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Academic Advisors

Academic advisors are a vital part of a student’s college experience, and providing your student with information about learning abroad can give them a jumpstart on success!

Below are some Frequently Asked Questions to help you assist your students. Not finding what you’re looking for? We’re happy to help! Contact the Learning Abroad Office at 801-581-5849 or learningabroad@utah.edu!

How do I find the right program for my students?
We recommend that students begin with the Choosing a Program information on our website. The best way to learn about the different programs available is Program Search on our website. Each program coordinated by our office has a profile in the Program Search that includes information about costs, deadlines, coursework, and much more!

There are over 500 programs in the system, so we recommend using the filters to narrow down the options. You can filter the programs by location, languages of instruction, type of program, subjects, and much more! We recommend starting with a broad search and then narrowing to more specific course areas. For example, search for “Science” before searching for “Biology.”

Do students earn academic credit on learning abroad programs?
Yes! All Learning Abroad programs are credit-bearing. Students can fulfill general education, major, minor, or elective requirements. Honors credit may also available. All programs offering at least 3 credit hours will automatically fulfill the Undergraduate International Requirement.

Do Learning Abroad programs offer U of U credit or transfer credit?
Both! Faculty-led and Global Campus programs earn U of U credit. For these programs, the courses offered are listed on program webpages in our Program Search. In most cases, prerequisites are also listed on the program page.

Exchange and affiliate programs earn transfer credit. Students can work with our Learning Abroad Coordinators to determine which courses will be offered while they are abroad. If your student is interested in a program earning transfer credit, be sure to discuss any limitations or restrictions on transfer credits for students in that major or minor.

If the program involves transfer credit, is there a process for pre-approving transfer credits?
Yes. Students should meet with you to discuss their academic plans for the program. As part of our application process, students are given instructions for pre-approving credit as well as the Transfer Credit Pre-approval Form. Details on this process are found in the Academic section of the Learning Abroad Handbook.

If a student earns transfer credit, what is the process for transferring those credits back to the U?
If a student is participating in an approved Learning Abroad program, the host university or affiliate will send an official transcript to Learning Abroad after the program has ended. Some countries have extremely lengthy grading periods and this process can take 3-6 months.  Our office sends the transcript, along with any Transfer Credit Pre-Approval Forms that were submitted to us by the student, to International Admissions. The Admissions office then processes the transfer credit. If there are questions about the pre-approved course equivalencies, the Admissions Office will contact the academic department.

How far in advance should students start planning?
Students should start planning to learn abroad well in advance. The earlier they begin planning, the more options they will have, especially for scholarship funding. At a minimum, we typically recommend that students begin the application process 9-12 months before they plan to go. Veterans intending to use the GI Bill need to allow extra time to acquire permission from the VA.

What if my student is interested in a Global Internship?
If your student is interested in a Global Internship, they may find for-credit options with Learning Abroad affiliate providers or the Hinckley Institute. Global Internship programs can be located in our Program Search by choosing “Global Internship” as the Program Type.

How long are programs?
There are a variety of program lengths to serve students’ needs. Programs last as little as one week to as long as a full academic year.

When can my student go abroad?
Students can go abroad at almost any time in their college career. In order to be considered for a program, students must have a university-level GPA at the application deadline. So most students can participate on a Learning Abroad program as early as the summer following their first year. Transfer students may apply to go abroad as early as their second semester at the U, if their transfer GPA meets minimum requirements.

Are there special circumstances for learning abroad during senior year?
Students in their final year of school are invited to participate in any Learning Abroad program. However, transferring credit back to the U may take 3-6 months. Students will not be eligible to graduate until transfer credits from abroad have been processed. Generally we recommend that students do not plan to graduate until the term after they return if they are earning transfer credit while abroad.

Can students use U of U scholarships and financial aid?
In most cases, students can use financial aid and scholarships to pay for the program. Students should contact a Financial Aid Counselor to confirm that their selected program will be eligible.

Are there special scholarship opportunities for Learning Abroad students?
Yes! We award over $200,000 in scholarships annually to Learning Abroad students! On average, the odds of winning a scholarship are at least 25%.

In addition to Office for Global Engagement Scholarships, our students have an outstanding track record for receiving nationally competitive scholarships for learning abroad including the Boren, Gilman Scholarships. Information on these opportunities and other external scholarship competitions can be found on our website.

Are there course prerequisites or eligibility requirements?
Each program has unique prerequisites. In general, students must be in good academic and judicial standing to be eligible for a Learning Abroad program. Program-specific requirements are listed in the program profile found in our program search.

How does advising work in the Learning Abroad Office?
The Learning Abroad office has a team of peer advisors available to provide initial advising. All peer advisors have studied abroad and undergo a rigorous training program. They can speak candidly with interested students and provide helpful insights from a student’s perspective. Peer advisors help students on a walk-in basis. Students can stop by room 159 in the Union, email us at learningabroad@utah.edu, or call 801-581-5849.

Students interested in Learning Abroad must complete a one-time Learning Abroad 101 information session before they can meet with a Learning Abroad Coordinator. Our office offers these sessions weekly and online.

What if my student wants to participate in a non-U of U Program?
We cannot stop a student from participating in a non-U of U program, but students need to be aware that they do so at their own risk. Official University of Utah programs are coordinated through the Learning Abroad Office. Programs operated through the Learning Abroad Office undergo an approval process to reduce student risk, ensure quality intercultural experiences, and confirm the academic validity of the onsite program. Over 500 international opportunities have been approved by the U. A list of official U of U Learning Abroad Programs is found in our program search. The Learning Abroad Office strongly encourages students to participate in one of the U’s official programs. There are many benefits to participating in an official program including, but not limited to:

  1. Access to a wide variety of Learning Abroad scholarships
  2. Access to transfer credit pre-approval assistance
  3. Eligibility for the University of Utah international medical and security evacuation insurance policy
  4. Streamlined approval to fulfill the International Requirement through your chosen program
  5. Time abroad is eligible to count toward residency for tuition purposes
  6. Course credits earned abroad are eligible for U of U residency credit
  7. Pre-departure orientation services and workshops
  8. Assistance with financial aid coordination
  9. 24/7 emergency support

Students participating in programs that are not listed in our program search need to be aware that the University is not responsible for any aspect of the program. If a student chooses to attend a non-U of U program, please encourage them to review the information on non-U of U programs on our website.

I’m interested in learning more about how I can help my students learn abroad. Are there additional training opportunities?
Learning Abroad is happy to assist you. We provide group and individual coaching upon request. For more information, contact Katrina Brown at katrina.brown@utah.edu.

Last Updated: 11/1/17