Frequently Asked Questions
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 application.
How do I plan to study abroad?
We recommend you begin planning at least two semesters prior to your desired term abroad! Our office is here to assist you throughout the entire study abroad planning process. Once you are ready to find out more and begin planning your experience, you should follow these steps:
- Attend one of our Study Abroad 101 Information Sessions by RSVPing on the homepage of our website!
- Meet with your academic advisor and/or review your myKnight Audit to familiarize yourself with your degree requirements.
- Evaluate your existing financial resources and financial aid dependence.
- Schedule an appointment with a UCF Abroad Advisor by completing an online interest form here.
Students can go abroad at any point during their academic career; however, statistically, many students opt to go abroad during their junior year. Please keep in mind, we do not recommend studying abroad the same term you intend to graduate. It is also important to be aware that depending on the study abroad program you select, certain times are better than others. For example, exchange programs occur in your junior year (junior by credits), and certain programs, like partner programs, require you to study abroad at least two terms prior to your graduation.
That being said, some students go abroad as freshmen and some go as seniors. The best time to 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 the term these classes are being offered. If you will need a few semesters to save up enough money to go, you can spend that time researching programs. The ideal time to go abroad will depend largely on conversations you should be having with your academic advisor and your support system.
How do I speak with my family and or my support system about study abroad?
Making the decision to study abroad is a big deal, but it can also be an extremely beneficial experience. This is a huge step, not just for you, but for your family as well! Your support system can consist of friends, family, peers, or anyone else who plays a significant role in offering you practical/emotional support. We want them to be on board with you and part of your entire journey. Remember, this decision may not only impact you, but it may impact those who surround you as well!
Be prepared to do your research: meet with your academic advisor and with a study abroad advisor to discuss approved programs. Afterward, research the programs on your own and determine what your academic, career and personal goals are. Meet with financial aid and determine the cost so you can create a budget, start saving and get a job if necessary.
Another primary area of concern is safety. Like it or not, your support system will always be concerned about your safety! Do your due diligence by researching where you will be staying and what your housing situation will be, emergency numbers, insurance, vaccinations, safety alerts and any other health and security information about your destination.
Lastly, remember that you may need to be flexible and willing to compromise. Making your support system feel like they get to play a role in your decision-making process is important. Allow them to voice their concerns and have an open discussion with them. Being open and honest is key.
What type of study abroad programs do you offer?
We categorize our study abroad programs into four main types: (1) “UCF in” programs (2) UCF Exchange Programs (3) Partner Programs (4) Internship Programs. To learn more about our program types, please read the “Next Steps” tab on our website.
How long will I be abroad?
- It depends on the study abroad program! UCF Abroad offers a wide variety of study abroad programs which all vary in duration. Our “UCF in” programs are anywhere from 1-8 weeks long and are usually offered in the summer, while exchange programs are typically offered for a full semester. Depending on the type of program you select, a full academic year may also possible, as well as shorter “less traditional” durations, such as spring break, spring extended, winter break, etc.
- Is it better to study abroad in the summer, fall, or spring?
- This will depend on the program you wish to participate in. The time of year when programs are offered depends on a lot of factors, from climate differences to different academic calendars overseas. Most of our “UCF in” programs take place during the summer and this is the most popular term to study abroad for UCF students. This is due to a variety of contributing factors, some including but not limited to: the summer term being shorter and typically more affordable for students. Summer programs also tend to align better with students’ schedules and their academic coursework.
- When should I start planning to study abroad?
- At least two semesters in advance. The earlier you start planning the more time you'll have to research programs, prepare financially, develop an academic plan and familiarize yourself with your host country.
- What are the deadlines for applying?
- Every program will be different. Most “UCF in” programs in the summer/fall will have an application deadline in mid-February, while spring deadlines will be mid-May. Most UCF exchange programs will have an application deadline two semesters before going abroad. Please visit the individual program pages to check specific application deadlines.
- Do most students get into the program they apply to?
- Each program will have a specific set of requirements. Once you apply, you should reach out to the faculty leader to schedule an interview. If you meet the minimum requirements (listed on the program page) and you have done extensive research and self-reflection to find the right program for you, your chances are pretty good. Be aware, space in programs is limited and some programs go abroad with 10 or fewer students yet receive 30 applicants or more. It is best to do your research early and to apply as soon as possible. It’s free to apply!
- Can I apply to or participate in multiple programs?
- Yes, to both. We recommend you only apply to two programs at a time after you have already narrowed down your options, conducted thorough research and met with a study abroad advisor. You are able to participate in multiple programs as long as the dates for the programs do not overlap. Please check the dates on the program page and then confirm with UCF Abroad by emailing us at email@example.com before making your decision to commit.
- How do I know which program to select?
- The best way to get started is to attend a Study Abroad 101 Information Sessions. These information sessions are designed to give you a broad overview of all the program types we offer at UCF and how to get started on selecting your program. After attending a 101 session, you can complete an interest form and schedule an individual advising appointment with a UCF Abroad advisor.
- I am a student who requires accommodations, will I have access to the support I need on a study abroad program?
- Not every country has laws, cultural norms or the ability to provide for the needs of students who require specific accommodations. Scheduling an appointment with a UCF Abroad advisor 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 three months, a visa is generally not needed. Typically, our “UCF in” programs do not require a visa, as they are shorter in duration, while exchange programs are longer and usually require a visa. If a visa is required for the country you plan to visit or for the duration you plan to stay, UCF Abroad or your partner program will inform you of the process. If you are not a U.S. citizen, you will want to speak to UCF Abroad about the steps that should be taken. We recommend checking visa requirements for the country/countries you intend to travel to on the U.S. Department of State’s website.
- Do I need a passport?
- Yes, all overseas travel requires that you have a valid passport. If you do not have a passport, you must apply for one. If you already have a passport, make sure to check the expiration date. Some countries have specific rules where your passport must be valid for at least three months beyond your planned date of departure. Please check these rules on the U.S. Department of State website, linked above. You can renew or apply for a passport here. The SPOT on campus is also a designated Passport Acceptance Facility by the U.S. Department of State, students, faculty, staff and members of the community are able to apply for a passport directly through their office.
- I'm [such and such major]. Can I study abroad?
- Yes, all majors or minors can study abroad. UCF Abroad believes every student should have an opportunity to study abroad if they feel it will help them achieve their academic, personal and professional goals. While some majors have a structure that is more "open" to study abroad experiences, this does not prevent any one major from going abroad. Certain majors may require more careful planning and coordination than others, which simply requires you to begin researching sooner rather than later!
- Can freshmen study abroad?
- In general, yes; however, our exchange programs require you to be at least a junior (by credits) to participate.
- Can seniors study abroad?
- Generally speaking, yes. Careful planning with UCF Abroad and your academic advisor should be done if this is your intention to ensure that timeline to graduation can be achieved, and all graduation requirements will be met by your graduation certification deadline.
However, students are not permitted to study abroad during the same term in which they intend to graduate. This is due in part to the timeline to meet your graduation certification deadline, as the grades you earn abroad will not be reported to UCF in time to process your graduation.
- I'm not a UCF student; can I study abroad with UCF?
- Several offices need to be involved in coordinating this, but with proper planning, it may be possible. If you are a student from another Florida State institution, your best options would be one of our “UCF in” programs. You may take the coursework associated with your study abroad program as a transient student (by completing the online Florida Shines process), 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 and you should not apply to one of our partner programs, as these are most likely already being offered by your own university’s study abroad office.
- How many times can I study abroad?
- UCF Abroad does not restrict the number of times a student can participate in study abroad programs; however, there are university policies regarding the earning of credit for coursework taken more than once and your academic goals need to be considered thoroughly. You must also consider excess hours and UCF's undergraduate requirements. It’s always a good idea to review your myKnight Audit and speak with an academic advisor regarding your plan.
- 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 partner program or directly enroll 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 non-affiliated programs may result in credit not being applied to your UCF degree the way you anticipate, or possibly, not at all. There are also additional risks to consider, such as the possibility of not being able to apply your financial aid. Although you can study abroad on a non-UCF program, we strongly recommend you select a program that is approved through our office.
- Can I study abroad with another U.S. institution?
- Generally, it is possible, but you will want to discuss how credit earned through these programs may transfer back to UCF with your department and college advisors.
Where is the study abroad office?
Trevor Colbourn Hall, Suite 205 - HIP Hub
12796 Aquarius Agora Dr.
Orlando, FL 32816
(2nd floor, turn right from the elevators)
Why can’t I sign my signature documents electronically?
You must wait at least 48 hours to sign electronically.
Why am I getting a date of birth error when attempting to sign my documents?
When you input your NID and password to start a new application, our application system, Terra Dotta, needs to migrate all your student information into your application. A DOB error occurs because your student information has not finished “migrating” information into your application. Please wait at least 48 hours before logging back into your application and try again.
I can’t find the program page to apply to on your website. How do I apply?
This is probably because your program is through one of our partners and it isn’t posted on our website. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will set up a page for you to apply on.
How do I know if my application is complete?
Our application process is ongoing and there is no “submit” button. As soon as you begin an application, your application is sent to us and we can access it. All received items will be marked with a checkmark in the system and you can return to the application again at any time. If you have any questions, please email us to confirm.
What do I need to do to receive acceptance for my program?
The Faculty Leader for each program determines who to accept into the program and when to accept them. In general, the evaluation process for program acceptance covers (a) academic preparedness (GPA) (b) disciplinary clearance and (c) an in-person interview. To be accepted, all students must meet the program’s minimum statement requirements and successfully complete an interview with faculty.
My application status is “Accepted.” What is the difference between the application statuses of “Accepted” and “Committed”?
If your application status is “Accepted,” this means that you have met the minimum criteria for program participation and you have successfully completed the interview process. Having done so, the Faculty Leader for the program, by changing your status to “Accepted,” is offering you a place on the program. Being accepted to a study abroad program does not guarantee your participation. In order to confirm your position on the program, a student must “Commit” in their application.
By clicking the “Commit” button on the application dashboard a student is confirming that they accept their offered place on the program and they are accepting the financial obligations of participation on the program. If a student’s application status is “Committed,” they are counted as a confirmed and full fee-paying participant.
I have been accepted to my program and have confirmed my participation by selecting the “Commit” button on my dashboard, am I done with my application now?
No, committing to your program does not mark the completion of the application process. UCF Abroad staff will continue to communicate with you periodically to request that you complete additional components of the application, particularly during the pre-departure phase of preparations. Students should continue to be diligent in taking action and completing requested application components until, and sometimes extending beyond program departure.
How will my credits transfer?
- If you are taking part in a “UCF in” or exchange program, you will register for UCF courses, so there will be no need to transfer coursework. If you are taking part in a non-UCF program, but within the state of Florida university system, most coursework 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, coursework will need to be evaluated by several university offices and possibly a third-party transcript evaluation company which can result in additional expenses. In this circumstance, it is likely you will not know what or even if credit taken overseas will count towards your UCF degree. Speaking with your advisors is very important, regardless of where you would like to study abroad, and is absolutely imperative if you wish to take part in a non-approved program. UCF Abroad can offer no guarantee as to what credit you will receive for coursework taken through non-approved programs.
- What GPA do I need to study abroad?
- Each program has different GPA requirements. Most programs require either a minimum of a 2.5 or 3.0 GPA. All programs require a student to be in good academic standing (a UCF GPA of 2.0 or higher).
- 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 fieldwork type settings. Regardless of the setting, all courses you enroll in are considered academic courses and should be treated as such.
- Are courses taught in English?
- UCF study abroad programs are offered in English unless otherwise stated. For “UCF in” programs, the program's description page will provide information on the courses specific to your program. For other program types, such as partner programs, courses will be taught in English unless specified otherwise.
- Will I earn grades for my courses?
- Yes, you will earn grades for the coursework you take overseas. In some cases, the work you complete overseas will be on a satisfactory/ unsatisfactory grading scale. For “UCF in” programs, your faculty leader will be able to tell you what type of grading scale to expect before you depart.
- Am I required to know a foreign language?
- Most programs are conducted entirely in English, while some are conducted entirely in a foreign language. In some cases, you may take some classes in English and some in the foreign language. There are programs available for every level of language proficiency.
- Can I do an internship for credit?
- Yes, UCF Abroad works with multiple partners to offer internship programs in various countries! Our office has teamed up with the Office of Experiential Learning and partner providers to match you with a completely customized position abroad. Although placements are typically unpaid, this unique experience allows you to gain international work experience while earning UCF credits.
- How many classes will I need to enroll in overseas?
- Every program is different. Most short-term programs will require you to enroll for 1-2 courses, while most exchanges will require that you enroll in 4-5 courses.
- Can I take classes satisfactory/unsatisfactory while I am abroad?
- Just like courses taken at UCF, some may be satisfactory/ unsatisfactory, but most are graded. For UCF programs, the faculty leader should be able to provide you with more information. In the case of partner programs, your partner provider should be able to assist.
- Who should I talk to about how the study abroad classes will fit into my major?
- Your department advisor or college advisor is the best person to speak to regarding this.
- Who needs to evaluate my transcripts if I enrolled directly at a foreign institution?
- International post-secondary school credit will need to be submitted to Josef Silny & Associates or World Education Services for a course-by-course evaluation
- Will study abroad delay my graduation?
- Not necessarily, but every situation is different. If you select a UCF program (“UCF in” programs and exchange programs), you will be enrolled in UCF courses so if they are part of your academic plan, they will count in the same way as if you took them here on campus. It’s our office’s main goal to have you select a program that will fulfill degree requirements and keep you on track so you can graduate on time.
Keep in mind, however, many students have different ideas about what it means to "delay graduation." If you have a specific date in mind and the coursework you take abroad does not satisfy graduation requirements and prevents you from taking other coursework that does, it is likely that study abroad may delay graduation. If the coursework 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.
Will my financial aid stay the same?
- All financial aid questions should be directed to Karissa at the Office of Financial Assistance via email: SFAstudyabroad@ucf.edu. In general, 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 in” programs cost around $2,500-$4,000. Keep in mind, for “UCF in programs,” this often does not include tuition, flights, meals, transportation or spending money. For “UCF in” programs, you can find program costs on the “Program Cost” tab on each individual program page; exchange programs have a budget sheet; partner programs and internships have costs outlined on the partner program’s website.
- How and when are payments made for my program?
- Once you "commit" to a program, you have locked in your spot in your study abroad program. This means that you will be financially liable for the entire program cost.
In the case of “UCF in” programs, our office will begin spending funds on your behalf. Be aware, it is not possible to receive a refund after program committal occurs, should a student decide to withdraw from participating. “UCF in” program payments are made in two installments and payment schedules will be posted on the “Program Cost” tab on each individual program page. Students will receive detailed communications from our office regarding payments and due dates.
All study abroad participants are assessed a $350 Study Abroad Fee.
For "UCF in" programs this fee is included in the overall program fee assessed to student accounts once the program is confirmed for operation.
For exchange programs, the $350 study abroad fee is posted at the time of nomination. It’s posted in the semester that the student will study abroad and payment is due at the same time as UCF tuition for that semester.
Lastly, for partner programs, the $350 study abroad fee will be posted to your myUCF once you are committed in our system and abroad on your program. All other fees, such as your program fee, will be managed through the partner provider. You will be subject to the terms and conditions of each partner, so make sure to familiarize yourself with their policies. You should communicate and coordinate with them as needed.
- How do I pay the charges on my UCF account?
- You have several payment options – you may pay:
- 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: (see above)
- Online at My.UCF.edu
- UCF charges a 2% convenience fee for all online payments except for e-check
- Main Campus 24-hour Depository Box located at the pond entrance of Millican Hall.
- By Mail
- Is the cost of the flight included in the program cost?
- Many program costs do not include flights. Please check your program page on our website for the inclusions and exclusions.
- Is tuition included in the program cost?
- UCF tuition is typically not included in the program costs of “UCF in” programs. Exchange programs and partner programs will typically lump the tuition cost into the final cost.
- 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 on our website under the “Scholarships and Finances” tab, 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 and apply early, but to 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?
- Prior to Commitment
If you are accepted into a program but have not yet "committed" you may withdraw your application at no charge.
For “UCF in” programs, it is not possible to receive a refund after program committal occurs, should a student decide to withdraw from participating.
Should a student need to withdraw due to a documented medical condition preventing the student from traveling, a withdraw request may be submitted in accordance with the procedure outlined in the Terms & Conditions contract and with accompanying documentation from a medical care provider.
Should a student need to withdraw from a program due to required military service, this would also call for the submission of a withdraw request and appropriate supporting documentation for review.
Please carefully review the Assumption of Risk and Terms & Conditions documents you signed before you make your final decision.
- What kind of health insurance do I need?
- For UCF programs, Travel Assistance Insurance for your time abroad is included in your program costs. Exchange programs have varying insurance requirements depending on the country. Partner programs will also include their own health insurance plan. You can discuss this with UCF Abroad.
- What happens if there is a travel warning issued for the country where I want to study?
- A travel warning or travel advisory is an official warning statement issued by the U.S. Department of State, which provides information about the relative safety of traveling to and visiting one or more specific foreign countries or destinations. The purpose is to allow travelers to make informed decisions about a particular destination and to help prepare travelers for what may be encountered on their trip.
There are four levels, which can be reviewed here. UCF will not conduct study abroad programs in any countries deemed unsafe, as the safety and health of our students, faculty and staff are top priority. You can review our current list of restricted travel destinations and find additional information here.
- 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.
We also strongly encourage all students going abroad to register their travel with the U.S. Department of State through the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, STEP. It is a free service that allows U.S. citizens and nationals traveling and living abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Family and friends can also be signed up and you will receive important information and alerts from the Embassy about safety and conditions in your destination country.
- Where will I live/sleep while abroad?
- Each program addresses accommodations differently. Some programs use hotels or dormitory stays, while others arrange housing with local, pre-screened families. Additionally, there are also programs that require students to arrange their own housing. This question all depends on the program, and if you have a strong preference, it is important to research beforehand!
- Will I have free time to travel while abroad?
- Generally, there is a substantial opportunity to travel outside of the program dates or outside of class. For “UCF in” programs, there may be free time on weekends for students to do as they wish. Typically, with exchange programs or partner programs, there is a lot more flexibility. Students will usually find the weekends or during breaks are the best time to travel. First and foremost, it should be remembered that all scheduled program activities need to be attended, as completing coursework and attending classes should be your main priority. If traveling is your main priority, it might be best to do so rather than take part in a study abroad program.
- Will a UCF faculty member go with us?
- “UCF in” programs will usually have a faculty leader accompanying the group, but not always. Faculty leaders do not necessarily fly with the participants and may or may not be in attendance during all scheduled activities. Exchange programs and partner programs do not have on-site UCF faculty.
- Will the entire group fly overseas together?
- Program participants are expected to arrange their own flights, but students will often coordinate to book the same flights so that they have a travel companion. Study abroad programs will usually require students to arrive at a specific location, often at a specific location in the airport, and within a particular time frame in order to meet with the faculty leader or the group. In the case of partner programs, students will usually have arranged group pick up and it is in your best interest to arrive within the parameters given. Students should wait on booking flights until directed to do so!
- 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.