Exploring U-M’s Opportunities Around the World


Military-Connected Students Abroad

Student Experiences Abroad

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.

Army ROTC Student Trip

Students on the Beach holding a Michigan Flag

“Studying abroad has helped expand my worldview in ways that weren’t possible when I enlisted. Through intelligent planning, communication, and action studying abroad as a veteran is possible!”

Planning your Experience Abroad

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

How can I start preparing for my experience abroad as a military-connected 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.

  • I am currently serving in the military – can I still 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.
  • Will I receive Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH)?
    • 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.

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 (ro.vetsbenefits@umich.edu) can provide guidance as you prepare for your global experience.

  • What are the next steps?
    • Explore global experience options through M-Compass.
    • Talk to your academic advisor to make sure adding a global experience still keeps you on track for graduation.
    • Talk to your education abroad advisor to make sure the global experience fits your needs and see what global programs are available to you.
    • Talk to your U-M Veteran and Military Service Representative about using your GI Bill benefits.
    • Talk to a financial aid advisor to make sure your financial plan matches your global experience needs.

What resources are available to me as a military-connected student?

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 (ssdoffice@umich.edu), and U-M Counseling and Psychological Services (www.caps.umich.edu), as well as resources offered by your international host institution and your health care provider. The Veteran & Military Services (ro.vetsbenefits@umich.edu) can also provide guidance and resources as you prepare for your experience.

Additional resources include:


Download the Military-Connected Students Abroad flyer for additional questions and considerations for traveling abroad. Bring this resource with you when meeting with an academic advisor, education abroad advisor, or other U-M office.

How can I afford to study abroad? Can I use my 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 (mcompass.umich.edu). 

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 ro.vetsbenefits@umich.edu prior to committing to your international experience.

Will I receive a 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.

How can I apply my 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.

Can I receive the same accommodations I receive on campus while I’m abroad?

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 (ssdoffice@umich.edu) and an education abroad advisor.

I have a family; can I still study abroad?

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.

How will my military-connected identity affect my time abroad?

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!


Featured Trip: Normandy, France

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