Students and parents often have questions about Suffolk University’s institutional policies related to study abroad, especially credits, financial aid, billing procedures, and other related matters.

Credit

The type of credit a student will receive (e.g. major or elective credit) for each course taken depends entirely on what is decided with his or her academic advisor and dean of their college PRIOR to their departure. The Office of Study Abroad Programs is not responsible for verifying if the new courses will transfer back to Suffolk University. It is the responsibility of the student to remain in contact with his or her academic advisor and dean in order to verify or receive approval for any changes in their course selection. Courses will transfer back to Suffolk University as transfer credits, excluding our 2 overseas campuses. Courses taken at our Madrid and Dakar Campuses will receive grades and will affect the students GPA. It will show up just as if they took courses at the Boston Campus.

Registering for Courses

The Office of Study Abroad Programs will register students in an off-campus code, so students will remain enrolled at Suffolk University. While students are abroad they will be required to register for courses for the following semester they will be returning back to Suffolk University (e.g. if they are abroad for the fall semester, during the month of October they will need to contact their academic advisor in order to select and register for courses for the spring semester). Therefore, they need to have their academic advisor’s email address.

Financial Aid

For all approved/affiliated study abroad programs, institutional aid can be applied. By law, all federal grants and government-guaranteed loans must be transferred to study abroad programs, if the students has arranged for credit transfer. It is possible that state grants and loans may also be transferred to study abroad programs, but we encourages students to check with their financial aid advisor for details for details regarding policies and required paperwork. Another option is to look online for various scholarships for study abroad.

Documents

Obtaining and completing the necessary documents is one of the first steps students need to take as they prepare to study abroad. This process can be time consuming, so students respond to all deadlines in a timely manner.

Passports

If your student has not already applied, he or she must immediately apply for a passport. United State citizens can apply at the nearest Passport Agency of the U.S. Department of State or at some post offices. Please note that due to the new passport requirements, they should allow extra time for processing their passport application. For further information visit http://travel.state.gov/passport/passport_1738.html. If your student is not a U.S. citizen and is not currently a resident of his or her country but needs to renew a passport, please contact your country’s consulate for further details. Consular listings in the United States can be found at www.state.gov/s/cpr/rls/fco. Students who have a current passport that will expire within six months of the end date of their study abroad programs must renew it at this time. Otherwise, it might be difficult to enter the host country, or your student might have to surrender his or her passport for a time while abroad, during which freedom to travel may be restricted.

Student Entry Visas

Many countries require students to obtain a student entry visa – an official authorization for entry into a country that is amended to the passport and granted by the country where the student will be studying. Requirements for obtaining a visa vary widely. In general, it is important to realize that working with Consulates and obtaining a visa can often prove very frustrating for students, as the process is very bureaucratic and final authority for issuing visas rests completely with the Consulate. For students requiring a visa, our office has designed a workshop to assist students with completing and understanding the paperwork that accompany applying for a student entry visa. After being accepted into a program, students will receive the date of the workshop.

Travel Arrangements

Students are responsible for making their own travel arrangements to and from their study abroad program site. Students are required to provide the Office of Study Abroad Programs with a full copy of their flight itinerary to and from their destination country. We recommend that students contact their parents as soon as they arrive at their destination country, however, sometimes students have a lot going on in the first few days and with the time difference can’t always get to a phone during the appropriate hours to call. If you are unable to reach your son or daughter, please contact the Office of Study Abroad Programs.

Purchasing Tickets

Though research is the key to getting the best bargains, there are several students’ travel agencies available that specialize in student travel. A few of the most popular student travel websites are http://www.studentuniverse.com/, http://www.statravel.com/, and http://www.istc.org/. These sites are dedicated to finding discount flights for students and usually offer flexible with open-ended return dates. In addition, various travel websites such as http://www.expedia.com/, http://www.orbitz.com/, and http://www.travelocity.com/ also list seasonal travel bargains. If you choose to work with a local travel agent, be sure to ask about low-cost student rate, charter flights, and open-ended tickets.
The above information is included to better acquaint you with some of the options available and to help you decide what service best suits your individual needs. However, Suffolk University does not endorse and cannot be held liable for any of these travel companies.

Finances

When estimating budgets outside of Suffolk University tuition and program room & board fees, two categories should be considered: Pre-departure expenses and post-arrival expenses. Pre-departure costs may include, but are not limited to, passport fees, direct consular fees for a visa, airfare, local transportation, independent travel expenses (e.g. Eurail passes), luggage or a backpack, and appropriate clothing. Students usually spend more money during the first few weeks while becoming acquainted with new surroundings. A student’s spending habits and lifestyle should be taken into account when estimating expense budgets. Students should consider the following expenses when estimating their budgets while abroad: weekend travel, local transportation, daily meals and dining out, entertainment, museum fees, laundry, postage, telephone costs, books, photocopying, Internet cafes, and personal items.
Note: ATM machines overseas charge higher fees than domestic providers. Please contact your bank to verify overseas charges, and special procedures such as international PIN numbers. Also, its is wise to have a family member with access to the student’s account just in case they have problems overseas with their account.

Packing

Students tend to bring much more luggage than needed. Keep in mind that closet and storage space abroad is often very limited. A simple rule of thumb is that the student should be able to carry all belongings (including cameras, purses, etc.) one block and up a flight of stairs.

Electrical Appliances

It is important to note that most electricity abroad operates at 220 volts, 50 cycles (HZ); U.S. electrical appliances will need a transformer and adaptor. Students are responsible for bringing the appropriate electrical transformers and adaptors for all electrical appliances they may pack. Laptops require a specific adaptor. We recommend contacting the computer company to inquire about overseas specific requirements. However, even with the recommended adaptor some students have “fried” their laptops overseas.

Mailing & Shipping/Communication

Sending Personal Belongings

The most convenient and inexpensive way to send personal belongings to most countries is ship them in sturdy cardboard boxed through the post office. Please specify that packages contain “used personal items” to avoid customs fees. If you declare the value of the box, your student will have to pay a percentage of that amount later and care packages may become very expensive.

Customs Duty & New Items

Packages from the United States often attract attention and can incur a customs duty on their value. Check with the post office regarding duties on new items and restrictions, although do not be surprised if postal officials cannot say what duties are in your student’s host country. When you declare the value of items in a package, keep in mind that it is not an insurance declaration and a percentage of the value (ranging from five percent to 200 percent) may be assessed as a customs charge your student will have to pay. Also, remember that whatever is sent over probably has to come back.

Mailing Items From Abroad

Since postage rates abroad may be considerably higher than at home, it can be more expensive for students to ship items back after their program ends. Since students are likely to accumulate more possessions while abroad, taking older possessions that can be discarded at the end of the semester (clothing, for example) is one-way students can save space for gifts and mementos from their travels.

Medications

Parents should not mail prescription drugs or any other type of medication; students should pack enough medication for their entire study abroad program.

Email

Email accessibility varies by site. Generally, students have access to email but rarely to the degree that they are accustomed to at Suffolk University. Email access is an important way for students to keep in touch with family, friends, and others, but too much time on email could interfere with students’cultural integration.