Study Abroad


10-Year Member
5-Year Member
Apr 20, 2008
Have any midshipmen here actually studied abroad?? And is there a limit to the number of times that a mid can study abroad? I mean, not every semiester certainly, but twice maybe?? And also, are there chances to take foreign language classes as electives with an engineering major?? And can anyone tell me a little about the Weapons and Systems major?? Thank you. (I'm sorry I ask so many questions.)
I'll have to defer to someone more current on the study abroad question but I believe the opportunities to do so while at USNA are very limited, if they exist at all. There are various opportuntities to study abroad after graduation as Fulbright scholars, etc. Your summers are filled with training and, other than a possible exchange to some other military school, I'm not sure you could complete your major requirements at a civilian school.

In the past, there have been opportunities for a very few mids to spend their first class summer with a foreign navy (replacing the summer cruise with the USN) as an exchange student. But it's not classwork and I don't know if that program will continue under the current administration.

In terms of language while an engineering major, I believe you can do so under two circumstances. First, if you validate your first two years of a language, you can take the more advanced language classes to fulfill your humanities distribution requirement. Second, if you validate sufficient courses to free up your schedule, you can take whatever classes you like to fill your day. Thus, it's hard but not impossible.

As for info on the Systems Engineering major, you should check out under "Academics." Lots of information there. Are there specific questions you have that aren't addressed there?
The Supe specifically addressed several programs for Mids to study abroad during his I-day briefing to parents. His talk included the numbers of mids involved in the various exchanges. I would suggest that you contact USNA's Public Affairs Office and ask for copies of the Supe's and Dants parent briefings.
I've only known a handful of mids that had the opportunity to study abroad. The countries that come to mind are Jordan, Japan, China, and France. Typically, they were non engineering majors and only went for the semester. More than that is rare if not impossible. You'll probably have some catching up to do with classes if you go abroad. I'm sure that the list of countries will be expanding in the near future due to the new foreign languages majors.

usna1985 is dead right with regards to taking a foreign language with a engineering major. Foreign languages are not built into the engineering course matrix, but if you validate your first two years of a language, there is the possibility.

As for Systems Engineering, that was my major at the Academy. To be more specific, at USNA, that major is more concentrated in "control systems." I could get into a lot of detail about it, but if I have to explain it in one word, I would say "robotics." Systems engineers take mechanical and electrical systems, combine them together with some software/programming, and make the whole thing work together (ie. the system). As an example, you can see my senior captone project (final project in the major) at this YouTube link:

If you want more info about Systems, just let me know.
The whole study abroad program is very new and is limited to several countries. Personally my friend and I tried to pull a semester in Italy but it didn't work. That being said I know for sure that mids have gown to the Canadian military Academy (one of my youngsters went there), and I want to say that mids have headed to either Spain or Spanish countries (cannot confirm that). However, as has been stated, foreign language is tough if you are an engineering major. It is not fit into your matrix. However, if you are able to validate a good number of classes and take it with your electives, you can probably end up with a minor... My close friend and former roommate, an ocean engineering major, got a minor is russian.

Semester Study Abroad Program

Semester Study Abroad Programs are available for all languages taught at U.S. Naval Academy - Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Russian, and Spanish. Midshipmen in their junior year or first semester of their senior year are eligible to compete for these opportunities. For the current academic year, 2007-2008, 26 Midshipmen are studying abroad in 11 countries.
If you want study abroad consider USMA-

In 2007-2008 140 USMA Cadets spent a semester abroad in 10 nations, another 60 cadets spent spring break at a 27 foreign military academies.
Here's a link to briefing I mentioned in my earlier post:

(see page 18 if it doesn't go straight to that page)

Please note that during the briefing we were told that, even though 2008 numbers of Mids participating in professional training opportunities shows a lower number than for 2007, by the end of the summer, he expected the numbers to be about the same, since Mid summer training assignments are still in flux.