M, you can receive the same benefits on a for-credit global experience. The rate is based on the home location (U-M) unless the student pays tuition directly to the international host school. To receive this allowance for your education abroad experience, consult with Veteran Services at the Office of the Registrar prior to committing to your international experience.

Allocate enough time for the process 

Additional documentation may be required when using military benefits, so allocate enough time for choosing, applying to, and preparing for your time abroad. The School Certifying Officials in the Office of the Registrar ( can provide guidance as you prepare for your global experience.

Consult with advisors

Explore global experience options through M-Compass and be sure to talk to advisors to ensure you’re meeting all requirements:

  • Your academic advisor can help make sure adding a global experience still keeps you on track for graduation.
  • An education abroad advisor can help you decide if a global experience fits your needs and see what global programs are available to you.
  • Your U-M Veteran and Military Service Representative can help you understand how  your GI Bill benefits may apply to international travel.
  • A financial aid advisor can ensure your financial plan matches your global experience needs.

Available resources

Many resources available to you on campus are also accessible during your time abroad. These include but are not limited to, the following: Your education abroad advisor and academic advisor, Services for Students with Disabilities (, and U-M Counseling and Psychological Services (, as well as resources offered by your international host institution and your health care provider. The Veteran & Military Services ( can also provide guidance and resources as you prepare for your experience.

Additional resources are listed below.

Using Your GI Bill to Participate in an Education Abroad Program

As a military-connected student, you may be eligible to use your GI Bill benefits towards for-credit education abroad programs if the associated courses count towards the completion of your degree and the VA has approved the foreign school for GI Bill funding. VA benefits only cover educational costs (e.g., tuition) and do not cover personal expenses such as lodging, meals, flight costs, or any third-party charges.

Since program costs can vary, however, it will involve research on your part. Additionally, many U-M education abroad offices offer extensive funding, and there are many national scholarships available! For a more extensive list of U-M and national scholarships, visit M-Compass (

Depending on the type of program, additional steps may need to be taken. Please consult with the U-M School Certifying Officials for veterans benefits at prior to committing to your international experience.

Time Abroad with a Military-Connected Identity

While your military service is greatly appreciated in the United States, be aware that foreign cultures may have different perceptions of the United States Armed Forces and U.S. foreign policy. Do the research and act according to local cultural norms. Additionally, since students are subject to local laws, you should research your host country’s laws prior to your departure. For example, some countries limit camouflage clothing to local active military personnel only. Be sure to check out the other identities abroad pages as you may relate to others!

Other Considerations

Monthly Housing Allowance (MHA):The VA could provide a monthly housing allowance under the Post 9/11 GI Bill if you are enrolled more than 1⁄2 time. The MHA rate may vary depending on the program.

Vocational Rehabilitation Benefits: To apply your Vocational Rehabilitation Benefits towards your education abroad tuition, you must speak to your Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor for pre-approval.

Accommodations for disabilities: If you receive accommodations for a disability at U-M, it may be possible to receive the same accommodations abroad. To ensure that all accommodations are available and to choose the right global experience, consult Services for Students with Disabilities ( and an education abroad advisor.

Family commitments: There are many short-term global experiences that will allow you to maintain your family commitments. Some global programs will let you bring a family member abroad. Your education abroad advisor can assist you in finding programs that best suit you and your family’s needs.