Why should I study abroad? Everyone will give different answers to this question. USF students who have studied abroad enthusiastically agree about its advantages. They find class work in a foreign country stimulating and their encounters outside the classroom educational and exciting. They come back with a broader, deeper understanding both of another country and of their own cultural background. Specifically, students benefit from academic credit, language acquisition, practical experience, and resume building.
Don't I have to be a language major, or speak another language to study abroad? No. The opportunities for year, semester or summer study are diverse enough to meet the needs of virtually any undergraduate's course of study. USF sponsors and has identified programs providing language training as well as programs taught in English in many countries. Programs are available offering courses in humanities, social sciences, as well as sometimes science and engineering.
Is there a minimum GPA for study abroad? USF requires that students who wish to study abroad be in academic good standing. Some programs may have a minimum GPA of 2.5. Many semester exchange programs, however, require that students have a 3.0 minimum.
Can graduate students go on study abroad programs? Graduate students are more than welcome to go on study abroad programs. Only some of the programs offer courses for graduate credit. Graduate students should speak to their departments prior to considering a semester exchange.
What types of programs are available to USF students? USF Sponsored: These are programs administered and supervised by USF. USF faculty are directly involved, and the courses receive USF credit and grades like courses on campus. Students pay costs directly to the USF. USF Exchange: These are programs administered and supervised by USF. Students are enrolled abroad at any of USF partner schools but do not have to pay foreign tution. Instead, students pay a flat program fee to USF and pay housing to the partner school abroad. These programs are typically for Fall and Spring semester only, though a few summer options are available. Non-USF: These are programs administered and supervised by a third party organization. USF charges an administrative cost but otherwise all credits come from another institution and are transfered back. USF lists a few programs we've worked closely with before, but students are free to continue looking elsewhere and work with a Education Abroad Advisor on programs elsewhere.
Where can I find more information about all of these programs? The first step is looking through the Education Abroad website. The office also hosts many "Getting Started Sessions" for students not yet sure about the available programs. Once students have a general idea of where and what they'd like to do, they should make an appointment with an advisor and visit the Education Study Abroad Office, CGS 101 (Tampa Campus). At the office, you will be able to browse program information. The Education Abroad Office assists students in clearing their study abroad plans through USF and in understanding USF's policies on study abroad. After initial visits, students may schedule appointments with an Education Abroad Advisor to receive individualized guidance in their planning for the best possible international educational experience.
How long should I study abroad? It is possible to study abroad from a week to a whole academic year, depending on the program. How long you decide to go abroad depends on which programs you are interested in and how long you feel comfortable staying abroad.
How will I choose the program that is right for me? There are many factors that will contribute to your final decision on this matter. First of all think about location: which country, would you like to live in a rural area or a city and do you want a more or less developed country? Also, certain programs pertain more towards particular majors, so this should be kept in mind. Think about the culture in the host country and whether you can see yourself adjusting to it. Another important aspect is housing, whether you would like to live in a dorm or with a host family. Some programs last longer than others, so keep the duration of each program in mind when choosing. Finally, consider which programs you can afford, whether there is financial aid available to you and/or whether you are eligible for loans.
How much will it cost to study abroad? Program costs vary greatly. Participants on USF-administered programs pay USF tuition and the USF Study Abroad Administrative fee to the USF Study Abroad Office; students on USF-approved programs pay tuition and fees to the other institution, plus USF's study abroad administrative fee, which could vary anywhere from $75-500. In many cases tuition and fees for study abroad are somewhat less than studying on USF's campus.
Is there financial aid? Yes. Financial aid is applicable for USF students to study abroad on both USF-administered and USF-approved programs. Both federal and institutional aid is fully transferable. Students on financial aid at USF receive financial aid for their study abroad experience in the same proportion as for their studies on USF's campuses, but never more than their financial aid at USF. USF students should contact the USF Office of Financial Aid .
When should I study abroad? Students can study abroad anytime in their academic career. As soon as you know that you want to study abroad, you should make an appointment with a study abroad advisor. Typically, students should start planning for study abroad about six months to a year in advance so that there is sufficient time to apply for scholarships and to meet enrollment deadlines (February 15th for Fall, September 15th for Spring and deadlines for Summer programs vary). Sometimes studying abroad during your junior or senior years can interfere with you graduating on time, so if this is something you are concerned about make sure that you meet with your academic advisor before making any decisions.
Can I earn credit in my major abroad? Yes. Students who study on USF-administered programs earn USF credit just as if they were on campus. These courses fulfill the same requirements as courses on campus. Students who study on USF-approved programs should consult with their Undergraduate Studies Advisor in their major department to find out if, and how many, transfer credits may be applied towards their major.
Can I fulfill my foreign language competency abroad? Yes, provided the courses are approved by USF World Language Education.
Do I register on OASIS for the semester I'm going abroad? No. Students attending USF-administered or approved programs will register through the Education Abroad Office, not through the OASIS registration system.
What do I need to do after I've been accepted to an exchange program? Once students are accepted into an exchange program, they will receive a welcome packet with further instructions.
Besides my application, what else do I need to do? Be sure to attend program pre-departure meetings. You will be given more information about these from the Education Abroad Office. If you do not already have a passport, you should begin the process as soon as possible. Be sure to read through the Pre-Departure Information website for more details.