Have a lot of questions about the study abroad process? You're not alone. Click below to see questions commonly asked by both students and parents. If you can't find the answer you are looking for, or you are still unsure about something, feel free to email us at studyabroad@uvm.edu.

General FAQs

I just decided I want to study abroad. What do I do?

The first thing you should do is visit the Getting Started page. You can attend a Study Abroad 101 session, or read all the information on that page, and then use GoAbroad to search for programs. Once you find a program you want to apply to, you can click the Apply Now button on that program's page in GoAbroad to start the UVM approval process to study abroad. 

I want to study abroad for more than one semester. Is this possible?

Many students are eligible to study abroad for more than one semester. You need to discuss this with your academic advisor as early as possible to make sure you can fit in two semesters (or more) abroad.

I am overwhelmed with my options. Can an advisor tell me where I should study abroad?

Studying abroad is a very personal journey. What might be right for one student may not be right for another. In most circumstances, advisors will not be able to tell a student where they should go. We encourage students to think about what they want out of their time abroad. Additional resources that may help you make your decision include the Transfer Guide, external program and host university websites, and other online resources like travel guides and cost-of-living comparisons. Do not hesitate to contact the study abroad advising team with any questions at studyabroad@uvm.edu, we are happy to share relevant resources with you. 

How many programs should I apply to at a time?

  • We ask that students only have one GoAbroad application open per term, per program type. This is because within the program types, the GoAbroad checklists are the same-- so you do not need two GoAbroad records even if you are applying for two programs if they are in the same program type. 
  • Students applying to ISEP Exchanges or UVM Exchanges should have back up options but do not often need additional applications: both ISEP Exchange applications and UVM Exchange applications allow you to rank multiple sites in order of your preference, while only having to apply once. We recommend you take changes of placement into account when choosing your rankings and back up options.
  • Students applying to External programs or ISEP Direct programs do not need back up options and do not need to have more than one application. Unless you do not meet the minimum requirements of the External/ISEP Direct program to which you are applying, you have a high chance of acceptance, as these types of programs are non-selective.Applying to more than one of them typically only serves to waste time with multiple application processes, and often money, with multiple application fees.

Do I need to meet with a study abroad advisor?

If you are going on a UVM Bilateral Exchange, UVM in... , ISEP exchange, or ISEP Direct program, you must meet with an advisor. If you are not going on any of these programs and you have questions or need additional advising, you are more than welcome to schedule an appointment using the Navigate app to meet with us!

How can study abroad help my future goals?

By helping you develop transferable skills that will assist you in standing out to employers, such as intercultural communication, problem-solving, resourcefulness, empathy, confidence, and self-reliance.

I've heard I can't study abroad because my major is _____. Is this true?

All majors can have a study abroad experience, talk to your academic advisor. For some, sophomore year or senior year might work better academically. Short-term programs are also available during winter, spring, and summer breaks. Many programs offer STEM classes, and some STEM students choose to schedule electives so that they can take them abroad.

Is it still possible to graduate on time if I study abroad?

Be sure to talk with your academic advisor! With proper planning and program choice, nearly all students can fit a study abroad experience into their four years at UVM.

I don't speak another language. Where can I study?

Many programs in non-English speaking countries offer courses taught in English. There are also many programs that offer language learning courses for students who want to take their courses in a language other than English.

The program I want to participate in is not listed in GoAbroad. What should I do?

GoAbroad contains listings for all active UVM-approved study abroad programs (over 700 total). If you are planning to participate in a program that is not in GoAbroad, it is not approved by UVM and you will need to participate as an independent student without UVM support or approval. The Office of International Education cannot advise you or sign approval forms. If your program takes place over a semester or academic year, you will need to take a leave of absence from UVM to participate. Please speak with your School/College's Student Services office to learn more about this process. You should also plan to talk with Student Financial Services if you receive financial aid/scholarships to talk through how taking a leave of absence affects your aid package.

Can I afford it?

The cost of many programs are less than or equal to a semester at UVM. External scholarships are also available to help offset costs!

I have questions about study abroad and COVID-19. Where can I find answers?

We encourage you to send your study abroad questions related to COVID-19 to studyabroad@uvm.edu.

For Parents

How much is this going to cost?

The costs associated with studying abroad depend on many different factors, including the type of program your student is going on and the country your student will be living in. The program type determines if your student is eligible for financial aid and scholarships. For more information, please visit our Finances page.

Where is my student going to live?

All of our programs come with different options for accommodation. Many students choose to live on campus, either with local students or fellow American students. Others may choose to live in off-campus housing with local students or students from the same program. Another good option for housing is with a local host family – this allows your student for an additional level of cultural and linguistic immersion. Please keep in mind that not all housing options are available for every program.

How and what will my student eat?

As with housing, different programs and countries offer different choices for meals. Dining halls may be available to your student for their meals. In some countries where dining halls are not as common, your student will probably purchase groceries and cook for him or herself at home. If your student is living in a homestay, they may eat some of their meals with their homestay hosts. In other regions, going out to eat is a much more affordable option that it is in the U.S. Whatever option your student has, they will not go hungry.

Will other students be going on the same program?

This depends on the program type your student will be going on. If your student is going on a UVM semester program or a travel study program, he or she will be going with other UVM students. On an external program, he or she will most likely be going with students from other U.S. institutions, but not necessarily any other students from UVM. If your student has chosen an exchange program or has directly enrolled in another university, it is likely that your student will be going alone or with one or two other students from UVM. Most students find that they can make friends easily once they are at their host university or program.

How will my student access money while abroad?

Your student has many options for accessing money while in another country. Opening a bank account in the host country enables your student to easily and safely accept money by international wire transfer. Other options students have used in the past include using credit cards (beware of foreign transaction fees) or debit cards. Encourage your student to research what money options work best for them and the country they will be living in.

What is culture shock and how can it affect my student?

Culture shock, also known as cultural adjustment, is a very normal part of living in a new environment. You may have even experienced it by moving to a new city. Cultural adjustment typically occurs in 4 stages, seen below. However, please keep in mind that everyone responds to cultural adjustment differently, and that your student may not necessarily experience the following: Honeymoon phase - Everything is new and exciting. Your student may feel happy and excited during this period. Homesickness phase - Daily life may become difficult and frustrating. Your student may develop negative feelings toward the host culture and possibly feel depressed and feel like they are missing out on important events back home. Initial adjustment - Your student may begin to accept the difficulties of living in a new culture and gradually feel more oriented and comfortable. Adaptation - Your student may have established a network in the new culture and has begun to appreciate the differences between home and host countries.

What do I do if my student wants to come home?

Feelings of depression and homesickness can be common when living in a new country and culture. This is normal and part of the process of culture shock. If your student says they want to come home, try not to immediately buy them a flight back. Encourage your student to reflect through their feelings – what were their study abroad goals? What did they hope to accomplish while studying abroad? It is also recommended to encourage your student to get involved in their host community, and engage in the same activities abroad as they did while at home. This will keep them active and help them to meet people who share similar interests. You may find that if you give your student a little time, they may not want to come home after all. It’s also important to monitor your student’s mood. If you have concerns that your student is dealing with severe emotional issues, please contact UVM’s Counseling and Psychiatry Services. Your student will continue to have the support of OIE while they are abroad. If your student wishes to come home, please make sure they speak with their regional study abroad advisor.

Can I visit my student?

While it’s great that you want to visit your student and see their life in another country, we recommend that you hold off on visiting your student until they are settled down in their new life. Give your student time to adjust to the new environment, learn the local language, and develop friendships. We also recommend that you visit while classes are not in session so as not to distract your student from important coursework. That way, your student will be able to enjoy your visit to the fullest. We also strongly recommend that you purchase international health insurance to cover you while you are abroad, as most US-based insurance provides inadequate international coverage.

If I've never traveled abroad before, how can I expect my student to?

Each year UVM sends many students abroad who are the first people in their families to do so. For some students, it’s even their first time leaving the state of Vermont. The Office of International Education is staffed by seasoned travelers who know how to properly prepare your student for living abroad. Your student will have the support of UVM before, during, and after their time abroad.

My student has returned from being abroad but seems different and slightly depressed. What's going on?

Your student may be experiencing re-entry transition. After spending a significant amount of time in another culture, your student may be having trouble adjusting back to life in the U.S. They may be confused about how to incorporate their new experiences and values into their old way of life. Additionally, they may be “homesick” for their host country and miss their friends, the food, and the town they lived in. This is completely normal, and is part of the study abroad process. To help get your student back on their feet, encourage them reach out to organizations in the community that may be affiliated with your student’s host country. Additionally, remind your student of UVM’s many re-entry activities. Visit the Returning from Study Abroad page for a list of post-study abroad activities for students.


See more at Parent Resources