1. When do I start planning?
It is best to begin planning at least 1 year prior to departure, but six months may be enough time for some programs. This allows for adequate research, planning, meeting program application deadlines as well as deadlines for any funding sources. Ideally, you should complete all paperwork one semester before departure.
2. When am I eligible to study abroad or intern?
For most programs you should be a second-semester sophomore (or have completed 30 credit hours) and have a GPA of at least 2.5. You must also be in good judicial standing.
3. When should I study abroad?
The earliest students are eligible is the summer after two semesters on campus, however some programs may require additional semesters. Students generally study abroad in their second or third years. (Keep in mind that the last 16 credits of your degree must be taken at West Liberty.)
4. Do I need a passport?
Yes! You should apply about six months before expected departure. If you already have a passport, it should be valid for at least 3 months beyond your intended return.
5. How long will I be abroad?
The length of your stay depends on your program. Faculty-led programs are generally 1-4 weeks long. Most other study abroad programs run 6-8 weeks during the summer, or can be over one semester or a full year.
6. How much will a study abroad cost?
Costs vary by program. Additional costs may include travel costs, passports, visas, health and travel insurance, and personal expenses.
7. Are there scholarships available for study abroad?
Yes, limited scholarships are available. See “funding sources & scholarships” Be sure to begin the application process well in advance of the deadlines.
8. Can I use financial aid to help fund my studies abroad?
Most programs will accept financial aid, but you should check with the West Liberty Financial Aid Office for more specific details. Since studying abroad may have a different fee structure, so you should check with your financial aid counselor to discuss your eligibility and budget options.
9. Will my study abroad program accept all of my financial aid/scholarships?
Consult your Financial Aid office for specifics. Most programs will accept your federal financial aid. However, in some cases state grants or WLU scholarships may not apply. It is up to the funding source to decide whether the money is allowed for the use of study abroad. The Financial Aid office can advise you on whether your funding sources can be applied.
10. How do I continue my financial aid after my study abroad program ends?
Consult your Financial Aid office for specifics. It is important that you are aware of your financial standing as you return to your home university. Financial aid and loans that are time sensitive may need to be reinitiated or activated at the beginning of the semester. Loan organizations may need a statement from your home university affirming your continued enrollment and verifying your registration. If you receive such notification from your loan organization, you should contact the loan association immediately for specific directions. Discuss any concerns related to financial aid with the WLU Financial Aid adviser before your study abroad program begins.
11. What happens to my financial aid/scholarships if I cancel or withdraw from my study abroad program?
It is your responsibility to research the deadlines, terms, and conditions regarding your financial aid and scholarships. Accepting those funds if/when they are offered implies that you agree to honor those conditions. Therefore, if you cancel or withdraw from your study abroad program, you may be required to immediately repay any funds awarded or dispersed. You are also still responsible for paying any outstanding study abroad program balance.
12. Can my GI Bill be applied towards the study abroad program fees?
It may be possible to apply your GI Bill to the fees, but it is important that you meet with the WLU Veterans Coordinator, Cheryl Mielke at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
12. Can I take classes in English?
Most study abroad programs offer instruction in English. West Liberty faculty-led programs may require language proficiency depending on the type of program.
13. Will my credits transfer back to West Liberty?
Yes, but you should meet with your academic advisor to determine which courses can be applied to your major, core curriculum or be transferred as electives. Pick up a Transient Approval Form from the Enrollment Services Office. Carefully read and complete the form and return it to that office. (This form is required and will give you the WLU equivalent course credit that you will receive.) Your advisor and relevant department chair must sign this form. Be sure to keep a copy of the form for yourself.
14. Will I need extra health insurance when I travel?
Most program providers include health insurance; know what your program covers. If not, contact your health insurance company to determine what coverage you have while abroad.