Study Abroad Prerequisites & Policies


Some degree of competency in the target language is most often required for study in non-English speaking countries. Since the lack of practice leads to a rapid decline in proficiency, all students --including those who have already met the minimum requirement-- are expected to enroll in a course in the target language the semester before studying abroad. This expectation is established for the benefit of the students themselves. We cannot emphasize enough the correlation between a student's ability to communicate with their hosts and their adjustment to their new environment. Students are also strongly urged continue take courses in the target language after returning to Wesleyan in order to build on the skills and knowledge acquired abroad.


France and Spainstudents are expected to have completed the equivalent of 5 semesters of university-level instruction (French 215 or Spanish 221) with a grade of B or better. Highly qualified students with 4 semesters of college French or Spanish (French 112, Spanish 112) may be considered under special circumstances. Ordinarily, such students will have taken French or Spanish continually since their first term, will have completed only four semesters of college French or Spanish before going abroad, and will be able to document why they cannot study abroad in a different semester (e.g., major requirements, athletic schedule or theatrical production). 

Italy: students are expected to complete Italian 102 for fall or full year, 111 for spring.


In terms of language preparation, Wesleyan’s own prerequisites take precedence when they are more stringent than prerequisites set by the program itself. In countries where a language other than English is the primary language, students are required to enroll in at least one course per semester in the language of their host country or region while abroad, even if the program’s language of instruction is English.

In countries or regions whose languages is taught regularly at Wesleyan:

      • In French, German, Italian, Russian, and Spanish, students will be required to pursue their studies abroad through the medium of the target language. They will therefore need to reach the required level in their language instruction prior to going abroad.
      • For study in other languages taught at Wesleyan, students must meet Wesleyan's language prerequisite for the program and are encouraged to take all courses in the target language as their language level and program permit.
      • Students who have not progressed beyond the intermediate level before going abroad will be required to take the placement test upon returning to campus. This will allow us to determine the appropriate level for the continuation of their language studies at Wesleyan. It will also help us assess the quality of language instruction in the program abroad.

In countries or regions whose language is not regularly taught at Wesleyan:

      • Students with adequate prior knowledge will pursue their studies through the medium of the target language.

Exceptions to this policy are made only for certain monothematic programs, as noted on the OSA web site. In such cases, students are strongly encouraged to study the relevant language for as long as possible before attending the program.


All students abroad are expected to take full advantage of direct enrollment options in regular university courses to the extent that their linguistic capabilities permit. This policy is designed in the interest of our students’ cultural assimilation and academic immersion. Students with native or fluent competence in a foreign language are expected to take all of their courses through the direct enrollment option.


Students needing to study in an English-speaking country should choose a program that places its students in universities. They are expected to avoid programs that create courses for American students only or that place students in courses outside of the university context.


Some majors require, expect or encourage their students to study abroad. Note that Wesleyan students are not automatically granted permission to study abroad and they are not automatically accepted into a program merely on the basis of departmental requirements. Advance planning, beginning during the Freshman year, is crucial in order for these students to meet the language requirements that will qualify them for admission into the program of their choice.