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Non-Traditional Students

A non traditional student is defined as someone who identifies with any of the following:

  • Did not enter post-secondary education immediately after high school
  • Has a High school equivalent degree instead of a high school diploma
  • Works full time while enrolled at CU boulder
  • Has dependents other than a spouse

As a non-traditional student, you may face unique challenges when it comes to education abroad. You may be a parent or have a full time job and are taking classes when you can. However, in spite of obstacles, you are likely taking your schooling very seriously and know how important furthering your education is for your career. Participating in an education abroad program is a great resume and career builder. You can learn another language, practice cross-cultural communication skills, and better understand global issues facing the 21st century.

A great concern for non-traditional students who are parents, is: What about my family? We have had students in the past take their child(ren) on a program. When this is possible (it depends on the program), you must make arrangements for an adult care-giver to provide care for your child(ren) during all class periods, site visits (to museums, for example), excursions (even those out of town), etc. Your child(ren) could not participate in any of these program activities. However, they can be involved with other children in the host country during the day. We've also had students who are parents go  abroad without their children. In these cases the children have stayed in the U.S. with a close family member or friend.

For many of you, you are considered non-traditional because you are older than the typical education abroad student. Perhaps you are in your 30’s, 40’s, or 50’s. There are many thousands of you studying abroad, in all countries and a wide variety of program formats. Your age works for you as a student – you may be more focused and take full advantage of all opportunities abroad.

We look forward to meeting with you to discuss your goals and plans. See Getting Started for your next steps!


  • No Age Limit for Study Abroad: an article about a student’s education abroad experience in France.
  • Short-Term Study Travel Experience for Adult Professionals: a study designed to better illuminate the short-term study travel experience for adult professionals, describing the phenomenon from the perspective of the participants and its meaning for those participants. (Long document; the most relevant sections are Chapters 4 & 5 and Appendices E-L.)
  • Study Abroad Programs: A Mirror for Adult Learning and Perspective Transformation: this study examines qualitatively how education abroad programs in the Global South provide a means of fostering perspective transformation in adult learners.