Planning effectively for studying abroad comes down to detailed academic planning. The decision of where to study abroad should stem from the academic fit to a student’s degree program. Because of this, academic advising, from both a student’s academic advisor and their study abroad advisor, is critical.
The following guide is designed to assist a student as they plan for their study abroad program–it is not designed to replace advising. While a student’s academic advisor can help them plan appropriately for their degree requirements, they typically are not prepared to help a student navigate through the additional steps it takes to understand global education. Among many things, a study abroad advisor can help a student:
As part of the application to study abroad, students seeking international credit transfer will complete and submit a Course Equivalency Approvals for Credit Transfer form, on which they’ll map courses at their host university with an equivalent HPU course, requirement, or elective before seeking approval from the appropriate approvers. Not only will this help the student plan effectively, it will assist in course registration at their host university, in course registration for their returning semester at HPU, and in the transfer of credit following their studies abroad.
Students studying abroad should be advancing their HPU degree by enrolling in relevant coursework at their host university. A student’s credit load should be comparable to their credit load at HPU, typically averaging the equivalent of 15 or 16 U.S. credits.
Studying abroad can be a very academically-enriching experience, especially when students enroll in courses about which they are passionate and can broaden their understanding of their major course of study. Studying courses used to satisfy major and minor requirements often strengthens the student’s undergraduate degree, as they are challenged in the classroom with a more global approach to the content. This diversity often can help solidify a student’s career plans and improves classroom discussions in future classes taken at HPU.
While some universities offer a wide range of courses, other universities offer only a narrow field of study. Where available, students are able to select courses to satisfy requirements for their major, minor, general education requirements, or general electives. A brief academic overview is provided on each program’s website.
Finding courses abroad to satisfy University Core requirements at HPU can be challenging. Generally, most higher education systems do not include general education study for undergraduate students, as students study only subjects in their major course of study. Because of this, study abroad students may only be able to study courses within one discipline or faculty (e.g., School of Business).
If the university permits students to enroll in subjects across disciplines, it important to understand that local students enrolled in the given class are studying the subject for their major, not for a general education requirement. The thought that taking general education classes abroad will be easier than taking major-specific courses is a common misconception, as these courses are designed to satisfy major requirements at that institution.
A student’s academic success abroad is of top importance. Enrolling in coursework about which the student is passionate can help the student navigate cultural stressors. A relevant topic with diverse classroom discussions can provide a better grasp of the local culture and norms.