The BYU Kennedy Center for International Studies offers over 200 study abroad programs, including options that allow married students to travel with their spouses to further their educations.
Timothy Lynn Elliott has been the director of International Study Programs for 15 years and operates relations and logistics within the program, adding additional programs to the Kennedy Center each year.
Many married students want to study abroad, but they are not sure whether their spouse can attend with them, according to Elliott.
“There is not an easy answer to this,” Elliott said. “Every program can take married couples, it just varies by program and varies year-to-year on what the setup is.”
According to Elliott, any program — study abroad or internship — can account for a husband or wife in attendance, but both students must be enrolled in the study abroad program; no spouse can just “tag along.”
In the circumstance of an international internship, some students may be offered experiences their spouse cannot participate in. The Kennedy Center encourages the accompanying spouse to have plans while abroad, like online classes or a job, to occupy their time.
“The two problems that married couples run across are the cost and the housing situation,” Elliott said. “Both parties involved need to be willing to accommodate to the housing situation, which might not be ideal for a married situation.”
According to Elliott, students have more options when they are paying for their housing on their own and not relying on the program.
“If you have an internship lined up internationally and you’re going to find your own housing, then it is more flexible,” Elliott said. “One of the challenges we see is the person has the internship and they are busy and their spouse has nothing to do. Think seriously about what the person who doesn’t have the internship is going to do.”
BYU junior Hannah Ramirez said she is currently in a serious relationship and has thought ahead about study abroad possibilities for when she is married.
“Because my boyfriend and I know that we will have to be apart next summer, it makes it a difficult decision on whether or not we should get married this summer or next,” Ramirez said.
Ramirez said the specific program her boyfriend wants to attend is limited to majors only, which will not allow them to attend together.
BYU student Tyler Roberts attended the Bocconi University program in Milan, Italy, with his wife on a $10,000 budget.