UW-Eau Claire’s Foreign Exchange Program is accepting applications

Employees at the Center for International Education are helping students find their next adventure

Bridget Maxwell

More stories from Bridget Maxwell


Photo by Leah Pflaum

Students can learn more information about the study abroad program and the countries they can stay at.

The foreign exchange program through UW-Eau Claire is a great opportunity to experience different cultures, languages, customs, and beliefs all while simultaneously learning more about your major. 

According to UW-Eau Claire’s National Student Exchange websiteApproximately 3,500 students nationwide will study at new institutions this year! They will be participating at nearly 160 universities in 49 states, the Virgin Islands, Guam, Canada, and Puerto Rico through the National Student Exchange Program.”

“Although we are living in uncertain times, I would encourage students to attend an information session or meet with an advising intern to explore their options,” Colleen Marchwick, director of the Center for International Education said. “Information is key to good decision-making. We want to help students develop a plan based on their circumstances or comfort with risk.” 

Applications for the winter term of 2022, spring 2022, and the calendar year of 2022 were open on January 4, 2021, and were due by April 1, 2021.Applications for summer 2022, fall of 2022 and the rest of the academic year opened this fall. 

With COVID-19 still active, it is likely there will be programs that have a vaccination or testing requirement. Students can find a full list of these countries on the study abroad site through UWEC. 

“I would encourage interested students to begin applying for a passport or start the renewal process now…due to slowed passport processing,” Marchwick said.

The Foreign Exchange Program can be an opportunity to make global connections as well as promoting tolerance. Viewing the world through a different lens creates a greater understanding of  life contrasting to life in America. Being a part of this exchange program lets you explore an unfamiliar country while gaining credits towards your degree Marchwick said.

Scholarships are also available to help with funding, which includes:

  • Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship – National scholarship for those who receive a Federal Pell Grant. 
  • Diversity Abroad Scholarships – UWEC is a member which allows our students to be considered for their scholarships
  • PLATO – Resources to support underrepresented students.
  • USAC Scholarships for those participating in a USAC program- first-generation scholarship, military service scholarship, regional scholarships, and more. 

Ashley Perttula, a student at UWEC was able to study abroad which enhanced her learning. 

I couldn’t have chosen a better program than Chengdu, China,” Perttula said. “I truly had the most rewarding experience.”

Perttula had some fun while accomplishing her educational goals.

“Not only did I get to accomplish my goals to learn Mandarin and experience Chinese culture firsthand, but I also got to see giant pandas (my favorite animal), create lifelong friendships, and grow tremendously as an individual,” Perttula said.

Abigail Mathison, a third year student said she has had nothing but good experiences with CIE.

“I was thoroughly impressed by the kindness and guidance I’ve received from the staff at the Center for International Education,” Mathison said.“CIE prepares UWEC students for international studies through step-by-step cultural, academic, and financial advice.”

Mathison highly recommends making a visit to the office.

“Make an appointment with an amazing CIE advisor and they’ll help you find programs that best fit your goals and priorities.”

Maxwell can be reached at [email protected]