Frequently Asked Questions
Q. How early can I study abroad?
A. You can study abroad as early as a second-semester sophomore and as late as a first-semester senior. This leaves each student with 4 semesters in which they are viable to spend overseas.
Q. How long can I study abroad?
A. Every Washington College student is eligible to study abroad for up to 2 semesters. If you choose to study abroad for 2 semesters, they do not have to be consecutive semesters (for example, you can study abroad your sophomore-spring semester and then again your junior-spring semester), and they do not have to be at the same institution. Or, you can choose to study abroad consecutively for an academic year at one institution (for example, your junior year at Meiji Gakuin University). Students studying abroad for additional semester pay the off-campus study fee only once. The only students who can study abroad for more than 2 semesters are students who have declared an International Studies major. IS majors can study abroad for a maximum of 3 semesters.
Q. Where can I study abroad?
A. Washington College partners with 30 programs in 23 countries around the world! Any Washington College student is eligible to study abroad at any of these 30 locations. Some programs are instructed in a foreign language, which requires language proficiency, and some partners are better suited for different majors or areas of interest. You can view the list of all 30 partners on this website (under the 'PROGRAMS' tab in the black menu at the top of this page), but we recommend you make an appointment with Study Abroad Coordinator, Alex Levy, to discuss the differences between these programs to help you find the place that fits you best!
Q. How do I apply?
A. To apply, simply submit a completed application on this site by the appropriate deadline! The application can be found on the page of the program you wish to apply to. This application requires you to complete a short biographical and academic questionnaire, submit a 200-500 word personal statement or essay about why you want to study abroad, 2 faculty recommendations, a deposit to the Business Office, and some require you to upload passport-sized photographs. You are also required to meet with the Study Abroad Coordinator at least once before submitting an application. You can make an appointment with the Coordinator here.
Q. Can I apply to more than one place?
A. You can only submit one application per application cycle, however the application will ask for your Top 3 Location Choices. The personal statement is an opportunity for you to explain your location rankings, and why your first choice is your first choice. You will then be approved by Washington College to study at one partner institution.
Q. When are the applications due?
A. Applications are due early the semester before you would like to be abroad. Therefore, if you'd like to be studying abroad during the fall semester (or for that entire next year), applications will be due early the February before. If you'd like to be abroad for the spring semester, your application will be due the September before.
Applications for the Fall 2018 semester OR 2018-2019 Academic Year are due Friday, February 9, 2018 by 4:00pm EST.
Q. Does it cost me extra to study abroad?
A. It is a very common misconception that studying abroad is more expensive than a semester at Washington College, however we try very hard to make it so that you will not spend more for your semester(s) abroad than you would for a semester at Washington College. All of our 30 programs are Tuition Exchange Programs, which means you will still pay that semester(s)'s tuition to Washington College as you normally would, maintaining all scholarships, loans, and aid you have now. No matter what location you choose, your current scholarships, loans, and aid will remain in place. Students must pay the off-campus study fee of $890, but in most cases do not pay the Student Service Fee of $748 that students studying on campus must pay (except for the four "full exchange" programs where students must pay both fees). Students pay the off-campus study fee only once, regardless of the number of semesters spent abroad. (Short-term abroad programs charge a reduced fee of $445 per experience.) The price-tag only then can fluctuate when it comes to the cost of room and board, since most of the time, those costs are being billed to you directly by the host institution (with the exception of Full Exchange programs, and Tuition/Room Exchanges, to an extent). We have tried to keep the Room and Board costs as comparable as possible to those costs at Washington College, taking into consideration the cost of living and currency conversion in your host country. Some programs end up being cheaper than a semester at Washington College, and some end up a little more expensive, depending on personal spending, travel, conversion rates, and cost of living. Please view the Budget Sheets available on each program's brochure page, as well as the explanations of exchange types in the left-side navigation menu of the homepage for further information. The Global Education Office (GEO) also has some additional scholarships and grants available to help offset additional costs.
Q. I don't want to lose my Financial Aid, will studying abroad effect it?
A. Your Financial Aid will NOT be effected by studying abroad at one of GEO's partner institution.
Q. What kind of GPA do I need to study abroad?
A. Different partners have different GPA minimums, but we generally recommend students have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above to apply. Select schools have minimums of 2.5 or 2.8, while a few have minimums at 3.2 or 3.3. These values are indicated on each program's brochure page as well.
Q. What kind of classes can I take while I'm abroad?
A. Essentially, any class you can take at Washington College can be taken overseas...and more! While the classes are not the exact same, you can fulfill Major, Minor, Distribution, and Elective credit while studying abroad. Due to GEO's agreements with our partner institutions, the classes you take TRANSFER BACK to Washington College as Washington College credit. Most other institutions only accept study abroad credits as Pass/Fail transfer credit, but Washington College accepts all grades, credits, and classes taken abroad at one of our partner institutions. This means, for example, a Beginners French Language class taken overseas will transfer back to Washington College as FRS 101 worth 4 credits. There is a common misconception that a semester abroad is a waste of time because you're delaying classes and credits you need to graduate, but that is not true! You can take Major, Minor, Distribution, and Elective credits abroad, so you don't miss a beat!
Q. Can I still study abroad if I don't speak another language?
A. YES! Out of our 30 programs abroad, 22 of them are instructed in English, even though only 8 programs are located in English-Speaking Countries! The only exceptions are: 2 of our 3 programs in France and our program in Senegal require French language proficiency up to the 300 Level at WAC, our 2 programs in Germany require German language proficiency up to the 300 Level at WAC, and finally our program in Spain, as well as 3 of our 4 programs in South America require Spanish language proficiency up to the 300 Level at WAC. You can study in countries like Japan, Morocco, Turkey, Egypt, and Hong Kong without speaking another language - all the classes are instructed in English!
Q. What are the eligibility requirements?
A. Students MUST be a second-semester sophomore (when they are actively abroad), have a valid passport and visa, apply on-time, and meet the minimum academic requirements for their program.
Q. I am an LGBTQ+ student, and I want to make sure I am going to a country that is supportive of me. What countries should I look at and what are some helpful resources for me?
A. There are two really great resources provided by Side by Side, a LBGTQ+ community youth group based in Virginia dedicated to supporting and fostering community for our nation's LGBTQ+ youth. The first resources is from ILGA, an international LGBTQ+ advocacy group, which provides maps of sexual orientation laws throughout the world. ILGA describes their maps as "...a useful tool for LGB human rights defenders, these images expose the arbitrariness of persecutory laws, and starkly indicate the absence of positive law in most parts of the world." You can view the maps by clicking HERE. While working at the University of Richmond, Ted Lewis, who is now the current Executive Director at Side by Side, helped design a brief but useful list of questions and resources for LGBTQ+ students who are interested in studying abroad. You can find their helpful list by clicking HERE.
Q. What if I want to study abroad in a location or university that’s not on the list?
A. Studying abroad at an institution that Washington College does not have an agreement with is not easy, but it is possible. Firstly, Washington College students are not permitted to study abroad at a non-partnered university during the academic year, so in order to do so, the student must temporarily withdraw from the College. (There is no restriction on registering at a foreign university during WAC’s summer or winter breaks.) Secondly, the student would have to apply to the host-institution as an independent student, without the support of a Washington College nomination or of the Global Education Office. And lastly, once the student completes their semester(s) abroad, they would have to re-apply to the College through the Admissions Office, where their financial aid would be re-evaluated and the credits earned overseas would be reflected on their transcript as transfer credit.
What does a voluntary, temporary withdrawal from the College entail? First, you must state your intent to de-enroll to the Dean and Provost of the College. Next, you must obtain signatures from the following offices: Registrar, Financial Aid, and Business Office. You will then be removed from the College’s register at the end of the term. You will be able to submit your application for re-enrollment mid-way through your semester abroad, and considered for re-admission pending review of your host-institution’s transcript upon the completion of your coursework. If you presently receive financial aid, your need will be re-evaluated with your application for re-enrollment. It is very likely that you will not receive the same amount of aid as you did previously, and quite possible that you will not be awarded any aid at all.
Washington College does accept transfer credits from other accredited institutions. Students must earn a grade of C- or higher in order for the course to be accepted and appear on their Washington College transcript. Grades earned in transfer courses will not be factored into a student’s GPA. You can read more about transfer credits here: https://www.washcoll.edu/offices/registrar/transfer-credit.php By contrast, classes taken overseas at our partnered institutions are transferred back to Washington College as Washington College credit with Washington College class titles, credit value, and grades; these courses do factor into your Washington College GPA. Therefore, classes taken at our partner-institutions can more easily be used to fulfill major, minor, distribution, or elective requirements.
If you are interested in studying abroad at a non-partnered institution, please make an appointment with Study Abroad Coordinator, Alex Levy, or Associate Dean for International Education, Dr. Andrew Oros, at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org respectively.