Filled with questions? No worries! We answered the most commonly asked questions that might be cluttering your head!
Study Abroad? What's so good 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.
When’s the best time to study abroad? Semester? Summer? Winter?!
First, you need to have attended Berea College for at least 2 semesters! Therefore, your first opportunity is the summer after your freshman year. You also need to be on Berea College campus for your final semester! The best time to study abroad depends upon the major, so it’s best to check with advisor as soon as you’re interested in studying abroad. There are 8 opportunities to study abroad: 5 semesters and 3 summers. For some majors, the best time would be during summer and winter. If the major requires 2 summers of research, then it’s best to go during your vacant summer. Nonetheless, semesters are highly recommended!
I can’t afford to do a whole semester abroad!
No worries! Not only will Berea College give you a grant that covers a generous amount of your international education abroad adventure, but they are also willing to give you an interest-free loan. Meet with Financial Aid ahead of time to discuss your financial feasibility. You will need to have a $1000 contribution ready for the beginning of the semester.
Do I have to speak another language to study abroad?
There is no better way to learn a language than to be fully immersed in it. That said, not knowing a language should NOT hold you back from studying abroad. Take as many courses as you can to prepare. Be ready to experience a few ups and downs and to put in effort to make friends with locals. Studying abroad is an enlightening experience that will change your life and help you grow in ways you can’t even imagine—including language learning.
If you’re going to a country where the official language is not only English, start learning the alphabet (if there is one) and basic phrases (i.e., thank you, excuse me, I’m sorry, I can’t understand ____, can you speak/understand English, where is the bathroom, etc). If there’s something that needs to be said before/after eating, then learn that too!
What if I’m DACA? Can I go abroad?
Yes! Definitely alert Ann Butwell as SOON as the thought about studying abroad becomes a possibility! She 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. It’s best to apply for a BIST, because it’s extremely affordable! Check out our Eligibility page and look under International Students for more information pertaining specifically to you.
How many times can I go abroad?
It honestly depends on your situation! Many people study abroad twice, whether through 2 different summers, one summer and a winter, or a summer and a semester. Berea offers a grant to every student who studies abroad. Once. If you decide to do a summer abroad and get Berea College grants, but then decide that you’re ready to embark on a semester, you can pay Berea College back their grant to receive one for the semester.
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.
Do I have to do a double application if I’m applying for a program outside of Berea?
- Yes! Here’s how to apply for Admission from your program, Permission from Berea and Scholarships from all of the above and then some:
- Admission AND Permission: When applying for study abroad programs ENSURE that you apply through us, Berea.AbroadOffice.net, and the program that you’re actually studying abroad through, ex: KIIS, CCC, Internships Office, etc.
- Scholarships: One way to apply for scholarships is to find scholarships on our External Scholarship tab. There’s also scholarship search engines located at the bottom of the page.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) and
- Frosch Travel (April Thomas at email@example.com) 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.