WHY STUDY ABROAD?
The reasons for participating in a study abroad experience are as varied as the people who do it. Whether you want to experience other cultures first-hand, see the U.S.A. from an international perspective, test your foreign language skills, or trace your personal history, you will surely return a changed person with a new understanding of the world and yourself. Whatever your motivation, we encourage you to use the information in this publication to help you turn your dreams into reality.
Students planning to study abroad must be highly motivated, successful students. This usually means a minimum grade point average of 2.5; however, 3.0 is required for many programs. Intellectual curiosity and personal flexibility are important traits to cultivate in oneself prior to beginning an international experience. Academically, the junior year is an ideal time to study abroad, however, sophomores and seniors can often be accommodated, depending on the individual and the program of study.
WHERE AND WHEN TO BEGIN
Ideally, a student should begin researching study abroad opportunities a year or more in advance of departure. Adequate planning is critical to the successful study abroad experience and students are most successful in accomplishing their study abroad goals when they begin the planning process during their first year of study. Information and resources are available through the Office of Global Education.
Your study abroad advisor, academic advisor, knowledgeable faculty members, students returning from exchange experiences, and the coordinator of the particular program you are interested in are all sources of information for planning your trip. Application deadlines vary by program – check with the Office of Global Education for specific program deadlines.
HOW MUCH DOES STUDY ABROAD COST?
Price is determined by the type of program, accommodations, and cost of living in the host country. Typically, programs in developed countries (Australia, Western Europe, Japan, and New Zealand) are more expensive than programs in Africa, Asia, Central and South America, Eastern Europe, and most of Asia.
Students can typically use most types of financial assistance otherwise available for study at UMF to finance study abroad. Transfer of funds is NOT automatic, however, and all study abroad applicants must prepare a detailed program budget and meet with a financial aid advisor to discuss their individual cases.
Once you decide on your study abroad program, you will meet with your academic advisor to determine how the courses you take at your host university will fit into your academic plan. You must have a thorough understanding of your degree requirements so that you can make informed course changes as necessary while you are overseas. Next, you will meet with the Study Abroad Advisor to review your course selections, after which you will seek formal approval of your planned courses from UMF academic division Chairs.
WILL STUDY ABROAD SET ME BACK IN MY STUDIES?
With proper planning, studying abroad should not set you back in your studies. You will work closely with the Study Abroad Advisor and your academic department in selecting the right courses to satisfy your major, general education or general elective requirements.
IS IT SAFE TO STUDY ABROAD?
UMF does not approve study abroad programs in areas of political unrest or recent natural disasters. Safety information is provided prior to departure and during the on-site orientation. All programs have a 24/7 on-site staff available to students in case of emergencies.
PREPARING FOR DEPARTURE
Mandatory Pre-Departure meetings are held each semester for students preparing to depart on study abroad programs. These meetings cover a variety of topics and issues pertinent to particular programs, as well as information common to all programs, such as academic expectations, cultural adjustment, and health and safety.
PASSPORTS AND VISAS
All students studying abroad will need a US Passport valid for at least 6 months beyond the end date of their program. Many study locations will also require a visa. Information regarding the procedure for obtaining passports and visas is available in the Office of Global Education.
MEDICAL INSURANCE / INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL INSURANCE REQUIREMENT
The importance of having adequate insurance when visiting another country cannot be overemphasized. Before leaving the United States, students should be sure their domestic medical and accident insurance policies are valid while traveling abroad. UMF requires all students participating in study abroad programs to be covered by international travel insurance. Many study abroad provider program fees include such insurance. For UMF programs and provider programs that do not include this insurance, UMF students are required to enroll in the University of Maine System international travel insurance, through the Office of Global Education.
The practice of working one’s way through college is not common abroad. Because of foreign labor laws, students should not plan to seek paid employment. Various work programs for students, trainees, and volunteers, usually during the summer months, may offer room and board rather than a salary. Visa restrictions will limit work possibilities abroad.
Office of Experiential & Global Education
University of Maine at Farmington
106 Fusion Space
117 South Street
Farmington, Maine 04938