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FAQs About Study Abroad

Does my financial aid apply when I study abroad?
Since SUNY students are officially registered at their home campuses, state-based financial aid is generally applicable, as are most forms of federal aid. Financial aid should be processed by the student's home campus. Non-SUNY students should consult with their home institution's financial aid office for eligibility requirements and procedures. Make an appointment with your financial aid office, as soon as you consider studying abroad. Students must allow adequate time to process financial aid forms for overseas programs. Please consult the financial aid page for additional information.

Are there any scholarships?
Some scholarships are available through the Global Education Office and other institutions. Students should research all options through their financial aid offices. For a list of some available scholarships please visit our scholarship information page.

What is an exchange program?
An exchange program means that our university has made an agreement with an overseas partner to exchange students in both directions with each student paying their home university's tuition. These programs are usually more cost effective since you are paying Plattsburgh's tuition instead of the overseas partner's tuition. All exchange programs will have "(Exchange)" next to the program title. Plattsburgh offers exchange programs in France, Germany, Japan, the UK and via the Killam Fellowship in Canada.

Will I graduate on time?
As long as you plan ahead with your academic advisor about what types of courses you should take abroad (courses for your major/minor, gen eds. or electives) to keep you on academic track, then you should have no problem graduating on time. 

Can I take any classes that I want to take when I am in a study abroad program?
All of the universities have a broad range of course offerings, but some universities have restrictions on certain divisions. For instance, a business, engineering, or pre-med student might not find space available at an overseas university for their particular distribution requirements. Before making a course selection, all students must study the offerings at the host university, and consult with their academic advisor at their home college to assure that they will meet their requirements for credit.

Q: Will the credit and grades for my classes I take abroad transfer to Plattsburgh?
As long as you fill out the course approval form the credit for the classes you take abroad should transfer back. For non-SUNY programs, credit is not guaranteed. You should get approval from your academic advisor and department prior to going abroad. Grades will not automatically count towards your GPA. If you participate in a SUNY study abroad program and would like your grades to count, you can notify the Registrar's Office when you return to campus. If you participate in National Student Exchange, your grades will not count towards your GPA no matter what. Our partner universities attempt to pre-register you whenever possible. All universities have an orientation program for international students. It is the students' responsibility to learn about the orientation and the registration process, and to arrive in time to get acquainted with the university before classes start. The orientation also helps to establish contact with other international students.

Can I work overseas?
Earning wages for work while you are abroad under a student visa is most often prohibited. Your student visa authorizes only living and learning in your host country. Some countries will allow part-time jobs on-campus, and only while school is in session.  Budget for your trip based on money that you have earned prior to your departure and do not rely on earning money while you are abroad.

Does the Study Abroad Program send the passport and visa forms?
No, you are responsible for getting an updated passport that is valid until 6 months after the expected end date of your program. If you need help locating the application form or working through the process, please ask us for help.  If you do not already have a passport, get one as soon as possible.  You need a passport in hand before you can apply for a visa.  In some countries, getting a visa can take many weeks or even months.

Visa rules vary according to the country you are visiting.  We can guide and support you as you apply for your visa, and in many cases we can also provide detailed instructions and application forms. You should note that it is your responsibility to secure the travel documents that you need for your specific study abroad program. If you have questions or concerns, please ask us for help.

Q: What happens if I get sick when I'm away from home?
For all programs, students will be enrolled in GEO Blue Health Insurance.  This health insurance is incredibly comprehensive. A medical evacuation and repatriation benefit is included in the coverage in the case of a medical crisis. If you have any allergies, be sure to carry identification on your person at all times, indicating the specific nature of the allergies, and spelling out clearly what must be done should you be unable to communicate this information yourself. In the event that you become significantly ill or injured, please contact your host institution's study abroad office and us as soon as safely possible.

Q: What happens when I arrive in a foreign country?
Most, but not all, host universities will offer an airport pick-up, as requested by the student. If airport pick-up is offered at your host university, you must return the form by the stated deadline. If you fail to do so the university may be unable to retrieve you and you will have to find your own way to campus. Host institutions also most often offer temporary housing options, until permanent quarters are found, but students must complete all of the appropriate paperwork to meet accommodation deadlines. Host institutions will provide a comprehensive orientation to the university and its services as well as to the surrounding area, including topics such as safety and security and how to accomplish common tasks.

Will I be able to travel on my holidays?
Absolutely! Travel is a big part of the study abroad experience. Be sure to figure funds for personal travel into your budget. Travel expenses are not part of our cost estimates and we do not offer travel advice. For travel advice, contact your local travel agency. Many universities also have student travel services and outing clubs for inexpensive trips to points of interest and into the countryside.

Can I bring my cell phone?
You can bring it, but you might not be able to re-charge it or use it. Cell phones in other regions of the world often operate on systems incompatible with U.S. cell phone providers. Additionally, given the difference in voltage and electrical connections, battery chargers often do not function well or at all in other countries. The same may be true for your laptop computer. Electrical systems in foreign countries are not compatible with the system of the United States, so all small appliances (like your hair dryer, iron, electric shaver) need converters. You can purchase the converter ahead of time, or buy the appliances that you need upon arrival.

Are there restrictions on what I can bring back to the United States?
Yes. Since September 11, the customs and immigration officials are very vigilant. You should receive customs information on your outbound flight. If you do not, please ask a flight attendant or immigration officer for information on US customs regulations so that you can plan for your return. Review this information carefully, both for departure and reentry into the United States. Allow adequate time for checking in at the airport, both while leaving and returning. The new security measures can be extensive and time-consuming.

What is the best way to handle my money while I am overseas?
ATM's are widespread throughout the world, and cash withdrawals with a credit card or a debit card are very easy. Make sure that you use a debit card with the symbol of a major credit card on it as ATM systems vary and the major credit card companies are the most universally recognized. Be careful to ask your bank what the ATM transaction fees will be as they can be quite expensive.

Can I use a credit card in another country?
Yes, this is a good time to consider getting a credit card in your name if you do not have one already. All major credit cards are widely accepted overseas. Chip enabled credit cards are becoming more widely used abroad, so if you do not already have one, we suggest you apply for one before you go abroad. A "cap" can be placed on the amount charged, to avoid excessive spending and debt. Keep a separate list of credit and debit card account numbers and customer service telephone numbers for emergency replacement. Loss or theft of a card abroad can be a huge inconvenience when you are traveling. Even with a credit card, you will encounter businesses that require cash for transactions.