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Study Abroad Frequently Asked Questions

LondonWho can apply?  When should students apply?

How to apply?

What is the language of instruction?

What is covered by the program cost?

What kind of programs does UT offer?

Will it cost more to study abroad?

Where can I get funding for study abroad?

Is it possible to get discount for tuition?

Can students transfer their credits to UT?

Will it delay students' graduation?

Do students have to go for a semester?

Is it safe?

Is it very competitive?

Shouldn't students spend time doing an internship, not an international experience?

How much spending money is needed?

Where can the students exchange money?

What are the housing options?

What are the common means of transportation while abroad?

What documents are needed to travel abroad?

Will the students be able to communicate without having a firm grasp of the language?

What will the food be like?

How can we keep in touch with the students while they are abroad?

Where can I get further information?

Who can apply?

Undergraduate and graduate students of any discipline may apply. Applicants must be in good academic standing at an accredited university. Applicants should be at least 18 years old. A diverse student population is a program objective.

When should students apply?

They will apply the semester before they want to study abroad. Please check the Study Abroad home page each semester for updated program-specific deadlines.

How to apply?

On the application homepage, there is a checklist of everything that students need to do. There are three types of documents: material submissions, signature documents, and questionnaires. Please click on each document for instructions, read and follow all instructions carefully and in a timely manner. Most of the application process can be done online, but hard copies of some materials must be submitted to the Programs Abroad Office. NOTE: Application deadlines are firm and must be submitted in order for the application to be reviewed.

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What is the language of instruction?

Most courses will be taught in English unless the students is studying another language.

What is covered by the program cost?

Full tuition, program fees, housing.

What kind of programs does UT offer?

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville offers students interested in studying abroad five different types of programs: exchanges, direct, faculty-led, third-party and academic internships.

Exchange Programs

For programs designated "Exchange," your son or daughter may study at University in another country, and a student from that university comes to Knoxville to study at The University of Tennessee. Because there is an even swap of students, your son or daughter generally pays what they would pay if they were spending the semester at UT Knoxville (tuition, fees, and sometimes room & board). Because there is an even exchange ofstudents, the number of students who canparticipate is limited. Exchanges, therefore, are the most competitive type of program. If students want to participate on an exchange they should be independent, resourceful and confident.

Direct Programs

These programs allow students to enroll directly into a foreign university. Instead of paying tuition to UT Knoxville as they would on an exchange program, when they participate on a direct program they pay tuition (and usually their housing) to their host institution. Some of our more popular exchange programs also have direct options, so even if they are unable to participate on an exchange they can frequently study at the same university through direct enrollment.

UT Knoxville Faculty-Led Programs

Faculty-led programs allow students to study abroad under the guidance and supervision of a UT Knoxville faculty member with a group of UT Knoxville students. These are generally short-term programs that run during mini-term, summer and spring break.

Third Party Programs

Third party programs are organized by companies and other universities who are in the business of facilitating study abroad experience for students. These providers offer the greatest variety of schools and countries to choose from. If your son or daughter have their heart set on studying at a specific university in a specific country, then a third party provider is their best option.

Academic Internships

Academic internships enable students to gain practical work experience in a wide variety of fields while earning academic credit. If your son or daughter choose and are accepted for this type of program, they will be placed in an internship that directly reflects or relates to their course of study at UT Knoxville. They have the option of choosing a full-time summer internship or a part-time internship combined with a traditional study abroad program.

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Will it cost more to study abroad?

Yes. However, it's generally not a great deal more. The destination and program chosen helps determine the actual expense. Please refer to the program-specific pages for individual program costs. In fact, depending upon the program they choose, there are some bargains out there! Many students also do not realize that their existing financial aid and most of their scholarship money can be applied to approved study abroad programs. There are also additional study abroad scholarships for which students can apply.

In-State Students

There are several affordable options for Tennessee residents to study abroad. The least expensive programs are most often exchanges, although because they require a significant amount of independence, they are not the best fit for every student. There are also many affordable direct and third party programs that are not considerably more expensive than UT Knoxville, tuition, room and board and that offer more benefits. See program types in the getting started section for a brief description of the different types of programs.

Out-of-State Students

Out-of-state students should consider direct or third party provider study abroad programs instead of exchanges. These programs are frequently less than the cost of attending UT Knoxville.

Summer or Mini-Term Programs

While the PAO strongly encourages students to study abroad for a semester or academic year, we recognize that some students will prefer to study abroad on programs with shorter durations. With that in mind, the PAO offers many shorter programs offered during mini-term or summer. Many ofthese programs are quite affordable, but please note that often scholarships and other financial aid do not apply to programs less than a semester in length. This frequently makes summer programs more expensive in terms of your "out-of-pocket" expenses than semester programs. Shorter does not always mean cheaper!

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Where can I get funding for study abroad?

Students should also be aware that Federal Financial Aid is available for students who wish to study abroad. For more information on these programs and requirements click here.

Another way to gain international experience, in addition to a semester or program, is to participate in work abroad or internship programs, as some of these provide remuneration. For more information about internship/work abroad programs click here.

Is it possible to get discount for tuition?

Tuition discounts only apply to exchange and UT Knoxville faculty-led programs, and only for tuition, hence the term "tuition" discount. There is no discount for other charges such as room, board, depositsor other program fees.

Note: Students participating on UT Knoxville faculty-led spring break, mini-term or summer programs will pay their tuition through VolXpress and the tuition discount will apply. The discount does not apply to the Program Fee paid to thePrograms Abroad Office. The Program Fee covers the expenses of the program, it does not cover tuition, hence tuition discounts do not apply.

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Can students transfer their credits to UT?

If students study abroad on a PAO approved program (see below for the faculty-led program exception), their foreign courses will transfer back to UT Knoxville provided that they: earn an equivalent grade of "C" or better, the courses are not remedial or vocational/technicalin nature, and do not duplicate already completed courses. Grades earned on an approved study abroad program will not be calculated into your UT Knoxville GPA. So in short, credits transfer back, but grades do not. Keep in mind that if students plan on applying to graduate or professional school, the original transcripts from their study abroad program may be examined during the application processes, so they need to remain academically responsible while abroad.

NOTE: It is advisable that students to return from abroad with course materials which document the content covered (i.e. course syllabi, list of reading materials, papers, exams, etc.). This material will facilitate the awarding of appropriate transfer credit.

Students who participate on a UT Knoxville faculty-led program, they will receive a grade and specific course credit just as they would if they enrolled in the same class on campus. Grades received on faculty-led programs will be calculated into their UT Knoxville GPA.

During the study abroad, PAO will register students for a temporary "study abroad" course to maintain their full-time enrollment at UT Knoxville. The credits they earned while studying abroad program will be substituted for this course after their program ends and their transcript are received.

Will it delay students' graduation?

Many academic departments allow students to study abroad during their final year as an undergraduate. Please note that if they are studying abroad during their final semester, it is very likely they will graduate the following term. Study abroad transcripts often do not arrive until midway through the following semester.

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Do students have to go for a semester?

We offer summer and intersession programs in addition to our semester programs. The study abroad experience is not limited to a specific duration. We believe all students going abroad will benefit and hope they can find a program that best suits their schedule.

Is it safe?

All students will attend mandatory pre-departure orientations covering health and safety, travel precautions, and site-specific information. In addition, all partner abroad universities have on-site international staff readily available to assist students.

Is it very competitive?

We believe it is to every student's benefit to study abroad. By experiencing the world and new outside perspectives on journalism and communication, they are not only developing their skills, but also enhancing their own personal growth. They must meet the program eligibility requirements and fulfill the necessary application materials

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Shouldn't students spend time doing an internship, not an international experience?

Students do have the time. Some of our programs are even designed with a sequence-specific internship that earns their school credit. Individual planning and preparing with their academic, financial, and study abroad advisors will help them decide the best time for you to go. This is the time in their life for learning and experiencing as much as they can academically, personally, and professionally

How much spending money is needed?

The amount of money that will be needed for the trip depends on the expenses that the student may be required to pay while abroad. It is a good idea to create a budget prior to departure that separates any known living and school expenses such as food, housing, transportation and text books from general spending money that can be used for independent travel, tourist attraction entrance fees and souvenirs. Keep in mind that having a budget does not mean that the student needs to have to carry cash around for each of these expenses- just know about how much is allotted to each so money for meals is not spent carelessly on souvenirs!

The student should consider using several different forms of payment for expenses. Credit cards, ATM cards and cash are accepted almost everywhere. Although U.S. dollars are also widely accepted throughout the world, the student should make every attempt to use the local currency.

Where can the student exchange money?

To obtain foreign currency, any of the following can be used:

AIRPORT EXCHANGE BUREAU - Currency exchange offices are available at almost all international airports. Although the rates may not be the lowest, it isprobably the most convenient location to exchange money when the student first arrives. Note: because the destination airport is certain to have a large supply of the local currency, its rates for exchange may be lower than the rates at the student's home airport, which may only have a limited supply of the foreign currency.

BANKS/ATM/CREDITCARDS - After the student has had a chance to get accustomed to his/her new surroundings, a national bank or an ATM machine can be found, which are known to offer the lowest exchange rates. Using a credit card can also secure a decent exchange rate and is often safer than carrying around a lot of cash. American Express, Visa and Master Card are all widely accepted around the world. Keep in mind, however, that using an ATM/debit card may incur additional bank/commission charges.

LOCAL STORES/RESTAURANTS - 
With all the money changing options available, the best thing the student can do is to be an educated traveler. Know what the current exchange rate is and be able to calculate how much should be receive in return for each transaction. Also, be safe when carrying money and do not carry all of it at once.

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What are the housing options?

The housing options depend entirely upon the program that is being offered. Many students are expected to live on campus in either single or double occupancy dorm rooms. Others may have the option to live off campus in apartments or participate in a home stay and live in the home of a nearby family. If the student is expected to arrange his/her own housing, ask for recommendations from the sponsoring institution because student housing in foreign countries is not always easy to come by and may be expensive. It is also a good idea to find out what is included in the housing package (meals,linens, etc.) so your child will not be caught off guard with any unexpected expenses.

What are the common means of transportation while abroad?

The chosen program may have an orientation package or session, which will explain the various means of transportation available in that particular location. In Europe, train or subway are popular options. In other countries, taxis or mopeds may be the cheapest and most direct choice. Wherever the student goes it is a good idea to know the local taxi rates and to negotiate a fair deal prior to departing. Also, make sure the student is informed about local driving laws for car and moped rentals and check to see if his/her current car insurance will cover international rentals.

What documents are needed to travel abroad?

Please note: This is only a sample list of documents that may be required for International travel. The actual documents your student will need vary depending on the location of the program. Be sure to contact the hosting institution for official pre-departure information. In all cases, fill out any applications and make all necessary appointments for each document well inadvance as it can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months to complete the process.

PASSPORT - The most widely used form of identification used for international travel is a passport. Almost all foreign countries require that visitors have a passport. For more information regarding the application/renewal process, check out the following website: www.travel.state.gov/, or call the National Passport Information Center at 1-877-487-2778.

VISA - A visa is a permit from an international country that allows visitors to enter and leave their borders and may be required for the chosen program or by any countries that the student plans to visit while traveling independently. Visas often list planned travel dates and do expire, so be sure to have these dates available when applying. For more information about visas and how to apply, look on-line at www.travel.state.gov/.
 Please note: a visa must be obtained prior to departure, so check with the hosting institution as soon as possible to verify if one is needed.

Will the students be able to communicate without having a firm grasp of the language?

It is possible that wherever the student goes, he/she will be able to find someone that speaks even a little English, but it is always beneficial for the student to make every effort to learn the local language, or at least some key phrases, as it will enable him/her to make the most out of the study abroad experience. If your child is not comfortable with the language, a program should be selected where the courses are taught in English. Another option is to enroll in an intensive language class prior to departure.

What will the food be like?

Chances are, the food in the country abroad is not going to be like the food many of us are used to eating at home. Although this can be a wonderful part of the experience, it may be difficult or even painful for some.Your son/daughter will be surprised, however, to find that many popular fastfood chain restaurants from the United States can also be found all over the world! Visit http://www.cdc.gov/travel/foodwater.htm  for more information about food and water precautions.

How can we keep in touch with the student while they are abroad?

Postal mail, telephone, fax and email are all available means by which to communicate with students abroad. While rates may be higher to connect overseas, the services work very similar to those here in the United States. A popular option is to obtain a phone card/calling card from your current long-distance carrier. Be sure to find out the appropriate access numbers for the United States as they vary from country to country.

Where can I get further information?

If you have questions not answered here, please e-mail us our IOP Director; Sam Swan at sam-swan@utk.edu.

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