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International Opportunities

Do you have the intercultural competence your chosen profession requires?

Questions to ask when exploring your options

Where to find international opportunities

A Global Perspective on the Biological Sciences

Think international experiences aren't really for scientists? Think you can't afford it? Think it would be too intimidating? Think you wouldn't be able to graduate on time? You may want to think again.

There are international experiences in the biological sciences that range from public health to wildlife conservation to laboratory internships, and even non-science experiences can be an excellent complement to your biology studies. Yes, you can graduate on time. Yes, there are many ways to make it affordable. And yes, there are programs to suit whatever level of adventurousness you are comfortable with.

International experiences can be transformational, giving you more confidence, growing your vision of science, and allowing you to gain skills that can set you apart as a candidate for a job or for graduate or professional school. UW–Madison is nationally recognized for the opportunities it provides for students worldwide, so don't miss out. With all the support the University provides, this may be the easiest opportunity you'll ever have to go abroad and learn.  

Do you have the intercultural competence your chosen profession requires?

Today, more than ever before, scientists are asked to work on international teams and understand how people in different parts of the world define problems—and their solutions—differently. International study and internships, as well as internationally themed courses, minors, and certificates, are a wonderfully effective means of gaining the global competence that you’ll need to succeed in today’s world of bioscience…and tomorrow’s.

  • Increase your ability to grapple with scientific questions—like global health, food security, environmental trends and threats—that transcend national and geographic boundaries.
  • Understand how global issues and processes, international policies, and systems affect the science you are studying.
  • Become a more effective team member and team leader, capable of better understanding and working with diverse team members.
  • Increase your capacity for objectivity by seeing your own culture from the outside and understanding how it shapes the way you think about and conduct research.
  • Expand your professional network on the international level.
  • Enhance your mental fluency and ability to solve scientific problems by experiencing different cultural perspectives and ways of looking at problems and their solutions.
  • Gain self-confidence and become more comfortable with unknown and novel situations.

Questions to Ask When Exploring Your Options 

Do I want/need to get credit? 

You can earn credit toward your degree, fulfill general education requirements, or go for a non-credit experience and not have to worry about transferring credits (and yes, you can still graduate on time).

How long do I want to be abroad?

It's up to you. There are programs over summer and winter breaks, semester-long programs, and year-long programs.

Do I want to learn a foreign language as part of the experience?

There are lots of options. For example, you can study in a country where you know the language, study with other English-speaking students in a country where you don’t know the language, or make learning a foreign language your primary focus while you are abroad.

Do I want an experience within my major or outside of it?

You can gain a different perspective on your major, or you can add complementary skills or knowledge, both of which can look good to employers as well as graduate and professional schools.

Am I interested in an internship?

There are programs that offer internships for credit, so you can gain professional experience and see what the professional environment is like in another country. A good place to start exploring is the International Internship Program

What does it cost, and how will I pay for it?

The costs depend on the program. Costs can be figured into the picture when calculating your need for financial aid purposes, and there are special funds and scholarships available as well. You may qualify for aid to study abroad even if you haven’t qualified for aid here on campus. Talk to an advisor in International Academic Programs or the academic office through which the program you’re interested in is offered, and check with the Financial Aid Office.

Where to Find International Opportunities

UW–Madison is nationally recognized for the opportunities it provides for students worldwide. Speak to a study abroad advisor about opportunities available within the biological sciences majors.

General Programs

Courses, Majors, and Certificates