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Frequently Asked Questions about the Office of International Education

  • When do I start planning?

    Begin planning now! Your freshman year is not too early to start. Not a freshman anymore? Don’t worry—come to an information session as soon as possible, plan to visit us at the annual education abroad fair each fall, and be sure to visit our website for details on programs and deadlines.

    Where can I go on an education abroad program?

    Depending on your needs, interests, and financial resources, different programs may offer a better opportunity than others. See IUP’s page on Programs for a complete list of IUP programs.

    I am a junior now. Can I still study abroad my senior year?

    Yes you can. IUP has a graduation residency requirement that requires students to complete their last 30 credits on campus. However, education abroad is one exception to this requirement.

    If you plan to study abroad your final year at IUP, it is best to go abroad in the fall to allow time for your transcripts to arrive at IUP and for the credits to be added to your degree program here. If you study abroad your last semester at IUP, your degree will likely not be able to be completed until the following commencement.

    How long are the programs abroad?

    Programs come in different packages. Traditional semester programs run close to IUP’s dates, while faculty-led programs and summer programs vary, usually from one to eight weeks. Students may also choose a year-long program in one or more locations as part of their experience.

    What are the accommodations like while abroad?

    Accommodations will vary from program to program. Some offer apartments, while others provide living quarters in residence halls. Home-stay options are extremely rare, but can be discussed with your Education Abroad advisor.

    Can I participate in a program that is not listed on IUP’s website?

    IUP has extensive programs and many different price points in order to cover most students’ needs. However, we understand not all programs meet all students’ needs. Therefore, students are able to arrange programs on their own through independently arranged programs. Students are still required to come to the OIE office to speak with the Education Abroad advisor to verify their status as IUP students and to fill out the appropriate paperwork for approval, which requires several key signatures of approval (department chair, dean, and OIE).

    Are there “education abroad programs” within the U.S.?

    Yes, it is called National Student Exchange (NSE). IUP participates in this program, and more information can be found by visiting the IUP Career and Professional Development Center.

    Is there a limit on the number of times I can participate in a program abroad?

    Yes, there is a limit on the number of credits you can transfer back to IUP to graduate as an IUP student. Each department will determine this differently, and this should be discussed with the student’s individual academic department before study abroad takes place.

    How can I learn more about education abroad programs?

    IUP’s Office of International Education hosts weekly information sessions in the OIE. Check our website for details on these sessions and other events. We also have an information table around campus weekly.

    Can I make an appointment to talk to someone about the process?

    Yes, you may make an appointment with the Education Abroad advisor after you have attended a workshop/information session. You will use the “meet the staff” page to request an appointment with the Education Abroad advisor.

    How do I apply for education abroad?

    There is both an IUP application for education abroad and a host application. The IUP application is available online, and the host application is available from the provider website and/or the OIE (Crimson Hawk Exchange). After your program search, you can apply to your selected programs by using the “apply now” button on the brochure page.

    What is a visa?

    A visa is a document granting you permission to be in the host country as a student. Most countries require education abroad students to obtain a student visa before entering the country. Your Education Abroad advisor will help you to find the information about obtaining a visa and help to put you in contact with the host institution (the campus you will be attending abroad) to work out the details for your visa and arrival to their campus.

    Do I need a visa to participate?

    Most countries require a student visa to participate in a semester-long study abroad program. However, depending on the location and the length of time abroad, the regulations will vary. For specific information visit the U.S. Department of State’s Students abroad page.

    Do I need a passport to participate?

    Yes, you need a passport to leave the United States. U.S. passport applications can be found online on the U.S. Department of State’s website and/or the U.S. Postal Service offices. They are valid for 10 years if received after age 18. If you are not a U.S. citizen, it is your responsibility to research the proper documentation you will need to keep your U.S. immigration status.

    Is there a place where I can get my forms notarized?

    Yes, the OIE has a notary public for internationally related materials at no cost to students, faculty, and/or staff. See the hours listed on the notary page.

    Will I need shots/immunizations to participate?

    You may need immunizations/inoculations for certain countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Check with your program provider and Travelers’ Health found on the Students Abroad website from the Department of State. Your program coordinator will also guide you in this process.

    Do I need extra health insurance?

    It is advisable to contact your current health insurance provider to determine what your coverage is while abroad. You should also find out how the process works while you are abroad. As part of your application to study abroad for IUP Exchange and partner company programs, the International Student Identity Card (ISIC) is included in your application fee. Your ISIC also has insurance coverage for you while you are abroad among other great benefits.

    What if I apply to study abroad and then decide not to go?

    The IUP OIE policy for cancellation is:

    Spring Semester Abroad

    • If you cancel after October 1, you will forfeit the Education Abroad Charge ($300–$600).
    • If you cancel after November 1, you will forfeit 50 percent of your program costs.
    • If you cancel after December 1, you will forfeit 100 percent of your program costs.

    Fall Semester Abroad

    • If you cancel after March 15, you will forfeit the Education Abroad Charge ($300–$600).
    • If you cancel after June 1, you will forfeit 50 percent of your program costs.
    • If you cancel after July 1, you will forfeit 100 percent of your program costs.

    Summer Semester Abroad

    • If you cancel after April 1, you will forfeit the Education Abroad Charge ($300–$600).
    • If you cancel 45 days prior to the official start date of your program, you will forfeit 50 percent of your program costs.
    • If you cancel 30 days prior to the official start date of your program, you will forfeit 100 percent of your program costs.

    Each provider may also have its own policies. In the event of illness or another unexpected catastrophic event which may lead a student to forego the program or to terminate that study prematurely, IUP will not be required to provide a refund or any of the monies paid for the program. However, it may do so if IUP determines that the circumstances merit a refund.

    Do I have to speak a foreign language to participate in education abroad?

    Although many programs offer the chance to learn a foreign language as part of the program, doing so is not required for all programs. Many programs also have classes in English in a non-English speaking country! Our programs list gives the language of instruction for each program.

    Do I have to study the local language while abroad?

    Many programs do require that you take a course in the local language, even if the rest of the program is taught in English.

    How many semesters of a language do I need in order to go to that country to study?

    Depending on the program and country, there are a variety of options, some of which are outlined below. Others can be discussed with your Education Abroad advisor.

    • ISEP options require higher levels of Spanish for Spain, except for Murcia.
    • ISEP France also has a program requirement of four to five university semesters for France and Switzerland.
    • There are other options with ISEP. Visit the ISEP website for complete level guidelines.
    • IUP’s Valladolid program in Spain requires a minimum of 12 college credit hours in Spanish, or equivalent (IUP students need at least SPAN 260). More details on the Valladolid program can be found by visiting IUP’s Department of Spanish.

    Do grades and/or credits transfer back to IUP?

    Grades do not transfer, except if in a Pennsylvania State System visiting student exchange; however, credits will transfer to IUP upon completion of your courses. Students must get the equivalent of a C- or better for credits to transfer. Bill Sands and Lori Roles of the IUP Office of Transfer Services are trained in translating transcripts from foreign institutions. The Office of Transfer Services is located in Sutton Hall G-26.

    Note: IUP students who have arranged their program independently and have not filled out this application will need to do the following to be able to transfer the credits earned abroad to IUP:

    • Fill out the independently arranged application.
    • Complete the questionnaires and application materials required.
    • Pay the $375 study abroad charge.

    Note: These fees are charged to all IUP students who apply to education abroad programs to ensure that they maintain their student status and are able to transfer the credits earned abroad towards their degree program.

    Will education abroad delay my graduation from IUP?

    Your time at IUP does not necessarily have to be extended to accommodate an education abroad experience. It is highly recommended that you meet with your academic advisor as soon as you think about applying to an education abroad program to make a plan for your academic career.

    Can I do an international internship?

    Yes, international internships are usually acceptable from the OIE; however, if it is an internship for an academic department at IUP, you must get permission to register for such a program. Unfortunately, at this time the IUP OIE cannot assist in searching for and/or securing international internships. You will still be required to fill out the appropriate paperwork to the OIE and participate in the pre-departure activities.

    I have a learning/physical disability. When should I discuss this with the Education Abroad advisor?

    The OIE recommends that you discuss your disability as soon as possible with the OIE education abroad staff and/or education abroad program providers. Not all locations will be able to accommodate all needs; therefore, we want to be able to offer you the best location that can also provide support for your needs while abroad. Here are more information and disclosure forms.

    How much does it cost to apply?

    There is currently a $375 education abroad charge which covers the application fee and a number of other services and administrative support for the duration of your program. This fee is payable online before your formal interview or by money order.

    Note: There is a $100 application late fee if applications are submitted after the published deadlines. Please see the deadlines and late fee section of the website for these details.

    Most provider programs such as CEA, SAI, Semester at Sea, and ISEP have an application fee. See each individual website for details on those fees. It is also important to remember that many provider programs also require a confirmation deposit within a certain amount of time after being accepted. This fee may range anywhere from $100 to $2,000.

    How much does and education abroad program cost?

    Costs are determined by a host of factors: location, duration, and program type. IUP offers a range of programming. Crimson Hawk Exchanges are the same as IUP in-state tuition and out-of-state fees, while room and board vary by location. Tuition and fees are reassessed every July for the upcoming academic year.

    IUP also has affiliation agreements with several third-party providers, which typically have higher costs than those of Crimson Hawk Exchanges. Be sure to read carefully what is included in the prices. Some offer housing and meals, while others do not provide housing in the cost.

    Additional costs may include travel costs, some living expenses, passport/visa, health/travel insurance, and personal spending money.

    Do I pay IUP for my education abroad program?

    Faculty-led programs are directly enrolled in IUP courses, so tuition will be billed as normal. Some of the program fees and deposits for faculty-led programs will be paid through IUP Marketplace.

    Crimson Hawk Exchanges are also billed through IUP EasyPay. Third-party providers issue an invoice to IUP, and those charges are applied to the student’s IUP EasyPay account (even if it is higher than regular tuition). Students participating in a CEA or SAI program for the summer will be billed directly by that program provider.

    • Note: Independently arranged and Semester at Sea programs are not billed through IUP.

    Can I use my financial aid towards education abroad?

    In most cases, you can take advantage of your financial aid and scholarships associated with studying at IUP. You should discuss your financial situation with the Financial Aid office, located in Clark Hall. Ask to make an appointment with Heather McGregor,

    Please note: The Board of Governor's Scholarship (BOG) is not able to be used for education abroad programs.

    Are there scholarships for education abroad?

    Yes, there are many scholarships associated with education abroad. Once you begin your application, you will be eligible to apply for the OIE scholarships available for semester-long programs. Students are encouraged to seek external scholarships to help support their study abroad, many of which are listed below the OIE scholarship on the link above.

    Can I work while I am abroad?

    Most education abroad students do not work while overseas. However, as a student, you may have the option to work abroad, depending on the country in which you study. Many countries require a student visa that will allow you to work, while other countries require a work visa. It is advisable to study while abroad rather than focusing on working for the short time abroad. Some students find part-time positions as English tutors in a local library, school, etc.