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Students Abroad

Academics

I have enrolled in a course that was not originally approved by my academic advisor. How do I get it approved?

You must get this new course approved by your UA academic advisor. Simply email your academic advisor the course title and the course description and ask how it can be used towards your degree requirements. If you already have a syllabus for the course, then email that as well. Your academic advisor can then respond to you via email stating how the course can be applied towards your degree requirements. Make sure to keep any written correspondence from your academic advisor! You should also forward to your study abroad coordinator the email in which your academic advisor states the course approval. Your study abroad coordinator will put a copy of the email correspondence in your file so that there is a record of how the course was approved.

Do the grades I take while I am abroad affect my University of Arizona GPA?

Make sure you know whether or not your program is direct credit or transfer credit (ask your study abroad coordinator if you do not know). If you are on a direct credit program, then the grades you earn while study abroad will count towards your UA GPA.

If you are receiving transfer credit, then no, the grades you earn abroad will not affect your UA GPA. This said, remember that undergraduate students must earn the equivalent of a C grade or higher for each class (B grade or higher for graduate students) in order for the University of Arizona to accept your study abroad courses. Although your grades will not influence your UA GPA, keep in mind that if you apply for graduate school, most graduate programs will request to see your grades from your study abroad program.

What is considered a passing grade?

The equivalent of a C grade is considered passing (or a B grade if you are a graduate student). You will need to understand the foreign grading system of the country in which you are studying, and then you will need to understand the foreign grade that equals a "C" (or "B" if you are a graduate student). Talk to your study abroad coordinator who will be able to explain to you the grade equivalency of the country where you are studying.

Should I keep my course syllabi and course work?

Yes! Do NOT throw your syllabi and coursework (papers, projects, etc.) away before you come home. Your academic advisor may ask to see your work for credit evaluation.

I am struggling in some of my classes. What should I do?

It is very typical for study abroad students to go through some adjustment while in study abroad classes. In many cases your professors are not American, and they will have a very different teaching and grading style than you are used to. Or you may be taking classes in a foreign language.

If you are struggling, then go and talk with your professor to find out what you can do to improve in class. Additionally, talk to one of your study abroad program administrators (the program director, for example) to find more resources that can help you become more successful.  Look into study groups or tutors.  The important thing to remember is to reach out for support and to know your resources.

How do I register for UA classes for the next semester when I will be back to UA?

UAccess works just the same from Morocco to Japan and Moscow to Australia!  Like other semesters, all students are notified about their online priority registration period through email, so that they can select classes for the following semester.  Students should contact their academic advisors early to get advice on what courses to register for. Then use UAccess during priority registration as you normally would. Don't forget—you will be in a different time zone and registration is open to you only during certain AZ times.  You may have to get up early or stay up late to register. You can also decide to have a friend or parent register you for classes. This can be done by creating a "guest" account in UAccess.

I would like to stay on my study abroad program for an additional semester. Is this possible?

For most programs, it is possible to extend your stay. In order to do so, you MUST talk directly to your UA study abroad coordinator about the possibility of staying BEFORE the following dates:

  • To extend into Spring semester: October 15th
  • To extend into Fall semester: April 15th
Cultural Adjustment

Experiencing new cultures and obtaining a better understanding of your own culture can result in some of the most positive, life-changing experiences you will have while studying abroad. While the introduction to a new and foreign culture will greatly benefit you, it can also be overwhelming. Cultural differences can be so great that you may need extra time to adjust. This is normal. The new cultural norms that you encounter may be so different that they seem "shocking" in comparison to cultural norms back home. Your reaction of feeling "shocked" by a culture's attributes could include feelings of depression, anger, sadness, anxiety. loneliness, etc.  These feelings can also manifest themselves into physical reactions including lethargy, crying, excessive sleeping, fear, mood swings, reckless behavior, etc.   

What can I do to work through moments of culture shock or homesickness?

Prepare yourself for some down times; they happen to practically everyone trying to make it in a culture they have never lived in before. Realizing that what you are feeling is natural and that other students are probably experiencing the same thing will help you to avoid discouragement.  Many students studying abroad experience times when they feel depressed. However, the overwhelming majority comes away from their experience abroad even stronger and better adapted for living and working with others. One of the best ways to work through culture shock is to keep yourself busy, and try to be open about your feelings with friends and family. Remember that your program also has program directors and other staff who are willing to listen and help where they can.

One of the best things to do is to stay busy! Although you may miss your friends and family, it is important not to spend too much of your time trying to be "home" instead of "present", such as by emailing, Skyping, talking on the phone, or being on Facebook 24/7 with your family and friends back in the States. In the grand scheme of things, your time abroad will be brief. Keep busy by traveling, visiting shops, markets, and museums, and going out with new study abroad friends, either American or international. It is very normal to feel homesick or culture shock, and don't be embarrassed to talk with one of your study abroad staff or administrators about what you are experiencing. 

Please don't forget if you are feeling "down" for a long time, this can also be a sign of a physical ailment.  Be sure to visit a doctor if you think your "low" may be more than just a rough emotional period!

Travel

I plan on traveling to other countries while I am abroad. Will I need an entry visa to go to other countries?

It depends on the country. Although you have a student visa for the country in which you are studying, you may need a tourist visa to travel to other foreign countries. Make sure you check the embassy website of the country to which you are traveling.