Frequently Asked Questions
You may think that the details and requirements for study abroad are overwhelming and endless, but don’t let the details stop you from realizing your studying abroad goals. We've got some answers.
- Who can study abroad?
- Where can I go?
- Finding the right program?
- Graduate on time?
- Costs of studying abroad and financial aid availability?
- Passport and visa?
- Benefits of studying abroad for graduate school, first job or promotions?
- Getting started?
[ Back to top ] There are programs for nearly every academic discipline. For example, economics or business courses in Japan or China will give you a glimpse into the industrial/economic growth of Asia, or you can learn about agricultural-based economics in Zimbabwe or Argentina. You can take laboratory classes in chemistry in England or Australia. Pre-med students can focus on global health issues in China and Madagascar. The political changes in South Africa, Uganda and Rwanda offer pre-law students a unique opportunity to study post-conflict transformation. Religion, philosophy, identity and globalization will take on new meaning when viewed first-hand in Jordan, Morrocco, Thailand or Switzerland.
Do you plan to concentrate on a foreign language at GGC? Consider studying French in France, Morocco or Senegal; Spanish in Costa Rica, Mexico or Spain. What better place to study a language than where it is spoken? By visiting the Office of Internationalization, you will literally find hundreds of programs to choose from.
[ Back to top ] Make an appointment with GGC's Office of Internationalization for information about program locations, courses of study, admissions requirements, costs and application deadlines. In addition, find out if there are students on your campus from other countries. The Office of Internationalization continually develops new international exchange and GGC faculty-led programs for which you may be eligible.
[ Back to top ] If a study abroad program is offered by GGC, it is certain that credit earned will be easily transferred. Further, the majority of all programs promoted and administered by the Office of Internationalization are done so with the intent of students being able to transfer the credit back to GGC. If you are unsure whether you can transfer the credit to GGC, you should first consult the Director of Internationalization. Then, you should consult your academic mentor and Registrar. They will advise you on the academic quality of your chosen program. Be sure you have a written description of your proposed program (catalog, brochures, etc.) to show them.
Remember, the sooner you begin planning, the more likely you are to find a program that will fit your academic program and that your academic mentor, dean and registrar will approve. Early planning is especially important if you are a science major with limited options for the number of classes you can take away from GGC.
[ Back to top ] When you meet with the staff of the Office of Internationalization, you should review how much a program will cost and if there will be any charges above tuition. Don’t forget that airfare and spending money will have to be added to the figure you are given. A meeting with the Office of Financial Aid is a critical aspect of the study abroad approval process, and you should expect to be advised on the best mechanisms to finance your study abroad experience. GGC allows most financial aid to apply to programs abroad (including HOPE Scholarships, among others), so be sure to ask. Also, some programs have specific scholarships attached to them that you may be eligible for.
Some GGC sponsored programs charge full tuition and make payments on behalf of their students. Others programs expect GGC students to be responsible for making financial arrangements once they are accepted into a program. However, the finances are arranged. It is preferable to remain a registered student at your institution during the time you are studying abroad. Planning early also gives you time to anticipate your expenses and to save money prior to your departure, especially if you are paying for your education through work study or a part-time job. While you are in a foreign country, it is unlikely you will be able to work, so saving money prior to departure may be extremely important. In addition, there are scholarships available for U.S. college students who study abroad and some are specifically for students of color. Once you decide on your study abroad program, ask if there are scholarship funds available or fee waivers for which you qualify.
[ Back to top ] A passport is an official government document that certifies your country of citizenship. You must have one to travel outside of the United States and to be admitted to other countries. Passports are issued to citizens 18 years and over, and are valid for ten years. Review more information on the U.S. Passport website. If you have never held a passport, you must apply in person at an authorized post office or federal, state or county courthouse. Remember that many people apply for passports between March and August, so apply early.
A visa is an endorsement by a foreign country that you can visit that country for a particular purpose and for a specified period of time. Visas are stamped in your passport, and must be obtained from the embassy or consulate of the country you plan to visit. There is space for visas on both re-entry permits and refugee travel documents if you are not a U.S. citizen. Not all countries require visas of U.S. citizens. Most likely the program that accepted you will send you literature with information about obtaining a visa. If not, you can call the Washington, D.C. embassy or consulate of the country where you intend to travel. Again, remember to allow adequate time, since you will have to send your passport, re-entry permit or travel documents directly to the embassy or consulate.
[ Back to top ] No matter what you decide to do after graduating, the time you spend studying abroad is likely to be viewed as an asset by admissions officers at graduate schools and employers who are increasingly looking for people who are adaptable, yet focused. The 21st century will continue to demand that educated people be knowledgeable about the world, comfortable with people from diverse backgrounds, able to speak other languages and willing to break out of their provincial prejudices to seek common solutions to complex global problems.
National boundaries are becoming less consequential in the fields of education, business and public services. At the same time, the U.S. workforce is becoming more ethnically diversified. If you want to be competitive in this century, then studying abroad is one way to start. Yet, probably the best reason for studying abroad is the chance of a lifetime to see another part of the world. You will meet new people, see the sights you have read about and change your perspective by thinking of yourself as a citizen of the world.
[ Back to top ] Visit the Office of Internationalization and attend a Study Abroad 101 Information Seminar.