Where do Union students go abroad?
Students participate in terms abroad and foreign exchanges in Africa (Tanzania), Asia (China, Cambodia, Japan, Vietnam), Europe (Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Ireland, Greece, Italy, Spain), North America (Canada, Mexico), Oceania (Australia, Fiji/Palau) and South America (Brazil).
In addition, mini-terms are offered during winter and summer breaks. During summer 2011 students went to mini-terms in China, Russia and Senegal. During December 2011 students can go to mini-terms in Argentina, Egypt, India, London, New Zealand and Thailand. Opportunities to study in the U.S. include mini-terms in New Orleans, the American South (the Civil Rights Public History Mini-Term) and every four years in New Hampshire (the Presidential Primary Mini-Term).
What are the application deadlines?
Students apply for international programs two terms in advance. It is very important that they meet these deadlines: Fall term, mid-January; Winter term, mid-April; and Spring term: mid-September. All applications, essays and unofficial transcripts are due by the third Friday of the appropriate month in the International Office, located on the third floor of Old Chapel.
Are all of the credits transferrable?
In each program, all courses count toward the graduation requirement of 36 courses. All terms abroad and exchanges satisfy the General Education "Other Cultures" requirement. Some courses with departmental designations count toward departmental requirements as well.
Where do students live?
Students live with host families in Australia, Brazil, France (Rennes), Fiji/Palau, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Spain and Tanzania. They stay in dormitories or apartments in Belgium, China, Czech Republic, England, France (Lille), Germany, Greece, Ireland, Vietnam and on the National Health Systems term abroad.
How competitive are the programs?
While we're proud of the unusually high percentage of Union students who study abroad, our international programs are competitive, some highly so. Because of the competition, all students who are eligible for programs are not necessarily guaranteed participation. Attendance at informational meetings is essential. These are announced to students in advance.
Can students go on a mini-term and a term abroad?
Yes, students may apply and be selected for both types of international programs, but students can go on only one full term study abroad program per their academic career. There is no limit on the number of mini-terms students may participate in.
How are students selected?
Selection criteria include the student's essay, GPA, faculty recommendations, course of study, certification by the Dean of Students, and the faculty selection committee's assessment of the student's ability to adapt to the program's social and academic environment.
The selection committee also seeks a group of students with varied academic and intellectual backgrounds and interests. The College urges students to get advice from their academic advisors and from the International Programs Office to choose programs appropriate to their interests.
How much does it cost to study abroad?
A term abroad costs approximately $600 more than a term on campus. With the exception of work-study, all financial aid a student receives on campus applies to the program. The term abroad fee covers tuition, room, board, and all group excursions. Arrangements and the cost of round-trip travel are the responsibility of the individual student.
What is the difference between a term abroad and an exchange?
There are three significant differences: There are no group excursions on an exchange. Participants in an exchange are not charged the terms abroad surcharge. And there is no Union faculty member accompanying students on an exchange; rather, a staff member at the host institution is responsible for the Union students.
What forms are required to go abroad?
There are a number of forms students and their families must sign and return to the International Programs Office by the deadline given at the first orientation meeting for each program. Included in these is a Participant's Agreement, a legal document that has to be signed by the student and both parents in front of a Notary Public. See this section for more information.
What about medical coverage while my student is abroad?
It is imperative that your student have medical coverage while abroad. This can be medical insurance purchased from Union, coverage from parental plans, or both. All students also must purchase ($25) an International Student Identity Card (ISIC) from the International Programs Office. This card provides required medical evacuation and repatriation insurance while the student is abroad.
Students should check to see what vaccinations they will need for their program.
Who arranges air travel to the chosen country?
Each student is responsible for arranging airline reservations. The College does not arrange group travel. If your student does not have a passport at the time of application, he or she should apply for one immediately. The passport must be valid for six months after the end of the program. If a visa is needed, this process should be started as soon as possible, as well.
Be sure to keep a copy of your student's passport, visa, travel itinerary home stay or dormitory information.
What's the best way to keep in touch with my student abroad?
Before your child leaves, arrange how you will communicate, i.e., e-mail, Skype, cell phone, international calling card. It is also important to know the name and e-mail, telephone number of Union's contact in your child's overseas program.
Please don't worry if you don't hear from your child right away. Be prepared for delays in initial contact – plane delays, difficulty in setting up phone or computer communication. Remember, your child is very excited about traveling abroad, so contacting parents may not be the first priority!
Please remind your child to keep all valuables with them in a safe place.
Be supportive and encouraging if your child is initially homesick or unhappy. This might be due to the change of culture. This usually resolves itself within a week or so. If this persists, encourage your child to talk to the faculty in residence, the International Programs Office or the international office in the host country.
Your child must keep in touch with the faculty in residence, and they must stay at their accommodation.
Is there a number I can contact in case of emergency?
In case of illness, hospitalization, lack of contact from your child or other potentially life-threatening situations, Lara Atkins, director of International Programs, can be reached at this emergency number: (518) 573-0471.