Here are some of the most commonly asked questions — and the initial answers!
Study Abroad? What's so great about studying abroad?
The benefits of studying abroad are tremendous. In addition to cultural, personal, social and academic growth, students who study abroad are more marketable upon graduation. In today’s world, employers and graduate schools increasingly value an overseas experience. Many employers – in banking, engineering, marketing, the computer industry, and many other areas – are looking specifically for overseas experience when evaluating applicants.
Do I have to speak another language to study abroad?
No. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of programs overseas that are offered in English.
However, we always encourage students going overseas to take at least one course in a local language. If you are already proficient in a foreign language, you will likely have more course options “on the ground” if you are heading to a country where that language is spoken.
Plus, there is no better way to learn a language than to be fully immersed in it.
Additionally, there is another pool of funding for Foreign Language majors at Berea who are heading overseas to study in that language. Speak with the Foreign Languages Department to learn more!
When’s the best time to study abroad? Semester? Summer? Winter?!
The answer is: It depends. But often, sooner is better than later!
You do need to have attended Berea College for at least 2 semesters before you are eligible to participate. There are other eligibility requirements that you will want to be sure to check out as well.
Remember that you are required to be on the Berea College campus for your final semester – so studying abroad in your last term is not an option.
Timing may also depend upon your major (and minor) requirements, so it’s best to check in with your academic advisor early to plan ahead.
In total, most students usually have 11 unique opportunities to study abroad: 5 semesters, 3 summers, and 3 winters.
Nonetheless, semesters are highly recommended! Going abroad for a semester allows you more time to adjust and integrate into the local culture. As a result, semester-long experiences can be more impactful.
I can’t afford to do a whole semester abroad!
This is likely not the case!
Most Berea College students qualify for a generous grant from the Center for International Education that may cover up to 75% of a semester program’s costs, up to a cap of $8,000. (**Each student’s situation is unique — do not consider this number as final.**)
Additionally, our direct exchange partners do not charge Berea students tuition – so if you’re headed to a partner university, you will only be responsible for your flight, visa, housing, meals, and other living expenses.
Students also often utilize Pell monies and KEES monies (if they graduated from a Kentucky high school) to help pay for study abroad.
Finally, most BTA students also qualify for a Berea College interest-free loan, if needed.
Meet with Financial Aid ahead of time to discuss your specific situation and the financial feasibility of study abroad!
Where can I study?
The possibilities are almost endless!
We do not restrict our students to certain countries, partners, programs, or providers.
However, the College will not approve countries with Level 4 travel warnings from the U.S. Department of State. You can find current travel warnings here. Please note that this list is updated frequently.
How many times can I go abroad?
It depends. Berea offers a grant to every student who studies abroad. Once.
Occasionally, students are able to do both a semester and a shorter program (summer/winter) by subtracting the funds received from the College for a Summer/Winter program from the total aid available for a Semester program.
So, come and talk to us!
How do I even apply for study abroad?
The short answer is : You can follow the guide on our Steps to Studying Abroad page!
The longer answer is:
- You will need to apply for approval from Berea in a free, online system called Abroad Office.
- You create a profile, add an application, and then complete a series of forms.
- Make sure you do this by the relevant deadline.
- Applications submitted after the deadline will NOT be considered.
- You will also need to apply to whatever program you are considering – through that program’s website. So, essentially, you will be completing TWO applications.
- If you submit an application only to a program provider, and not to Berea, you will NOT be approved to study abroad.
- We are happy to assist!
- Whether you have specific questions or just want someone to walk you through the process, we are more than happy to meet with you.
- We offer peer advising with students advisors who have been through the process themselves.
- Hours vary by semester, but check the signs on the doors of Woods-Penn 205 and 207 to see the latest hours.
- There is usually availability Monday-Thursday evenings, and occasionally on weekends.
- You can always email firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or to set up an appointment with an advisor.
What if I’m DACA? Can I go abroad?
It’s possible but complicated.
Definitely alert Dr. Richard Cahill as SOON as the thought about studying abroad becomes a possibility. He can help you with the process!
You will need at least 6 months lead time, a passport and a DACA card that is valid throughout the application and abroad period.
Check out our Eligibility page and look under “International Students” for more information pertaining specifically to your situation.
What obstacles should I expect to tackle?
Many students who leave their comfort zone may encounter culture shock, homesickness or loneliness, budgetary issues, and language barriers. Remember to see these challenges as an opportunity for self-improvement, and the benefits of studying abroad will greatly outweigh the difficulties.
So many options! What program should I do?! Exchange vs. Direct Enrollment vs. Another Study Abroad Program
Exchange: Exchanges are partnerships with other international universities. This connection makes the study abroad process much easier because there’s already reliable information provided on our website about partner schools. There’s an added bonus to an exchange! NO TUITION!! So, it’s arguably our most inexpensive semester abroad option! See here for Exchange Information regarding Partner Schools and more!
Regular Study Abroad Program: These programs are created by other providers where all information regarding international university, housing, meals, and transportation cost is listed for the student. These programs charge tuition. Keep in mind that you’re not limited to these providers! Search around until you find the perfect program for you!
We have affiliation agreements with:
Direct Enrollment: This involves applying directly to an international university as an international visiting student. You will have to pay tuition, depending on the university that you apply for. This process is much more complicated and is best fitted for experienced independent travelers. This involves sending the link of the university to Ann Butwell to ensure that the university is accredited. Once the university has been approved, you need to search and find out information regarding housing, transportation, meal plan, etc. ALSO! Before proposing the university, ensure that your language skills are at the level that the college courses will be taught at that university.
What's a budget and why do I need it?
We want you to be prepared in every way possible, so that when you go abroad, everything will go as smoothly as possible.
And budgets are a HUGE part of that. A budget is a mini map for planning spending. A digital piggy bank. A silverware sorter in a cabinet.
Budgets are designed to help you understand how to allocate money for certain categories. In study abroad’s case, you need to understand how much money to save for academic necessities (tuition, meals, housing, transportation, etc.) , Berea College fees, and even spending money. Allotting money for certain activities and necessities ensure that you have enough money to survive abroad and even have a little bit of fun while you’re at it! That’s why the Center for International Education and Financial Aid fine tune budgets to almost perfection!
Budgets also help you realize how much your study abroad opportunity will cost. Both offices will go over everything with you to bring hidden fees to the light.
How to get an official transcript:
If your program needs an official transcript then there’s 2 ways you can obtain it.
- Lincoln Hall: free! BUT you have to scan as a colored pdf and upload manually
- The only way the transcript will be official is if the letter is sealed by Registrar and sent off to the company.
You can use these transcripts for Gilman and other providers that you’re going abroad with. Programs that as for “official” transcripts, don’t need to be completely official! As long as it’s not the copied & pasted word document that you used for us.
What's the remedy for culture shock? Can I start making it in the States and pack it in my luggage?
The only remedy for culture shock is gathering information about the country, coming to terms and accepting the cultural differences. Chances are you picked where you’re going based on interest you already have in being there. Read about the city’s and country’s history, customs, food, tourism and language (if needed). You don’t have to purchase books, you can bookmark it on your device, and even write down little cultural notes to keep in mind in a notebook.
I can't pay for my flight or application fee for my program! What do I do?
Have no fears! Ann Butwell is here!
Ann will be your “checkbook.” Meaning, she can front your fees, application, flight, program, etc, AFTER you’ve been accepted to study abroad (which will be around October 1st & march 1st).
Where will I live while traveling abroad?
While this does depend on the program, you will usually live with either a family or in a residence hall. However, there are options for independent housing. If it is a short course, such as a BIST or KIIS course, you will probably stay in a hotel/hostel.
Getting There: Studying Abroad from Application to Take Off to Returning!
Getting to the country where you will study abroad is your responsibility.
So is getting to the airport—even if you are leaving from Berea. Please plan ahead.
Best Flight Practices!
Step #1: Our preference is that you go through travel agents who specialize in student travel because change fees are typically less and they are more supportive in every way.
- STA—the makers of ISIC (email@example.com) and
- Frosch Travel (April Thomas at firstname.lastname@example.org) both have a relationship with our office and can bill me. So please email them individually with your dates, departure & destination cities and ask for a quote.
Step #2 (if #1 didn’t work): If their prices are significantly higher than what you find online, we can go with another company like Student Universe or something… Search the internet to go with a reputable company or directly with an airline.
PS If you applied for a Gilman, best to go with a US air company in case you are awarded a scholarship from them.