International Education

O'Dowd Hall, Room 328
586 Pioneer Drive
Rochester, MI 48309-4482
(location map)
(248) 370-2889

Office hours
Mon - Fri: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Virtual advising hours
Mon - Fri: 9 a.m. - noon and 1 - 4 p.m.

Alex Zimmerman, Director
(248) 370-2843

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Summer 2021 Virtual Advising hours

The Study Abroad office is offering virtual study abroad advising sessions Monday - Friday from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. If you would like to schedule a virtual session, please email

Walk-in face-to-face advising is canceled until further notice.

See an Adviser

COVID-19 Update

The staff of the Office of Global Engagement is working virtually. We are handling all requests via email and phone. Virtual advising sessions and advisers are available to answer all of your questions about study abroad. To schedule an advising appointment or contact our office, please email We are monitoring requests during normal business hours and will respond shortly. 

For additional study abroad/away information, please email the International Education office.

Meet the Student Advisers!

Samantha Miller

photo of a girl in the Netherlands, standing in front of a river in a city with buildings in the background

Major: Communication with a minor in Advertising
When: Summer 2018
Where: Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Pre-Departure: I had just switched my major to Communication the semester before I left. I love being in school and I love what I study, but I wanted to learn in a different way. I stumbled into the Study Abroad office my sophomore year purely out of curiosity because I wanted to see all the international programs students could be involved in. I always heard about great experiences studying abroad, but I never thought it was something I’d have the opportunity to do, and I don’t speak any languages besides English. I found a program in a country that had English as a fluent second language, and that would fulfill requirements for my major and my interests. After researching The Netherlands I already fell in love and knew I had to go see this beautiful country. Besides living on campus, I have never entirely been on my own. I had no idea how I was going to pay for it or what experiences would lie ahead. I didn’t even have a passport. Two months after I walked into the study abroad office, I was on a plane to Amsterdam headed towards a life changing experience.

My Experience: Amsterdam was a perfect place for me because it was so fast paced and fun downtown, but there were still quiet areas in walking distance where I could go to relax. I lived in international student housing (dorms) right off of the University of Amsterdam’s campus. My dorm was on the same street as the Anne-Frank house which gave me a perfect experience because I was on one of the most important streets in the country, and I was able to have daily interactions with tourists as well as residents of the country. My class had sixty students but we were split up into three sections of twenty, which made the classes much more comfortable. During my program the World Cup was going on, and it brought the whole country to life! During the week I stayed in the city and explored markets, festivals, museums, parks, and anything I could find. During the weekends I traveled to Prague, Czech Republic, Cologne, Germany, and Livorno, Pisa, and Florence in Italy.

Why CIEE: CIEE (Council on International Education Exchange) was the organization I studied through. I had one class three hours a day Monday through Friday, the weekends were free for us to do whatever we wanted. CIEE did everything to make us as comfortable as possible. Our professor picked us up from the airport, our housing was within walking distance to everything we needed including class, Centraal station, and the famous Dutch grocery store Albert Heijn. My professor provided us with a Dutch sim card, a pre-loaded Chipkaart for buses, trams, and the metro, guided tours, free excursions, the professor would take us out for free meals most of the first week and at least once a week after that. All of the faculty lived close to the residence halls and were always easy to get in contact with. Some excursions included canoeing through the canals of Zwolle, exploring the “new city” of Rotterdam, and watching pottery for the royal family be created in Delft! On the fourth of July we had a picnic in Vondelpark to make the study abroad students feel at home, and we even went on a pancake cruise!

Advice: Apply for scholarships before you go, it can make a huge difference. Budget, budget, budget. Right away you will notice the little things that are different. Pay attention to them. Embrace them. Try to learn some basic words before you leave. Even if you can’t pronounce words perfectly people will appreciate you trying.  Pay attention to how people interact with each other, and don’t be ethnocentric. Be open to new ideas and learning the culture. Try new foods, talk to locals. Find something that is popular in the culture and go experience it. My favorite thing was going to the Dutch street markets. I was able to meet locals, try all kinds of Dutch foods, and be completely embraced in Dutch culture. It’s completely normal to be scared, but don’t be afraid to ask for help!

Santeiu Butler

photo of a girl in Korea, standing in front of a river with a bridge and a pagoda structure

About Me: Hello! My name is Santeiu (pronounced san-TOO) Butler and I am a Junior at Oakland University. I will become a senior at the end of the Fall 2018 semester, so I am taking my Senior Thesis classes this year. I studied abroad in Seoul, South Korea at Yonsei University for the Academic Year of Fall 2017 – Winter 2018. I had a great time in Korea where I was able to travel and give back to my host country as well. I had the opportunity to volunteer and take care of Korean babies under 6 months old, teach English to the elderly as well as North Korean defectors, and even walk dogs through the park. I noticed, upon my return, that my life was quite uneventful and ordinary before my study abroad experience. Now I plan on returning to South Korea to teach English to children and young teens for a much longer period than an academic year.

Why South Korea:  I have always had a fascination with the underappreciated and underrated. All throughout high school, I was taught mainly about American, Southern American, and European history. The farthest East my classes covered was briefly learning about Chinese history. I was curious as to what else was out there, so I taught myself about the rest of Eastern Asia. South Korea stood out to me as a rather underappreciated country with such a rich and complex history that I had to learn more. Before I knew it, I was teaching myself to read and write Korean and how to speak it conversationally. Soon after that, I was planning my study abroad trip to South Korea.

My experience: Being in such a vastly different country for so long meant that I got the true study abroad experience. I did excursions, volunteer work, I traveled all throughout the country, visited temples and so much more. I also had the opportunity to stay with a host family to increase my language and cultural immersion. I picked up on the language much faster than I thought I would. Before I knew it, days would pass before I realize I hadn’t spoken a single word of English! Studying abroad truly changed my life. My future plans have completely changed based on the great experience I had in South Korea.

Why Study Abroad: Studying abroad is definitely worth it. Filling out applications, asking for recommendations, and budgeting is worth it. You have the chance to travel while staying on track to your degree. Not many people can say that they traveled to five countries before they were 24 years old. Not only that but studying abroad will make you much more marketable to future employers and it looks great on a resume! There are so many more reasons to study abroad but the main question is this: Why not study abroad?

My tips: You can study abroad! Persistence makes perfect. I know it is tedious applying to study abroad but it is worth it. Apply, apply, apply for scholarships. I received multiple scholarships that paid for a large portion of my year-long trip. Stop by the office or look online to learn about OU and government-offered scholarships, grants, and sponsorships. Finally, once you have decided where you want to travel, look up the area you will be living or even the way from the airport to your place of residence on Google Maps. It can get overwhelming once you get off the airplane and, after all that traveling, you may be a little confused or tired. Looking up the route and familiarizing yourself with your surroundings before you go can help your arrival go as smoothly as possible. And you get a sneak peek at your future environment.

Gabriela Mayoral

image of a girl standing on a bridge over a body of water in front of a castle

About Me: Hello! My Name is Gabriela Mayoral and I am a senior double majoring in Criminal Justice and French Language & Literature. I believe that the best way to truly learn a language is to live in the country where they speak it — so, I decided to study abroad in Angers, France, for the Spring 2018 semester. I wanted the full, French immersion — and what better way to do this than by living with a French host family! I was able to practice my French every day, partake in cultural traditions, and of course, this included eating traditional French foods! I established such a great relationship with my host family that they encouraged me to become an English teaching assistant in France so that I could come back and get the chance to see them. After graduating in Spring 2019, I plan to return to France by doing the TAPIF Program.

My Experience: I participated in the Angers French Immersion Program offered by GEO. I chose this program because I was able to take courses with international students while still experiencing the French way of living through my host parents. I took courses in French Art History, French History, Translation, and Theatre. These were all courses that I needed to take for my French major, so I was glad I was able to get credit for these abroad! My favorite part about having class with international students was being able to communicate with Japanese, Chinese, or Korean students through our shared French language skills. It is so easy to travel within Europe. During my time there, I traveled to London, Venice, Barcelona, Budapest, Prague, and Amsterdam! Traveling is affordable if you know how to do it. 

Advice: I already knew how to speak French before I arrived, so it wasn’t much of a problem for me to interact with locals; however, if you don’t know the language, write down some basic phrases that might come in handy! One thing that I wish I did more was explored my city. I spent so much time traveling to other countries and cities that I found myself trying to discover Angers during my last week in France. If you have the opportunity to choose, definitely stay with a host family! I know it might sound scary, but these families have experience! If you choose my program, they will try to match you with the family that best fits your preferences!