These frequently asked questions have been prepared to address the most common queries that we receive from Tulane students who are interested in studying abroad. Tulane students should read through the policies and procedures listed on the Study Abroad website, as well as the FAQs, to begin to research the study abroad process at Tulane.
Please note that these questions and answers have been prepared for students who are planning to study abroad through a program approved by the Office of Study Abroad. Therefore, the answers are not necessarily applicable to you if you are participating on a program through the Freeman School of Business or on a non-Tulane Program.
Studying abroad can be one of the most enriching, educationally stimulating and fulfilling experiences of your life and can have long-lasting, positive effects academically, socially and professionally. Through engagement inside and outside of the classroom, you will gain insights into a different culture while building on your ability to communicate and collaborate with a diverse group of people. Study abroad can expand your worldview, help you become more adaptable and help you increase your foreign language skills. Study abroad can also provide you with hard and soft skills that make you a more competitive candidate for jobs, graduate and professional schools and other post-baccalaureate opportunities. Some of these skills include:
Selecting a program is one of the most important steps in studying abroad! Your host city will be your home, whether for a month or a whole year! Programs differ in many different ways, from the academics available to the campus size and feel. Start by thinking about your major or minor field of study. You will probably want to identify a program that will enhance your academic experience here at Tulane, giving you insight that you may not otherwise get by staying in New Orleans. You can then use the following questions to help narrow down your choices:
By reviewing the information on our Selecting a Program page and answering these questions, you can start to get an idea of what type of program you are seeking. All of the approved Tulane programs are described on the Office of Study Abroad website, www.studyabroad.tulane.edu. It’s the best place to begin your researching programs. Once you’ve done some research, you can make an appointment with a study abroad adviser to talk about your options.
The Office of Study Abroad strives to enable every qualified student, regardless of major, to have a study abroad experience. Any student meeting the eligibility requirements to can submit an application to study abroad. Depending on your major, you may study abroad at an atypical time – during the spring of sophomore year or over the summer – rather than during the traditional junior year. Successful study abroad comes from planning early and meeting with your advisers in the Center for Academic Advising, the Office of Study Abroad and your major department.
Students in the following disciplines may have particular requirements or questions about their study abroad:
While all OSA programs are, in principle, open to Public Health students, not all of them offer courses that routinely transfer towards major requirements. Public Health students may select among a list of programs that have been approved by the School of Public Health on which students can find courses that fulfill major requirements. If you would like to participate on an approved program that is not on this list, meet with your adviser in the School of Public Health before proceeding with an application. Please visit their website to schedule an appointment and view academic requirements.
Architecture students must meet with their Academic Adviser in the School of Architecture in order to gain approval to study abroad. Then, the Office of Study Abroad will help you identify the appropriate program.
Business students can study abroad on a program administered by the Office of Study Abroad but cannot take Business courses on these programs. If you’re interested in studying abroad on a Business program, contact Freeman International Programs at 504-862-9770 or visit their website.
Semester at Sea is considered a domestic program. Students interested in Semester at Sea should speak to Academic Advising rather than the Office of Study Abroad.
Visit the Advising Resources page of the OSA website to learn about the different ways to meet with a Peer Advisor or Staff Advisor in the Office of Study Abroad.
Students usually get more out of their study abroad appointment if they have looked at the policies on the Study Abroad website and browsed the program pages first. After reading through this FAQ and the other pages on the site, come up with a list of questions to ask during your advising appointment and create a list of programs you are interested in. Your study abroad advisor can review them with you and help you think about the answers. Please fill out the Pre-Advising Form so your advisor can be better prepared to meet your needs.
The right timing of study abroad is different for every student! Most programs require at least sophomore standing, while some require junior standing. Transfer students must have completed at least one semester at Tulane before applying to study abroad. Traditionally, most Tulane students study abroad during their junior year.
You can find a list of Tulane-administered summer programs by selecting the “Summer” option on the Simple Search section of our Programs Page. These programs are taught by Tulane faculty and carry full Tulane credit. In addition to these programs, you may also seek approval to partake in a non-Tulane summer program through the Office of Study Abroad. If the program is approved, the credit will come back to Tulane as transfer credit.
Yes, you can study abroad for more than one semester. Studying abroad for a full year has definite benefits, such as increased intercultural development and language skills. Working with your major and academic advisers, you can determine the right duration of your study abroad by considering many factors, such as your academic goals, the requirements of your major and your various extra-curricular commitments.
You may seek approval to study abroad in two different locations over the course of two semesters by demonstrating a strong academic motivation for doing so. For example, students of Spanish may wish to spend a semester in Latin America and a semester in Spain. Or, if you are working towards two majors and studying abroad on two different programs would benefit both majors, then it may make sense for you to move to a different site for your second semester abroad. However, by staying abroad in one place for a full year, you can maximize your immersion in your host country.
Tulane requires students to have a cumulative 3.0 grade point average at the time of application for study abroad. You should also be in good academic and disciplinary standing and meet the minimum Tulane and program requirements listed on the Program Brochure page. In the semester prior to study abroad, you must earn a minimum of 12 credits and a GPA of 3.0. Failure to meet this minimum standard may result in the revocation of approval to study abroad. These standards take precedence even if the host program or university requires a lower CGPA.
Some programs do require a CGPA above 3.0 or require certain prerequisite courses for admission. Please make sure to review the eligibility requirements for each program to ensure that you meet the minimum requirements prior to submitting an application.
You do not need to speak a foreign language to study abroad. The Tulane-approved portfolio includes many programs in English-speaking countries such as England, New Zealand and Australia. In non-English speaking countries in which Tulane does not offer the host language, such as Poland, Sweden and Denmark, program courses are taught in English. On these types of programs, Tulane students are required to take a course introducing them to the language and culture of the host country.
Grades from abroad will show as letter grades on the official transcript but will not be factored into the overall GPA. This does not apply on Tulane-run summer programs.
The Tulane application for study abroad is found by logging into the Tulane Study Abroad website. Each program page has an “Apply Now” button which will prompt you to complete the online application. The application has many components, including essays, letters of recommendation and language evaluations, if applicable. You may be required to submit additional, requested materials to the Tulane Office of Study Abroad and/or your host university or program. Because application requirements vary by program, do not rely on the advice of other study abroad applicants; read through the application materials for your selected program. Be sure to adhere to the deadlines set by the Tulane Office of Study Abroad.
Applying to study abroad is a two-part process. In addition to the Tulane application, you will likely have to submit a secondary application directly to the program or host university. The program webpage, linked to the Tulane program brochure, will let you know if the secondary application is required and the deadline for completing it. The secondary application may be due later than the Tulane application but may also require some of the same documents, such as letters of recommendation or an essay. So, you might want to complete both applications at the same time.
Please note that if you are applying to DIS, there is no secondary application to complete. However, an on-campus interview with a DIS representative is a mandatory part of the application process.
The application process opens each semester on the date listed on our study abroad timeline. While you can’t apply until that date, you can begin preparing for the application by researching your options and selecting the program you will apply for. You can also begin to think about potential faculty members who can write your letter(s) of recommendation.
You can reach out to the program provider or host university as you prepare your application, but it’s usually a good idea to speak with your Tulane study abroad advisor first, as they may be able to answer your questions and can also keep you informed of any Tulane policies or deadlines that you need to be aware of.
You can only apply to one program during the study abroad application process. Because some of the programs on Tulane’s approved list have limited space or are very competitive, it is a good idea to have an alternate program in mind. If your host program does not offer you admission, the Office of Study Abroad will work with you to help you apply to your alternate program. Eligibility does not guarantee admission to the program of your choice.
If you have been approved to study abroad by the OSA but do not receive admission from the program, you should notify your study abroad adviser as soon as possible. We will work with you to submit an application to your alternate program. However, we can’t guarantee admission and you may need to study abroad in a subsequent semester.
The Office of Study Abroad staff does not review individual applications before they are submitted. If you have a specific question about your application, you can contact your study abroad advisor for help. You can use other resources on campus, such as the Academic Success Center for reviewing your essay, the Academic Advising Center for selecting courses, and your major department for questions about course equivalencies.
Course listings can usually be found on the program provider or host university website for the period that you will be abroad. If you are having a hard time finding them, you can always check with your study abroad adviser for assistance. These listings are a great resource to see what is available on your host program but please keep in mind that final course selection is generally made during the beginning of your study abroad program, on-site.
You should speak with your Academic Adviser at Tulane and your Major adviser in your department about selecting your courses while you’re studying abroad. During the application process, you will be required to get their approval for study abroad. This requirement is meant to provide a time for you to discuss this topic with your advisers.
The program brochure page on the Office of Study Abroad website lists course equivalencies in the “Courses Students Have Taken” section of the Program Description. If you can’t find a particular course on that list, it may just mean that no Tulane student has taken it before! You can speak with your departmental adviser about the course to see if they can tell you the equivalency.
You are eligible to earn elective credit for all courses taken on an approved Tulane study abroad program as long as there is a matching discipline at Tulane. For example, you would not receive elective credit for a Physical Education or Culinary Arts course because there is no equivalent department at Tulane.
Credit taken abroad can count towards your major or minor, but the awarding of major or minor credit is wholly at the discretion of the relevant Tulane academic department. The OSA strongly advises you to retain course materials, including syllabi, reading lists, papers and exams, and to closely coordinate with you major, minor and academic advisers prior to study abroad and during registration periods as much as possible in order to understand credit transfer requirements.
You're required to enroll in the minimum courseload as determined by your host program or university. If your program does not indicate a minimum, Tulane requires you to enroll in a minimum of the equivalent of 12 Tulane semester credit hours in order to maintain full-time status. The number of courses you will take may depend on the number of credit hours of the course. Tulane sets no upper limit on the number of credit hours you can earn during a semester abroad, but your individual program or university may.
Yes. If Tulane does not have a matching discipline, such as Physical Education or Culinary Arts, you are not able to take a course in that discipline while abroad. In general, you should not enroll in any course while abroad in a field of study not offered at Tulane if that course has not been pre-approved. Students on an Office of Study Abroad program cannot take Business courses. When in doubt, check with your academic advisor!
Grades are processed and posted as they are received, and the timing of their posting varies from program to program. The Tulane Office of Study Abroad receives student grade reports from host institutions and programs, and is therefore dependent upon these institutions for the grades. You can expect a waiting period of up to three months following the conclusion of the study abroad program. Upon receipt, the grades are checked by OSA staff and then entered into the Tulane system. If you have any financial hold from the host institution, your grades may be delayed.
You are also required to complete your study abroad program evaluation and the transmittal of credits and grades to your Tulane transcript will occur once you have completed it.
Pre-Departure Orientations are mandatory, and are held the semester prior to your study abroad experience. The first part of the two-part orientation consists of an on-line exercise which introduces you to the important policies that apply to all Tulane students regardless of where you study abroad. This orientation also provides resources on travel safety, cultural adjustment and strategies for success while abroad.
The second part of the PDO is country- or region-specific and is designed to prepare you for the specific elements of your program and the region where you will be studying abroad. This orientation is led by Tulane faculty, OSA staff and/or program representatives who have experience in the area of the world in which you will study.
The Office of Study Abroad is not responsible for obtaining student passports or visas nor are they responsible for any passport or visa complications, delays or denials. Students are responsible for making sure that they have a valid passport and visa in order to study in their host country. To research the process for applying for your passport (if you are an American citizen), you can start by visiting the State Department Website.
A visa is the host country’s endorsement that you are allowed to enter and stay in the country for a specified period of time and for a specified reason. Tulane students are responsible for obtaining their own visa. Because the visa application requirements vary by country and are subject to change, students should refer to the embassy website of their host country for the most up-to-date information about the visa application process, costs and requirements.
You should make your own travel arrangements after you receive the finalized dates of your program directly from your host institution or program provider. Some program providers may offer advice, group flight options and/or airport pick-up services that you can take advantage of. The Office of Study Abroad does not assist with travel arrangements for study abroad, but students must inform the OSA of their travel plans for risk management purposes.
Chances are, your housing situation will be quite a bit different from what you’ve experienced here on campus! Many universities abroad do not have on-campus housing like we have at Tulane. You will select a housing option prior to your departure. Depending on the host program, you may choose between a homestay, a dorm or an independent apartment. In every case possible, we recommend that you seek housing options that will maximize integration into the host culture, whether through living with a local host family or with local students. As with housing, meal options will also vary. You may find yourself eating three meals a day with your host family, you might have on-campus dining hall options that are very similar to those available at Tulane or you might cook for yourself in a dorm or apartment.
Students generally arrange housing directly with universities or program providers. Many universities and programs require student to live in housing arranged by the program. In almost all cases, housing fees are paid by the student directly to the university or program provider.
Housing and Residence Life requires you to contact their office before you depart for your fall study abroad program to have arrangements in place for your return in the spring semester. You will be responsible for working with HRL.
You remain enrolled full-time at Tulane while studying abroad on an approved program and are charged full-time student tuition and the study abroad fee, which replaces the Tulane academic support fee when you are billed by Tulane’s Accounts Receivable. All other costs are normally paid by the student independently (travel, for example) or directly to the program provider (housing, for example).
All financial aid and scholarships that normally applies towards tuition and fees at Tulane, except housing, apply while the student is on a study abroad program. Housing scholarships apply only to Tulane on-campus housing. You will be charged room and board costs directly by the host institution. Price varies based on the program and type of housing selected but is comparable to the cost of living at Tulane.
If you receive scholarships, grants and/or loans and plan to utilize them during study abroad, you should schedule an appointment with your financial aid advisor before leaving campus!
The Office of Study Abroad administers awards available to students who are studying on approved Tulane programs. You can search for these scholarships on the Supplemental Funding for Study Abroad page of our website. Your host program provider may also have scholarships or grants available. More information will be found on the scholarship section of their website.
Students can also apply for national scholarship programs, such as the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program, DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) or the David L. Boren Scholarship directly. OSA strongly recommends that if you are interested in these scholarships, you begin the research process early – even one to two years prior to departure – as scholarship deadlines can come well before program application deadlines. Please keep in mind that these additional awards may alter your overall financial aid package.
Yes, you do need to pay the program deposit. The Office of Study Abroad does not pay the deposit nor is it covered by your Tulane tuition. The deposit is essentially a guarantee that you will attend the program and ensures that the program will hold your spot once you’ve been admitted. If you do not attend the program, the deposit will generally not be refunded. In most cases, this deposit will ultimately be applied to your study abroad housing fee.
Your safety is an important part of the mission of the Office of Study Abroad. Tulane takes great care to select and continuously monitor the programs in our portfolio, all of which have staff who are very knowledgeable about the host culture and can serve as resources in a time of emergency. We also urge you to take personal responsibility for your safety. During the pre-departure orientation programming, OSA staff will advise you on how to take precautions while abroad by staying aware of your surroundings and attuned to potentially unsafe situations. We will also help you become informed about the local culture and customs, in order to better understand your new environment.
Here are some tips for staying safe while studying abroad:
You are required to demonstrate adequate health coverage both in the U.S. and in your host country while studying abroad. For U.S. coverage, student must complete the annual on-line waiver process, just as they would if they were staying at Tulane. To demonstrate overseas coverage, students must complete an insurance declaration found in their on-line application account and submit it to the Office of Study Abroad. The declaration indicates a variety of ways students might secure health coverage abroad. For overseas insurance, you are urged to explore their options and understand fully how your insurance will work during the period you study abroad. It is possible that your domestic health insurance may cover you while abroad; you should contact your domestic provider to make that determination.
Students have three options for health insurance coverage while abroad: to research available international options offered through their domestic provider, to enroll in insurance offered by the program (for some programs this may be included automatically or may be mandatory in order to obtain a visa, ask your provider or host university for more information), or to purchase GeoBlue insurance. Instructions on how to purchase GeoBlue are located in your Tulane application portal. Because the method you may secure health insurance while abroad varies based on the program provider and the host institution or host country, you should research their options so that they can make an informed decision.
Most medical conditions are completely manageable while abroad and simply require a bit of preparation and planning so that they do not interfere with your experience. If you have a pre-existing medical condition, you should speak with your local physician to plan for your time abroad.
Here is a list of questions to discuss with a health care provider prior to studying abroad:
Our approved programs have procedures in place to ensure that you have access to adequate healthcare. Furthermore, while it does not provide health insurance, Global Rescue can assist you in finding local medical professionals (English-speaking, if necessary) and even offering second opinions and medical advice over the phone. As part of your pre-departure preparation, OSA recommends that you stay informed about health conditions and risks in your host country while taking necessary preventative measures to stay healthy, such as staying hydrated, eating a nutritious diet, avoiding excessive alcohol use and sleeping an adequate amount each night.
If a problem arises while you are abroad, first get in touch with your host university or program provider staff. Their familiarity with your study abroad site will help them provide you with the best possible information to find a rapid solution to the problem. You can also contact the Office of Study Abroad at any time and we will respond as soon as possible.
In the case of an immediate emergency, you should call the local equivalent of 911 and then contact your host university or program provider staff.
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