Frequently Asked Questions

  

FAQs for Students

  1. Why should I study abroad?
  2. How do I match study abroad with my academic and career objectives?
  3. Where can I go?
  4. When can I go?
  5. Do I have to speak another language?
  6. Where will I live?
  7. How important is my GPA?
  8. How do I contact a past participant?
  9. How do I choose classes?
  10. How much does it cost?
  11. Can I really afford this?
  12. Can I use financial aid?
  13. What about grants and scholarships?
  14. What is culture shock? Will I have it?
  15. I love it here! How can I extend my stay?
  16. How can I withdraw from my program?

FAQs for Parents

  1. When can my son or daughter go abroad?
  2. Where can my son or daughter go abroad?
  3. How can I find out if my son or daughter needs any vaccinations or medications?
  4. Does my son or daughter need special health insurance?
  5. How do I know if where my son or daughter will be staying is safe?
  6. What happens if there is an emergency?
  7. What bills are we responsible for paying?

FAQs for Students

Why should I study abroad?

There are many benefits to participating in study abroad program, including:

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How do I match study abroad with my academic and career objectives?

While in college, students have to make many crucial choices – what to major and minor in, what other skills to acquire, and how to build their resumes. Employers seek specialist expertise, but they also seek many personality attributes. Most employers will tell you that they seek cheerful, reliable, adaptable colleagues who can work in teams with people from many diverse backgrounds. Equally, if you decide to become an entrepreneur starting your own business, you will quickly learn how important it is to be adaptable, cheerful, persuasive, and able to relate to people from many different backgrounds.

Study abroad is a wonderful opportunity to learn "adaptability" and to build teamwork and human relations skills. It is also the best way to acquire the "global awareness" that is so vital to business, government, and entrepreneurship in the 21st century. There is no substitute for the "real world experience" that you gain through traveling, adapting to new challenges and opportunities, and making new friends.

When you consider possible study abroad programs and discuss options with a study abroad advisor, think how the program will contribute to your major(s), minor(s), and general education requirements, and what lines you will be able to add to your resume as a result of the experience. The credits you earn while studying abroad will carry you closer to graduation.

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Where can I go?

Through the State University of New York system, students can participate in over 500 programs in more than 50 different countries. Visit the SUNY Study Abroad website to find information about each of those programs.

Each program is designed for a specific type of student. Whether you want classes taught in English or want to enroll in university courses with native students; whether you want to spend a year, semester, intersession, or summer; whether you want to improve your current language abilities or take courses in business, history, or art; whatever your desires, we can find a program for you.

The most important thing is to make your choice wisely and be sure the program you pick meets your needs.

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When can I go?

There are study abroad options for students at every level of study. Some programs are open to graduate students and offer graduate credit.

There are academic year, fall semester, spring semester, winter-session, and summer programs available to students. The only limitations are those set by you. If there is a particular time you cannot be away from campus, plan your overseas study around that time period and find a program that fits into your schedule. With proper planning, you can go whenever you are ready!

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Do I have to speak another language?

No! Some programs are in English-speaking countries or in universities in other countries that do all their teaching in English. Opportunities are available to study abroad, taking university courses in any subject, taught in English.

If you want to learn a foreign language or do advanced study in a foreign language you already know, an appropriate program and university is also available. Language learning is usually much faster when you can do appropriate coursework while living in an environment where the language you are learning is spoken. If you are already at an advanced level in the language of your choice, there are many opportunities to take the same courses as local students take, in a class mixing local and international students.

There is a program for every level of language ability, and there are opportunities to mix courses taught in English with courses in a foreign language. Look at the language requirements for each program and make your final decision based on your own abilities and needs.

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Where will I live?

Each program has slightly different housing options, but all try to offer maximum flexibility. Options might include homestays, dormitories, or off-campus apartments or flats. Each option offers a distinct level of cultural immersion and independence. Consider which of the options is most attractive to you while you are making a decision about which program to go on. Be flexible and consider all options with an open mind. However, always be sure that the program you choose meets your basic needs.

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How important is my GPA?

All students must be in good academic standing to be eligible for study abroad. Some of the sponsoring universities are more competitive and require higher GPAs than others. Depending on the program you want, you could need as high as a 3.0 minimum. However, we look at the whole student when assessing an application. Recommendations and interviews also play an important role in the decision-making process. Students should discuss any concerns with the Study Abroad advisor of the program of interest.

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How do I contact a past participant?

It's easy to find out what a program is like from someone who's been there, done that, took photos and bought the T-shirt!

Contact the study abroad offices to find the contact information of students who have participated in the program of interest.

You can also often find people through Facebook under the SUNY program sponsor's Facebook account.

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How do I choose classes?

Courses taken abroad most often count towards your SUNY home college GPA (however, all students should confirm with their home college study abroad office to find out if overseas grades will count towards their GPA).

Courses taken abroad will only apply to your degree program if they are approved by your advisor. You can do this before your departure.

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How much does it cost?

Costs vary depending on the site you choose. We make every attempt to keep costs as low as possible. Many of our programs are comparable in cost to spending a semester or year at your home campus. Some are more expensive. Several variables are considered in calculating final costs, including the cost of living in the host country, the tuition of the sponsoring university, and the services that are built into each program. When comparing programs, and before you make a final decision, make sure you understand what the bottom line includes and what exactly you are paying for.

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Can I really afford this?

Many programs are comparable to an equal amount of time on campus at your home college, making them very affordable. SUNY students participating on a SUNY program are eligible for regular financial aid when studying abroad if they take a minimum of six credits in a summer session or 12 credits in a semester session. Depending on the costs of the program you choose, you might even be eligible for more financial aid. Even if you are not receiving financial aid now, you could be eligible. Please check with your financial aid advisor for details.

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Can I use financial aid?

If you are using financial aid now to pay for your college costs, you should also be able to use financial aid for study abroad. You may even be able to have your aid increased if your overseas program costs more than your home campus does. Under federal law, you can use federal financial aid for overseas study, and the factor of study abroad costs may be included in the needs analysis. Aid received through New York State can also be used. However, aid received directly from your home campus, such as work-study or specific grants, might not be available. Also remember you must be registered as a full-time student (minimum of 12 credits per semester or 6 credits for a summer session) to remain eligible for financial aid.

Financial aid can only be processed at your home campus. If you attend a four-year SUNY school, financial aid arrangements will be simple because you will remain registered at your home campus. If you attend any other school, things may be more complicated and some of your aid may not be usable. Only your home campus can tell you how much aid you will get and how and when your aid for the time you are overseas will be released.

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What about grants and scholarships?

In addition to financial aid from your college or university, there are many independent sources of scholarships and grants for study abroad.

Start researching scholarships early—most scholarship deadlines are well before your program deadline. Moreover, scholarship applications are often more involved than the program application itself. You can usually apply for a scholarship before you have been accepted into a specific program. Therefore students interested in applying for scholarships are encouraged to begin preparing their applications well in advance.

Please note that for many scholarships SUNY students must apply through their home campus international programs office. In addition to the opportunities listed below, we encourage all students to look for funding specific to their personal affiliations. Students may also consult with their academic department or their home campus study abroad advisor for additional information. As always, your study abroad advisors are here to help.

A few of our programs may provide scholarship aid from their own resources. If they do, students will automatically receive information about these from their program coordinator.

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What is culture shock? Will I have it?

As participants arrive at their overseas destination, initial feelings of excitement can be overwhelming; this is referred to as the honeymoon stage- full of adventure! Soon, however, you might start to have feelings of depression where minor predicaments become major ones and you start to feel like a foreigner in a strange land. Culture shock happens to a lot of study abroad participants; even experienced travelers feel its impact whenever they arrive in a new place. With a bit of effort, participants will begin to find themselves making adjustments that will allow them to adapt to their new environment. They will turn their feelings of "culture shock" into yet another learning experience as a result of their time overseas.

In order to fully enjoy your time overseas, we have these suggestions:

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I love it here! How can I extend my stay?

In order to continue your stay, you must consider the following points:

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How can I withdraw from my program?

In order to withdraw from your study abroad program, it is necessary to contact both your overseas site, the study abroad program sponsor in the United States, and your home campus study abroad/international programs office.

If you withdraw during the drop/add period of the semester, which is usually during the first two weeks, you may still be able to take classes at your home campus. If you do not withdraw from the program during the drop/add period of the semester, you will receive a failing grade, and will incur certain financial liabilities.

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FAQs for Parents

The process of pursuing a study abroad program is an exciting experience for students and their families, and parental support is certainly beneficial in making the opportunity to study overseas a reality. SUNY study abroad offices are available to assist students and their families throughout the study abroad experience, and they are happy to answer any questions and address any concerns pertaining to student experiences. Parents are encouraged to explore the websites to learn more about navigating a studying abroad program.

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When can my son or daughter go abroad?

Students are eligible to go abroad as early as freshman year; however, many students choose to wait until their junior or senior year to study abroad in order to spend their first two years on their home campus, acclimating to student life, solidifying friendships, and taking the necessary introduction courses for their major and minor.

Each program has different requirements. Keep in mind that some programs may require your son or daughter to be further along in their academic careers than others.

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Where can my son or daughter go abroad?

Through the State University of New York system, students can participate in 500 programs in more than 50 different countries. Visit the SUNY Study Abroad website to find information about each of those programs.

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How can I find out if my son or daughter needs any vaccinations or medications?

Students should always check with their doctors and the Centers for Disease Control for the health steps they are required to take before going abroad. Students who need to take regular medication must either bring sufficient medication for the duration of their trip abroad with a doctor's note briefly stating why the medicine is prescribed to the student or bring a doctor's prescription which identifies the medication by its chemical name in order to have the prescription filled while abroad.

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Does my son or daughter need special health insurance?

Students must have health insurance in order to study abroad. Students who lack health insurance are not permitted under any circumstance to study abroad. Two options exist for students who are seeking coverage: 1) students may elect to waive the SUNY program's international health insurance and have comparable international health insurance coverage extended to them according to the health insurance plans of their parents or 2) students may elect to purchase the SUNY-approved international health insurance program provided by HTH Worldwide (www.hthstudents.com).

If your student opts for SUNY health insurance while abroad, the cost of the international health insurance will be included in the student's study abroad program bill. All students are required to take evacuation insurance, which is not normally included in U.S. policies.

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How do I know if where my son or daughter will be staying is safe?

The SUNY system places the highest level of priority on the safety and security of students who are pursuing study abroad programs.  Our offices provide students with information on health, safety, and security concerns as well as offer advice on how to prepare for the cultural differences they will encounter during their time abroad.

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What happens if there is an emergency?

As soon as students are settled abroad, their parents must make sure that they have the correct phone numbers and contact information, as well as phone numbers for the on-site staff and directors of the study abroad program. In the case of a family emergency, parents should contact the study abroad office at the sponsoring campus as well as the student's international insurance provider, which are both available to assist students and their families in making any of the arrangements needed in order to address emergency situations.

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What bills are we responsible for paying?

SUNY students who participate in SUNY study abroad programs remain enrolled at their home college and pay tuition for the duration of their program at the appropriate SUNY tuition rate, depending on the student's status as a New York resident or as an out-of-state student.  All students will be billed by the sponsoring institution for program fees and the bill will be sent to the student's permanent billing address.  Exceptions to this are SUNY four-year college students who study abroad through a SUNY community college or who study through a non-SUNY university or third-party provider.  In each case, the SUNY student will pay tuition, fees, and all other program costs to the program provider.

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The programs listed on this site are subject to change as we continually strive to enhance our offerings. If you are interested in a program, please contact the SUNY campus responsible for the specific program to obtain the most up-to-date information. For other questions please send an email to studyabroad@suny.edu