Frequently Asked Questions for Students
- What is study abroad?
- Why should I study abroad?
- Who is eligible to study abroad?
- I'm confused. Where should I start?
- What is the Office of International Affairs? How can their staff assist me in choosing a study abroad program?
- What kind of things should I take into consideration when choosing a program?
- Do I need to know another language?
- Can I study abroad at a non-Arcadia program?
- How do I talk to my parents about my desire to study abroad? What are some of the things they need to know?
- How will my grades and credits transfer?
- How much does it cost?
- Are financial aid and scholarships available?
- Can I work abroad?
- How much spending money will I need?
- How do I pick my courses?
- I'm a transfer student. Can I study abroad?
- I'm not ready to commit to a semester-long experience. Are there any short-term options for me?
- What kind of internship programs are there abroad?
- Can I student teach while abroad?
- How does the application process work?
- How can I talk to a student who has already been to my country of interest?
- What's a visa and how do I get one?
- How do I know what to bring?
- Can I go with a friend?
- If I'm only going for the fall semester, how do I choose my housing at Arcadia for the spring?
- How many times can I study abroad?
- What kinds of support services are available to me while abroad?
- I'm a graduate student. What options are open to me?
- What should I do if I have more questions?
1. What is study abroad?
Study abroad is an opportunity to live in a new culture and participate in a different academic system and earn credits: but that’s just the beginning. Study abroad challenges students to get out of their comfort zone, understand another culture, and gain a deeper understanding of the U.S. culture.
2. Why should I study abroad?
Education in the 21st century requires students to be flexible, adaptable, and able to understand differences among groups of people. It is important that students begin to understand the world beyond the United States because we live in an inter-dependent global society.
Study abroad allows students to glimpse different cultures, but also to examine their own individual culture. It also gives students a competitive edge in the employment marketplace as employers are increasingly looking for students who have lived in a different culture. More and more U.S. undergraduate students are studying abroad, and integration of an international component allows for new perspectives, language development and experiential learning. Students develop an understanding and appreciation of another culture and region of the world in addition to reflecting about U.S culture.
3. Who is eligible to study abroad?
With the exception of the First-Year Study Abroad Experience (FYSAE), sophomores, juniors and occasionally seniors in good academic standing with good disciplinary records are eligible to study abroad. Any student who is placed on academic or disciplinary probation at the time of departure is not eligible. A minimum grade point average of 2.8-3.0 is usually necessary to study abroad. Some universities may accept a lower GPA for entry, while a few require higher than a 3.0. The decision to admit the student is solely that of the overseas institution.
4. I'm confused. Where should I start?
The first thing you should do is attend a study abroad information session, held once a week during each semester. Once you have attended a study abroad session, you should (1) discuss your plans with your academic adviser, and (2) make an appointment with the Office of International Affairs to meet with a study abroad adviser, who can help you choose a program that best fits your interests. (3) Talk to your parents about your plans, and (4) take some time to explore the Pathways to Study Abroad (found in program websites) and Arcadia's College of Global Studies website.
5. What is the Office of International Affairs? How can their staff assist me in choosing a study abroad program?
The Office of International Affairs provides support services to students, faculty and staff engaged in international experiences both on and off campus. OIA supports international students on student and exchange visitor visas with immigration, academic and cultural adjustment issues. OIA assists study abroad students with selection, application and credit transfer procedures. OIA organizes Spring Preview programs and International Education Week.
The OIA staff works closely with The College of Global Studies to explore options so students can make informed choices. OIA also has an extensive library of university brochures, catalogs, and reference material to help you better familiarize yourself with your study abroad options. In addition, our staff members have extensive international experience, so students can feel comfortable with the information and advice they receive.
6. What kind of things should I take into consideration when choosing a program?
There are a lot of things you can base your program decision on.
- Think about your program choice in regards to your major. There are many programs that can complement your major studies at Arcadia, or offer unique classes that you cannot take in Glenside. What are your goals?
- Think about what kind of location you would most enjoy. Do you want to study in a big city or a small town? Do you want to live in a coastal region or a rural area? Does the location offer interesting opportunities for field research or travel? Do you want to participate in a home stay, or would you rather live on campus?
- You may want to consider your language proficiency. Many Arcadia programs offer students the opportunity to continue improving their language skills, whether they are basic or advanced, and some even offer instruction completely in another language.
- Consider cost. While students who participate in an Arcadia University affiliated program pay the same tuition as in Glenside, some regions of the world have a higher cost of living, as well as currency that is worth more than the dollar. World capitals, for example, will have a higher cost of living, especially in Europe. It is often easier to obtain scholarships for study abroad in areas outside of Europe, especially in Asia or Africa.
- Use the program finder on Arcadia's College of Global Studies website. This will allow you to narrow your program choices by major, city size, housing options and much more. Once you have a short list, you should visit each program page.
7. Do I need to know another language?
Yes and No. Some programs, like the one at the Università del Salento in Leece, Italy, offer students a truly immersion experience, based on their level of Italian language proficiency, which is usually advanced. Other programs, like the one in Barcelona, Spain, offer students with little or no language proficiency the opportunity to learn in English, while also studying Spanish. Some programs, like those in the U.K., Australia, Ireland and New Zealand have no language requirements.
8. Can I study abroad at a non-Arcadia program?
Yes. There are three options available at this time:
Arcadia University has a handful of exchange partners. Under the partnership, Arcadia University sends students to partner universities abroad, and they send their students to Arcadia University. The cost for these programs would be the same as your current tuition, and room and board.
EWHA Woman’s University in Seoul, South Korea, provides exchanges for students to study many of the same subjects as they do at Arcadia, such as politics, psychology, art and business. Arcadia University students also will have the opportunity to learn Korean, all while living alongside other Asian and international students. While EWHA is traditionally a women’s university, it does provide instruction for male students, and several male Arcadia University students have studied in their programs.
The Irish-American Scholars Program allows Arcadia students to compete for a space at the University of Ulster or Queens University in Northern Ireland. The deadline for application is early February. This is an option which looks great on a resume, if selected.
Other U.S. University Sponsored Programs
Students may attend a study abroad program offered by another university, or a pre-approved institution. The program must be approved by the student’s Academic Adviser, Registrar, and Study Abroad Adviser. The study abroad adviser can assist with recommendations, but the student handles the application on their own. Students also will pay fees directly to the program sponsor and will not pay Arcadia tuition. Arcadia University financial aid does not apply. Students may stop by the Office of International Affairs to check out study abroad resource books such as the Academic Year Abroad and Short-Term Study Abroad or use the Web site www.iiepassport.org. Arcadia students have previously studied in Japan, Argentina, Venezuela, and Egypt.
Here is the procedure for these programs:
- Discuss options with your Study Abroad Adviser and Academic Adviser
- Write a proposal which provides an academic rationale for the program. Return this proposal to the Office of International Affairs.
- A committee will review your proposal and a decision will be communicated to you.
- Once approved you can apply to the program.
Please note that Arcadia students will not be approved to enroll in countries where the U.S. State Department has issued a travel warning before departure. Should a travel warning be issued while overseas, Arcadia reserves the right to remove its institutional approval.
Students who meet the admissions criteria may also apply directly to a foreign university. This option is best for students who are proficient in the language of the host country and are independent. While this can be the least expensive way to study abroad, the number of credits transferred to Arcadia will be more difficult to pre-determine. The Office of International Affairs can assist with choices, but students will handle applications on their own. Students will pay fees directly to the program sponsor and stop out as an Arcadia University student while abroad. Arcadia University financial aid does not apply. Procedures are the same as for all non-AU programs.
To determine if your program of interest falls under any of these three options, please contact the Office of International Affairs to set up an appointment.
9. How do I talk to my parents about my desire to study abroad? What are some of the things they need to know?
There are many things you should discuss with your parents about your choice to study abroad:
- Ensure that your parents are comfortable both with your choice to study abroad, and the location of your program.
- Include your parents in the decision making process, and let them know how studying abroad will enrich your academic program
- Be sure to discuss finances. Clarify total coats and investigate all external financial options. Discuss estimates with your parents, so you can consider financial aid, budgeting, and work options.
- Have your parents take a look at the parents tab on the TCGS webpage
10. How will my grades and credits transfer?
Grades earned overseas through the Arcadia-affiliated programs will count toward your Arcadia grade point average. Students who study overseas on non-Arcadia affiliated programs will need to petition to have the grades appear on the transcript. It is possible to fulfill major, minor and degree requirements while studying abroad. Approval for study abroad and the specific program is required from the academic adviser and study abroad adviser. Students must get specific classes overseas approved by the academic adviser and/or the registrar. Please refer to the Preliminary Course Selection Form in the OIA.
11. How much does it cost?
Students pay the same tuition and room as Glenside residential students for Arcadia University sponsored or affiliated programs. Students will pay additionally for all meals, transportation, passport/visa costs, books, and, of course, spending money. Refer to the financial costs info sheet for more info.
If a meal plan is required, students will pay the AU rate or the fee charged by the overseas program, which ever is lower.
12. Are financial aid and scholarships available?
Yes. State, federal, and campus based financial aid and merit scholarships will apply to any Arcadia program. Other scholarships may be available, according to destination, major or other factors. Please see the finance page for more info.
13. Can I work abroad?
In most cases you cannot work abroad due to labor laws. However, some countries allow students to work with proper documentation. A job will provide spending money, but it may distract from your classes and social schedule. We recommend that you save up beforehand so that you have the maximum amount of time to enjoy your study abroad experience.
14. How much spending money will I need?
This varies depending on the country and spending habits. Arcadia's College of Global Studies provides cost of living estimates for each country under its fees and financial info. Making a budget beforehand is your best plan of action; it's better to have too much money in your bank rather than too little! You should make sure to have money for textbooks and supplies, entertainment, travel, museum fees, toiletries, clothing, and souvenirs. Most students report spending between $2,500 and $4,000 during their semester abroad.
15. How do I pick my courses?
Your courses can be picked in a variety of ways.
Start by thinking about what classes you need to take, which ones you want to take, and which classes you can be flexible about. Check over your academic plan and discuss options with your academic adviser. Once you have a list of requirements you still need to fill, you can begin figuring out what classes you should take abroad.
On Arcadia's College of Global Studies website, each program has a link for courses. If you click on that link you will be directed to another page which explains how to choose classes and credit values for your chosen program.
Most foreign universities have different academic credit systems and educational philosophies, so it’s important to understand and be informed about differences. Make sure you understand how the credits match up with the Arcadia system, so that you pick enough classes.
Once you have some chosen some courses, you will need to have them approved by your academic adviser. You should take OIA Preliminary Course Form with you, and fill it out with the courses you and your adviser select. Be sure to list if the courses are for a major/minor requirement, or if they are an elective. If they are directly replacing a required Arcadia course, please list the course on the form as well. Make sure that your adviser signs the form, indicating her approval of your course selections, and return the form to OIA. OIA will review the form with the Registrar.
16. I'm a transfer student. Can I study abroad?
Yes, but you should plan ahead, as Arcadia University students cannot usually study abroad in their senior year due to Senior Seminar requirements. (Exceptions are political science and business.) Transfer students are required to matriculate at Arcadia for a minimum of one semester before you can study abroad. If you are interested in studying abroad, obtain an official transcript from your previous institution ahead of time, to avoid delays. The Office of International Affairs is dedicated to helping students study abroad, so please do not hesitate to contact us with questions that may be unique to your status as a transfer student.
17. I'm not ready to commit to a semester long experience. Are there any short-term options for me?
There are lots of short-term study abroad opportunities open to Arcadia students. First, you should be sure to check the Arcadia's College of Global Studies website for summer programs. You should also check Arcadia's course schedule for any upcoming faculty led ID181 and ID381 classes that are being held. ID classes are usually interdisciplinary and each course begins in Glenside six to eight weeks prior to the overseas experience, which is usually seven to ten days. Previous courses have visited Guatemala, Mexico, Italy, Costa Rica, and India.
18. What kind of internship programs are there abroad?
There are many internship opportunities provided by Arcadia's College of Global Studies, from parliamentary internships to programs that are completely tailored to your interests and academic plan. Internships can be taken during the fall, spring, and summer sessions and most contain a course component to familiarize you with the business and cultural practices of your host community. Check out our internships in China, Australia, England, Scotland, Ireland, Spain, and India at www.arcadia.edu/abroad.
19. Can I student teach while abroad?
Yes, students are encouraged to student teach while abroad. If you are an education major, seek approval from your academic adviser and then see the OIA for more information.
20. How does the application process work?
You can apply online at www.arcadia.edu/abroad/apply.
Then, complete several forms which can be found at the following link: www.arcadia.edu/abroad/default.aspx?id=6754.
- Academic recommendation: Your recommendation should be filled out by someone who has taught you, preferably in your major, who can speak to your academic strengths.
- Statement of Purpose: A 500-700 word statement of purpose. The essay should answer the following questions:
- What subject(s) do you want to study while you are abroad and why?
- How will your studies while abroad coordinate with what you have already done at your home school and what you will do when you go back?
- Why are you choosing to study abroad? Why is this time the right choice for you at this time?
- Have you ever studied or traveled abroad? If yes, please describe.
- Please tell us anything else about yourself and your interest and goals that is relevant to your decision to study abroad.
- You should treat this essay with great importance! Remember to be concise, but to also showcase your strengths and your commitment to the study abroad experience.
- The Office of International Affairs Preliminary Course Approval form: This form should be filled out by the student and signed by the academic adviser. List the courses you want to take abroad, along with alternate choices in case of a course cancellation or timetable conflict. Use this form to indicate whether or not the course is for a major, minor, general education or elective requirement, and what Arcadia University required course it is being substituted for. Once we receive your completed form, we forward a copy onto the Registrar’s Office where it will be kept on file to determine the transfer of credits to your Arcadia University transcript.
- The Study Abroad Advisers form: Fill out the first page and return both pages to the Office of International Affairs. The second page will be completed by your adviser in OIA. Return #3 and #4 together to OIA, along with the statement of purpose.
21. How can I talk to a student who has already been to my country of interest?
OIA has a list of peer mentors for most programs. Access Arcadia's College of Global Studies website for your program. On the webpage, you will see a box that says, “contact a past participant.” Click it and you will be provided with the name and e-mail address of someone who has studied abroad at that program. These students will be able to answer questions you have about their abroad experience, from how much things cost to the best places to hang out.
22. What's a visa and how do I get one?
A visa is a travel document issued by a foreign government, which gives you permission to legally enter the country. Visa regulations vary by country, and not all programs will require that students get a visa. Once you are accepted into a specific program, your program manager will guide you through the process of getting a visa if one is required.
23. How do I know what to bring?
Past participants are a great resource for information on what you should bring with you, and what you can leave at home. Also, on each CGS program page, there is a “preparing to go” section which will help answer some of these questions for you. Orientations are held each April and December to brief students on many topics including this one.
24. Can I go with a friend?
You can coordinate with a friend to go to the same program; however, we would encourage you to branch out on your own. Study abroad is all about meeting new people and immersing yourself into a new culture. You may be less apt to put your best effort into this process if you are surrounded by familiar friends.
25. If I'm going for a semester, how do I choose my housing at Arcadia?
The Office of Residence Life assists students with choices before departure.
26. How many times can I study abroad?
This is a discussion for you and your academic adviser. However, you should always consider economic feasibility and academic appropriateness.
27. What kinds of support are available to me while abroad?
Arcadia programs have plenty of in-country staff who can help you with any issues you have, from financial to housing to getting over culture shock. They should be your first stop for any issue that you have while abroad.
28. I'm a graduate student. What options are open to me?
You have options! Speak to your academic adviser, who will be able to point you towards established study abroad opportunities in your particular department. Secondly, you can make an appointment with the OIA to discuss the application process and timelines. Many of these programs are offered in the summer, or for shorter periods, making it easy to fit them into a busy work schedule.
29. What should I do if I have more questions?
First you should attend one of the many study abroad information sessions that are held on campus.
The Office of International Affairs is always here to answer your questions. Give us a call at 215-572-2867 with any questions you have, or to set up an appointment with a study abroad adviser. We are in Taylor Hall Room 110 and open 9a.m. -5p.m., Monday through Friday.
Arcadia's College of Global Studies is at 1601 Church Road and is open 9a.m. -5p.m., Monday through Friday by appointment.