The Catholic University of America
Frequently Asked Questions
 
1. What is CUAbroad?
CUAbroad at the Catholic University of America is the education abroad unit of the Center for Global Education. This office administers and develops a wide array of education abroad opportunities for both CUA and non-CUA students. Programs offered include semester, academic year and summer programs as well as international internships. Services include individual and group advising, education abroad events such as fairs, presentations to campus groups and organizations, pre-departure and re-entry orientation, a resource library, assistance with visa applications, travel information.
 
2. Am I eligible to study abroad? 
CUA students - and non-CUA students - must be enrolled full-time at the time of application, have completed 45 credits - be a second-semester sophomore - in order to be accepted into semester and academic year programs.   Please carefully read about eligibility requirements before applying.
 
3. When is the best time to go?
Many US students study abroad either during the fall or spring semester of their junior year - hence the expression "junior year abroad". Recently more students select the second semester of the sophomore year or study abroad during the first semester of the senior year.  Others select summer or interim sessions (Spring Break, May-term) especially if they have work or family obligations or if their academic of program at CUA does not allow for an entire semester to be away.  Only a small percentage of all US students completes an academic year abroad. There are students who study in one country for one semester and in another for another semester. However, this can be very complicated logistically and it requires a lot of advanced planning and a flexible academic schedule that can accommodate it. 
 
4. How long can I stay abroad?
You can go for as long as an academic year or for as short as one week, depending on your sense of adventure, budget and academic goals!  Most CUA students participate in semester programs and many complement this experience with a short-term programs. If you plan to participate on a semester or academic year program, you MUST be enrolled as a full-time student at the time of application and have completed 45 college-level credits by the time the program begins.
 
5. Do I need to speak the language of the country where I want to study?
It depends on the country and the program. In countries where the official language of the country is English - such as Australia, Ireland, and the UK - this is a non-issue. Some programs have a specific objective to help students learn a foreign language or improve language proficiency. Some of these may require two or more years of college-level study before they accept students or offer courses from beginning to advanced. If you wish to enroll in college level coursework in a country where the official language is not English, you will need advanced level language preparation before being allowed to directly enroll. On the other hand, many programs located in non-English speaking countries do not require previous study of the language. Always consult the program's information page for more specific information.

6.  Where can I study abroad?
The world is your classroom! CUAbroad offers a wide array program options worldwide from Argentina to South Africa and the UK and many places in between.  Check out the program choices and select the one that meets most, if not all, of your criteria for course availability and language requirements.  A list of locations and program options is available on our web site.
 
7. What type of courses can I take abroad?
Courses taken abroad may count toward your Major or Minor  (requirements or electives), General Education/Distribution  and Free Electives. 
 
8. Will my credits & grades transfer? 
You must carefully follow all the guidelines and instructions by your home instituiton (CUA) and have your courses pre-approved in order for them to be counted toward your degree.  
 
Please read information on Getting Credit very carefully as a change to the grade transfer rules will be implemented beginning January 1, 2011. All students participating in Fall 2010 semester programs who applied under the current guidelines will have their grade transferred according to the policy in effect at the time of application and acceptance.  
 
 
Sponsoring institution: Do you want to go through a U.S. university program or apply directly to a foreign university?
Language of instruction: Are courses taught in a foreign language? In English? Both?  Will you be fully immersed in a foreign-language environment? Some foreign language is offered? Most courses in English?
 
Program Type: Study? Internship? Service learning? Work abroad? Direct Enrollement? etc. Will you be studying with primarily U.S. students or foreign students, U.S. professors or host country professors? 
 
Housing: Home stay? Residence Halls? Apartments?
 
Level of Independence: Do I want to be together mostly with Americans or other foreign students or meet with the locals? How much of the time am I going to be on my own?
 
Cost: What can I afford? What services do I expect the program to provide?
 
Credits and transcript:  Will you receive an official transcript upon the completion of my studies?  
 
10.  How do I find programs abroad? 
You may select from CUA programs - those directly administered or affiliated with CUA - or you can look at non-CUA programs which are not affiliated with CUA.  We have program information on the web site as well as in  the CUAbroad Resource Library where look through binders with evaluations, study abroad resource guides, or search online.  We find the IIE Passport online at www.iiepassport.org and  StudyAbroad.com helpful for selecting from non-CUA programs. 
 
11. When shoud I start planning?
The earlier the better!  If you begin planning early, studying abroad does not have to delay your graduation.  You will have more flexibility about what types of courses you take if you meet with your advisor early.  You should definitely start your preparations at least two semesters before you plan to go abroad. For example,  if you plan to go for the fall semester, you should start researching programs the previous fall. If you are interested in our summer or spring break options, look up the program details and pick up an application at least a month before the application deadline. 
 
12. How do I get started? 
As your first step in the planning process, you can check out our Getting Started guide.  Regardless of whether you plan to participate in a CUA or non-CUA program, you must first attend a mandatory informational meeting we call CUAbroad 101: Getting Started to receive an overview of program options, eligibility requirements, deadlines, application procedures and also to have your initial questions answered.  
 
13. After I have chosen a program, how do I apply?
Follow instructions on the Application Procedures page.   Submit all your application documents BEFORE the deadline to secure your spot. 
 
The cost of an academic program depends on many factors, mostly the lenght of the program and the credits awarded, geographic locations.  Find more information and details on the Program Cost page
 
15. Can I apply my financial aid?
It depends on the type of program you select. Most federal and state financial aid can be applied to programs sponsored by an accredited U.S. institutions. CUA aid (i.e. scholarships, grants and other awards) will not apply to non-CUA programs. Read more about Financial Aid and Education Abroad.
 
16. Are there any scholarships? 
Yes, both CUA and other organizations offer scholarships for education abroad. CUA students are especially encouraged to apply for all scholarships that our affiliated partners offer.  The key is to start looking early!  Read more about Scholarships
 
17. How do I register for the semester following my semester study abroad? 
While you are overseas, it is your responsibility to check the CUA web site and Cardinal Station for the upcoming schedule of classes and to register for the semester following your program. Use Cardinal Station from overseas or have a friend, family member or your advisor register you from the U.S.
 
18. How do I cancel my housing assignment for my semester study abroad? How do I select a housing assignment for the semester following my semester study abroad?
Whether you're coming or going, please visit the Office of Housing's Education Abroad Information page  for the information you need to take care of your CUA on-campus housing. To cancel your current housing assignment, you should complete the online Housing Cancellation Request. The deadline to cancel your spring housing assignment in November 15th. If you would like to return to on-campus housing for the Spring semester, you should submit a Residence Hall and Dining Services Application available on the Housing Services website. Students studying abroad in the spring semester who would like to return for the fall semester should participate in the Room Selection process, since Room Selection is an online process you are able to participate using any computer with internet access.

19. What is the withdrawal and refund policy for education abroad programs? 
All students participating in programs administered by CUAbroad must follow the following withdrawal policies and guidelines.
 
Students should have their own comprehensive health insurance and ensure that it covers them when traveling overseas, however they will also be covered by CUA with a comprehensive foreign travel insurance plan (FrontierMEDEX) which will act as their primary health insurance when traveling abroad.
 
21. Where can I find out about travel insurance?
For a list of travel insurance companies, visit our Travel Links and look under the section called Travel insurance vendors. The CUAbroad office does not specifically endorse any of these vendors but may be able to provide guidance on selecting a health insurance provider for international travel. 

22. Am I covered for emergency evacuation while overseas? 
Yes, all students who participate in CUA-sponsored programs and approved non-CUA programs are automatically covered for emergency evacuation insurance, as it is part of the CUA foreign travel insurance plan through FrontierMEDEX and the cost is built into the program fee. 
 
23. Can I study abroad if I am under medical or psychiatric care? 
CUAbroad does not discriminate against students who are currently under medical or psychiatric care. Students under medical or psychiatric care are requested to disclose their medical condition on the online application and provide CUAbroad with a Student Medical Evaluation by their physician or mental health care provider. This information will remain confidential and is used as a precautionary measure to ensure the student's and the group's health and safety.

24. Can I drive while overseas?
Due to the major liability this entails, we ask that participants on all programs to refrain from driving any motorized vehicle while abroad. The form called Operation of Motor Vehicles Overseas is part of the online application and is also available for viewing and downloading from our Forms page. It must be signed by all participants before the program begins.

25. What if I disagree with the grade I receive from a faculty director on a CUA (resident credit) program?
CUAbroad does not get involved with grades posted by Faculty Directors on its programs. To appeal a grade for a study abroad program with a CUA faculty, follow the procedures from the CUA Policies website.

26. Do I need a passport or visa to travel?
You should make sure you have a passport that remains valid for 6 months from your return date while traveling on any program. Some countries will not issue visas or stamp passports if they expire before 6 months from that date of planned return.  Participation in semester or year-long program usually requires that you obtain - and pay for - a student visa. To find more information about this and your host country, visit http://www.travel.state.gov.
27. Where can I find travel-related resources?
You can access travel-related resources from our "Travel Links" page. Find info on the ISIC, world security, visas and passports, travel health insurance, tips for traveling and living abroad, culture shock and re-entry and much more...
28.  How do I lodge a program-related complaint?
All CUAbroad program-related complaints may be filed by the STUDENT only UPON RETURN from the education abroad program. If you have a program-related complaint, you should make mention of it in your CUAbroad program evaluation which is emailed to you toward the end of the program. The program evaluation will remain anonymous and confidential and will not be shared with the program faculty director until grades have been assigned.  Your honest feedback is important to CUAbroad in order to improve subsequent education abroad programs.
A formal program-related grievance may be lodged only after submitting a program evaluation. To do so, you must follow the formal CUAbroad grievance procedure and complete the CUAbroad Grievance Form within 4 weeks of your education abroad program. Bring the completed grievance form to CUAbroad and plan to discuss your grievance in person with the Director of Education Abroad. Your confidential grievance will be reviewed by the CUA Center for Global Education. During the review  appropriate program-related faculty and staff may be necessary to get additional perspective on the matter. You will receive a formal response once it has been fully reviewed.
29. Can I study abroad if I have a disability? 
Yes!  Please let CUAbroad and Disability Support Services know early on so that we can help you in your preparations and arrange any accommodations that are necessary.  To learn more, visit the Disability and Study Abroad website.
 

While CUAbroad and our education abroad partners make every effort to provide students with internet access, it is important for CUA students to remember that internet access in different areas of the world may differ significantly from the unlimited internet access our students enjoy at CUA. In certain program locations, students may find that they do not have internet access in their accommodations, that they have limited bandwidth, or that certain websites are blocked. CUA students are encouraged to remember that having limited access to the internet may be part of the cross-cultural experience and that they need to adjust their expectations to their host country and its customs as much as possible before departure. CUAbroad cannot guarantee unlimited internet access at overseas locations and students are encouraged to discuss this with their parents before applying to and participating in an education abroad program.

31. Can I study abroad if I have a hold on my account?
Students with financial or other holds on their accounts that prevent them from registering for courses must clear the hold before they will be allowed to attend their program abroad.  Failure to clear the hold will result in withdrawal from the program and the implementation of the CUAbroad Cancellation & Withdrawal Policy.

32. Will I need to take a leave of absence to study abroad?

No. Leaves of absence are not applicable to any education abroad program. Students will remain enrolled at CUA while on any approved education program abroad, whether affiliated or non-affilated. Students who do not receive approval to study abroad may not use a leave of absence to receive credit for their program.