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VUSE Study Abroad FAQ

VUSE Study Abroad FAQ

Do VU engineers really study abroad?

Yes! About 29% of the VUSE Classes of 2018 and 2019 studied abroad, which is much higher than the national average for engineers. VUSE is committed to helping you experience the world while keeping you on track towards your degree!

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Why study abroad?

Learning in another culture provides unique opportunities and challenges to grow and broaden intellectually, personally, and professionally. College is an ideal time to experience different cultures, gain language skills, and explore your own interests and abilities.

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How are academic credits handled?

Academic credit for Vanderbilt-approved programs (i.e., the ones offered through the VU Global Education Office or GEO) is "direct credit". That is, courses and grades are entered directly on your transcript and factor into your GPA. If you study abroad through another university on a non-Vanderbilt program, "transfer credit" may be awarded for approved courses. These grades do not factor into your GPA.

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Where can I study abroad?

You can study engineering abroad at more than 25 universities in 12 countries/regions. Check out this page to see where you can study abroad and in particular which programs are the best fit for your major.

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How do I know what classes I can take and how they will count toward my degree?

Courses have to be evaluated for credit towards your degree. Examine the Study Abroad course lists in YES to see what classes at your intended host institution have already been evaluated and how they will count toward your degree. If you are interested in a class that has not already been evaluated, use the “Course Evaluation Request” process linked in YES to get the class evaluated. It is really important that you supply as much detail as possible including the level of the class, its prerequisites, a syllabus, and the amount of time spent in class. Note that the approval process typically requires many weeks. The more complete your course evaluation request, typically the faster the response time is.

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How are classes taught abroad?

While there is a wide variety of teaching styles around the world, in general outside the U.S. you can expect that you will have a greater level of responsibility for your learning. You are likely to have fewer formative assessment activities throughout the term contributing to your grades and a corresponding greater emphasis on summative assessments like final exams. While this gives you more flexibility throughout the semester, it does mean that you will need to be self-disciplined and studious in order to succeed in your classes.

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When are applications due?

The deadline for most spring semester study abroad programs is generally early September while the deadline for most fall semester study abroad programs is generally late February. Note that some programs have earlier deadlines such as the National University of Singapore; check the GEO web site for each program. Note that some programs, like the GA Tech Lorraine program, use a rolling-admissions approach and typically fill up far before their deadline.

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How early do I need to start planning?

The earlier the better! Since applications are typically due very early in the semester preceding the planned study abroad semester and since you may need to make adjustments to the courses you take now to facilitate study abroad, it is best to start planning about a year in advance. At the same time, it is sometimes possible that last minute planning will still yield a viable study abroad plan.

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When do most VUSE students study abroad?

Most VUSE students study abroad during a semester of their junior year, though you may go abroad any time after the freshman year. There is a very good program specifically for spring of the sophomore year and many popular Maymester and summer programs too. Note that senior design requires all bachelor of engineering students (BME, ChE, CE, CompE, EE, and ME) to be on campus the entire senior year.

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Can I study abroad my last year?

If you have already completed your senior design requirements, it is possible to study abroad in your last year. Note that if you study abroad in the spring semester of your final year, you will not be able to participate in commencement exercises as the delay in transmission and certification of study abroad grades does not allow sufficient time to certify students for participation in commencement. You may arrange to participate in commencement the following year.

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What is the language proficiency prerequisite for participation?

There is no language prerequisite for our engineering study abroad programs; classes are taught in English. For those non-engineering programs for which a foreign language is a prerequisite, the requirement is usually four semesters or more of college language study or the equivalent fluency in that language since all course work, including lectures, papers, and exams, is conducted in the language of the host country.

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What are the other study abroad requirements besides language proficiency?

All participating students must have a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of at least 2.7. However, many programs require at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA. Students who study abroad must also have academic, financial and disciplinary clearance. To participate, students must not be on any sort of probation from the time of application THROUGH the end date of the study abroad program.

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I'm on probation for non-academic reasons; why can't I apply to study abroad at this time?

Students who have had a lapse of judgment that led to probation any time between the time of application and the end of the proposed study abroad term are not ready to serve as ambassadors of Vanderbilt abroad. Also, host institutions and program providers do not want the risk of taking a student who is or who has recently been on probation. Once you are off probation, you are welcome to submit an application to study abroad.

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How do the students travel to their study abroad program?

You will make your own air/ground transportation plans. Some program providers will assist with ground transportation from the airport to the campus. These costs are not included in the program fee.

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Where do participants live while studying abroad?

Housing arrangements for students enrolled in direct-credit study abroad programs vary according to the local provider. Vanderbilt requires students to reside in program-provided housing where available, for issues of program design, safety and security. Most direct-credit programs offer such arrangements, and many offer several options from which to choose. Students enrolled in Vanderbilt-approved programs may seek independent living arrangements only where program-provided housing is unavailable.

We encourage all students to choose the housing options that allow them to interact most intensively with their host societies.

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What support systems are set up for the student while studying abroad?

All non-exchange programs feature on-site Resident Directors. Resident Directors help the students in all areas from academic counseling to dealing with culture shock and are available 24 hours a day for students abroad. All exchange programs have international staff available to provide similar support though might not have someone on call 24/7.

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In what ways is an exchange program different from the other study abroad programs?

Exchange programs are based on specific agreements between a host institution and VUSE and do not involve a program provider such as CIEE, Butler-IFSA, etc. With exchanges, students at each institution study at the other institution. Students pay tuition at their home institution and then receive a tuition scholarship at the host institution. Instead of paying a program provider to arrange housing, the student works directly with the host institution to arrange housing. Exchange students pay fees other than tuition directly to the host institution.

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What are the costs of the programs?

Vanderbilt offers you the unique opportunity to study abroad without breaking the bank! In fact, a semester abroad often costs less than a semester on campus. You pay regular Vanderbilt tuition (or use financial aid to cover tuition expenses), a $500 study abroad administrative fee, and in some cases a program fee unique to each program. If you are participating in an exchange program, you pay regular Vanderbilt tuition and are responsible for your room & board at the foreign university. Visit GEO's “Costs” page for more information and to access a cost calculator that will give you estimates specific to your program(s) of interest. You should take only courses that will transfer back as part of your individual graduation requirements, so no credit is lost. Additionally, some scholarships are available to students in certain disciplines. Visit the Global Education Office for more information or speak with your financial aid officer to best understand how to apply your financial aid to study abroad.

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Will financial aid cover study abroad during the academic year? In summer?

Regular financial aid applies to direct credit study abroad programs during the academic year. It does not apply to programs in the summer or to any programs offered outside of GEO. However, there are a number of fellowship programs that can assist with summer study abroad, including the VU Global Summer Fellows program. See http://tinyurl.com/VUGEOschol for info about a variety of funding mechanisms.

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What is required in an application?

Applications are completed online through the GEO website and may require submission of additional items. Most applications will ask for personal data, essay or short answers, and professor recommendation(s). Some may ask for passport photos and a photocopy of your passport. See GEO for the application requirements for each program provider.

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