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 you your academic advisor at your home school.

When is the best time to study abroad?

Choosing when to study abroad can depend a lot on your major and requirements of your home institution. Most students going abroad for a semester do so sophomore or junior year. 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. Please note that not all faculty-led programs are open to non-Fairfield students. Please view the brochure to learn if the program you are interested in is available to external students.

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 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?

Billing agreements by home institution and program vary. Please contact your home institution for program cost.

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.

How can I learn more before deciding to apply?

To learn more about our programs, please contact your Fairfield University Study Abroad Advisor. Students and parents should also feel free to visit our website where there is listed general information, program specific information, policies & procedures and departmental updates.

Can I do an internship abroad?

Yes! Many of our programs offer for credit internships for students from all majors. Fairfield has also partnered with Global Experiences (GE), an award-winning global internship company that specializes in highly customized international internships, to assist with the on-site placements as well as onboarding of students at our Barcelona, Florence, London and Sydney locations. In addition to the GE partnered internships, our locations in Aix-en-Provence, Brisbane and Florence also provide for credit internship opportunities..

How early should I apply?

Students should apply within the academic year preceding the program. For application open and deadline dates by semester, please visit the Non-Fairfield student page of our website. Early planning is helpful and conversations with the student advisor will assist greatly in ensuring the program is a good fit academically and personally for the student.

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. You should meet with you study abroad or academic advisor at your home institution before applying with Fairfield University as there may be additional requirements you need to meet prior to applying.

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 your Fairfield 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?

Decisions occur on a rolling basis. The sooner your complete all requirements for your application, the sooner you will be accepted to the program.

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

You will receive an email notifying you that your application status has changed. Once you receive that email you may log in to the StudioAbroad portal to view 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.

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 if their program has registration upon arrival that 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. If students follow this guide they will be ready for their program. Outside of this checklist, we encourage students to do independent research on their host country and understand more about the government structure, currency, exchange rate, what the flag looks like, and a little bit of history.

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. The responsibility of applying for a visa, scheduling the appointment and being prepared is the responsibility of the student. The Office of Study Abroad is available to answer questions on visa applications; however, we are not an agent of the government and cannot be held accountable if a student’s visa is delayed or rejected.

What is visa batch-processing and can I participate?

Batch processing is when an institution submits visa applications on behalf of its students. With this process, students do not need to appear in person at the consulate and visa’s will be mailed back to the student once processed. Fairfield University batch processes visas for the Spanish and Italian consulate for the Boston and Philadelphia jurisdictions only. To learn if you are eligible for batch processing, please view the visa instructions found in your StudioAbroad account. Fairfield University is not an agent of the government and cannot be held accountable if a student’s visa is delayed or rejected by the Italian government.

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. The address and unit number will be provided to students a week prior to departure.

How much money will I need?

For billing information, please refer to your home institution. We are not able to give students a budget for their independent travel as that varies drastically by students. We recommend students research where they are interested in traveling and create their own budget based on their travel preferences. Please note, some consulates require proof of a certain dollar amount in a bank account for a visa to be issued. Please visit the section on student visas to see if this pertains to your program.

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. Always pack an extra change of clothes and necessary toiletries in your carry-on luggage in case your checked luggage is lost in transit. Additional country specific information 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. Due to visa processing, some programs have earlier deadlines. Please check your StudioAbroad account for your program specific deadlines. 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.

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 medical legal in the country I am studying and the locations I plan on traveling (2) am I legally allowed to bring xxx month of medication with me or am I able to fill my prescription abroad. If the answers to these questions are no, you should explore with your doctor alternative medication ASAP so the first time you are taking new medication is not when he is arriving in your host country.

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 and at your home institution. 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?

As part of your programs medical insurance, you also have emergency evacuation coverage as well. Any incident information or evacuation instructions will be communicated to you via. If you are traveling away from your host city, and an incident occurs where you are visiting, the emergency information will still be communicated to you because you will have logged your travel with them prior to your departure.

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

After returning home

When will I know my grades?

Transcripts from the semester abroad will take 8 – 10 weeks after the program end date to be sent to Fairfield, processed and sent back to your home institution. Your first Official Transcript is sent to your home school free of charge. Any request made after the first transcript is sent will be at a cost.

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