Study Abroad vs. Co-op Abroad

Both study abroad and co-op abroad are fantastic opportunities! Study abroad gives students a unique academic experience by learning about their subjects from an international perspective, often with local students and professors. Co-op Abroad gives students a different professional perspective and exposure to an international work environment. Many Drexel students have participated in both study abroad and co-op abroad.

To seek advising on co-op abroad, visit the Steinbright Career Development Center and review our Working Abroad tips.

Differences Between Study Abroad and Co-op Abroad


Study abroad takes place during a designated academic term. Co-op abroad takes place during a designated co-op cycle, whether a student has fall/winter or spring/summer cycle. For co-op abroad, students should schedule an advising appointment with the International Co-op Coordinator at the Steinbright Career Development Center.


When students study abroad, housing is usually either included in the program fee or the host university will assist students in finding accommodations. When students co-op abroad, they most often have to find and secure their own housing in the host city.


Even if the classes abroad are taught in English, or the job abroad doesn't require knowledge of the local language, Drexel may still require students to at least have "survival skills" in the local language. The basic rule of thumb is that students need 1 year of university level study of the host country's language to study abroad, and 2 years of university level study of the host country's language to work abroad.


If students intend to stay in a foreign country for longer than a certain period (usually 90 days, although this varies greatly), they will need to apply for a student visa. Student visas can be relatively easy to obtain for study abroad purposes. In order to work outside of the U.S. students must obtain a work visa (unless they have dual citizenship). However, it is not always easy for US citizens to get work visas for another country. We recommend that students look into various companies (such as BUNAC or STA Travel) that will, for a fee, obtain the appropriate work visa on their behalf. This process can take some time, so begin the research early!

Unfortunately, there is never a guarantee that students will find a job abroad. They should therefore be prepared with a back-up plan in case their international job search or work visa does not come through as expected.

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