Planning Your Study Abroad
Steps for Studying Abroad
- Commit yourself and begin planning. Most programs require that you apply at least six to nine months before departure.
- Apply for a passport at least six months before departure. You can apply for one at any Main U.S. Post Office (11th St. W in Huntington). An original birth certificate and two photo IDs are required. If you already hold a passport, it should be valid for at least 3 months beyond the date you intend to return.
- Gather information. Visit www.isep.org, www.iiepassport.org, or www.studyabroad.com.
- Join the Marshall University STUDYABROAD-LIST to get the latest news about studying abroad through Marshall University. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to join.
- Estimate costs – talk with parents, the Financial Aid Office and the Study Abroad Advisor. Federal aid is available to qualifying students for study abroad, except summer.
- Decide on a program: Will it be a semester, summer, or a full year? What country? What language will I need?
- Sit down with your academic advisor and list: 1) General education requirements yet to be met; might these be taken abroad? 2) Required courses in your major yet to be taken; might these be taken abroad? 3) Elective courses in your major; might these be taken abroad?
- You will need one or more academic recommendations when you apply for a study abroad program. Begin asking faculty members who are familiar with your work to write a letter on your behalf. It should refer also to your social maturity and strengths which will help assess your ability to adjust abroad.
- Consult with a faculty liaison – an MU faculty or staff member who can answer your specific questions about study abroad related to your major, a specific program, or the country where you wish to study.
- Research the study abroad scholarship opportunities (see list of scholarships under “Finances” on this website) and begin the application process well in advance of the deadlines.
- Consult often with the Office of Study Abroad located in the Center for International Program at 320 Old Main.
Federal aid is available to qualifying students for study abroad programs, including summer terms if available. Students must be enrolled full-time at Marshall while they participate in a study abroad program. Depending on the program, students might pay their tuition and/or room/board fees at home or to the host institution. Students are also responsible for paying for their airfare, health insurance, sightseeing, etc.
Increase your chances of finding scholarship money by selecting a less common destination for study abroad. Over 60% of U.S. students studying abroad go to Europe, mainly the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Germany or Italy. Consider doing an exchange program in Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe, and South America. Below is a sample of scholarship listings. Visit the MU Study Abroad website and join our email listserv to get updated information on scholarships for study abroad.
- Rotary Scholarships – Each year the Rotary Foundation sponsors “ambassadors of goodwill” to study in another country. (http://www.rotary.org/foundation/educational/)
- Golden Key International Honor Society – Members of this organization are eligible to apply for a $2000 study abroad scholarship? Deadlines for the scholarships, which are presented twice each year, are October 15 and April 15. (http://www.goldenkey.org/GKweb/ScholarshipsandAwards/)
- National Security Education Program (NSEP) David L. Boren Undergraduate Scholarships – Provide support to U.S. undergraduates who will pursue the study of languages and cultures currently underrepresented in study abroad and critical to U.S. national security. (http://www.borenawards.org/boren_scholarship)
- Freeman-Asia – Seeks to increase the number of American undergraduate students who study in East and Southeast Asia, by providing them with the information and financial assistance they will need. (http://www.iie.org/programs/freeman-asia/)
- Gilman Scholarship – Provides awards of up to $5,000 for U.S. undergraduate students to study abroad of up to one academic year. To be eligible students must be receiving a Federal Pell Grant at the time of application. (http://www.iie.org/gilman)
- German Academic Exchange Service – Supports study abroad in Germany and at German universities. (http://www.daad.org/?p=46362)
- British Council – Information for funding your study in the UK (http://www.britishcouncil.org/usa-education-funding-your-studies.htm)
- Fulbright – Program offers opportunities for recent graduates, postgraduate candidates, and developing professionals and artists to conduct career-launching study and research abroad. (http://exchanges.state.gov/us/spotlight/fulbright-program)
Students should contact their current health insurance company and inquire about purchasing other health insurance for their study or travel abroad. The Center for International Programs requires that all students studying abroad obtain comprehensive health insurance coverage. We are currently recommending HTH Worldwide which offer a comprehensive protection plan for students studying outside their home countries. For more information about this plan, including the benefits and pricing, visit the HTH Worldwide website.
Health and Safety Resources for Study Abroad
- Department of State Travel Warnings and Consular Information Sheets. Lists travel warnings for Americans in light of political unrest or health issues in individual countries as well as announcements for particular regions.
- U.S. Department of State Tips for Students – http://travel.state.gov/ – Provides information on medical insurance and what consular officers can and cannot do to help U.S. citizens abroad.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Infectious Diseases: Travelers’ Health –http://www.cdc.gov/travel/index.htm – Includes vaccination recommendations and information on the latest outbreaks of diseases around the world, and provides health information on specific destinations.
- Interorganizational Task Force on Safety and Responsibility in Study Abroad – Provides recommendations for programs, including a requirement that participants have medical insurance and that programs provide orientations for participants both before and after they arrive in their host countries.
Students should shop around as much as possible to find the best deals on their air tickets. STA Travel is one of the world’s largest study abroad travel organizations. Visit the STA Travel website for more information and reservations.
International ID Card
STA also coordinates the International Student Identification Card (ISIC) program. The card allows students to receive discounts for travel around the world and provides limited student health and accident insurance.
Students can obtain an International Student Identification Card (ISIC) directly from the STA Travel website or drop by the Center for International Programs in Old Main 320 to obtain a card before departing.
ID Cards are usually processed in the Center on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday from 8AM to 2PM, but it is best to contact Jyotsna Patel by email at email@example.com before you drop by. In most cases, the ID Card can be obtained same day.
The procedures for obtaining the International Student ID Card in person are as follows:
Complete the form in our office. Submit the form with $22 application fee and one passport size photo. Make check payable to: Marshall University Foundation. The fee can also be paid in cash, but payment should be made in the exact amount.