Office of International Programs and Services

Frequently Asked Questions

Study Abroad - FAQ

 

What does it mean to "study abroad"?

Studying abroad means that you take classes at a university in another country and the credits transfer back to your degree at WCU. Before going abroad you will work with your academic advisor and department head to find courses that are the best match for equivalent course requirements here.

What Are the Eligibility Requirements?

First, you must earn 30 post-high school college credits before you can go abroad, which typically is equal to a year at Western, maintain a 2.75 GPA and remain in good academic standing. There may be additional admission requirements depending on the host university. Some may have language prerequisites or course subject requirements.

How long can I study abroad?

After spending your first year at Western, you can study abroad for as little as two weeks or any summer and up to three semesters as long as you remain in good academic standing.

How much will it cost?

We can find a program to fit almost any budget! Programs range in cost from under $11,000 to over $30,000 depending on where you go and which program you choose. But don't let that number scare you off, there are plenty of options from scholarships to grants, fellowships, and financial aid. Explore those options here.

Can I use my financial aid?

Yes! You can apply financial aid to studying abroad.

When is the best time to study abroad?

Sophomore and junior years are an excellent time to study abroad. Summers are also an ideal time to go abroad. You cannot study abroad during your first 30 college credits and it is not advisable to study abroad during your senior year.

Where can I go?

To scores of universities in over 60 countries! Explore our exchange program options and all the places you can go.

When should I begin the process of finding a program?

The sooner the better! Early in your college career is best but you'll need at least one year in advance of the semester that you want to study abroad to make sure everything is in order. Check out the steps to study abroad to give you an idea.

When are the application deadlines?

 

October 1 to study abroad in the spring and March 1 to study abroad in the summer or fall.

What classes can I take?

You can find classes to fit nearly every major amongst the many programs we work with.

Will my courses abroad affect my GPA?

Credits earned abroad will be accepted as transfer credit at WCU for students who have been accepted by the Study Abroad office and are studying with an approved study abroad program. Your GPA will not be affected.

Also, you must meet with your academic advisor and department head before departure to get your proposed courses evaluated and pre-approved. Courses abroad must be approved prior to departing to study abroad. Credits earned abroad will transfer as satisfactory/unsatisfactory upon receipt of a student's transcripts from the host institution abroad.
Students who study with WCU faculty members on faculty-led travel courses will receive credit as resident credit, which will be factored into their GPA.

Do I have to know the native language?

No. While studying abroad is a great way to increase language skills, most host universities offer courses in English, even in non-English speaking countries.

What are the living arrangements like?

This depends on the location. Most institutions offer dorms or apartments with single rooms and a living/kitchen space that you share with other international or local students. Some locations also offer the opportunity to live with a local host family.

How does health insurance work while I'm abroad?

You will be covered by a special travel health insurance plan that is mandatory for all students studying abroad. It costs approximately $1.45/day. While some domestic plans may include some travel insurance, our policy is more comprehensive and covers things such as emergency evacuation in case of a medical condition and political unrestThis health insurance is required even if a particular program provider (such as CIS or ISA) or a particular country (such as Australia) require study abroad students to purchase their own insurance.

There is one exception to this policy: students going on ISEP programs purchase ISEP's travel health insurance and waive Western's travel health insurance.

Our provider, GeoBlue, has doctors throughout the world. Their website includes a search engine to locate local medical services as well as travel safety and health information about most countries and major cities of the world.

Will studying abroad delay my progress towards graduation?

Studying abroad does not preclude a timely graduation. Be sure to talk with your academic advisor and department head about your study abroad aspirations from the very beginning. Ask them to help you sort out various program options to find the best fit possible so that what you take abroad fits into your degree requirements.

How Do I Apply to Study Abroad?

Applications for short term Faculty-Led Travel Courses are found on the IPS website. You can apply to these programs directly. These are led by WCU professors and are usually 2-3 weeks long.

If you would like to study for a full summer or semester program, you should begin by contacting the Study Abroad Advisor to set up a meeting. He will begin by discussing program options and key factors including where you want to study and for how long and financial considerations.

You can also explore the next steps to study abroad for more information on how to get started.

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