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Frequently Asked Questions

General how, why and planning questions

Academics

Finances

Safety

Overseas logistics


General how, why and planning questions:
How do I plan my study abroad?
You should start by making a list of reasons for why you want to study abroad and comparing those reasons to the UCF study abroad opportunities. Once you have taken the time to look over our website you'll want to attend a study abroad "Basics" session. These are typically held on the 2nd Tuesday of each month. Be sure to bring questions to the session. After this you can begin to narrow down your program options until you find one that is right for you.
 
When should I go abroad?
Student's go abroad at all times during their academic career. Some go as freshmen some go as seniors. When you should go abroad will depend on your goals for doing so. If you want to take specific courses for your major your experience will need to coincide with when these classes are offered. If you will need a few semesters to save up enough money to go you can spend that time researching programs. When you should go abroad will depend largely on conversations you should be having with your advisor, your support system (family) and yourself.
 
Why should I study abroad?
Study abroad can broaden one's view of themselves and the world around them. Students often return with a refined sense of what they want to achieve in life and increased maturity, confidence and motivation. When taken seriously and with purposeful reflection this experience can help build a more impressive resume and/or graduate school applications.
 
How do I speak with my parents about study abroad?
Honestly and with facts. Gather as much information about the program(s) you are interested in (location, courses, cost, duration, housing…etc) and think long and hard about what you hope to get out of the experience, why it is important to you and how you will finance your experience. Be willing to let your parents share in your exploration of study abroad options and if you can't answer their questions immediately follow up as soon as possible. If you think it is a good idea and you know why it is a good idea then others are more likely to support you.
 
How long will I be abroad?
Each study abroad program is different. At UCF we offer short-term programs that last anywhere from 1-8 weeks and exchange programs that last 1 or 2 semesters.
Is it better to study abroad in the summer, fall, spring?
This will depend on the program you wish to take part in. The time of year when programs are offered depends on a lot of factors from climate differences to different academic calendars overseas. At UCF most short-term programs take place in the summer since faculty and students tend to have fewer courses in the U.S. that would conflict otherwise.
 
When should I start planning to study abroad?
At least 2 semesters in advance. The earlier you start planning the more time you'll have for researching programs, preparing financially, developing an academic plan and getting familiar with your host country.
 
What are the deadlines for applying?
Every program will be different. Most UCF short-term programs in the summer will have an application deadline in early February. Most UCF exchange programs will have an application deadline 2 semesters before going abroad.
 
Do most students get into the program they apply to?
Each program will have a specific set of requirements. Once you apply, the program leader will evaluate your application and possibly call you in for an interview. If you meet the minimum requirements and you have done extensive research and self-reflection to find the right program for you, your chances are pretty good. That being said space in programs is limited. Some programs go abroad with 10 or fewer students yet get 30 + applicants.
 
Can I apply to multiple programs?
Yes, as long as the dates for those programs do not overlap.
 
How do I know which program to select?
You will have to take some time to evaluate why you want to study abroad and research the available programs with this in mind. Attending a Study Abroad Basics presentation and meeting with your academic advisor can help you through the process. Start by asking yourself, "Why do I want to study abroad?" & "Where do I want to study abroad?"
 
Are there programs for students with disabilities?
Not every country has laws or cultural norms that provide for the needs of students with disabilities. Scheduling an appointment with an UCF Abroad representative will help clarify expectations and aid in the search for an appropriate program to meet your goals and needs.
 
Do I need a visa?
For U.S. citizens traveling for less than 3 months a visa is generally not needed. If one is required for the country you plan to visit or for the duration you plan to stay, UCF Abroad will inform you on the process. If you are not a U.S. citizen you'll want to speak to UCF Abroad about the steps that should be taken.
 
Do I need a passport?
Yes, all overseas travel requires that you have a valid passport.
 
I'm [such and such major]. Can I study abroad?
Yes. UCF Abroad believes every student should have opportunity to study abroad if they feel it will help them achieve their academic and life goals. While some majors have a structure that is more "open" to study abroad experiences others may require more coordination and planning.
 
Can anyone study abroad?
With the proper planning, good academic standing and no student conduct holds any student has the potential to study abroad. Factors such as meeting pre-reqs for particular programs and financial concerns may limit some opportunities but these can often be dealt with through proper planning.
 
Can freshmen study abroad?
Generally speaking, yes. However, our exchange programs require junior or senior status.
 
Can seniors study abroad?
Generally speaking, yes. However, it is not advisable that you study abroad during the term in which you intend to graduate. It is quite possible that the grades you earn abroad will not be reported to UCF in time to process your graduation. Careful planning with UCF Abroad and your academic advisor should be done if this is your intention.
 
Can transfer students study abroad?
Generally speaking, yes.
 
I'm not a UCF-student; can I study abroad with UCF?
Several offices need to be involved in coordinating this but with the proper planning it is possible. If you are a student from another Florida institution you may take the course work associated with your study abroad program as a transient student or it may be preferable to apply for UCF non-degree/study abroad student status. UCF Abroad can help discuss your options with you and make sure you understand what is required of you. In all cases, a conversation with your home institution's advising office is of utmost importance. UCF exchange programs are for UCF students only.
 
How often can I study abroad?
UCF Abroad does not put restrictions on the number of times a student can participate in study abroad programs. However, there are university policies regarding the earning of credit for course work taken more than once and one's academic goals need to be considered thoroughly.
 
Do I have to choose a UCF program?
No. There are many viable options outside of UCF programs for you to study abroad. Students can go through another university's program as a transient student, go through a private company offering study abroad programs or directly apply to and register with an institution abroad. It is very important to discuss plans to study abroad on a non-UCF program with UCF Abroad and your advisors. In many cases programs not affiliated with Florida public institutions may result in credit not being applied to your UCF degree the way you anticipate or possibly not at all. UCF Abroad can help you know what to expect.
 
Can I study abroad with another U.S. institution?
Generally speaking, it is possible but you will want to discuss how credit earned through these programs may transfer back to UCF with your department & college advisors.
 
Where is the study abroad office?
UCF Global - Building 139
 

Academics:

How will my credits transfer?
If you are taking part in a UCF short-term or exchange program you will register for UCF courses so there will be no need to transfer course work. If you are taking part in a non-ucf program but within the state of Florida university system most course work will transfer back in the same way transient work will transfer. That is, once grades post you will have to send a transcript from the Florida institution you registered with. Florida common course numbering and filing the transient form through flvc.org should make it clear before you go abroad what you will receive credit for. If you are taking courses through an out of state program or non-university affiliated provider course work will need to be evaluated by several university offices and possibly a third party transcript evaluation company which can cost several 100 dollars. In this circumstance it is likely that you will not know what or even if credit taken overseas will count towards your UCF degree. Speaking to your advisors is very important regardless of where you would like to study abroad but absolutely imperative if you wish to take part in a non-ucf program. UCF Abroad can offer no guarantee as to what credit you will receive for course work taken through non-UCF programs.
 
What GPA do I need to study abroad?
Each program has different GPA requirements. Most programs require either a minimum 2.5 or 3.0. All programs will require that a student is in good academic standing (UCF GPA of 2.0 or higher).
 
What academic requirements must I fulfill while abroad?
UCF study abroad programs are at their core UCF courses. Like all courses there will be specific assignments and responsibilities that must be fulfilled. Your program director will provide you with a syllabus. Additionally, all standards of academic integrity apply.
 
What type of courses will I take overseas?
The courses you take overseas will vary depending on the program. While some programs will offer classes in a typical classroom setting other programs will have more field work type settings. Regardless of setting, all courses you enroll in are considered academic courses and should be treated as such.
 
Are courses taught in English?
There are a good number of UCF study abroad programs that offer course work taught in English. The program's description page through studyabroad.ucf.edu will provide information on the courses specific to your program.
 
Will I get grades for my courses?
Yes, you will earn grades for the course work you take overseas. In some cases, the work you do overseas will be on a satisfactory/ unsatisfactory grading scale. Your program director will be able to tell you what type of grading scale to expect before you depart.
 
Do I need to know a foreign language?
Some programs are conducted entirely in English, others are conducted entirely in a foreign language and others are mixed. There are programs available for every level of language proficiency.
 
Can I do an Internship for credit?
Yes, there are internship programs in various countries offered through UCF Abroad. Students participating in these programs register for UCF course work.
 
How many classes will I need to enroll in overseas?
Every program is different. Most short-term programs will require that you enroll in 3-6 hours. Most exchanges will require that you enroll in 12 hours.
 
Can I take classes satisfactory/ unsatisfactory while I am abroad?
Just like at courses taken at UCF some may be satisfactory/ unsatisfactory but most are graded. The director of your program will be able to provide you with more information about this.
 
Who should I talk to about how the study abroad classes will fit into my major?
Your department advisor is the best person to speak to regarding this.
 
Who needs to evaluate my transcripts if I enrolled directly at a foreign institution?
There are a few 3rd party companies that can do this. http://www.jsilny.com/ is one of them.
 
Will study abroad delay my graduation?
Not necessarily but every situation is different. You will be enrolled in UCF courses so if they are part of your academic plan then they will count in the same way as if you took them here on campus. Many students have different ideas about what it means to "delay graduation". If you have a specific date in mind and the course work you take abroad does not satisfy graduation requirements and prevents you from taking other course work that does, it is likely that study abroad may delay graduation. If the courses work you take overseas fits into your graduation requirements but not necessarily your major it is likely that it won't delay your graduation. Speaking to your college advisor will help clarify this.

Finances:

Will my financial aid stay the same?
Financial aid is a very specific and personal matter. All financial aid questions should be directed to the Office of Financial Assistance in Millican Hall. Generally speaking, any federal aid awarded towards your education here at UCF may be used for your study abroad experience.
 
How much does it cost?
Each program will have its own program costs. Many UCF short-term programs cost around $2,500-$4,000. Keep in mind that this often does not include tuition, flights or all meals. The program director and UCF Abroad will be able to provide you with a breakdown of estimated costs. For a very rough estimate you might consider doubling the cost of the program. Keep in mind this does not take into account, rent that may need to be paid here in the U.S., dog-sitters or inordinate amounts of souvenirs.
 
How and when are payments made for my program?
Once you "commit" your participation in a UCF study abroad program you are financially liable for the entire program cost and program costs will begin to post to your UCF account. They can be viewed through the my.ucf.edu portal. For most short-term programs, payments are broken down into installments throughout the semester prior to departure. A fee schedule is listed on each program description page through studyabroad.ucf.edu. Keep in mind that other costs associated with your program but not included in the price (ie: flights) will need to be arranged on your own. For semester/ exchange programs, only the administrative fee will be posted to the student's account. For these programs, living expenses and/or approved partner fees are settled by the student either in country or with the approved partner. Tuition, if applicable, will be due as normal during the semester in which the course associated with your program takes place.
 
How do I pay the charges on my UCF account?
You have several payment options – you may pay:
  1. By Mail

    University of Central Florida- Student Account Services
    Attn: Payment Processing
    P.O. Box 160115
    Orlando, FL 32816-0115

    • Make checks payable to the "University of Central Florida"
    • Write "Study Abroad/(your PID)" on the check
    • Mail it to:
  2. Online at My.UCF.edu
    • UCF charges a 2% convenience fee for all online payments except for e-check (no visa credit cards)
  3. Main Campus 24-hour Depository Box located at the pond entrance of Millican Hall.
Is the cost of the flight included in the program cost?
Many program costs do not include flights. The program budget sheet for your program listed through studyabroad.ucf.edu will detail what is included in the program costs.
 
Is tuition included in the program cost?
UCF tuition is typically not included in the program costs of UCF programs.
 
Are there any scholarships to help pay for study abroad?
Yes, there are many scholarships out there and some even go unclaimed every year. A list can be found through the UCF study abroad website but keep in mind there are many more to be found. Most academic scholarships, not just those listed as "study abroad" can help finance your experience. Often the deadlines for these scholarships are well before you go abroad and disbursement of awards may not be made until after you return. It is best to do your research early, apply early but plan as if you will need to pay for your program without scholarships.
 
Can I get a refund of fees if I change my mind?
At a minimum, the $150 initial deposit is non-refundable. However, depending on the date of withdrawal, refunds should not be expected unless UCF cancels the program. In extreme circumstances UCF Abroad will work with the student's interest in mind to assist in recovery of some funds. However, once UCF Abroad commits payment for program expenses to its vendors the student's fees are "spent" and cannot be recovered.

Safety:

What kind of health insurance do I need?
For short-term programs health insurance for your time abroad is included in your program costs. Exchange programs have varying insurance requirements depending on the country. You can discuss this with UCF Abroad.
 
What happens if there is a travel warning issued for the country where I want to study?
UCF will not conduct study abroad programs in countries where a travel warning is in effect. This is done with the safety and concern for our students in mind.
 
My parents are worried about me being away so long. Is it safe?
UCF's top priority is the safety of its students. Programs are not conducted in areas where known threats exist. That being said there are always unforeseen circumstances and dangers. Preparing for what to expect and having an emergency safety plan is an important and mandatory part of the study abroad experience. While cultural norms and acceptable behavior differ from location to location having a working knowledge of differences before traveling abroad can help minimize the risks associated with any travel.

Overseas logistics:

Will I have internet access while abroad?
Your access to the internet will depend largely on the location(s) you will be visiting. If you are going to Europe for example you can count on relatively accessible internet access.
 
Where will I live/ sleep while abroad?
Each program addresses the accommodation situation differently. Some programs use hotel or dorm stays, others arrange housing with local / pre-screened families. Then there are those programs that require students to arrange their own housing.
 
Will I have free time to travel while abroad?
Generally speaking there is usually substantial opportunity to travel outside of the program itinerary. Some programs will leave weekends open for students to do as they wish and some programs will be ran on a rather tight schedule leaving time to travel after the program has ended. First and foremost it should be remembered that all scheduled program activities need to be attended and if traveling is your goal it might be best to do so rather than take part in a study abroad program.
 
Will a UCF faculty member go with us?
Short-term programs will often have a UCF program leader accompanying the group while overseas but not always. These program leaders do not necessarily fly with the participants and may or may not be in attendance during all scheduled activities. Exchange programs do not have on-site UCF faculty.
 
Will the entire group fly overseas together?
Usually program participants will arrange their own flights. Often students coordinate efforts to book the same flights so that they have a travel companion. Typically, the program will require students to arrive at such and such a place, often an airport, at a particular time in order to meet the program leader.
 
Where will we eat while abroad?
Where and what you will eat will depend largely on the program's structure. It is safe to assume that while some meals may be arranged for you there will be many times that you will be on your own for meals. Depending on the location and student preference this can mean preparing food purchased from grocery stores to going out to eat at restaurants or fast food places.