Most UI direct programs are reciprocal exchange programs, i.e., a UI study abroad participant studies at a university in The Netherlands and a student from that university comes to the University of Idaho. Participants are regularly enrolled students at that university, e.g., they take microbiology courses in Spanish along with other Chilean students. Since UI Direct program costs tend to be roughly based on the cost of UI tuition and fees, most of them are cheaper than program provider programs.
Students who choose UI Direct programs should be independent and have the confidence to navigate through a different educational/living environment with a minimum amount of supervision and help. While some program coordinators at host institutions may be able to devote a lot of time to student questions or problems, others may have numerous responsibilities that limit their contact. Educational systems at host institutions may be different from U.S. models of education. For example, in many European universities, quizzes and tests are not given throughout the semester but, instead, one final exam determines the entire grade for the course. Getting class help can be problematic at some universities because some professors may go home directly after class due to a lack of office space on campus.
In contrast, students on program provider programs usually study foreign language and culture courses with other U.S. and international students at the host institution. Language instruction is delivered by host institution faculty and one or several of the culture courses may be taught by visiting U.S. faculty. Usually, there is a resident director who is hired by the program to help students with questions and problems. Because program provider programs tend to have more on-site support, they are often ideal for students who have had little previous international travel experience. Excursions are often included in the cost of program provider programs. For example, participants in the USAC-Pau, France program have the option to spend a week in Paris. In addition, there are shorter trips taken throughout the semester to famous local and regional cultural sites. Program provider programs tend to cost slightly more than affiliated institution programs because of the increased support, excursions, and cost of visiting faculty.
There are definitely exceptions to these rules. Study Abroad Advisors can help students navigate their options. If you or your student have questions, feel free to contact a Study Abroad Advisor at 208-885-7870 or firstname.lastname@example.org