Study Abroad Fairfield Student FAQs

Thinking of applying

Can I study abroad with my major?

With the right planning, most majors can study abroad at any time. It is important to start planning early and be sure to discuss your plans with your academic advisor. Some departments/schools have their own preferred programs.

When is the best time to study abroad?

Choosing when to study abroad can depend a lot on your major (see above). Most students going abroad for a semester do so sophomore or junior year. In order to study abroad during senior year, you must attend a Fairfield Center Program so that your last 30 credits before graduation are still Fairfield credit (vs. transfer credit earned on a non-Fairfield program). For athletes or students with strict academic schedules, summer or short-term faculty-led programs can be great options.

Do I have to go abroad for a whole semester?

No! There are lots of summer and short-term faculty-led programs if you’re not ready to do a full semester abroad.

What is the application deadline?

There are three application deadlines each year: fall/year-long, summer and spring. You can find all of the deadlines here.

I have a disability, how do I let you know about this?

The Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act do not apply to foreign institutions. Though many of our partners will do their best to accommodate for student’s needs, please know that there are times when accommodations cannot always be met. We invite all students to self-disclose to the Office of Study Abroad and to your home university before or during the application process so that the Office of Study Abroad may work with the student to identify the programs and services that best meet their individual needs and provide them with comparable services while abroad. Students who wish to disclose should first identify themselves to their home institution to discuss their individual needs and to request their paperwork to be forwarded the Office of Study Abroad at Fairfield University. Each home university has their own policies and procedures for students to follow. The student should then request a meeting or call with the Office of Study Abroad to discuss their needs and complete their program selection. The Office of Study Abroad will work closely with the student, their home institution and with the institution overseas to see if accommodations can be met and to assist with the application completion.

Do I have to be fluent in a foreign language to go abroad?

No! It can be helpful to study abroad in a location that speaks a language you have studied, but it is generally not mandatory (select programs do require language proficiency). While abroad, all Fairfield students will be required to enroll in either a language or language & culture class to help you learn about your new community.

What will it cost to go abroad?

For semester/year-long programs Fairfield students are charged Fairfield tuition, room and (if applicable) board as if they were here on campus. Most financial aid and scholarship will apply but please contact the Bursar’s Office with any specific questions. There will also be a $1000 deposit to be paid directly to the Office of Study Abroad at the commitment deadline. This will then be put towards your balance at Fairfield.

Program fees vary for summer and faculty-led programs. Please see the specific program page for exact pricing. Payment for these programs will be made online through StudioAbroad. See “How much money will I need?” below for more information on finances while abroad.

Are scholarships available?

Yes! There are many scholarships available for students wishing to study abroad. The Office of Study Abroad has a handful listed on our website but there are much more available. Students should feel free to search independently for scholarships online or in their communities that would apply to them and their program. Scholarships do not need to be study abroad specific.

How can I learn more before deciding to apply?

The Office of Study Abroad hosts daily Information Sessions throughout the year. These sessions are designed to give students an overview of the study abroad process at Fairfield as well as what some of their first steps should be. Information Session attendance is also a requirement for all students who apply. We also host our annual Study Abroad Fair during the start of the fall semester where our partners from around the world come to campus to share their programs with our students. Students and parents should also feel free to visit our website where there is listed general information, program specific information, policies and procedures and departmental updates.

Where is the study abroad office located?

The Office of Study Abroad is located on the second floor of Dolan House on the north side of campus past the athletic fields. We are building 30 B on the campus map.

How early should I apply?

For semester or year-long programs you should apply one year before you intend to go abroad. For example, if you are planning to study abroad in the fall you should submit your application for the Fall/year-long deadline during the previous fall semester. For summer programs you will apply in the academic year immediately prior to the summer you will go abroad. Faculty-Led deadlines will vary; please check the brochure page for more information.

Can I do an internship abroad?

Yes! Many of our programs offer for-credit internships for students from all majors. Fairfield has partnered with Global Experiences (GE), an award-winning global internship company which specializes in highly customized international internships in London, Florence, Barcelona and Sydney. Internships arranged by our partner institutions or provider programs are also available at several other locations. Please see our website for more information.

Application and Approval Requirements

How do I apply?

All applications are to be completed online through our student portal, StudioAbroad. Applications can be accessed here.

Do I need a certain GPA to be approved?

The minimum GPA required to be approved to study abroad is 2.8, although some institutions abroad will have higher requirements for acceptance. Students with a GPA lower than 2.8 who wish to study abroad are encouraged to meet with a Study Abroad Advisor to discuss possible options.

Do I need any letters of recommendation?

Students applying to a Fairfield Center Program will need at least one letter of recommendation (some programs require two). Otherwise, letters of recommendation are generally not required.

I’ve been in trouble with the Dean of Students, can I still apply?

Applications of students with a disciplinary history are considered on a case-by-case basis.

After submitting an application

How long will it take to know if I have been approved to go abroad?

Decision dates for each application cycle are as follows: Fall/year- February 1; Summer- February 20; Spring- August 1. These decision dates reflect the latest date at which students will be notified of their approval from Fairfield to go abroad.

How will I be notified about the outcome of my application?

You will receive an email on or before the decision date notifying you that your application status has changed. Once you receive that email you may log in to the StudioAbroad portal to receive your application decision.

Can I change my program?

Changing programs is sometimes possible if the change is initiated far enough in advance of the deposit deadline. Requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

If I am approved to go abroad by Fairfield am I automatically admitted to my program?

Not necessarily. Fairfield approves students to go abroad based on the University’s study abroad requirements, as well as our understanding of the international institution’s admission requirements. Should a student be approved to go abroad by Fairfield but be denied by the international institution, options will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Between my application being reviewed and my decision, is there anything I should do?

Directly following your acceptance, the Office of Study Abroad will proceed with next steps and planning for your semester abroad. It is important during this period you apply or renew your passport if your passport expires within six months of your program end date. We also advise students to apply for a credit card during this period. The credit card can be in the students’ name alone or can be added as an authorized user on a parent/guardians card. As part of the visa process, most students are required to show proof of a credit card through a bank statement so it is important to start this process as early as possible. Every student studying abroad is required to have a credit card as part of Study Abroad Policy.

After approval & preparing to go

What do I do after I have been approved?

After you have been approved by the Office of Study Abroad, you will be expected to complete a series of additional assignments and forms through the StudioAbroad portal. Additionally, some programs will require an additional application to be completed in conjunction with the Fairfield application. Students should see their StudioAbroad accounts for additional details. Failure to submit materials on time may result in a withdrawal from your program. The Withdrawal and Cancellation policy will still apply.

What do I need to do to confirm my participation?

Students must formally “commit” in StudioAbroad. In addition, semester/year-long students must submit a $1000 non refundable deposit.

Instructions on submitting the deposit:
In order to secure your participation in the study abroad program which you have been admitted to attend, please submit a non-refundable $1,000 deposit. This payment is not in addition to the total cost of the program; the deposit will be reflected on your student account. The deposit may be paid online by logging into my.Fairfield.  Search for Online Billing and Payment - Student and then Launch. This site will allow you to make an electronic check payment.  You may also pay by check made payable to "Fairfield University" and mailed to the Office of the Bursar, Fairfield University, 1073 North Benson Road, Fairfield, CT 06824. Please include your Student Name and Fairfield ID# with the check.

Deposit Policy:
The non-refundable deposit of $1,000.00 will indicate commitment to a Study Abroad Program and can be received up to the applicable deadline. Once the deposit is paid, the student is committed to the program. Should the student decide to withdraw from the program after the $1,000.00 is received, the deposit is unrecoverable and the additional refund monies are assessed on a case by case basis. The non-refundable deposit is applied to the semester tuition while abroad and will be reflected in the final invoice. The deposits are due on the following dates:

FALL TERM
DEPOSIT DUE BY MARCH 1

SPRING TERM
DEPOSIT DUE BY SEPTEMBER 15

When will I register for classes?

Culture shock number one for most students is understanding that the course registration process is not a live and immediate registration like that of Fairfield’s. Depending on the program, students may or not may have their final course registration prior to departure. Some of our programs have students register upon arrival during orientation (which takes patience and an open mind). Don’t worry though! Our office works with all students to make sure that if their program has registration upon arrival students are prepared and understand the types of courses that have already been approved for credit at Fairfield.

What do I need to have to be ready to go abroad?

All students will be provided with a checklist of action items to prepare them for their semester abroad. This will either be found in StudioAbroad, or will come directly from their program. If students follow this guide they will be prepared with the essentials. Outside of this checklist, we encourage students to do independent research to familiarize themselves with their host country and understand more about the government structure, currency, exchange rate, what the flag looks like, a little bit of history, etc.

We recommend students explore having a medical and/or legal power of attorney prior to studying abroad. A medical power of attorney allows a student to assign an individual to speak on their behalf in the event the student is not able to make decisions for themselves. A legal power of attorney allows a student to assign an individual to make decisions on their behalf while they are abroad, specifically with regards to their finances. Students should consider connecting with a family lawyer to move forward with this process.

What is a visa and do I need one to study abroad?

A visa is an endorsement (usually in the form of a stamp or additional piece of paper) that is affixed to your passport. It is issued by the country in which you will be living and allows you to stay, study and (if applicable) work in that country for a longer period of time than a regular tourist. Most study abroad students will need some kind of visa. Information on visa specifics can be found in StudioAbroad (for Fairfield Center Programs) or in your program portal (for non-Fairfield provider programs). The responsibility of applying for a visa, scheduling the appointment and being prepared is the responsibility of the student.

When will I know where I’m going to live?

Information on housing can be found on the program brochure page. Housing styles vary by program and can be homestays, residence halls or apartments. For students participating on a Fairfield Center program, the address and unit number will be provided to students a week prior to departure. Housing allocations for non-Fairfield programs vary. We recommend connecting with the program provider directly for this timeline.

How much money will I need?

Fairfield programs and partner programs provide students with budget sheets to help students budget for their flights, meals , text books and visa fees (where applicable). For Fairfield programs this budget sheet is found on the program’s brochure page on the Study Abroad Website. Students on provider programs should connect with the program provider for more information.

We are not able to give students a budget for their independent travel as that varies drastically from student to student. We recommend researching where you are interested in traveling and creating your own budget based on travel preferences. You should consider at least the following when creating a budget- flights & other travel expenses, visa costs, meals, shopping, etc.

What do I need to pack?

Specific packing tips vary by destination due to climate and weather; however, we recommend all students pack the following essential documents in their carry-on luggage: passport, copies of your visa (where applicable), copies of your credit card and your acceptance letter, an extra change of clothes and necessary toiletries in case your checked luggage is lost in transit. Additional packing tips can be found in StudioAbroad.

When should I book my flights?

Flights should be booked for fall/year-long programs by May 1, for summer programs by April 1 and for spring programs by November 1. As part of the International Travel Policy, Fairfield University requires all students book their round trip flights through STA travel. See below for more details.

Why do I have to use STA to buy my flights?

As part of the International Travel Policy, Fairfield University requires all students book their round trip flights through STA travel. STA is the world’s largest travel agency that caters specifically to needs of students and faculty and has been doing so for over 30 years. For Fairfield students, STA will provide tickets from special contracts with very flexible terms and conditions, including low change fees and refundable options. They also offer 24/7/365 emergency travel assistance should any issues arise traveling to or from your program location. Students can also participate in STA’s exclusive Airfare Deposit Program, allowing students to make payments to their airline ticket on their own schedule.

What about medical insurance while abroad?

Fairfield University provides all students studying abroad with international medical and emergency insurance coverage for the dates of their study abroad program. Federal law requires all students to maintain domestic year-round coverage in the U.S. even while the student is studying abroad. This means, students should remain enrolled on the policy of their parent or guardian, or in Gallagher Student Health Insurance through Fairfield while on their program abroad. Details regarding your international insurance can be found in StudioAbroad.

I currently take prescription medication. Do I need to do anything before I go abroad?

Yes. If you currently take prescription medication and will need this medication during your semester abroad, it is important you inform your program directly following acceptance so they can put you in touch with the medical insurance company. You need to ask (1) is my medicine legal in the country in which I am studying and in the locations to which I plan on traveling (2) am I legally allowed to bring xxx month(s) of medication with me or am I able to fill my prescription abroad. If the answers to these questions are no or unknown, please contact your primary care physician to discuss your options.

As a Junior studying abroad in the Spring, can I get a refund on my parking pass?

If you have a car on campus and paid for a parking sticker, the Parking Office will provide you with a partial refund since you will be studying abroad for the spring semester.  Please provide the Parking Office with your decision letter which can be found in your StudioAbroad account titled "decision letter". Click here to view where the letter can be found: Find Decision Letter.pdf.   You will also need to hand in your parking sticker to receive the refund. 

While abroad

Is there anything Fairfield requires of me while I’m abroad?

Students studying abroad are required to abide by Fairfield University academic and student conduct policies (as well as all local laws), with violations to be addressed with the Dean of Students Office at Fairfield. Additionally, students are required to complete the weekly Travel Log with their intended travel. All students must have access to a credit card as well as a cell phone with an international call and data plan while abroad.

Additional information on these and other policies, including academic policies, can be found on our website.

What happens in case of an emergency while I’m abroad?

In case of a personal emergency, your first point of contact is your local program site staff or local police. Being on the ground, they will be able to provide you with the best timely assistance and support.

Students in the vicinity of a large-scale emergency should first contact your local program site staff. Each program will have specific procedures for emergency situations and students are encouraged to promptly follow. We also recommend checking in with your family and friends at home to assure your well-being.

Can I have friends & family visit me while I’m abroad?

Of course! However, family and friends are not permitted to stay overnight in your abroad accommodations as it is against program guidelines and/or local laws to do so. Students with overnight guests in their housing risk dismissal from their program.

We highly recommend that parents/guardians wishing to visit you abroad do so after the midterm exams/break. This will give you enough time to become acclimated into your host program and country, and allow you to adjust to your new academic culture.

I am not on campus to get my registration pin number for the following semester. What do I do?

Students will register for the following semester as usual while abroad. They are expected to know what courses they need to take prior to departure for their semester abroad since they will be unable to meet with their advisor while abroad. Students will need to take into consideration the time zone difference when registering. The Office of the Registrar will email students the date and time for their registration, their pin number, as well as information on the course booklet. Should students have any questions, they should contact the Office of the Registrar directly.

After returning home

When will I know my grades?

Transcripts from the semester abroad will typically take 8 – 10 weeks after the program end date to be sent to Fairfield, processed and uploaded into the students’ degree evaluation. If you are participating on a non-Fairfield program, you may need to request your transcript from your provider to be sent to the Office of Study Abroad; check with your program directly.

Can I get involved at Fairfield helping other students study abroad?

Yes! The Office of Study Abroad is always looking for student volunteers to help with various events on campus. Please contact us at studyabroad@fairfield.edu if you are interested in becoming involved.

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