Study Abroad programs are just that – study. They are not vacations or tours to different countries, or a break from a student’s studies at HPU. Students must attend class, meet all course requirements, stay for the duration of the program, take their examinations, and earn appropriate grades during their time overseas. All courses taken will be posted to students’ HPU transcripts as the “equivalent” HPU course.
Even with a semester or summer abroad, HPU students should be able to graduate on time. We encourage students to make plans as early as possible if they wish to study abroad so they can choose the program that will allow them to take courses that will fit their HPU degree program.
For semester or summer programs, students receive transfer credit for courses taken abroad (i.e., grades do not transfer). Before departure, your student must work with his or her Academic Advisor to choose the courses to be taken abroad. Because these courses will count toward graduation, they should be equivalent to the student’s HPU degree requirements, unless the student needs elective credit. The courses and their corresponding HPU course equivalents will then be recorded on the Course Equivalency Form, which the student must file with the Office of Study Abroad by the time of application.
Students remain enrolled at HPU while participating in a Study Abroad program. The Office of Study Abroad will register your student for 12 credits per semester, which keeps them active at HPU and activates Financial Aid.
While abroad, your student must maintain full-time status, i.e., they should take the course equivalent of at least 12 HPU credits. If students don’t fulfill this requirement, they may be in violation of visa requirements, and could potentially lose financial aid benefits in the following semesters.
It is important for students to know what the academic system is like at their host institution. In many countries, higher education is a privilege and one of the things our students very quickly learn is that there is less hand-holding in universities abroad than what they are used to at HPU. Overseas students also take courses in their area of specialization immediately, unlike in the United States where students typically take introductory courses during their first year. Grade inflation is also rare abroad. In France, for example, a D or C is more typical, as a B is hard to achieve, and an A is nearly impossible.
All HPU study abroad students have been advised to find out as much as possible, from various sources (past participants, program representatives, online information), about the academic system of the program in which he or she is participating and what can be done to be successful. We do not make adjustments to grades students earn when they study overseas notwithstanding the differences between U.S. and international academic evaluation standards. There is a standard conversion table that gives the U.S. letter grade equivalents for grades earned in various countries. For example, a “D” earned while studying in Australia is an “A” in the United States (“D” stands for “Distinction” in the Australian grading scheme).
How do HPU students fare when they study abroad? Pretty well, actually. Many HPU students know to expect the more challenging academic environment and rise to the occasion. They claim that having more control over their studies, time to pursue their own academic interests, and being regarded as a scholar by their professors is an excellent motivator. If your student earns top marks for courses taken abroad, you know that they did very, very well indeed!
The student’s transcript generally arrives from the host institution within a few months after the study abroad period has been completed (academic calendars are different at each institution). Once we have your student’s transcript, the OSA will contact the student about scheduling a Transfer Credit Appointment. Once the student receives official signatures from departmental advisors, the individual courses are entered into the student’s official record. This entire process may take several months.
For Faculty-led (Global Experience) programs, students are actually enrolled in the course at HPU. This means the grade they earn in the course will be reflected on their HPU transcript and calculated in their cumulative GPA. Registration in the course is mandatory for participation in the travel component, just as participation in the travel component is required to obtain a passing grade in the course.