Nothing happens unless first a dream. ~Carl Sandburg
Studying abroad doesn’t affect your graduation
With careful planning, studying abroad does not have to delay your graduation. In fact, it can speed up your graduation in some instances. I have seen Spanish majors complete all their language requirements in one or two semesters, and German majors get 20 credits for one semester of study abroad. It all depends on the study abroad program, the credit evaluation process, and the norms at your college or university. Ask and seek out this information before you begin your international journey. Find out what is customary at your institution and what courses you can take abroad, to stay on the right track. If you can get study abroad courses pre-approved for your major, minor, and/or general requirements, then you shouldn't have a problem graduating on time.
If financing your college education is a concern for you, and you've had to work while taking classes, studying abroad can sometimes help. At a number of public institutions, out-of-state and international students study abroad for less than they would otherwise pay to take classes on campus or at a private US college or university. This may be the case when in-state tuition is included in the study abroad program fees-that is, when tuition is not a separate expense. In the same regard, home tuition and fees may also be waived, for students who participate in unsponsored study abroad programs. While it depends on many factors and your home/host institution, studying abroad may even accelerate your big day and diploma!
Consider summer study abroad programs if you have a very strict schedule of classes during the academic year, but you still want the opportunity to study abroad. Summer study abroad programs offer short-term opportunities for you to fulfill coursework and have an international experience at the same time. At my university, Education majors have to take most courses on campus (for certification purposes), but can participate in one or two faculty-led study abroad programs and/or COST (the Consortium of Overseas Teaching) if they wish to study abroad. In all three of these cases, students get valuable academic credit towards their degree and lose no time whatsoever towards graduation. Actually, they can get more credit for less time and cost than their peers!