FAQ on Long-term Engineering Abroad Programs (LEAP), aka Semester Abroad (for a list of programs, go here)

  1. I don’t speak the local language, so I can’t participate in LEAP in places such as China, Colombia, and Spain.  LEAP programs don’t have foreign language requirements – all core engineering and many non-technical courses are offered in English.
  1. I can’t graduate on time if I study abroad for a semester. There is no study abroad programs that would fit my plan of study.  All LEAP participants can graduate on time. We have identified a selected set of partner institutions that would offer courses meeting Purdue’s degree requirements.
  1. It’s expensive, and I can’t afford a semester abroad.  Many LEAP programs are cost neutral, meaning that a semester abroad will have comparable or lower living expenses than living in West Lafayette, Indiana. Examples include China, Colombia, and Spain. Plus, the cost may be further reduced thanks to the Purdue Moves Scholarship and other scholarship opportunities (e.g., Gilman).  
  1. I may not come back on time to do summer internships or courses if studying abroad.  Students will be able to return home on time to participate in summer internships or take Purdue summer courses.
  1. Engineering students typically don’t study abroad.  Currently, more than 25% of Purdue engineering students study abroad during their Purdue career, which is significantly higher than the national average (5% of engineering undergraduates study abroad).
  1. Purdue engineering students only study abroad in Europe.  Purdue engineering students study abroad all over the world, including countries outside of Europe and non-English speaking countries. We have students going to Colombia, Shanghai, New Zealand, Jordan, etc. 
  1. Potential employers don’t value study abroad.  Returning students consistently mentioned that their LEAP or semester abroad experience empowered them to stand out during job interviews at the Purdue Industrial Roundtable (IR). A semester abroad in less traveled parts of the world, such as East Asia and Latin America, has proven to be a substantial and marketable professional credential that boosts our students’ early careers.
  1. I will miss my social life at Purdue and feel alone while abroad.  Cohort-experience is a unique feature of LEAP programs. Students will often travel abroad with their Purdue friends, come back with even more, and develop a lifelong network of international friends.
  1. I’ve never traveled abroad, so maybe study abroad is not for me.  Many LEAP alums started with zero oversea travel experience and ended up with multiple study abroad experiences. We believe that every student in good academic standing deserves an opportunity to study abroad. By offering Pre-departure workshops, we try to prepare our students psychologically and culturally for their semester abroad. We also encourage students to try out study abroad by taking our STEP abroad programs (1-3 week-long, short-term programs) first in their freshmen and sophomore years.