Study Abroad Opportunities

University of San Diego International Center

The University of San Diego is committed to actively promoting awareness, appreciation and respect for the complexity of cultural, political, environmental and social issues worldwide while creating a campus environment that builds theoretical and practical skills needed to interact effectively in today’s global society. To that end, the International Center houses both the Office of International Studies Abroad and the Office of International Students and Scholars, which collaborate with various units across campus to help internationalize the USD campus.

Office of International Studies Abroad

The University of San Diego has consistently ranked within the top three in the nation in terms of the percentage of undergraduate students who participate in study abroad programs! USD undergraduates in good standing may apply for a variety of international study abroad programs affiliated with the university. USD grants academic credit and grades for these affiliated programs. To ensure the proper recording of units, USD students may not enroll independently, or through another institution, in a USD-affiliated program.

There are many exciting opportunities to study abroad while at USD. Programs include short-term (intersession or summer) options as well as semester and year-long opportunities.

USD students in good standing may apply for a variety of international study abroad programs affiliated with the university. Each of the individual schools and colleges offer graduate level study abroad opportunities. For more information, contact the Office of International Studies Abroad, (619) 260-4598 or go to International Center.

Short-Term Study Abroad Opportunities

The following programs are available for students during intersession or summer terms:

Second Year Experience Abroad

This unique program designed specifically for students in their sophomore year. This program is very comprehensive and students must register during their freshman year to go abroad in intersession of their sophomore year. While abroad, students take one, three-unit, core curriculum course and engage in many cultural and social activities with their fellow sophomore students. Current locations include: Florence, Italy; and Antigua, Guatemala.

Faculty-Led Programs

Spend three to four weeks abroad with a USD faculty member while gaining academic credit and a unique international experience. These programs are open to all students (Freshmen to Seniors) as well as non-USD students. Depending on the length of the program, students can complete one or two courses and may even combine two locations based on program calendars. Tuition is discounted for these programs and financial aid is available. Currently, programs are offered in Argentina, Australia, Austria, China, England, France, Indonesia, Jamaica, South Africa, Spain and Turkey.

Semester Abroad Opportunities

USD Madrid Center

USD's very own Madrid Center opened in Fall 2014 in the heart of Spain's capital city. Students have the opportunity to immerse themselves in Spanish culture while completing courses in business, humanities and social sciences. Students live in home-stays with local families and each student participates in a 10-day travel seminar which visits different regions of Spain. Please visit the Madrid Center website for more information.

USD Partner Programs

Studying abroad for a semester or year is possible through the over 80 USD partner programs coordinated by the Office of International Studies Abroad. These programs vary in size and scope and are located all throughout the world. USD Financial Aid packages travel with a student for up to one semester abroad. Please be sure to visit the Office of International Studies Abroad to learn more about these options as well as to learn more about financing a semester or year abroad. 

Semester Exchanges

USD has exchange partnerships with very prestigious, highly ranked universities in South America, Asia, Europe and Latin America. Students who wish to participate in one of these programs will have the unique opportunity to be engaged in an independent, cultural immersion experience as they will enroll directly at the host university and take the majority of their courses with local students.

Additional Information

Project-Based Learning While Abroad

Some study abroad programs offer students hands-on experience within their area of study. For example, the School for Field Studies Programs offers students the opportunity to work in the field collecting data related to environmental-based projects such as rainforest ecosystems, marine biodiversity, wildlife management and the effects of global climate change. The SEA Semester program offers students the opportunity to learn about marine life while living on board and navigating a sailing vessel. Business students also have the option to participate in a consulting project for local companies in certain international locations. Discipline specific internships are offered in many program locations as well.

Community-Service While Abroad

Students who wish to engage with the local community while abroad can do so through various service-based programs. Opportunities in semester long programs will vary by site. Be sure to check with a study abroad advisor about this option. Several short-term programs offer community service opportunities that are a central part of the program. Locations in which community service is infused within the academic program are: China, Jamaica and South Africa.

Special Topics Course

A Special Topics course offered in USD's affiliated study abroad programs coordinated by the USD International Center that do not correspond directly to a USD academic department.  The course will be identified on the student’s transcript as either ABRD 294 or ABRD 494, and USD will maintain a description of the course and outcomes. Course content and structure will differ depending on instructor, program and country. Consult the Office of International Studies Abroad for course description for any given semester.  

Application Deadlines

In general terms, application deadlines are as follows:

  • Fall semester: Mid-Late March
  • Intersession: Mid-October
  • Spring: Mid-October
  • Summer: Mid-December

For program information, deadline information or to meet with a study abroad advisor, contact the Office of International Studies Abroad at (619) 260-4598 or in Serra Hall 315 or go to USD Abroad.

Ahlers Center Study Abroad Programs

Ahlers Center for International Business

The John M. Ahlers Center for International Business was founded in 1994 with an endowment from the estate of John and Carolyn Ahlers to enhance international business education at USD. Given a lifetime of international business and service, the Ahlers believed that globalization had increased the need for business leaders to be developed with special skills and knowledge in order to embrace the challenges and opportunities of an international marketplace. Through numerous programs, the Ahlers Center is devoted to this mission of its founding donors by helping faculty, students and the community develop significant international business acumen.

The Ahlers Center, along with the International Center at USD, develops and coordinates both short-term study abroad programs and semester exchanges. Offered during the Intersession and Summer Sessions, the short-term programs provide business students the opportunity, over a relatively short time period, to gain valuable business-oriented international experience. Students wishing to spend more time abroad and gain a deeper cultural understanding may participate in semester exchange programs at leading business schools around the world. For more information on study abroad opportunities for undergraduate business students, please go to Study Abroad.

In addition to study abroad opportunities, the Ahlers Center annually sponsors International Executives-in-Residence, bringing business leaders to campus and the classroom. International visiting faculty are also invited by the Ahlers Center to provide guest lectures or offer courses at USD. The Ahlers Center continues to cultivate its strong portfolio of offerings, including the hosting of international business leaders, conferences, events, and speakers, which enhance our undergraduate business students’ exposure to the global mindset that inspired the generosity of John and Carolyn Ahlers. For more information about the Ahlers Center for International Business, please go to Ahlers Center.