Study Away

Study away programs provide opportunities for students to be challenged by learning in social and cultural environments very different from those in which they grew up and traditionally study.

A compass on a map with pins in it.

A Message from the Office of Study Away

The world is yours and everything that is in it!

The Office of Study Away at Penn State Altoona supports all interested students, regardless of major, who want to spend a spring break, a semester, or a full academic year away from campus on an academic program in a different part of the country or world.

The Study Away office assists students in selecting appropriate study away programs, understanding the financial implications of studying away, and explaining the credit process. Students interested in studying away for spring break, a semester, or a year may choose from Penn State Altoona-sponsored programs or from over three hundred Penn State Global Programs.

Our staff is available to discuss your interest in a Study Away program that fits into your academic career.

Begin your search by visiting the Global Programs website to explore the many long-term (semester, academic year) opportunities offered.

Short-term programs (spring break, ten to fifteen days) are available through Penn State Altoona. Depending on the program, they occur either on an annual or biennial basis. On this page, you'll find descriptions of regularly offered Penn State Altoona programs.

Colosseum in Rome

Sheetz Fellows in Europe: Italy and Switzerland

March 1–10, 2024
This program, designed for the Sheetz Fellows program at Penn State Altoona, focuses on how entrepreneurial ventures differ from country to country and how these ventures compete not only locally but globally.

El Yunque National Forest, Puerto Rico

Alternative Spring Break: Community Collaborations International (CCI) Puerto Rico Project

March 3–9, 2024
An eight-day excursion that allows students to experience service-learning by visiting the El Yunque National Forest, Puerto Rico. Students will participate in conservation projects at Cabezas de San Juan and a disaster relief and resiliency project in the local community. In addition, students will work with the Boys and Girls Club, helping with homework, assisting with recreational activities, and helping youth practice speaking English. Students will explore the culture of the region and interact with the Puerto Rican citizens.

La Fortuna Waterfall in Monteverde, Costa Rica

Environment and Culture in Costa Rica

May 15–23, 2023
Costa Rica boasts an epic landscape home to nearly five percent of the world’s biodiversity. Discover how fragile these endangered ecosystems are as you travel through different rainforest preserves and unearth dazzling displays of color and sound.

A museum in London

London Calling: Ordering the World

May 21–30, 2023
An eight-day experience designed for the English and History major curious about British history and culture. Provides students the opportunity to enhance their knowledge and understanding of British literature, history, and culture through visiting key sites in the Greater London area.

Oaxaca Mexico

Maymester in Mexico

May 14–June 5, 2022
The program offers a hands-on learning experience to build linguistic and cultural competencies. Classroom and community-based interactions will explore equity-minded and social justice dispositions and instill leadership skills. Students will receive language instruction in Spanish or Zapotec—an indigenous language widely spoken in the state of Oaxaca—and will have the opportunity to build language skills in daily life with a Mexican host family and friends.

Image from Dublin Ireland

Ireland: Frederick Douglass Global Fellowship

Summer 2022
Frederick Douglass Global Fellows will explore conflict and injustice from various perspectives and the leaders who sought to affect positive change for their communities and their countries. Fellows will return to America with new perspectives on how effective leaders influence positive social change and inspired to be the catalyst for positive change in their communities and in our world.

San Jose, Costa Rica

Hope Partners in Costa Rica (Biennially)

A seven-day excursion allowing students to experience a level of cultural submersion through service to the community. Students are partnered with both Murals Talk (an Altoona based non-profit Art Organization) and Hope Partners, Costa Rica for a unique service opportunity.

  • Available to students of any major and class standing seeking an intercultural experience through the creative process.
  • Contact Pam Snyder Etters at [email protected].

Intercultural Studies in Central America (Annually)

An eight-day program where students have an opportunity to stroll through untouched national parks and experience adventures of a Central American country’s biggest cities as well as the countryside. Students have an opportunity to spend time in ancient ruins and among modern locals. Students travel on vibrantly colored buses to discovering the locale.

Sungkyunkwan University, South Korea

International Conference on Software Security and Assurance (ICSSA), South Korea (Annually)

A collaboration between Penn State Altoona, Sungkyunkwan University, South Korea, and St. Polten University, Austria, holding an annual conference that provides a chance for academic and industry professionals to discuss recent progress in the area of software security and assurance ant to explore various facets of software and assurance which have yet to be thoroughly studied.

  • Available to information sciences and technology majors of any class standing
  • Contact Syed Risvi at [email protected]
Munich, Germany

Motorheads: Engineering Program in Southern Germany (Biennially)

A program designed for Electro-Mechanical Engineering Technology (EMET) majors at Penn State Altoona. The focus of the program is to relate the work that students have completed in their design and engineering classes to the hands-on application of the automotive industry in Germany.

  • Available to EMET majors of junior or senior class standing.
  • Contact Jordan Bittner at [email protected].
Havana, Cuba

Nursing Program in Cuba (Annually)

An eight-day program immersing nursing students in the Cuban culture and their healthcare system. Students have the opportunity to visit a number of healthcare facilities and attend guest lectures on the local health system, challenges, and solutions in healthcare and healthcare delivery, as well as health promotion. Service-learning is a component of the program, along with a number of hands-on activities like dance lessons and cooking.

  • Available to nursing majors of junior or senior class standing.
  • Contact  Dede McCreary at [email protected].