Frequently Asked Questions for Outgoing Study Abroad & Exchange Students
Why should I study abroad?
A study abroad experience is a great addition to a college education. Beyond the academic benefits, the experience exposes students to a different way of life and culture, broadening their horizons and allowing them to see the world from a different perspective. Gaining experience by living and studying abroad is a sought-after skill amongst global employers. Oftentimes, people who spend time abroad have increased communication skills; a greater ability to react to new situations, scenarios, and stressors; a broader sense of humor; increased flexibility; and easier adaptability as well as an amazing opportunity to travel and see the world.
When can I study abroad?
For Global Experience study programs, HPU students are eligible to study abroad as early as the end of their freshman year. Some courses may require pre-requisites. Others may be limited to upperclassmen. See Global Experience study programs for individual program requirements.
For full-semester programs, HPU students may study abroad during their sophomore year, junior year, or during the first semester of their senior year. Due to residency requirements, students studying abroad during their senior year must study through an HPU program. At least the last 32 credits must be completed at HPU. See Semester Programs for individual program requirements.
For summer programs, HPU students may study abroad as early as the end of their freshman year, depending on specific program requirements. See Summer Programs for program requirements.
Where can I study?
The possibilities are endless! Schedule an appointment with a study abroad advisor to discuss your options and interests. In the meantime, check out the lists of HPU Global Experience programs, Semester Programs, and Summer Programs available to HPU students.
Consider the following questions to help you determine where to study:
- What are my reasons for studying abroad?
- What goals (academic, personal or professional) do I hope to accomplish?
- Do I want to live in a big city, a smaller town, or a rural area?
- Do I want to immerse myself in one culture or do I hope to travel from country to country, spending only a few days in each place?
- How important is it for me to be in classes with local students or other international students?
- What is my level of independence? What amount of support do I need while abroad?
- Do I want to take classes that include group field trips to theaters, concerts, museums, and other important sites in the area or do I prefer to explore these sites on my own?
- Do I want to experience the local culture by living with a local family?
- What is my budget?
What is the difference between an exchange program and an affiliated program?
Both HPU exchange and HPU affiliated semester programs will offer you a comparable semester program abroad, the difference lying in the financial makeup of the program and whether or not our agreement permits the host university to “exchange” their students with ours.
It’s important to not confuse a college semester exchange program with a high school exchange program. You’ll enroll in classes at the university abroad and live in housing arranged per our agreement, in a residence hall, an apartment, or with a homestay family. The host university’s students will enroll in classes at HPU and live in HPU housing.
HPU students receiving aid as part of an institutional program (e.g., the Presidential Scholarship, departmental aid (including Media Fellows), tuition concession, HPU need-based aid) can use their aid towards an HPU exchange program, but not an affiliated program. See the Financial Aid Policy on Study Abroad for more information and further guidelines and requirements.
Can I go on a program offered by another university or program provider?
In most cases, yes. Since HPU students must earn the last 32 credits of their degree from HPU, an unaffiliated study abroad program during the senior year is not an option. Most often, students seek out these unaffiliated programs to study in a country where HPU does not have a study program. The credits must be earned from an institution that is recognized by an accredited international university, or another accredited university in the U.S. Students should research thoroughly the unaffiliated programs they are considering. Review the unaffiliated programs information page for a list of questions and important things you should know when researching and applying to an unaffiliated program. HPU strongly discourages enrollment in programs in areas under U.S. Department of State Travel Warnings.
Keep in mind that students’ financial aid packages may change for an unaffiliated study abroad programs. For more information, review the information on the Financial Aid for Study Abroad page, including the Financial Aid Policy on Study Abroad, then contact the Office of Financial Planning.
Will the services offered at my host university be the same as those offered at HPU?
Not necessarily. Policies, as well as levels and types of support, vary by university, culture, and local laws, among other things. While HPU’s Office of Study Abroad is diligent about seeking out partner institutions who are reputable, accredited, and provide student support, we are not able to guarantee that the services offered will be at the same level as they are here on campus. This is seen most when working with disability support services, as the laws that govern HPU to provide support to students with documented disabilities are federal laws and have no bearing on universities abroad. We have built strong working relationships with our colleagues abroad. While you will be supported at your host university, you may experience different response rates to your inquiries, office hours atypical to U.S. norms, varying levels of empathy to your academic or personal needs, greater or lesser degrees of flexibility, and the need to take more responsibility for your academic and personal success abroad.
While participating on an HPU study abroad program, you will still be able to access, from a distance, the support provided at HPU (e.g., library reference assistance, counseling services, academic advising, Office of Study Abroad). Due to the distance and local policies and procedures, however, you may find that some support from HPU is limited.
Will my housing abroad be similar to my housing at HPU?
Not necessarily. HPU offers top-notch housing options to our students, and offers an a number of beds available to house the majority of our student population.
While abroad, you may find yourself living in campus dormitories located on or off campus, dormitories housing students from a number of universities, off campus apartments, or homestay accommodations. Some universities abroad will guarantee housing to incoming students, some may not, while others may not offer housing services at all. In all situations, you will be provided assistance to find housing, ranging from a local office who will secure your housing on your behalf, to referrals to student housing providers. Accommodations will offer a range of amenities, and may or may not include single or double accommodations, private or shared bathroom facilities, access to cooking facilities, furniture, linens, and convenient access to public transportation. You may find your accommodations are within walking distance to campus, or may be a 30+ minute daily commute to your classroom buildings.
More than likely, you will not be living in accommodations as modern or luxurious as HPU’s accommodations. But you should find your accommodations will more than meet your housing needs while experiencing a new culture during your studies abroad.
Do I need to speak a foreign language to study abroad?
This depends on the program. Some programs target foreign language majors and require a certain level of language proficiency. Foreign language majors typically have a choice between courses taught in English and those taught in the local language. However, most opportunities—even those in countries with a different language—offer courses taught in English, although the course selection may be limited. Language requirements are discussed during study abroad advising appointments and are noted in the lists of HPU Semester and Summer programs.
How much does it cost to study abroad?
For HPU semester programs, students pay to HPU the all-inclusive cost (includes tuition, fees, room, and board) and a non-refundable $500 Study Abroad Application Fee. Students will also need to plan for the costs of airfare and accommodation security deposits, if applicable. If room and/or board is not included in the cost of the program, the HPU-equivalent charge(s) will be not be added to the student accounts bill for the term away. If the full-semester cost is more than the HPU all-inclusive cost, the student will pay the difference. For more information about the costs and inclusions/exclusions, talk with your study abroad advisor.
For unaffiliated programs, students pay the program cost directly to the program provider or institution sponsoring the study program. Keep in mind that students’ financial aid packages may change for an unaffiliated study abroad programs. For more information, review the information on the Financial Aid for Study Abroad page, including the Financial Aid Policy on Study Abroad, then contact the Office of Financial Planning.
Program fees for Global Experience study programs vary with each program due to travel costs, length of stay, cost of living, and venue prices. In addition to the program fee, students also pay a non-refundable $500 Study Abroad Application Fee. Check Global Experience study programs for more specific information.
Program fees for summer programs also vary based on tuition, housing, airfare, etc. Students pay the program cost directly to the program provider or institution sponsoring the study program. Keep in mind that financial aid options for summer may be limited. For more information, review the information on the Financial Aid for Study Abroad page, including the Financial Aid Policy on Study Abroad, then contact the Office of Financial Planning.
Additional expenses for all study abroad programs may include: local transportation, immigration visa, passport, international medical insurance, trip cancellation insurance, internet access, textbooks, and personal travel and expenses.
Will my current financial aid package pay for study abroad?
The different types and amounts of financial aid are varied. Depending on the type of aid, all, some, or none of a student’s financial aid package may be able to be used for a study abroad opportunity.
Before applying to any program, review the Financial Aid for Study Abroad page and theFinancial Aid Policy on Study Abroad, then contact the Office of Financial Planning. Financial Planning counselors can discuss the different types of financial aid and whether they can be applied to study abroad programs.
Are study abroad scholarships available?
Some recipients of the HPU Presidential Scholarship receive a study abroad stipend in a designated amount to offset the cost of a Global Experience study program. This stipend cannot be used for summer or semester programs. Some departments (e.g., Modern Foreign Language) provide study abroad awards to outstanding students majoring in the department.
Currently, High Point University does not offer scholarships to students studying abroad for a summer or semester. However, Financial Aid for Study Abroad contains information to help students research off-campus funding opportunities.
What courses can I take overseas? Will I be able to take classes within my major?
This depends on the program. For most summer and semester programs, students choose the courses they want to complete. Sometimes a language or cultural course is required. Other courses are typically liberal arts classes similar to HPU offerings. Some programs have very limited coursework available, especially in non-English-speaking countries. A study abroad advisor will help you determine what departments are represented in each program abroad. Regardless of major, students should be able to find a program that offers courses in their major. Students who are receiving Federal Financial Aid can select only those courses that are required for their degree. Financial Planning counselors can provide more detailed information.
With Global Experience study programs, students enroll in the course(s) offered by the program.
How do credits transfer? Will the classes I take abroad count towards my degree?
Approved credits earned abroad in a summer or semester program are received by HPU as transfer credits. That means, students must earn a grade equivalent to a C in the U.S. for the course to be received by HPU; however, the letter grade will not appear on the HPU transcript. Courses with grades of C- or lower completed abroad will not transfer to HPU. Courses may count as general education credits, major credits, or elective credit. The application process includes a means to have potential courses reviewed in advance, so students will know how their courses will be received before the term abroad begins.
NOTE: Not all courses offered abroad will be recognized by HPU. Keep in mind for study abroad credit transfer:
- Courses taken abroad cannot duplicate credit previously received at HPU.
- Foreign language courses taken abroad cannot be lower than, or duplicate credit previously received at HPU.
- Courses for personal enrichment or vocational skills (e.g., culinary arts, wine tasting, or floral design) that fall outside of the traditional liberal arts and sciences disciplines will not transfer to HPU.
- Courses used to satisfy General Education (Core) requirements must earn at least 3 credits.
- While most courses at HPU carry a value of 4 credits, courses of a different credit value may be transferred to HPU; however, a 3-credit course will be received as a 3-credit course, 2-credit as 2-credit, etc.
- Check with your academic advisor about the specific courses you are interested in taking abroad.
- Credits earned during a Global Experience study program are High Point University credits and will show on the HPU transcript, including the letter grade.
Is my Global Studies requirement satisfied by studying abroad?
Students who have completed an academic course of study (whether affiliated, unaffiliated, or Global Experience) outside of the U.S. lasting at least four (4) weeks, conducted through an accredited institution, and bearing at least three (3) credits recognized by High Point University have the Global Studies requirement waived automatically. No additional credit is awarded simply for studying abroad.
What is the first step in planning for study abroad?
Contact the Office of Study Abroad at (336) 841-9280 or stop by Cottrell 142 to schedule an appointment with a study abroad advisor. We suggest that you begin planning your study abroad program about a year before you plan to depart. Talk with your academic advisor to determine how and when study abroad best fits in your schedule. Keep in mind that courses in some majors must be completed at HPU, and some courses are available only during certain semesters.
Is there a GPA requirement?
All Global Experience study programs have a minimum 2.0 GPA requirement and one academic year completed at HPU prior to participation in the program.
All semester opportunities offered by HPU have a minimum application requirement of at least a 2.75 GPA and sophomore standing. Due to the academic rigor of some programs, however, a higher GPA may be required. Specific GPA requirements are shared during the advising appointment and are available on the Semester program pages. Please note: meeting the minimum application requirement for any program does not guarantee nomination or acceptance into that program.
How and when do I apply?
To apply for a summer or semester program, first, contact the Office of Study Abroad to schedule an appointment with a study abroad advisor. During your individualized advising appointment(s), you’ll work with your study abroad advisor to narrow your choices and decide on which program will best fit your goals. The online applications will be made available after the meeting. Applications for fall semester programs are due on March 15, and for spring semester programs are due on October 1, unless those dates fall on a weekend, holiday, or University break. View Study Abroad events Calendar for more information.
To apply for a Global Experience study program, attend the study abroad fair and/or an interest meeting for the program(s) in which you are interested. Applications become available for Global Experience programs after the interest meetings have been completed. Typically, applications are due approximately six months prior to travel.
Is a passport required? How do I apply for a passport?
For all international programs, a valid U.S. passport is required. The U.S. State Department requires passports to be valid for up to 6 months after a traveler’s scheduled return to the U.S. Some countries (Russia) require a passport to be valid for up to a year after the scheduled return to the U.S. If you do not have a passport or your passport is expired or about to be expired, plan to obtain or renew your passport early. Passports can take up to several weeks/months to be returned. More information can be found on the Passport Information page. For the most up-to-date information, visit the U.S. Department of State website. See the Passport Information page for a list of local passport acceptance facilities.
What happens after I’m accepted?
The Office of Study Abroad will send follow-up materials, and preparations will begin to be made for pre-departure. Students should resolve any passport or visa issues and plan to participate in the required pre-departure orientation.
Students on semester programs have a number of steps to complete in addition to the HPU application: passport, immigration visa (if applicable), institution application, housing application, airline arrangements, airport shuttle, etc. Students should NOT make airline arrangements until they are instructed to do so. Students on HPU-partnered programs will work directly with staff at the partner institution to complete these steps.
What if I decide to withdraw from a study program?
Circumstances may require a student to withdraw from a study program after paying for part or all of it. Program providers have different refund policies. Be sure to ask about refund policies before you apply.
HPU semester programs require a $500 non-refundable application fee paid at the time of application. The fee is non-refundable unless a qualified student is not accepted into the program by the institution abroad. Students who wish to attend classes at HPU must register during regularly scheduled registration periods and pay applicable late registration fees. On-campus housing options may be limited for students who apply late, and fees may apply.
Global Experience programs require a $500 non-refundable application fee paid at the time of application. This fee is non-refundable and is used to hold the student’s place on the trip. In the event that travel arrangements cannot be modified or cancelled, additional fees (e.g., the cost of airline ticket, hotel accommodations, pre-arranged group meals, activity fees, entrance fees) may apply or be non-refundable.
Where will I live? And are meals included?
For semester and summer programs, housing is provided and typically reserved before departure. In some cases, students may choose between several options (e.g., apartment, residence hall, home stay; single or shared room; catered or self-catered). Specific information about housing options and meal options will be discussed in your individualized advising appointment and is listed on the Semester and Summer program pages.
For Global Experience study programs, housing will be included in group arrangements and may be in hotels, hostels, residence halls, home stays, or other formats. Depending on the program, meals may or may not be provided, partially provided, or not provided. Check Global Experience study programs to see what is and is not included with the program fee.
What if I require accommodations for a diagnosed disability?
Local law governs equal access to people with disabilities. Some countries may not be as accommodating as others. In some countries, mobility is restricted by sidewalk conditions and public transportation, and accessible housing options are scarce. Please feel free to discuss your needs with Academic Services and the Office of Study Abroad before applying to a specific program.
What about health, safety, and security?
While High Point University cannot guarantee safety and security while studying abroad, we will do everything we can to offer and suggest reputable study programs, providers, and destinations as well as help students prepare for various known and unforeseeable situations.
Typically, students experience the same type of emergency encounters overseas as they do in the U.S. Keeping a cool head and an open mind, remaining aware of surroundings, and making responsible decisions will lead to a greater sense of health, safety, and security while overseas. HPU strongly discourages enrollment in programs in areas under U.S. Department of State Travel Warnings. If a crisis occurs, HPU may recall students and faculty from an area of concern. Students are encouraged to register their trip with the local U.S. Embassy using the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, and, if necessary, students should notify the appropriate local authority and/or U.S. Embassy.
More information regarding health, safety, and security can be found on the Staying Safe & Healthy Abroad page. Detailed information about health, safety, and security will be discussed at the pre-departure orientation meeting.
May I participate in more than one study abroad program?
Through careful planning, students may be able to participate in more than one semester study abroad program. More often, students will elect to participate in a Global Experience study program and a semester experience. Or they can participate in several Global Experience programs, as long as the dates don’t conflict with one another. Planning ahead is key!
May I work during my study abroad program?
Immigration policy governs work and volunteerism among student travelers, and policy varies from one country to another. In some countries, students may work for pay without a special visa. In other countries, students are not even permitted to volunteer without an immigration visa that specifically allows it. Consult the Visa Information page as well as the consular website of the country of interest, as these policies are updated without notice.
What if I want to work abroad, volunteer, or do an internship without academic credit?
There are many providers who offer volunteer and internship programs abroad. While the Office of Study Abroad works only with academic studies abroad, some of the programs offered include internship or service learning opportunities. The Office of Student Life also provides “alternative break” programs. A popular destination for fall break has been Guatemala. Check with the Office of Student Life for more information about their Alternative Break program.
There are numerous program providers who offer opportunities for students–some are better than others. Two of the organizations that High Point University works with to provide semester and short-term programs abroad also provide internship and volunteer opportunities for students: International Studies Abroad (ISA) and the American Institute for Foreign Studies (AIFS). As with any provider, you’ll want to become familiar with their services, policies, and procedures. Be sure to ask them about insurance, health & safety, on-site support services, ground transportation, orientation programming, etc. If their answers seem vague to you, it’s best to go with someone else.
Know that immigration policy governs work, paid and unpaid internships, and volunteer experiences. Policies differ among countries. Consult the Visa Information page as well as the consular website of the country of interest, as these policies are updated without notice.
Contact the Office of Career & Internship Services for recommended methods of applying and interviewing for temporary and permanent positions abroad.
Are graduate students able to study abroad?
HPU graduate students can study abroad; however, graduate programs often do not allocate time for a full semester abroad. Graduate students who are interested in summer programs or Global Experience study programs should contact the Office of Study Abroad and the faculty leader.
How do I make a smooth transition back to High Point University?
It is common for students to express dissatisfaction or frustration with their home culture after a study abroad program. Most often, they find relationships are strained because they have changed in significant ways and their friends have not. The Office of Study Abroad helps students with their transition back to HPU. Some strategies are discussed in pre-departure meetings. Other strategies are available after returning to campus. It is important for students to recognize the personal signs and symptoms of reverse cultural shock and to seek out assistance from the Office of Study Abroad, Counseling Services, and other sources of support.
How do I utilize my study abroad experience on my résumé or in interviews?
The Office of Career & Internship Services can offer resources to help students identify professional skills in a study abroad experience and discuss scenarios in interviews and on the résumé. With such a powerful experience, don’t miss out on how to put those new-found skills to use in your career both before and after hire.