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Study Abroad Frequently Asked Questions

 

Programs

Eligibility

Academics

Application Process

Finances

Housing

Health and Safety

Travel 

  

Programs


What kind of programs does UTEP offer?

The University of Texas at El Paso offers students interested in studying abroad three different types of programs: Exchange, Third Party Provider, and Faculty-led.


Exchange Programs -

UTEP has agreements with a number of universities throughout the world which allows you to attend a foreign university while paying UTEP tuition (and sometimes room and board). This can be a very affordable option for many students. The number of students who can participate is limited because it is based on reciprocity; therefore, exchanges are the most competitive type of program.


Third Party Provider Programs -

These are study abroad programs offered by third – party providers, companies in the business of facilitating study abroad experiences for students. You are required to pay the program fees directly to the providers. These providers offer the greatest variety of schools and locations to choose from.

These are study abroad programs offered by third – party providers, companies in the business of facilitating study abroad experiences for students. You are required to pay the program fees directly to the providers. These providers offer the greatest variety of schools and locations to choose from.


Faculty-led Programs -

Faculty or Departments may offer courses which are taught abroad as part of the UTEP curriculum. Students who take these courses are assessed normal tuition and fees and are charged additional fees to cover program costs. These are generally short-term program offered during Maymester, Summer or Wintermester.


Where can I go?

Almost anywhere! UTEP has programs at more than 200 universities, in 50 countries, spanning six continents and counting! To see where, visit our Program Search. Note: University policy prevents students from participating in a study abroad program in any country with a State Department Travel Warning.


Which program is best?

Every program is different and offers a unique experience. It is important that you find the right program for you. There are many factors to consider including program length, course offerings, location, and price.


How long can I study abroad?

The length of a program depends on the type of program in which you enroll. Most Faculty-led programs are during the Maymester or Summer semesters. Exchanges can span one semester or one full academic year. We encourage students who have participated in a Study Abroad program and are interested in studying abroad again to email us or visit our office for more information.


Can I apply for a program not listed on the study abroad website?

Only approved programs that have been evaluated by the Study Abroad Office are listed on the study abroad website. If you decide that you want to apply for a non-approved study abroad program, you will not be eligible to receive financial aid or scholarships. Also you may not receive credit for the courses you take abroad.


Eligibility


Who is eligible to study abroad?

To be able to participate in a study abroad program, you must be a UTEP registered student in good academic standing. Specific requirements for GPA, language ability and number of credit hours completed vary by program.


Do I have to be fluent in a foreign language to study abroad?

No. For most of the programs available throughout the world, all classes are taught in English. Several full immersion programs are available for students interested in mastering a foreign language. Most full immersion programs require at least 4 semesters of university-level language classes.


Do I have to be a specific major to study abroad?

No. Any UTEP student can study abroad, regardless of their major or minor. The Study Abroad Office can suggest certain programs based on your major or academic interest.


Can I apply if I am a transfer student?

Yes, transfer students are able to apply for study abroad. However, for most programs, you are required to have completed at least one semester (12 credit hours) at UTEP before applying.


Can I apply if I am an international student?

Yes, international students are able to apply for study abroad. Please visit the Office for International Programs (203 Union East Bldg.) to receive information about how to properly maintain your US student visa status while abroad.


Can I apply if I am a graduate student?

Yes, you are able to apply as a graduate student. You must receive permission from the Graduate School and your department before applying.


Academics


How many classes do I have to take abroad?

You are required to enroll at least full-time at your host institution (minimum equivalent of 12 US credit hours) for a semester-long program. Students receiving financial aid who do not enroll full-time may be required to pay back a portion of their financial aid award package. International students failing to enroll full-time will jeopardize their US student visa status.

Will I receive credit for the classes I take abroad?

You are required to receive academic credit for the courses you take as part of any study abroad program. All courses must be pre-approved before your program begins to ensure that you receive credit.


How are the classes that I take abroad pre-approved for credit?

It is your responsibility to have all of the courses that you want to take abroad approved by the appropriate department before your program begins. You must complete a Course Approval Form and receive the necessary signatures before you depart.


Please note, the availability of courses abroad can be unpredictable and course schedules are often not provided in advance. You will not likely know the exact courses you will take abroad until after you arrive at your host University. For these reasons, the Study Abroad Office requires that you have at least 8 possible courses pre-approved for each long semester you plan to study abroad and 4 classes for each summer semester.


Do I have to take classes in my major while I am abroad?

No, you do not have to take classes in your major while studying abroad. However, in order to receive Federal Financial aid you must take classes that count towards your degree plan. Remember, you are only able to take classes that have a UTEP equivalent. Taking a large number of classes outside of your degree plan may delay your graduation. Make sure your consult your Academic Advisor when you are choosing your classes abroad.


Will studying abroad delay my graduation?

Studying abroad should not delay your graduation. The Study Abroad Office will help you to find the right classes to match your UTEP degree requirements so that your education will not take additional time. Most students are able to take courses in their major while they study abroad. Almost all majors can study abroad, although you may not find classes for your specific major offered at every location. If you decide to study abroad at a location that does not offer classes in your major, you can often take classes to fulfill core curriculum, elective or language requirements.


Am I able to graduate the semester after I study abroad?

For Faculty-led Programs -

Yes, you will be able to graduate the semester after the program ends because your grades will be posted as soon as the program is completed.

For All Other Programs -

No, you will not be able to graduate the semester immediately after you study abroad because it can take 60 days or more for your credit from your time abroad to be posted to your UTEP transcript. You do not have to be enrolled in courses while waiting for your grades or credits to be posted and the Study Abroad Office can provide written documentation to graduate schools and other programs to verify your participation and the posting process of your grades or credits.


When will my credit be posted?

If you take part in a Faculty-led program, your credit will be posted to your UTEP academic record as soon as the program is completed.


Exchange or Third Party Provider credit is normally posted within the long semester after your return from abroad. Every effort is made to ensure that this process occurs smoothly; however, there are steps you can take to make sure there are no substantial delays. First, try to get all of your courses evaluated before you return—waiting until after your return will slow things down considerably. Second, bring in your completed Credit Approval Form to the Study Abroad Office to be signed. You will be provided with a copy to keep for your records (do not lose it). Finally, you must complete the Transcript Process to ensure your grades or credits are posted to your UTEP record.


Credit Processing -

The Study Abroad Office must receive an official transcript from the foreign university (in a sealed envelope). You will receive an email from the Study Abroad Office to schedule a meeting within two weeks to review the transcript and Credit Approval Form.


You must bring a copy of the Credit Approval Form and any emails from your advisors concerning the classes taken abroad. A Study Abroad Office staff member will compare the classes listed on the official transcript to the classes listed on the Credit Approval Form. If there are any discrepancies, you must make the necessary changes to the Credit Approval Form (including but not limited to getting any additional classes evaluated by a department).


Grades or credit will not be posted until the Study Abroad Office has received the official transcript and correct

Credit Approval Form. You have one semester to submit the necessary documents to have your credits posted. After one semester, the EXCH or AFIL grades will turn into “I.” After two semesters, the EXCH or AFIL grades will turn into “F.”


Application Process


When should I apply?

It is never too early to begin researching; however, you should apply the semester before you want to study abroad. Deadlines vary depending on the program. Please visit the Announcements page for current application deadlines.


Can I apply after the deadline?

For Exchange Programs -

No. These programs have a strict deadline due to the limited number of spots available for participants.


For Third Party Provider Programs -

Maybe. Each Third Party Provider has an individual deadline; therefore students must contact the program for more information.


For Faculty-led Programs -

Maybe. There is a limited number of students who are allowed to participate, however the Faculty Member may create a waiting list for applicants in case one or more students are not able to participate.


How should I apply?

You should apply online through the study abroad website. First step is to create a student profile account. Research all of the available programs and complete the required application documents or applications.


Is the Study Abroad Program competitive?

It depends on the program for which you are applying. Some programs are filled to capacity each semester, while others have sufficient space available. A program is “competitive” when there are more qualified applicants than spaces available. It is essential for you to submit a complete, carefully prepared application.


Can I extend my participation once abroad?

If, once you are abroad, you would like to extend your participation from one semester to an academic year or shorten your program from an academic year to one semester, contact the UTEPStudy Abroad Officefor assistance. These changes require approval from UTEP, the host university, and ISEP or the program provider (if applicable). An extension is not automatic or guaranteed. Also, check with the appropriate consulate or embassy to see if your student visa will allow you to extend your stay.


When will I hear if I have been accepted?

The Study Abroad Office will notify you via email within 2 – 3 weeks after application deadline if you are approved to Study Abroad. Official Notification of acceptance from the host University or Program Provider varies depending on the type of program and location.


How do I cancel my program after I have been accepted?

You must send an email to the UTEP Study Abroad Office to request a program cancellation. The e-mail should include your reason for cancellation and your name, UTEP ID#, the name of the program you are canceling. Each provider also has its own cancellation policies so it is imperative that you also contact your provider to cancel your program. Financial implications may apply.


Can I stay at my host institution after my Study Abroad program is finished?

It is not recommended or encouraged for you to remain at your host institution after your Study Abroad program ends. Students who do not return to UTEP immediately after their program ends may not get credit for any of the classes they took abroad.


Finances


Is there a fee to apply for a Study Abroad program?

Certain programs, such as ISEP and most Third Party Provider programs do charge students a fee to apply. Please refer to the specific program websites for more information. UTEP’s Study Abroad Office also assesses a $30.00 acceptance fee to all students who are accepted into a semester or year-long exchange program.


How much does it cost to study abroad?

The cost of your study abroad program will depend on many factors, including your destination country, the type and length of your program. Cost of living in a city or country will be a strong determining factor for the amount of money you will need to budget for the program. Several programs require you to pay UTEP tuition (and sometimes room and board) and others charge you an all-inclusive program fee. When comparing programs, make sure you understand what the total amount includes and what exactly you are paying for before you make a final decision.


Can I use my Financial Aid to study abroad?

Yes! It is possible to use financial aid for most approved study abroad programs. Even if you have not received aid in the past, you should fill out the FAFSA to apply for financial aid for the period of your study abroad. Please meet with your Financial Aid to discuss your options and how funds are dispersed.


Are scholarships available?

Yes, there are a number of scholarships that you are eligible to apply for to help cover the cost of your study abroad program. Please visit the Paying for Study Abroad section of our website for more information about scholarship opportunities.


How much of my program should I expect a scholarship to cover?

Unfortunately, there are not enough scholarships available to cover the entire cost of your study abroad program. You will need to “piece together” funding from scholarships, loans, grants and savings to cover the cost of your time abroad.


What do I need to include in my budget?

Every student’s budget will be slightly different. In general, you will have to pay for tuition and/or program fees, passport, visa, insurance, immunizations, airfare, room and board, books, local transportation, cell phone, internet, printing and personal expenses. Personal travel and souvenirs will be extra.

You should set aside at least $500.00 for emergencies.


Can I work when I am abroad?

In most cases, no, it is not possible to work while you are abroad. Work authorization and jobs are difficult to acquire while abroad. Always check with the consulate of the country in which you will be studying to find out if work would be possible.


Most students choose not to work because the schedule and courses abroad can be demanding and they wish to leave themselves time to socialize, explore their host community, and travel.


Housing


Where will I live?

Housing arrangements vary by location. Students have the option to live with families, in university residence halls or in off-campus apartments with other students depending on the program.


Is housing guaranteed abroad?

In most cases, a representative at the host institution organizes the housing for you as part of the application process. For ISEP programs, housing or a stipend covering the cost of housing for the entire period of the exchange is provided. Housing is included in all Faculty-led programs.


Whatever the housing arrangements are for your program, please remember that housing standards in other countries may be different than what you are used to here. Specifically, rooms tend to be smaller, buildings may be older, windows might be more drafty, or plumbing more fragile. Therefore, it is important to be flexible with your expectations.


How much will I spend on living expenses?

Living expenses vary by program and location. Certain programs include housing and food in the program fees and other programs allow you to pay UTEP room and board to cover your living expenses abroad.


Will I have roommates? Can I pick my roommate?

It will depend on your program. You may be assigned housing with local students or with other international students. Certain programs may allow you to request a specific roommate.


Health and Safety


Is it safe to study abroad?

While traveling does entail some risks, the UTEP Study Abroad Office is committed to doing everything reasonably possible to provide you with a healthy and safe study abroad experience. Your safety is our number one priority. Therefore, you are required to attend pre-departure orientations. During these orientations, you will receive vital information about health and safety risks overseas, as well as suggestions on how to avoid these risks.


For Faculty-led Programs -

UTEP faculty members travel with the students during the program and are able to help students as necessary.


For Third Party Provider and Exchange Programs -
All partner universities abroad have qualified, on-site international staff readily available to assist students in case of an emergency.


In addition, it is required that all students activate their emergency record with International S.O.S. before their departure. The Study Abroad Office will provide all students with the UT System Membership Number at pre-departure orientation. It is strongly recommended that all US citizens also register their trip with the U.S. State Department.


What is International S.O.S.?

International S.O.S. is a global team of medal and security experts who are available 24 hours a day (via call centers located throughout the world). You can access a host of health and safety information. For example, if you are injured abroad, you can call International SOS collect to speak with a nurse or to find the nearest English-speaking doctor. International SOS also monitors and advises on unstable political situations and severe weather conditions. You will receive the directions to register with International S.O.S. at your pre-departure orientation.


Do I need to purchase international insurance?

Yes, you are required to purchase international insurance.UTEP Study Abroad Office recommends CISI Insurance. CISI covers sickness and accidents at 100% while out of the US. It also provides emergency medical reunion. If you are hospitalized for more than six days, travel and hotel for one individual is covered up to $3000.00. It also covers medical evacuation, repatriation, and the return of mortal remains.


ISEP participants are required to enroll in the ISEP Student Health Insurance Program (provided by BCS Medical Insurance and MEDEX Assistance Services). Insurance is included in the cost of all Faculty-led programs.


I am being treated for a medical condition. Can I study abroad?

In order to study abroad, it is recommended for you to get medical clearance from the medical practitioner who is treating your condition and any specialists you are seeing. Please discuss the implications of studying abroad with your doctor(s).


I am a student with a disability. Can I study abroad?

Yes!We encourage students with disabilities to study abroad. Mobility International has resources available to help you chose an appropriate program or location.


Do I need any immunizations?

Immunization requirements and recommendations vary by country.Please visit the US Center for Disease Control’s Travelers’ Health website for information about which vaccines are required for your host country.

You are able to receive required vaccinations at the Immunize El Paso Clinic. Please visit their website for more information about availability and cost.


Travel


Do I need a passport?

Yes, you must have a passport valid for more than six months after the program ends.For US citizens, you need to have the passport book (not the passport card).Many countries also require a minimum of 4 blank pages.


Where do I get a passport?

You are able to apply for your US passport at the Office of International Programs (203 Union East Bldg.) or most local Post Offices.For more information, visit the Department of State’s website: http://travel.state.gov/passport/.


Do I need a visa?

For most countries, you will need a student visa (depending on the length of your program).Check visa requirements for your host country here: http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1765.html.


How do I get a visa?

Visa regulations vary greatly by country and are constantly changing; therefore the Study Abroad Office is unable to advise students on the details of applying for a visa.


Questions about visas should be directed to the US based foreign embassy or consulate.Documents that maybe required for your visa application include, but are not limited to: proof of funds (bank statements and/or financial aid award letter), proof of US university enrollment (provided by the Registration and Record’s Office), proof of enrollment in a foreign university, proof of immunizations, local address.


Can I go early before the program begins or stay after the program ends?

Usually you will make your own transportation arrangements and it is possible to travel before the start or your program or after it concludes.The date of entry into your host country may be regulated by visa requirements.Check all visa regulations before you depart the U.S.You will be completely responsible for yourself, both before the official start of your program and after it ends.Make sure you confirm the official program start date and end date before you make any personal travel plans because most universities do not allow you to take exams before or after the official examination date.


What should I pack?

Please consult our Packing List to see which items you should make sure to bring and those you should definitely leave at home.

The University of Texas at El Paso Study Abroad Office