Frequently Asked Questions
Why do students study abroad?
Generally, students study abroad for two reasons: the experience of traveling overseas and/or to complement their current studies. For example, a student may choose to study in Spain so that they can experience all of Europe or because they are a Spanish major and want to improve their language skills.
What are some benefits of studying abroad?
• Earn credits while traveling the world!
• Experience a new language and culture!
• Looks good on your resume!
• Take courses for your major, minor or language requirement!
Where can I study?
Almost anywhere! Most countries offer at least one study abroad option.
Do I have to know the language?
You should not be discouraged if English is not the main language spoken in your desired country. Most study abroad programs offer courses in English, and almost all travel destinations are English-friendly.
What classes should I take?
You can take any course you want as long as it is approved. When choosing courses to take abroad, you should be cognizant of what courses will work toward your studies at Mercyhurst. You should talk with your academic advisor about what courses can be used towards your major, minor, language requirements and core classes.
How will I know if my credits will transfer?
Once you have been accepted to your school, you will fill out a blue form. This lists all of the courses you will take abroad and the Mercyhurst College equivalents. The blue form needs to be signed by your academic advisor, the study abroad advisor, the study abroad financial advisor, the director of international education, and the registrar to confirm that the abroad courses will be accepted as Mercyhurst credits.
Is it expensive to study abroad?
Depending on where you study, the cost of studying abroad could be similar to tuition fees at Mercyhurst, or more expensive. Aside from tuition, you must also take into account the cost of living in the country where you wish to study, plus airfare.
Are there scholarships available for studying abroad?
Yes. Programs like AIFS, AustraLearn, CEA, API and Athena Abroad offer scholarships to students studying abroad with their programs. Alternative scholarships and financial aid can be found by searching GoAbroad.com or www.studyabroad.com. Additionally, there are specific scholarships for critical languages available every year such as the Boren Scholarship or the Critical Language Scholarship Program (CLS) through the Department of State.
Can I use Tuition Management Systems (TMS) to pay for study abroad?
No. TMS must be canceled before leaving to study abroad but can be reinstated when you return to Mercyhurst.
Will my Mercyhurst financial aid "travel" with me to my study abroad school?
Yes, some of your financial aid can be applied to your time abroad; the exact amount depends on the type of aid you receive. Once you have been accepted to your school overseas, you should contact Student Financial Services to discuss the details.
Financial aid is not available for summer study abroad.
For the 2011-2012 Academic Year:
After the 2010-2011 academic year, students are no longer eligible for Mercyhurst scholarships while studying abroad.
• Typically, you are eligible for 1/3 of your federal aid while abroad if studying abroad for one term.
• Otherwise, you are eligible for 1/2 for your federal aid while abroad if studying abroad for two terms.
It is important to contact student financial services to understand how your financial aid will be applied to studying abroad.
Do I have to apply through a program?
No. While you are free to apply to a school on your own, it is recommended that you go through a program. The program will guide you through every aspect of your abroad experience. Your program will help you with travel plans and housing and let you know if you need such things as a visa, vaccinations, and insurance.
How will I decide which program to use?
There are two types of ways to study abroad using a program: you can go through another American university that has satellite campuses in foreign countries (e.g. Syracuse University, Temple University) or through independent programs that are affiliated with actual schools abroad.
Satellite campuses of American universities are located in cities overseas. This option is attractive to students who either do not know the language or who just want to see a different part of the world.
Independent programs such as AIFS, API, Athena Abroad, AustraLearn and CEA act as a go-between for study abroad students and foreign universities. These programs allow you full immersion in the culture of the country in which you are studying.
When should I study abroad?
There is no correct time to study abroad, although most students study abroad in either their sophomore or junior years, and some students study abroad during the summer before their senior year. Studying abroad senior year is also a possibility, although it may conflict with major requirements. It is important for every student to understand their own individual needs and requirements and talk to their academic advisors.
When should I start planning to study abroad?
Early planning is the key to a successful study abroad experience. There are many programs and opportunities that exist. Programs differ in location, duration, curriculum, language, degree of cultural immersion, cost, and many other factors. In order to find the program that is the right “fit” for your personal and academic objectives, you should begin planning your study abroad experience as soon as possible. Additionally, most study abroad programs have deadlines well in advance of your actual departure date, so it is important to begin planning as early as possible.
How long should I study abroad for?
It is possible to plan a study abroad experience for a summer, semester or full academic year. There are even some short term travel abroad programs that last just a few weeks, such as the faculty-led programs (FSAT) through Mercyhurst.
Will I graduate on time if I study abroad?
Yes, it is possible to study abroad and still graduate on time. However, students need to talk with their advisor to make sure all requirements will be met before, during and after studying abroad.
What types of living accommodations are available?
This largely depends on the program that you choose, but the available options usually range from apartments, residential halls, or home stays with families. Most programs offer a wide range of available options for students.
How do I apply for study abroad?
Once you have decided on a program or made some preliminary decisions about the type of program you are interested in, contact the study abroad advisor for an appointment. The office is located in the International Student Center, next to the bookstore. Call (814) 824-3635, or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an appointment. You can also stop in to get more information during office hours. Check out study abroad on the Mercyhurst portal for the hours.