Exploring U-M’s Opportunities Around the World


Nontraditional Students Abroad

    1. "My biggest concern was not fitting in. I am 55 years old and most of the undergraduate population of the University of Michigan is somewhere near their twenties. My choice to study abroad turned out to be one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. It gave me the opportunity to study the fascination that Rome, Italy brings to so many people along with the culture of a world outside of my own."

    Download the Nontraditional 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 UM office.

    Nontraditional students often have different responsibilities such as those tied to familial, professional, and other obligations at home that do not affect many other students in the same way. Thus it is important to take these factors into consideration when studying abroad. Use this page to explore considerations, opportunities, and challenges of traveling abroad as a nontraditional student.

    Time to Reflect:

    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. The Office of Multi-Ethnic Student Affairs (MESA) can also provide guidance and resources as you prepare for your experience.

    • Who should I be talking to and when should I initiate the conversation?
      • There are many routes you take with education abroad, and you should speak with an education abroad advisor as well as your academic advisor to determine how education abroad can fit into your personal, academic and career goals. To ensure adequate time for planning, it is generally recommended that you initiate the conversation one year prior to the experience start date. 
    • What other topics should I also be thinking about?
      • Do I have work, home, and/or family obligations that prevent me from studying abroad for an extended period of time?
      • Will there be other adult students in my program?
      • How old are the other students participating in my program?
      • How do people in my host country view adult students?
      • What skills do I want to gain or improve while I’m abroad?

    Go Engage!

    Further explore traveling as a nontraditional student through the following resources:

    • 115

      U-M hosted students from 115 countries in Fall 2020

    • No.5

      U-M ranked 5th in the nation in the number of U.S. students studying abroad for the 2019-2020 academic year