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Frequently Asked Questions

Studying abroad or away from can be a complicated and intensive process that brings many unexpected and new challenges (and benefits!) for students, parents and advisors alike. It’s an opportunity to learn about deadlines, money management, managing health issues, insurance, visas and a wide array of other basic life skills, and you may have questions about how to approach these topics. Most of these answers can be found in program materials given to students (we recommend sharing a copy of your program handbook with families and advisers), but here’s a quick look at the most frequently asked questions we receive.

Choosing a program

We know that choosing a program can be a daunting task!  There is no one-size-fits-all program and you may want to consider different factors.  As a place to start, we encourage you to explore our approved programs organized by location, academic focus and language. Then, come to a Study Abroad 101 and to drop-in hours at the office to further hone in on the best fit for you!

Going abroad on a Clark-approved program provides the following benefits:

  • Allows you to remain enrolled as a student at Clark
  • Allows you to transfer your grades and credit back directly to your Clark transcript
  • Allows you to use most financial aid and scholarships (with the exception of Work Study and most international student scholarships)
  • Allows you to use a trusted partner that Clark staff has vetted and deemed appropriate for Clark students

If you cannot find a program within the list of Clark partners, you may choose to petition for a non-Clark program. Please contact the Study Abroad and Away office to inquire about the petition process.

Note also that Clark has approved the programs mentioned on this website and unless otherwise specified all information pertains to Clark-approved programs.

There are benefits and drawbacks to all of these different academic formats and learning styles. The Study Abroad Office can help you choose the best format for you during the advising and application process.

Requirements

Study abroad programs must not only be able to advise and prepare students, but also balance participation between on and off-campus enrollment.  We must be able to accurately know and prepare for, and react to that participation.  The on-campus academic program, housing, and student activities are undermined if, for example, 40 students study abroad in the fall semester and 165 study abroad during the spring.  The top priority at Clark must be the quality of our on-campus academic program.  Additionally, we cannot best support students if they aren’t under the timeline that we have designed specifically around the Clark academic calendar, with our program partners, application and visa deadlines, confirmation forms and pre-departure timelines in mind.  Applications are just the beginning of a long process and students who start late will constantly be playing catch-up.

Therefore, it is important that we properly advise and monitor our applicant pool so that students feel prepared and supported and the overall academic program remains robust for all students.  All students who want to study off-campus must submit an Intent Form by December 1st of the prior year. This application process encompasses off-campus study at any time during the upcoming academic year, including study elsewhere in the United States.  Failure to do so may jeopardize your ability to study abroad during your desired semester.

Please see the “Requirements” page for Clark requirements to study abroad.

In addition to Clark requirements, all students should be mindful of program-specific requirements such as academic year, GPA, language proficiency, specific course completion, language forms and more.

No. Programs are offered in many languages, and English language programs are not limited to the United Kingdom or Australia. You can enhance your major with English language courses in places such as the Netherlands, Italy, Botswana or Namibia!

Yes, international students may study abroad or in a domestic site, but most international student scholarships awarded by Clark cannot be applied to off-campus programs. This includes Study Abroad Programs as well as our programs in the United States. However, programs or other organizations may offer scholarships that students may wish to explore.

With the exception of the May Term Program in Luxembourg, Clark does not have its own summer study abroad programs. However, students can be pre-approved for a summer program and gain up to 2 Clark units of transfer credit per program, per summer.

Students applying for summer transfer credit from a university in their home country (NOT a designated study ‘program’) should apply through Academic Advising.

It is important that students review the summer study away policy and application before applying.

Academics

The level varies depending on the program and/or the institution, but in general, all study abroad program courses are registered as at least 200-level courses. However, each department makes a determination on the equivalent course level at Clark. We are happy to direct you to the course catalogue/descriptions of overseas programs, if they are available.

Yes, students may get PLS approval with pre-approval from Academic Advising. An approval form is provided as part of the application process. Major, minor or concentration approval is awarded through your individual departments. This is also done as a part of the application process. You should attend Study Abroad 101 to learn more.

Yes, although students do not have to go on a program that is attached to their major.  See Programs by Major or come see us during Drop-in hours!

Generally a full course load will translate to approximately 3.75-4 Clark units per semester. However, students should understand the conversion of credits from their host program abroad to Clark’s system of credits. Students should utilize the Clark Credit Conversion Chart as a first step.

Academic support varies depending on the program type, educational system, country and culture.
Typically, programs administered by on-site providers or resident staff (“study center programs”) offer more U.S.-style academic and social support than direct enrollment programs. It is worthwhile to gauge what your student needs in a program, or what you assess their needs to be, and to talk to us about available options.

In general, students should expect less academic and social support than offered on a U.S. campus.  These cultural and educational differences do not necessarily mean the host institution/program is less friendly or helpful, but that they expect that their students are adults and as such, expect that students will reach out if they require assistance.  While increased independence is a reported benefit to studying abroad, don’t be afraid to reach out for help; it is there if you need it!

Program dates change slightly each semester. Exact dates are set by the hosting program, not Clark University. They may start or end earlier than the Clark semester, and they will most likely have different break/vacation times.

Immigration

Updated passport photocopies are due at the time of application. It is the responsibility of each student to obtain or update a passport for international travel. Passports must be valid for at least six months beyond the student’s return date. To find out how to order or update a Passport, visit U.S. Department of State – Passport. Passports applications may be expedited at an extra cost. Passports should be obtained or updated well before submitting the study abroad application.

Health & safety

Clark University takes health and safety very seriously. Clark Study Abroad works to ensure that all students are covered by international health insurance and provides assistance pre-departure, while on-site and upon return for students. We, in conjunction with our partners, local and international law enforcement and consulates, monitor news and situations that arise on a regular basis. Additionally, all of our program providers have comprehensive emergency protocols.

Clark University recommends that you register with the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) on the U.S. State Department website, where you will find additional useful information for traveling abroad. If you are not a U.S. citizen, register with the Embassy/Consulate of your home country.

In addition to domestic coverage, all students must be enrolled in international health insurance while abroad. Clark Study Abroad partners with GeoBlue Worldwide Insurance for any student not already covered by a program plan.

Travel

Clark students generally make their own travel arrangements. Most host programs offer advice or airport pick up service. Refer to the program handbook or the host university’s web site for more information. Detailed information is often not available at the time of application but will be provided after admission.

Billing & Budgeting

Visit our pages on Cost, Aid & Scholarships for more information on costs and billing.

Students should always be prepared for unanticipated costs. Clark’s International Programs Fee does not cover independent travel, personal expenses (beyond typical meal expenses), supplies/books, plane tickets, insurance, passport/visa applications and any departure taxes. These expenses vary from program to program and from person to person. Book costs are usually significantly less than at Clark because most overseas institutions/programs provide the texts at low cost or use a more extensive library reserve system.

Some of organizations provide additional “optional” excursions that are not a part of the regular academic program. These optional excursions can be bought by the student on-site, and usually involve group travel to some local and international destinations at the end of the semester.

Yes! Clark offers scholarships for study abroad, as well as information on outside funding opportunities.  We cannot stress enough the importance of looking into funding opportunities very early – a year or two before studying abroad. Many scholarship applications are due well before the Clark study abroad application.

Clark is committed to equal access in study abroad and the belief that no student should be barred from a study abroad program because of financial limitations. We will try to work with your student and the Office of Financial Assistance as much as possible before departure to help identify funding opportunities.

Life on Site

Each program features different housing arrangements. Programs may offer dormitory, suite/apartment-style housing on campus, off-campus housing, or home stays. When possible, there is an attempt to integrate students with host country nationals or with other international students. We believe this scenario allows for more cross-cultural contact and better adaptation in the long-run.

Depending on the arrangements of the program, students might be eating meals with their host family, cooking in apartment kitchens, or taking meals in the university restaurants/cafeterias/pubs. There are typically no meal plans (or limited meal plans) at host universities abroad.

Students typically receive their address and phone number (if applicable) shortly before departure. Check personal cell phone plan policies for international calls. Many students elect to purchase an inexpensive cell phone abroad upon arrival. Arrange “phone dates” through email, use email itself, or use internet phone providers like Skype to make free international phone calls computer-to-computer.

Clark’s study abroad programs are evaluated in multiple ways. First, almost all of our programs are directly administered by a U.S.-accredited program provider or third-party institution. In addition, Clark study abroad staff and faculty regularly conduct a site evaluation of each program and collect and use student evaluations and feedback.

In addition, our office makes use of numerous professional resources, from study abroad advisor professional groups, to regular conferences, to quality standards set by the profession.