How much will it cost?
The cost of a study abroad experience is not trivial. In general, we say that the cost of living roughly equivalent to living off campus at UCF. However, with the loss of value of the US dollar in recent months, this may no longer be true. Furthermore, this does not take into consideration the cost of air fare, which has been steadily rising lately in response to high fuel costs, or the cost of any travel that you may decide to undertake to visit other areas of the region, either during the study abroad period or afterwards. Lastly, it should be mentioned that some of our study abroad destinations are more expensive than others. If expense is a critical issue (and it almost always is), then you should take this into consideration when selecting a partner institution at which to study.
Nevertheless, there are things you can do to partially mitigate the cost of this experience. There are sources of financial assistance. Additionally, we have worked hard to identify potential partners for paid internships abroad of which you can take advantage. We expect this list of industrial partners to grow over the years to provide our students with practical technical experience as well as a means to subsidize their living overseas.
Will I be safe?
The safety of our students is our foremost consideration. While no one can fully guarantee your safety while you are abroad, we make sure that the social and political climate in the area in which our students will be living and studying is conducive to doing so safely. Our procedure to ensure safety includes monitoring of the U.S. Department of State travel warnings and advisories, regular consultations with onsite resident program coordinators and through communication with responsible officials in host universities. Additionally, the institutions and the country where we send you are visited by one or more UCF faculty and/or staff members prior to agreeing to send students there. Furthermore, the Office of International Studies holds orientation seminars for students just before they leave for overseas.
What about health insurance coverage?
Medical insurance policies issued in the U.S. are not always valid outside the United States. Furthermore, doctors, clinics, and hospitals abroad often expect immediate payment upon any medical services. For these reasons, we highly recommend that all students traveling overseas have international insurance coverage.
How long will I be gone?
The length of study abroad stays is either one or two semesters. This means that you will be away from approximately four to eight months. Oftentimes, our students choose to remain in the country of study after their study abroad experience to travel and experience the region. While we generally encourage this from a personal growth standpoint, it is not part of the official study abroad experience.
Where will I live?
Most likely students will have the choice of three different living arrangements:
- Home stay: Families are carefully selected by our partner institutions for our students to stay. This has advantages when you are learning a new language, as the host families are not typically fluent in English.
- Student dorms: This is the most typical. Most partner institutions will set aside space in their student dorms for international students. This allows our students to better mix in with the local student population as well as other international students.
- Apartment: On some occasions, a student will rent their own apartment. Sometimes the partner institution can provide assistance for you to find such living arrangements, but this is not common. More typically, the foreign institution has apartments that they use as extensions to the dorms and will assign our students to these apartments. This is not unlike the UCF affiliated apartment housing complexes in around the UCF campus.
Will I need a car abroad?
While it is certainly possible for our students to purchase and drive cars abroad in most countries where our partner institutions are located (although not all), we highly recommend against it. Driving in other countries is different from driving in the US. Some of our partner countries drive on the left hand side of the road (England, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Ireland and others). Furthermore, we are not familiar with insurance issues related to driving. On the other hand, public transportation in most of our partner countries is excellent and inexpensive.
Will I receive grades for courses taken abroad?
Yes, of course. You will enroll in classes here at UCF and pay tuition at UCF as you would normally. This simplifies the logistics because you will not need to transfer the classes and credits taken overseas, and avoid the bureaucracy typically involved with such transfers of credits. This also allows you to use whatever financial assistance you would normally get (Bright Futures, scholarships, etc.). Part of the agreements UCF has with our foreign partner institutions is that they allow our students into their classes for free, and treat them like any other student. A grade is given at the end of the semester and that grade is transferred back into your transcript by the UCF Office of International Studies (OIS), who handles such registrations. Sometimes a translation from the foreign institution's grading scale (e.g., 1-5 points, 0-100%) into the A/B/C/D/F grading scale used at UCF is required. This is done by the UCF Office of International Studies. OIS has extensive experience in this matter, and is in constant consultation with the foreign partner institutions to insure a fair and accurate grade translation.
What if I fail to successfully complete a course?
It is the same as failing a course at UCF. The grade will be calculated into your GPA, and could affect any financial assistance you are receiving. If the course is required for your program, it will have to be repeated. This is why it is imperative that students take their academics seriously while abroad in order to avoid negative financial and academic consequences.
Tips for living abroad:
- Cultural Shock
When one goes abroad one will experience new cultures, people, food, music and probably a new language. All of the novelty combined with the lack of things and people with which one might be familiar might cause some anxiety and stress. This type of anxiety is called cultural shock. The vast majority of people quickly overcome cultural shock and gain from it. Not only will the cross-cultural adjustment help in his or her learning and development in a new country, it will make the experience more rewarding and interesting.
Nowhere in the world is 100% free of racism and discrimination. Your son/daughter can face racism or discrimination abroad just like they can face racism or discrimination for whatever reason in their home country. However, many times students that go foreign countries find out that in some places people are more accepting of different races and cultures than in their communities at home. Don't let the possibility of racism or discrimination stop your son/daughter from many benefits of studying abroad.
For more information on study abroad opportunities at UCF, please visit www.studyabroad.ucf.edu