Study Abroad Manual for UIS Faculty and Staff

This manual is intended to help faculty and staff with advising students about study abroad opportunities and procedures. It also serves as a guide for faculty who are considering taking a group of students on a study abroad program.

Advising Students

UIS students have multiple options for studying abroad under the Global Experience Program.

Short-term Study Abroad Programs

2-4 week courses typically offered during the summer by UIS faculty members. The Global Experience Program in Ashikaga, Japan is an example of this sort of program. Students participate in a series of orientation meetings before departure, spend 2 + weeks in Japan studying the Japanese Language and Culture, and submit a final paper/project upon return to the USA or the end of the summer semester at the discretion of the faculty member evaluating the course. Short-term programs may be listed as UNI 460 Global Experience Seminars or as a departmental listing such as African American Studies 474 – Society of Jamaica. Short term Study Abroad Programs have been held, or are being planned, in the following countries:

Canada, China, Cuba, England, Gambia, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru, Poland, Ethiopia/Uganda, Ghana, Malta, Spain, Taiwan, and Scotland

Reciprocal Exchange Programs

UIS has eleven exchange partners: International Partners

Students selected as exchange students register for UNI 470 Global Experience Exchange and pay UIS tuition and university fees to UIS. Tuition is waived by the exchange partner, but room and board charges are paid directly to the exchange partner by the exchange student.

Semester-long Study Abroad Programs

The Global Experience Program is set up to permit students to study abroad almost anywhere. Students approved to study abroad at another institution or through another institution’s study abroad offerings may maintain their student status at UIS by registering for UNI 480 Global Experience Program for the number of credits they will earn while abroad. Students have their UIS tuition and fees waived and pay the tuition and fees charged by the university wherein they will be studying directly at that university. Students have studied abroad in these countries though non-UIS programs:

ItalyKoreaSouth AfricaSpain

Choosing a Study Abroad Program

There are at least two questions students must give some consideration to while planning to study abroad:
What subject(s) would they like to study while abroad?
In what environment would they like to study?

For the first question it is important for them to talk with their academic advisor and/or department chair to review their academic goals and plans. This is particularly important if the student wants to use courses taken abroad to fulfill major or other specific degree requirements which would require a petition on their part.

For the second question they should refer to the Deciding Which Program Is Best for You page which contains a series of questions they can ask themselves related to program location, program structure, housing, and costs as well as academics and working with their academic advisor.

Application process

All students who are in good standing (at least a 2.0 GPA for undergraduate students and a 3.0 GPA for graduate students) are eligible to apply to study abroad. Please note that many overseas universities and programs require a higher GPA for admission. Applications for all study abroad programs are processed by Study Away Programs.

Students applying for a UIS study abroad program will fill out a Global Experience Program application or with a paper application form. The application includes the general application form, two letters of recommendation, an official transcript, an essay, a signature form (signed by the student, his/her academic advisor, the Dean of Students, and the Financial Aid Office if the student is applying for financial assistance or a scholarship), and an Acknowledgement of Risk and Responsibility form which must be signed by parents or guardians if the student is under 18.

Students applying to study abroad through another university or program, including exchange partners of UIS, will fill out the Global Experience Program application and the application form from the other university or program. Where the other university or program requires essays, transcripts, and letters of recommendation those submitted for the Global Experience Program application may be used so that duplicates need not be obtained or prepared by the student.

Students applying to study abroad through another university or program, once approved, will have their application material sent to that university or program by Study Away Programs with a letter stating that they have been approved by UIS to study abroad.

Registration and Grading

Short-term Study Abroad Programs – UIS Students will register for these programs as they do for any other course at UIS. Some may require the permission of the faculty of record in order to register. Courses will be evaluated by UIS faculty and credit or no credit will be awarded at the conclusion of the course.

Reciprocal Exchange Programs – UIS Students approved to study abroad as an exchange student will register for UNI 470 for the number of credits they anticipate earning through successful completion of their coursework while abroad. For example, a student studying at Saitama University in Japan may register for 14 credits of UNI 470 anticipating passing the intensive Japanese Language course (10 credits) and two of the courses (2 credits each) taught by Saitama faculty in English. At the conclusion of the semester or term the host institution will send an official transcript to the UIS Office of International Programs where it will be evaluated. Either credit or no credit will be awarded overall to the student based on the average of all grades/marks assigned to the student for the total number of credits for which the student registered. The transcript will then be sent to UIS Records and Registration for inclusion in the student’s academic file/record.

Studying Abroad through another University or Program, including ISEP – UIS Students approved to study abroad as an exchange student will register for UNI 480 for the number of credits they anticipate earning through successful completion of their coursework while abroad. For example, a student applying to study at the University of Glasgow may register for 16 credits of UNI 480 anticipating passing the four courses (4 credits each) in which they will be enrolled at the U. of Glasgow. At the conclusion of the semester or term the host institution will send an official transcript to the UIS Office of International Programs where it will be evaluated. Credit or no credit will be awarded for the entire amount of credit averaging the grades/marks of the students. The transcript will then be sent to UIS Records and Registration for inclusion in the student’s academic file/record.

Students who have enrolled in either UNI 460, 470, or 480  and who receive a passing grade will automatically earn ECCE Engagement Experience credit and may petition for ECCE Global Awareness credit. Students who want to use credit earned studying abroad for their major will need to work with their major department towards this end.

Financial Aid

UIS Students approved to study abroad through the Global Experience Program may be eligible for financial aid. Students are responsible for working with the Office of Financial Assistance to determine their eligibility. 
Students who will be registered for UNI 460, 470, or 480 or for one of the approved study abroad programs offered through a UIS academic department are eligible to apply for Global Experience Program travel scholarships. The deadline for applying is February 15th for programs offered during the following summer, fall and spring. Information on Financial Aid and all scholarships including the Global Experience Program travel scholarships can be found by visiting financial aid and then selecting the scholarship link.

Health Insurance

The University of Illinois system maintains a group policy for international health insurance coverage (Gallagher Student Health Insurance) for all participants in a UIS program of study outside of the USA, including researchers, fieldworkers and interns.

For individuals who are approved to participate in a study abroad program through UIS enrollment in Gallagher is required.

Passports and Visas

Students must have a valid passport in order to travel abroad. Passports take 6 weeks to be processed from the time a completed application is received by a US Passport Agency. In case of emergency, expedited passport service is available for an additional fee, with proof of urgent departure (plane ticket, letter of acceptance with date of arrival, etc.). Expedited passports are processed within 3 working days. Passport application forms and information on how to apply are available on-line at Travel.State.Gov page

Most countries require a visa if a US Citizen is planning to stay for more than 3 months. Many countries require a visa for any duration of stay. In order to apply for a visa one must have a passport that is valid through the period of intended stay abroad. If you are studying abroad through another university or program, you will receive instructions on applying for the appropriate visa from them. For students studying on a UIS program, the Office of Study Away Programs will provide assistance with obtaining their visa.

Detailed information on registration, payment of tuition and fees, etc. can be found in the section on Study Abroad Policies and Procedures.

UIS Faculty-Led Study Abroad Programs

UIS Faculty are encouraged to work with the Office of Study Away Programs to plan, develop and teach courses in locations outside the USA. Planning time ranges from 12 to 24 months.

Course/Program Proposals

Proposals for new UNI 460 – Global Experience Seminars or for repeating previously approved UNI 460 Global Experience Seminars should be submitted to Study Away Programs at least 12 months prior to the start date of the seminar.

Proposals for new or repeated departmental study abroad offerings should be submitted to the appropriate Dean’s Office in October for ensuing summer and fall offerings and in April for ensuing winter/spring offerings.

Proposals for either UNI 460 seminars or departmental study abroad offerings should include the following information in addition to information required by the appropriate college for any new course: Course title; Course description; Course objectives; Location; Travel Itinerary, if appropriate; Budget; and Minimum and Maximum Enrollment. Study Away Programs can assist with the development of a proposal with regard to location, itinerary, travel, lodging, excursions, and budget preparation. Enrollment restrictions should be discussed with the Dean of the College within which the course/program will be listed.

Student recruitment and preparation

Study Away Programs will promote the course/program through its web site, advertising in the student newspaper, all-campus emails, production and display of posters and flyers, and the organization of information sessions both specific to course/program and to all study abroad programs. Faculty members leading programs should plan to promote the program through: class visits, interest meetings, emails, and other campus networks.

Faculty members should be active in the review of student applications and the selection of the final members of the program.

At least two pre-departure orientation meetings should be organized. In conjunction with Study Away Programs program material related to the itinerary, travel arrangements, housing, pre-departure and on-site contact information should be disseminated by the faculty member leading the program. They should also work with Study Away Programs to ensure that all students submit copies of their passports, sign the Acknowledgement of Risk and Responsibilities form, pay appropriate program fees, and are enrolled in the Gallagher insurance plan or have submitted an insurance waiver form.

On-site responsibilities

Faculty members should plan to travel with the students to the program site. If faculty members are not returning with the students, faculty members should assist the students with checking in at the airport and ensure that the students’ flight has departed before leaving the airport.

Study Away Programs should be informed that the group has arrived in the host country and any problems experienced during the travel or during entry into the host country should be reported.

The faculty member leading the program must participate in all program activities including excursions and events.

Contact information for the faculty member and for each student should be made available to all program participants and Study Away Programs.

Students should be shown how to navigate the host site and where they can change money.

Faculty should monitor the students and respond to accidents, illnesses, group dynamics and address any problems as they arise. Serious situations should be reported to Study Away Programs.

The program budget should be carefully scrutinized so that spending is in line with available funds. Potential budget shortfalls should be reported to Study Away Programs.

Course/Seminar/Program Accounting Procedures

Upon approval to study abroad through UNI 460 or a departmental study abroad offering, students will be sent a financial agreement detailing: the program fees, tuition and university fees; the payment schedule; and the refund schedule. The financial agreement will also state that participants will be billed and be responsible for any additional trip-related costs that are over and above the estimated program fee and that any surplus will be refunded to the participants. Students must sign and return the financial agreement within ten days of receipt along with a program deposit (non-refundable).

The program fee is separate from tuition and university fees and covers the expenses directly related to studying abroad including, but not limited to, international travel, travel within the host country, lodging, meals, entrance fees, lectures, classes, facility rental, etc. Information on UIS tuition and mandatory university fees can be found on the Records and Registration website.

Students are responsible for the payment of tuition, university fees and program fees for the program/seminar/course for which they have registered. Program fees will be posted to the Banner accounts by Study Away Programs and billed by University Student Financial Services and Cashier Operations via the E-Bill process. Tuition and university fees will be assessed using the Banner registration process and billed by the Office of Student Accounts.

Students studying abroad through UNI 460 or departmental study abroad offerings are charged UIS tuition and university fees plus program specific fees.

The disbursement of all program fees will be recorded by Study Programs and the Faculty/Director. International airfare will be arranged by Study Away Programs including final booking of and payment for tickets in accordance with all appropriate University purchasing policies and procedures. The Faculty/Director will be responsible for keeping a detailed accounting, with receipts, of the disbursement of all program fees used to support the students/participants of the course/seminar/program. A statement of fund disbursement with receipts will be submitted to Study Away Programs within 10 business days after the completion of the course/seminar/program. Study Away Programs will, in turn, submit this statement and receipts to Accounting.