Frequently Asked Questions

▼   When can I study abroad?
Almost any time! We have programs during the fall, spring, academic year, and summer (programs as short as one week or as long as the full summer and every length in between). Most students study abroad during their sophomore or junior year, but it is possible to study as early as the second semester of your freshmen year all the way to the last semester of your senior year and into graduate school.
▼   Where can I study abroad?
Almost anywhere! We have programs in most areas of the world in over 60 countries. Destinations must fit the guidelines outlined here.
▼   What kind of courses can I take abroad?
Any kind you want. We have courses available in most fields. You can fulfill major or minor requirements, core requirements, or just take electives.
▼   How much does it cost?
The cost varies widely from program to program. There are many factors that determine the cost of a program. Long-term programs cost more than short-term; developed countries cost more than developing; big cities cost more than small; etc.
▼   What are my housing options?
This varies widely depending on the program and location. The most common types of housing are residence halls, student apartments (both on and off campus), homestays, and hostels.
▼   How do I book my flight?

International airfare is not included in most programs. The Office of International Education will reserve and facilitate flights on behalf of all students who would like assistance. Students can find travel discounts and more by visiting Student Universe.

▼   Do I have to speak a foreign language?
Absolutely not! We have many program options in English-speaking countries or in non-English-speaking countries where the courses are taught in English. Of course, we also have courses taught in the country's native language and it is always a good idea to know a little of the language in order to get around town.
▼   What is the GPA requirement?
This varies by program. The exchange program GPA requirement is 3.0. For most faculty-led programs, it’s 2.25. For affiliates, USA requires at least a 2.25 but the individual affiliates have requirements that range anywhere from a 2.0-3.8 depending on the program or university.
▼   When should I start planning?
Now! We usually recommend beginning the planning process anywhere from a year to six months from the time you plan to go. Application deadlines are usually the semester before you go, but you want to give yourself plenty of time to find the right program, get all of your paper work in, acquire all of the necessary documents, and not be completely stressed out because you waited too long.
▼   Can I use my scholarships and/or financial aid?
If you are participating in a USA-approved program, then yes! Many of the scholarships and/or financial aid that you are currently using here at USA can be used toward your study abroad program as long as you are participating in a USA faculty-led, exchange, or affiliate program. For specific questions about how your money can be used, please contact the Office of Financial Aid directly.
▼   Are there any scholarships available?
Why, yes, there are! In fact, OIE has their own in-house scholarship fund that offers $100,000 worth of award money only to USA study abroad students! There are also departmental scholarships available, which are listed on the Study Abroad website under the "Internal Scholarships" heading on the "Scholarships" page. Some affiliates offer scholarships for their students as well. Also, check out national scholarship opportunities, many of which are listed under the "External Scholarships" heading on the "Scholarships" page of the Study Abroad website.
▼   Will I get credit for courses taken abroad?
As long as you are attending an accredited university or participating in a program where the transcript is coming from an accredited university, then yes, you will receive credit for courses taken abroad.
▼   How will I know what kind of credit I will receive?
During your Study Abroad Application, you will be asked to complete a course equivalency form to determine what credit you will receive for courses taken abroad. You will work with your study abroad advisor and academic advisor to determine which courses you would like to take abroad and the USA equivalent for that course.
▼   What is CISI insurance and why do I have to have it?
Cultural Insurance Services International (CISI) is the insurance that we provide for students who are studying abroad. The Office of Risk Management at USA has mandated that all students who are studying abroad carry this insurance, regardless of whether or not you have coverage elsewhere. However, this is more than medical coverage; it also covers evacuations and some stolen items, so it is an excellent insurance to have. CISI is billed to your student account in conjunction with Study Abroad enrollment.
▼   What is the IS 391 placeholder course?
The IS 391 "placeholder" course allows you to maintain enrollment at the University of South Alabama while studying abroad. This is especially important for insurance purposes, maintaining continuous enrollment, registering for classes, and many other reasons.
▼   Do I need a passport and/or visa?
Yes and maybe. Every student studying abroad must have a valid passport. The expiration date needs to be no earlier than 3-6 months past the return date of your program. You must have your passport, or have applied for it, before you can complete the study abroad application process. Visa regulations vary by country and length of stay. Check your host country’s consulate or embassy website for the most up-to-date visa information and requirements.