Frequently Asked Questions about Study Abroad
Why study abroad?
Study abroad is an exciting educational experience that lets you gain first-hand, in-depth knowledge of another culture, experience a new educational and living environment, see the world from a new perspective, and, in many cases, develop your skills in a foreign language. Study abroad develops problem solving skills, increases independence and self-confidence, and prepares you for life in the new global environment. It is also a valuable addition to your resume or graduate school application. Students often describe their study abroad experience as “life changing” and “the most important thing I did in college.”
Who should study abroad?
If you are interested in other cultures and their people, and are flexible, adaptable, and willing to learn from new experiences and viewpoints, then you are a good candidate for study abroad. It is important to remember, though, that study abroad and travel are not the same thing. Study abroad is first and foremost an academic and cultural experience. The main focus of your study abroad experience should be to broaden your education by gaining an in-depth understanding of your host culture through your academic program and living environment. If your primary objective is to travel as much as possible, then study abroad is not the right experience for you.
Where can I study abroad through Hollins?
(Click here and follow link to list of programs)
Who can go abroad?
Students who meet the requirements of their program of choice and are in good academic and disciplinary standing may apply to study abroad in their sophomore or junior year; however juniors will receive priority for available spaces. Juniors are eligible to participate in any available program, while sophomores are only eligible for Hollins Abroad-London and Paris during both terms, as well as affiliated programs through Arcadia’s Center for Education Abroad (CEA) in South Africa; Athens, Greece; and Rome, Florence and Perugia, Italy during their second semester. In exceptional cases, a student may apply to study abroad in the first term of her senior year if there are valid academic reasons for doing so. Any student requesting an exception must submit a petition to the Academic Policy Committee, through the Director of International Programs, indicating why it is important for her academic program that she be allowed to study abroad at a time other than her sophomore or junior year, along with a letter of support from her academic advisor.
When should I start planning for study abroad?
Plan to attend Study Abroad Forum. Watch the announcements scroll on this website's homepage and My.Hollins for Study Abroad Forum information session early each fall and spring terms. If you think you may want to study abroad while you are at Hollins, inform your advisor early, so he or she can help you make appropriate course choices. A Hollins student in any major can study abroad for a term and still complete all of her graduation requirements within four years, but in some cases (especially pre-med, pre-vet, and pre-law students, science majors, and students wishing to complete teaching certification) it requires careful planning. There are also recommended or required course prerequisites for some programs, so it is best to plan ahead.
How do I know what program is best for me?
The programs offer a variety of academic focus areas and program structures. You should first look for a program that offers courses in your area of academic interest taught in a language you know or are learning. Then think about program structure and environment. See Goals, Challenges, Priorities worksheet.
Be sure to come to the Study Abroad 101 information meeting held early each fall and spring terms to learn about the individual programs and speak with students who have participated in them. Remember that most students are extremely enthusiastic about their abroad program. Talk to students who have been on all of your possible program choices before deciding on one. Also remember that different students are looking for different experiences. A good choice for someone else may not be the best choice for you.
What are the admission requirements for each program?
All programs require strong faculty recommendations and a good disciplinary record. In addition to the qualifications listed below, applicants are evaluated on their academic and personal maturity, adaptability, and potential for succeeding in the program’s environment. Hollins admits students to the London and Paris programs and recommends students to the affiliated programs, which make the final admissions decisions.
Please be advised that, by beginning an application to study abroad through the International Programs office, you agree with and understand the following statement:
“I understand that I am required to be in good academic, judicial, and financial standing with Hollins University in order to participate in any study abroad program. I further understand and agree that by starting an application to study abroad through the International Programs office, I am giving International Programs permission to request and review relevant information relating to my academic, judicial, and financial records from the appropriate University offices. I am also giving permission to those University offices to release that information to the International Programs office.”
What are the academic programs like?
The courses on the Athens, Córdoba, Florence, London, Osaka, Paris, Perugia, Puebla, Rome, Seville , the School for Field Studies and South Africa programs are specifically designed for American (and in some cases, other international) students and offer an in-depth look at the host culture. These courses may include field trips to museums, performances, architectural, political, and historical sites, etc., and in most cases are structured like American university courses. There are no host country students in these courses, except in Osaka where some Japanese students are in some courses. On most of these programs, courses are taught by host country faculty, so students experience the different perspectives and teaching methods of overseas faculty. The programs in Alicante , Córdoba, London, Paris , Puebla , and Seville also offer qualified students the option of taking one or more courses at local universities with host country students.
On the Legon, Limerick and Ludwigsburg programs, and, as noted above, in some cases on the Alicante , Córdoba, Florence, London, Paris, Perugia, Puebla , Seville and South Africa programs, students enroll in one or more university courses with local students. The courses tend to be (though are not always) large lecture courses with little faculty/student interaction or class discussion and no field trips. The courses are structured like European university courses, with fewer assignments, a lengthy reading list, and a major examination or paper at the end of the course that determines most or all of your grade. Students enrolling in these programs or courses should be highly self-motivated and work well independently.
The programs in London, Paris, Alicante, Córdoba , Puebla, and Seville offer optional internships for qualified students.
How do credits and grades work?
Hollins Abroad-Paris and London: Courses offered on the Hollins Abroad-Paris and London programs are listed in the Hollins University academic catalog and can be taken for major, minor, or general elective credit and can count toward general education program perspective requirements as noted in the catalog.
Hollins-Affiliated Study Abroad Programs: Credit for courses taken on Hollins-affiliated study abroad programs and for courses taken at London Metropolitan University while on Hollins Abroad-London must be approved individually by the chair of the appropriate department on campus. Students must submit course approval forms with supporting documentation (course descriptions, syllabi, and/or other relevant information) to the assistant registrar who will forward to the appropriate department chairs for approval. Approval for a course to fulfill a general education perspective must be further approved by the Academic Policy Committee and the full faculty. Many courses on these programs have already been approved for credit. A list of those courses, indicating their approval for major, minor, and/or general elective credit, and for general education program perspectives can be found at www.hollins.edu on the registrar’s website.
All Hollins and Hollins-affiliated Programs: Courses are graded A-F and are counted in the Hollins GPA. Courses cannot be taken on a pass/fail basis and cannot fulfill general education program skills requirements. Students must enroll full-time (a minimum of 14 credits). Credit equivalencies vary from program to program; students generally take 4-5 courses per term. Audited courses will not be counted towards full-time enrollment.
January Short Term Courses Abroad: Short Term courses, whether taken on campus or abroad, are graded pass/fail and cannot fulfill major, minor, or general education program requirements.
Study Abroad Programs Not Affiliated with Hollins : Courses taken on programs not affiliated with Hollins are considered as transfer credits and the process for their approval is the same as that for transfer credits. Most departments have limits on the number of transfer credits which may be applied to the major.
Should I go for a term or a year?
The choice of whether to study abroad for a term or a year depends on the student’s academic interests and program options. It is difficult for students of some majors to spend more than a term abroad and successfully complete their academic programs in four years. Other majors are more flexible or have requirements that can be more easily fulfilled with courses taken abroad. Students of foreign languages are encouraged to consider spending two terms abroad. Some programs offer only one term or offer more than one term only to certain students.
What are the housing options?
In general, a homestay or residence hall shared with local students provides the richest cultural experience. In a homestay you have a great deal of independence but also a welcoming environment, people to provide assistance and insight into the local culture, and home-cooked meals. Living with host country nationals is particularly important in developing foreign language skills. Residence halls and student apartments offer independence and, in some cases, a chance to live with local students. Maintenance is sometimes unreliable, but in general the facilities are satisfactory.
How much will it cost and how does financial aid work?
Hollins’ study abroad fee for all Hollins and affiliated programs is the regular Hollins comprehensive fee plus the study abroad administrative fee. Any financial aid you receive for study on campus can be applied to study abroad for one term on any Hollins or Hollins-affiliated study abroad program. All aid, including Hollins institutional aid, applies to a second term for any student on Hollins Abroad-London or Paris, for Spanish majors and minors in Seville, Alicante and Córdoba or Puebla, for advanced German students in Ludwigsburg, for students of Japanese in Osaka, and for students splitting a year abroad between an affiliated program (such as Limerick or Arcadia) and Hollins Abroad-London or Paris. Students seeking to split a year abroad between an affiliated program and London or Paris must submit an academic rationale to the Director of International Programs. The Director of International Programs will then review the rationale with the Vice President for Academic Affairs and make a determination on a case by case basis. Hollins institutional financial aid cannot be applied to a second semester on any of the other programs or to a second study abroad program in any other case. If student employment is part of your financial aid package, you should see Scholarships and Financial Assistance as early as possible to see if your earnings can be replaced with a different form of aid while you are abroad.
Students applying for the School for Field Studies, ICCS/Rome, or CYA/Athens programs who receive need-based aid at Hollins must complete a program financial aid application. Any aid received will substitute for Hollins institutional funding.
The fee for study abroad includes tuition, room, all or some meals depending on the program, an International Student ID Card, and comprehensive study abroad health insurance. In most programs it also includes some additional services, which may include group trips, a local transportation pass, museum pass, some health insurance, etc.
Additional costs include overseas transportation, independent travel, other personal expenses, and, in some cases, the cost of some meals, tickets to performances required for some courses and/or other program-related expenses. The amount needed to cover these expenses varies tremendously from student to student, depending on location, spending habits, and available budget. Some students in the least expensive countries manage on about $1,500 in addition to the cost of overseas transportation. On average, students spend about $2,500 for their personal travel and expenses. Some students spend considerably more.
How do I get ready for Study Abroad?
When you are accepted to a study abroad program, you are provided with written orientation information for your program, either from the Hollins international programs office or the program sponsor. There are also required on-campus orientation meetings for all study abroad programs. At these meetings you’ll receive information about your program, cultural differences, health and safety, travel arrangements, money, what to pack, registering for classes, and for housing when you return to Hollins, etc. Each program also has an on-site orientation, lasting from a few hours to several days.
What if I want to study in a country where Hollins doesn’t have a program?
There are hundreds of study abroad programs in countries around the world. Guidebooks and brochures for many programs are available in the international programs resource room in Turner Hall. Hollins accepts credits for study abroad programs sponsored by U.S.-accredited organizations. All courses must be approved in advance for transfer of credit. To enroll in a study abroad program not affiliated with Hollins, you must go on leave from Hollins for the period of study abroad. You pay a study abroad administrative fee to Hollins; all other fees are determined by your program. Your Hollins University financial aid is not applicable but in some cases, federal financial aid (Pell Grants, Stafford Loans) can be applied to your fees. Some programs offer limited scholarships and some outside scholarships are available. See the director of international programs to discuss your options.
Grades from study abroad on non-Hollins programs are applied as transfer credit, so there are some limitations on applying credits to major, minor, and general education requirements. You should consult in advance with the registrar’s office and your advisor to be sure the credits will transfer as you wish. Before going on a leave to study abroad on a program not affiliated with Hollins, you must meet with the Director of International Programs.
Please note that Hollins strongly discourages enrollment in programs in areas which are under U.S. Department of State travel warnings. For a list of such countries, go to http://www.travel.state.gov .
Is it safe to study abroad in the post-9/11 world?
No one can guarantee your safety either in this country or abroad. Now, as in the past, your safety depends primarily on your own behavior. In all of Hollins’ study abroad sites, you are much more likely to be in danger as a result of making bad personal choices (drinking too much alcohol, being alone at night in an unsafe area, etc.) than as a result of terrorist activity. The Hollins international programs office monitors bulletins from the U.S. Department of State on a daily basis and will take appropriate action if a crisis occurs in a country where we have a program. Each Hollins program or affiliate has experienced, responsible staff who will make all necessary arrangements should a political or other emergency arise.
In terms of violent crime, each of our study abroad sites is considerably safer than most large American cities. On the other hand, petty theft is common in many of the countries. Your orientation materials and the U.S. Department of State’s website ( www.travel.state.gov ) contain useful information on safety and security in your host country.
What are the Application Deadlines for Hollins programs?
Where can I find more information?
Information and applications for all Hollins programs are available on this website.
Information on programs not affiliated with Hollins is available in the international programs resource room in Turner Hall, A24.
Questions can also be directed to us at 540-362-6089, 800-511-6612 or at firstname.lastname@example.org .