Important Information

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▼   Requirements & Policies for Participation
All students applying to participate in USA study abroad must be in compliance with all USA academic and student conduct code policies as published in the USA Bulletin and The Lowdown during the application process, prior to the day of departure, and during their participation in the study abroad program.

Students should have a minimum of a 2.25 overall GPA.  A student whose GPA is between 2.0 and 2.25 must meet with his or her academic advisor and the Study Abroad coordinator to discuss participation and program options. Students with a GPA below 2.25 will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. In addition to USA's GPA requirement, students must meet the host institution or affiliate partner's GPA requirements for participation.

All students must respect and abide by the laws and customs of their host country, USA’s The Lowdown, and any rules and regulations for student conduct made or adopted by USA, its employees, agents, and partner institutions abroad. Host institution and/or program rules should be followed for the duration of the program abroad and include, but are not limited to, rules and regulations for student conduct designed to safeguard health, well-being, and safety.

Students who have behavioral or conduct issues are subject to USA Dean of Students review and must have approval from the USA Dean of Students prior to applying for any program.

Students who are academically or otherwise suspended or expelled from USA are not eligible for approval to study abroad as part of the USA degree or other approved activities.

Should a student be suspended or subject to any USA academic or judicial actions following the date of departure, such actions will be implemented immediately upon notification and may include dismissal (with no refund) from the program, suspension of host country visa privileges (subject to host country rules), etc.

Students participating on an affiliate or exchange experience are required to request that their original transcripts from abroad be sent to USA's Registrar at the following address:

Office of International Education
Meisler Hall, Suite 2300
390 Alumni Circle
Mobile, AL 36688
USA

▼   Program Types

Faculty-Led Programs:

Faculty-led programs are led by USA professors.  All courses taken on these programs are USA courses and offer USA credits that will apply to your degree. Students on faculty-led programs will travel as a group and take classes in various locations.  ALL students participating on faculty-led programs will be charged in state tuition.

Priority is given to students with an overall grade point average of 2.25 or above. Students below the 2.25 GPA should consult the program director for permission to apply.  Individual program directors may choose to set a higher minimum GPA.

Students on Faculty-led programs pay a program fee that includes tuition, housing abroad, in-country travel, international insurance, and other on-site expenses.  Generally, this fee DOES NOT include airfare.

Faculty-Led programs vary from year to year, and a complete listing of all summer programs will be available mid-fall.

Exchange Programs:

International Exchange programs are partnerships with specific universities around the world with which USA has a special, reciprocal relationship. USA students are directly enrolled in the host university and students from the host university attend USA.  ALL students participating on exchange programs will be charged in state tuition.

Typically a student must hold a 3.0 GPA at the time of application and attend for a full fall or spring semester or full academic year. Language requirements vary by program.

In most cases, USA tuition and fees will be charged to the student’s USA account and will be paid directly through PAWS.  Housing and living expenses will usually be paid directly to the host university.  At the end of your time abroad, students will request to have their transcripts sent to USA's Registrar.

 

USA Affiliate & Direct Enroll programs:

USA affiliate programs allow students to enroll in a partner university or program through a third-party provider.

GPA requirements vary by program.

Students are billed by the program provider or host institution and pay fees directly to host. Students will not pay USA tuition.  A $150 course/administration fee will be charged to the student’s account. This fee usually covers insurance but occasionally there are additional insurance fees associated with these programs.

USA students are enrolled in a placeholder course and credit will be awarded upon receipt of their program transcript.  At the end of your time abroad, students will request to have their transcripts sent to USA's Registrar.

 

 

Other Sources

Abroad101

GoAbroad.com

GoOverseas.com

▼   Pre-Departure Information

There are several things you must do prior to departing for your study abroad program. You must obtain all the necessary documents, make all the important financial and academic arrangements, and complete a mandatory pre-departure class.  Information on the pre-departure class, passports, and visas are outlined below.  Additional information can be found in the OIE Study Abroad Student Handbook.   

Pre-Departure Class

We want you to be as prepared as possible when you travel out into the world. For that reason, we recommend that everyone who is studying abroad participate in a pre-departure class prior to going abroad (note: this class is required for some majors). This class is listed as IST 300 and is offered in an online blended format so it can be completed from wherever you are.  Students will receive one credit hour for the completion of the course. The credit is awarded as pass/fail.  Once you are accepted by USA to participate in an abroad program, an OIE staff member will permit you to register for the course. This course will also fulfill the LG 394 course required of all foreign language majors. 

In addition to the course, many faculty and affiliate programs also conduct pre-departure sessions before and/or at the beginning of their program. Completion of this course does not excuse you from additional pre-departure requirements outlined by your program or faculty director.

Travel safety, USA policies and procedures, and advice for cultural adjustment will be covered during the course. We make sure to build in time for you to meet other USA students traveling to the same area of the world. Failure to satisfactorily complete the mandatory pre-departure course will result in being dropped from your program.

Note: Students participating in faculty-led programs and/or internships may be required to attend multiple pre-departure meetings and orientations.  All scheduled official meetings are mandatory for participation.

▼   Passports & Visas

Passports and visas are two very important types of documents that you will need when you study abroad.

Passports

A passport provides official identification while traveling and proof of U.S. citizenship. It will be checked upon leaving and entering almost every country you visit.

You will need a passport to enter a country AND to return to the United States. Your passport must be current and valid for at least six months beyond the time your program ends. To obtain or renew your passport visit the US Department of State: Passports & International Travel website.

Special note: Apply for your passport as soon as you begin thinking about study abroad or international travel as processing time can be lengthy.

Once you have your passport, make copies or scan the page with your picture and passport number on it. Leave one at home with a friend or family member and submit one to the OIE study abroad online application system.  You should also carry a copy separately from your passport when you travel . It is also a good idea to send a scanned copy to yourself by email.  If you lose your passport, having a copy will make it easier to get a replacement from the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

Visas

A visa is official permission to visit a country for a specific purpose and time.  To learn about the requirements for your host country and any countries you might visit while abroad go to the US Department of State: Americans Traveling Abroad website.

Applying for a Visa

The exact process for applying for a visa will vary depending upon the type of visa and the country. In general, to apply for a visa you will send your actual passport (not a copy), student visa application, and any other required documentation via certified mail, UPS, or FedEx (the consulate will usually indicate a preference) along with a return, self-addressed, pre-paid, trackable envelope to the consular office of the country you plan to visit. The consulate will stamp your passport with the visa and return it to you. You generally apply to the consulate that serves the state of your permanent residence.  For Alabama, this is usually in Houston or Atlanta.

Processing Time

Obtaining a visa could take up to three months so begin early. You will not be able to apply for the visa until you are fully accepted by your host institution or program, but it is a good idea to begin gathering the needed information for your visa as soon as you apply.  The embassy/consulate website/documentation that accompanies your visa application will usually indicate how long it will take to process the visa.

▼   Health & Safety Abroad

Keeping our students safe while studying abroad is a top priority for our staff. OIE has emergency policies and procedures that are continuously reviewed and updated for all approved programs. We work proactively to provide students with access to information about health and safety prior to their departure and while they are abroad. We monitor the world situation daily through available channels, such as the U.S. State Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs and the daily information provided by the Overseas Security Advisory Council. We convey important information to our students when necessary.

University of South Alabama students who participate on a study, internship, service learning, research, or travel abroad program are required to enroll in the designated USA International Insurance policy. Enrollment in the policy is processed by OIE. Students wishing to opt out of the current insurance policy should submit a written appeal to the Office of International Education Director with details of the alternative policy and proof of enrollment including the name of insurance provider, policy/group number, contact information for provider, and copy of the insurance card.

The Office of International Education (OIE) does not offer or approve study abroad, internship, independent travel, service learning, or volunteer programs in countries where current U.S. Department of State Travel Warnings exists. OIE, in consultation with applicable University administrative offices, will assess all university-sponsored or related travel to countries that have U.S. Department of State Travel Alert. In the event that the U.S. Department of State issues a Travel Warning or a Travel Alert for a country or region, approval of current programs and university-related student travel will be suspended. 

Please see the following links for additional health and safety information:

OIE Study Abroad Student Handbook

US Department of State - Students Abroad

US Department of State - Smart Traveler App

World Health Organization

Centers for Disease Control

Registration with US Embassies

Travel Warnings

US Embassies Abroad

Help for Americans Abroad

Association for Safe International Road Travel