Study Abroad for Government Majors

Deciding to study abroad

Applying to study abroad

Getting faculty approval for study-abroad courses

Department study-abroad regulations

Deciding to Study Abroad

Although studying abroad requires you to exchange one semester of Wesleyan education for one semester of being abroad, it can be a great experience. Whether it is or not depends on what you make of that experience. Living in another country for an extended period of time can have a profound effect on one’s understanding of the world and on the future course of one’s life. It can stretch and challenge you in important ways, but only if you engage with the culture and people of the area in which you are studying. Before starting a study abroad program, you should learn about the country and the area you’ll be living in. Ideally, you should learn the local language (if it is not English) before you go abroad, so that you can communicate with and learn from the people you will meet. You should also learn about the country’s history, political institutions, and culture. And while abroad you should not spend most of your time with other Americans, but as much as possible interact with students and others from the host society.

You should discuss with your faculty advisor which, if any, study abroad program is right for you, and which of the courses it offers are most appropriate to your interests. 

The Department chair approves study abroad courses for Government Department credit. Government Department major advisors approve where the courses count within the major toward the concentration, breadth, or additional courses.

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Applying to Study Abroad

The place to start is Wesleyan's Office of Study Abroad. This office has a helpful staff and a well-organized website with resources for the various steps in the process: making the initial study-abroad decision, deciding which program to go on, applying, and so on. The forms you need are on this website.

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Getting Department Chair's Pre-approval for Study-Abroad Courses

To get credit for study abroad courses in Government, either toward the major or toward graduation, requires pre-approval (before the end of the study-abroad program's pre-registration period) from the Department chair. Please see the Study Abroad "Study Abroad and Major Credit" page for further information. ( as well as the University Study Abroad office page (


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Department Study-Abroad Regulations

In addition to helping to monitor and enforce the study-abroad regulations implemented through the Office of Study Abroad, the Government Department has its own study abroad regulations: Office of Study Abroad Department Study Abroad Regulations

Recall that one of the Department's Requirements for the Government Major is that students may count toward the major no more than two credits earned in courses taken away from Wesleyan, whether in a study abroad program or in another US institution, except in the case of a full year of study abroad, in which the department chair may, at his or her discretion, authorize credit toward the major and toward graduation for a third course.

The Department will not authorize course credit during study abroad for internships or introductory courses. We do not have the resources to supervise internships, and it is a waste of potential synergy with the experience of living abroad to take a general introductory course when you could be taking a specialized course that would allow you to engage more intensively with the society in which you are living.

Independent study projects may be included among the two courses that may be counted toward the Government major (up to three if you study abroad for a whole year). The Department chair may choose to give tentative approval for an independent study project, subject to a review of your written work after you return.

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