Frequently Asked QuestionsPisa, Italy
Below are some frequently asked questions from students and parents who are interested in study abroad. For more information, please call the Office of Study Abroad at (479) 575-7582, and we will be happy to assist you.
University of Arkansas students who are in good academic standing and who've completed at least 24 credit hours on our campus are eligible to look into study abroad. Every study abroad program could have it's own requirements beyond these basics, so check with the program application for more on the specific expectations for your program.
There are three essential questions students should consider before searching for a study abroad program:
- WHAT subjects do I want to study?
- WHERE do I want to be?
- Short-term summer/intersession programs will offer 1-2 classes based on a particular
theme, whereas enrolling in a semester-long program at another university will give
you a wider range of course offerings. Many programs offer all levels of language
instruction, along with other courses taught in English. Our growing competitive job
market adds even more value to study abroad as students look for opportunities that
will set them apart while earning credit toward their degree.
- WHEN should I go and for how long?
- The University sends students on approved study abroad programs to more than 50 countries
every year. Think about how the culture and language of a particular location could
enhance the academic experience you are seeking.
- Planning ahead affords students the greatest flexibility for study abroad. With appropriate
planning, students may carve out a semester – or even a full academic year – to pursue
a course of study that will significantly enhance the student’s broader educational
objectives. This is especially true for students hoping to gain fluency in a second
There are many ways to fund your study abroad, including scholarships and aid that you already have, as well as study abroad grants through individual colleges/academic departments, and resources outside the university. Search our scholarship information to learn more about these opportunities.
Our HogsAbroad Portal is where will find important information regarding your study abroad application, and where you will do the following:
- Log in with your U of A credentials and create or edit your application.
- Students will apply for study abroad programs, research, independent study and internship programs, and independent travel overseas, and/or the Office of Study Abroad scholarship, as well as edit and manage their applications.
- Faculty will submit a proposal for faculty-led programs, and/or register international travel registrations, as well as edit and manage their applications.
Application deadlines depend on the program, and it is best to schedule an appointment with one of our advisors to discuss specific timelines.
Log in to the HogsAbroad Portal. Go to Applicant Home. Click on "My Applications" in the left-hand navigation bar. Select the application for your program, and go to the "Materials" tab. Checked boxes are the completed sections.
Log in to the HogsAbroad Portal. Go to Applicant Home. Click on "My Applications" in the left-hand navigation bar. Select the application for your program, and go to the "Questionnaires" tab. Click on the pencil icon beside the questionnaire to edit the information.
Log in to the HogsAbroad Portal. Go to Applicant Home. Click on "My Applications" in the left-hand navigation bar. Select the application for your program, and go to the "Questionnaires" tab.
- For passports, click the pencil to edit the "Passport Information" questionnaire. Fill out the appropriate information, then click the manila folder icon above the box under "Passport Copy." Browse and select your Passport copy document, then click "Submit."
For travel itineraries, go to the "Copy of Your Travel Plans" questionnaire. Fill out the appropriate information, then click the manila folder icon above the box under "Copy of Airline Ticket." Browse and select your airline ticket document, then click "Submit."
Passport Services at the University of Arkansas is located on the 1 st floor of the Arkansas Student Union Building, across from the Campus Post Office. Information on what you will need for your application can be found here: http://pmcs.uark.edu/passport-services/index.php.
Most scholarships disperse within 10 days after the session or term begins. For more information, contact the department that awarded you with the scholarship.
Refund policies are typically based on a date of formal notification of withdrawal from the program. Should you decide to withdraw, it is imperative that you notify your program sponsor or university, and our office of study abroad, immediately in writing. If you are traveling with a faculty-led or Rome Center program, information on withdrawing from a program and study abroad fees can be located in your payment agreement found on the HogsAbroad Portal. Students participating on external programs are subject to the refund policies of the program/university, which need to be determined directly from the program sponsor. Your study abroad advisor can help direct you to the appropriate contact to confirm these policies. Program brochures and websites are often good initial resources for policies and procedures.
Log in to the HogsAbroad Portal. Go to Applicant Home. Click on "My Applications" in the left-hand navigation bar. Select the scholarship application, and go to the "Questionnaires" tab. Click on the pencil icon beside the questionnaire to edit the information.
Credit earned on these programs is University of Arkansas credit. As such, your grades will automatically appear on UAConnect just as they normally do each term. Notable exceptions include the faculty-led language immersion programs (e.g. French in Perpignon, Spanish in Puebla, and Spanish in Madrid) whose credit is transfer credit and determined by the faculty member accompanying the group overseas.
Credit earned on these programs is transfer credit. After you've been approved for your program, you will work with your study abroad advisor and U of A faculty to map out all the courses you'd like to take before you go abroad. During the term abroad, the study abroad office will enroll you in a placeholder course that allows you to use any available financial aid and scholarships. At the end of your term abroad, you will send your transcript back to our office and courses that meet our minimum grade of C or better will be accepted as transfer credit, but will not be calculated into your GPA.
You should expect to wait 2-8 weeks for transfer credit to be posted. It may be longer if there is a hold-up in a particular department. If your credit has not been posted after 8 weeks, or it does not look as you expected, contact our office and we will assist you.
Explore the University of Arkansas Registrar’s Transfer Course Equivalency search engine: https://courseequivalency.uark.edu/. This list will have any class that students have previously gotten pre-approved. If a course you're interested in isn't listed here, just talk to your study abroad advisor about how to get it approved and added to the list.
All students studying abroad need comprehensive international health insurance. Most U of A administered programs, and many external providers include international health insurance as part of the program fees. However, if insurance is not already offered to you, it is important that you purchase international health insurance before you leave the United States. Your current medical insurance probably does not include the necessary coverage for study abroad. Many insurance policies may reimburse you for medical expenses that accrued abroad but do not cover medical evacuation and repatriation (see definitions below). These two types of coverage are very important to have as they can be the most expensive medical costs accrued abroad.
The Office of Study Abroad has contracted with Cultural Insurance Services International (CISI) which provides comprehensive study abroad insurance coverage to students, including unlimited medical evacuation, and repatriation benefits. Contact your study abroad advisor for more details.
lf you already have insurance, contact your insurance provider to verify that your current coverage extends to international travel. Some policies only offer coverage within the United States. If you decide to purchase insurance on your own, please be aware of some crucial benefits necessary for travel abroad:
- Accident coverage: In case of automobile accident/sports injury etc. This coverage should be at least $50,000.
- Health/Illness coverage: If you have a chronic condition, be sure to check on coverage for pre-existing conditions. Coverage should be sufficient to cover an extended hospital stay. This coverage should be at least $50,000.
- Repatriation: In the event of death, this benefit pays for remains to be transported home. This coverage should be at least $50,000.
- Emergency Evacuation: This benefit pays for you to be airlifted in a medically equipped critical care, helicopter or plane to the closest medical facility that is equipped to handle your care. This coverage should be at least $250,000.
It is important that you know how to contact your international health insurance provider while abroad. Before you depart, leave a copy of your insurance policy and contact information with your emergency contact in the United States. While abroad, carry documentation of your insurance policy (insurance cards) with you at all times. Hospitals abroad will not accept your insurance card in lieu of payment. It is important to have additional funds or an emergency credit card to pay for unexpected medical expenses.
Some countries require that you have certain vaccinations prior to entry. Other countries may not have mandatory immunizations, but it may be a good idea to have them anyway. It is highly recommended that all travelers get Hepatitis A & B vaccines and make sure your Tetanus shot is up to date, prior to travel abroad. Hepatitis is common throughout the world, including the United States.
The Pat Walker Health Center Travel Clinic offers immunizations and information regarding disease/health conditions in the country you will travel. Call (479) 575-7755 at least 6 weeks prior to your departure to ensure you are ready for your travel abroad. This allows time to order any vaccines if necessary. Also visit the Center for Disease Control website for information specific to your country and ask your study abroad advisor for further instruction if you have any specific concerns related to your health abroad.
If you have a pre-existing condition it is imperative that you let your doctor know that you will be studying abroad. You will need to take an adequate supply of your medications with you for the duration of the program (see below).
Tips for Packing Prescription Medicines and Contraceptives:
- Bring all medications labeled in correct containers/packaging. Do not empty out all medication into one bag, keep them in their original, labeled container.
- Bring your physician’s prescription with the generic name for all your medications, as brand names vary from country to country. Leave copies of these prescriptions with your emergency contact as well.
- If you have a chronic condition or medication allergy consider ordering a medic alert bracelet. Contact your pharmacist for ordering information.
- If you have any doubt about the legality of carrying a certain drug into a country, consult your insurance provider and/or the embassy of that country prior to departure.
- Carry at least one week’s worth medication with you in carry-on luggage for flight.
- If you use birth control pills remember to bring your prescription with you.
- Create a First Aid kit for yourself: Tylenol (pain reliever), Antihistamine, Imodium, Antiseptic, Calamine lotion or ‘AfterBite’, band aids, insect repellent, cold medicine etc.
Traveling or studying overseas is not a cure for health conditions such as depression or attention deficit disorder. Sometimes going abroad may in fact amplify a condition. A student may not have adequate access to their prescription medication or mental health facilities. In addition, culture shock, language barriers, and homesickness can deepen isolation or depression. It is important that you make accurate and complete physical and mental health information, and any other personal data that is necessary in planning for a safe and healthy study abroad experience, with your program contacts and the Office of Study Abroad.
Before traveling abroad:
- Create a workable plan for managing your mental health while abroad. The availability and quality of mental health services differ widely from country to country. In many countries, students will find it difficult — and sometimes impossible — to find treatment for mental health conditions. With your health services provider and your program contacts, put together a workable mental health plan before you go overseas.
- If you have a medical or psychological condition that may require treatment while you are abroad, discuss this ahead of time with your doctor. A study abroad is a great opportunity to try new things, but this is not the time to experiment with not taking your medicine or mixing alcohol with medicine.
- Research the social culture of your destination to learn about how mental illnesses are viewed. Attitudes toward mental health can greatly vary between countries.
- Talk to your study abroad advisor and your program contacts about access to mental health services at overseas programs. This information can help you decide what program would be best for you.
- If currently receiving mental health services — including prescription medication — find out if those services and/or medication are available at your destination. Also, refer to the question above about medications abroad.
- Consider the support system you’ll have in place while abroad. If possible, know ahead of time who you can consult with about your mental health.
While you're abroad:
- If you find yourself trying to isolate yourself from others, seek help. The staff of the Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) at the Pat Walker Health Clinic are available 24 hours a day by telephone.
- If you find yourself overwhelmed, talk to others – sometimes a familiar voice from home helps. Sometimes, hearing ourselves talk things through is all we need. Other times, we just need to know that other people go through the same stuff. Occasionally, we need a little more. If family and friends are not as helpful as you need or would like, consider reaching out to a staff member of CAPS.
- Homesick? While it is normal, don’t let it consume you. Find people to help keep things in perspective and allow yourself time to process your experience.
Not everyone experiences culture shock in the same way, intensity, or at the same time. Every experience is different, but some common signs of culture shock include:
- Difficulty sleeping or sleeping excessively
- Lack of appetite or compulsive eating or drinking
- Intense homesickness
- Withdrawal (avoiding contact with others, becoming reclusive and studying all the time, reading a lot, sending lots of emails home)
- Blaming the host country and yourself for not having a good time
- Becoming very pessimistic about everything -- the food, weather, people, teachers, and other students all intolerable
- Becoming a native -- everything American is bad, and host country is good
Coping with Culture Shock
Don’t be afraid to reach out to your program contacts or friends if you’re experiencing any of the symptoms commonly associated with culture shock. Also, have your parents and loved ones read this section so they can understand what you will be going through while studying abroad. It is possible you may call them soon after arriving demanding to come home or sobbing from homesickness and it is good for them to know more about what to expect.
Additionally, you should consider:
- Keeping a journal, it may help you keep some perspective on your experience
- Keeping yourself from isolation
- Reminding yourself that rough and stressful times are part of the learning experience
- Reminding yourself that adjustment takes time
- Talking to friends/program contacts when you are having a difficult time
- Being open-minded and keeping your sense of humor
- BEING FLEXIBLE -- be prepared to accept whatever comes along
(Excerpts Courtesy of the U.S. Department of State's Mental Health for Students Abroad)
Eating is usually a very important cultural experience abroad and can be a lot of fun! There are some basic steps to take to stay in good shape while abroad:
- Know about the safety of water and stay hydrated with clean water
- Food safety – consult your host students and families about clean sources of food
- "Peel it, cook it or forget it" is often a smart way to approach fruits and vegetables from unsanitary sources
- Watch your stomach– try new foods in moderation, stick to a few familiar foods and let your intestines adjust
Are you a vegetarian? Check out this video with tips on being a vegetarian abroad by the external program provider, International Studies Abroad