In order to make the study abroad experience as safe and successful as possible, the University of North Dakota maintains certain policies to which students enrolling in study abroad programs are bound. It is your responsibility to follow the policies delineated here.
While on study abroad, you are still bound by the UND Code of Student Life, the Academic Catalog, and federal financial aid regulations. If at any point during the study abroad process you have questions about the policies, please contact the Study Abroad Office. For our part, we will do our best to follow the policies as described here and in the appendices, but please understand that world situations can change rapidly and we reserve the right to adapt our policies as necessary to safeguard your physical, emotional, and academic well-being
Eligibility requirements vary according to program however, for most programs the requirements are:
- A minimum GPA of 2.5 at the time of application, to be maintained throughout the study abroad process
- Successful completion of at least 24 university-level credits (or sophomore status) before scheduled departure on the program. Except the American College of Norway which requires just 15 university-level credits
- Student can not be under probation
• Records to be released to our office include judicial records and other related information on file at the Dean of Students Office or the Housing Office
Some programs have more stringent requirements. If you are unsure whether you will be eligible for your chosen program please ask.
Fees and Expenses
Standard semester and academic year program fees include:
- $50 UND application fee
- $300 UND study abroad fees
- Most programs require UND health and travel insurance
Standard short-term (faculty-led) program fees include:
- $50 application fee
- UND health and travel insurance
Application and Acceptance Process
When you have determined which program you would like to go on, you will meet with an Education Abroad Advisor who will set you up with an online account and go over the specifics of the application.
Important Forms and Documents
Most of the application can be completed online. A typical application for study abroad includes the completion of the following forms:
- UND study abroad application
- ID sized photo
- Program specific application - requirements vary
- Academic Recommendation - completed by an INSTRUCTOR who has known you at least one semester
- Petition for Off Campus Credit - this form is an official request to receive credit towards major, minor, essential studies or graduation requirements.
- Memorandum of Understanding - this form outlines the registration, billing, insurance, and credit details specific to your program.
- Confirmation form - official acceptance of study abroad placement (in notification letter) this form is used to formally declare your intent to participate in study abroad OR notify the OIP that you have decided not to study abroad. Either way this form needs to be returned to the OIP no later than the following deadlines:
April 1 for Summer, Fall and Academic year programs
November 1 for Spring programs
- Waiver & Release Agreement—this form outlines the responsibilities and expectations of UND regarding your study abroad experience
- Financial Aid Budget Planning Worksheet
All students intending to study abroad must apply to the Office of International Programs by the appropriate deadlines. Most program deadlines are:
- October 1 - all Spring programs
- March 1 - all Fall and Summer programs
Regardless of individual program deadlines
Program Acceptance and Confirmation
The acceptance process is a two step process. Initial approval is based on UND requirements. Final acceptance to your program is at the discretion of the host institution and not UND. Once you have turned in your completed application materials, you can expect to receive a notification letter from UND in late-March or late-October depending on the semester/program for which you are applying. Your letter will contain additional documents for you to complete.
- Financial Aid Budget Worksheet
- Participation Confirmation Form—this form is used to formally declare your intent to participate in study abroad OR notify the OIP that you have decided not to study abroad. Either way this form needs to be returned to the OIP no later than the deadline mentioned in your notification letter.
- Confirmation fee information—this fee is due approximately two weeks after your notification packet is sent out. Please plan ahead for this expense.
Forms, Letter, and Meetings
Study Abroad Application Packets - available for pick up at the OIP
One semester prior to term abroad
Application Deadline - submit your application for study abroad programs at the OIP. Some programs may have different application deadlines, so check with the individual program to assure the dates don’t conflict
March 1 - Fall & Summer
October 1 - Spring
Notification Letters - sent to student’s local address
Two to three weeks after application deadline
Participation Confirmation - and deposit OR notice of withdrawal from study abroad program.
April 1 for summer, Fall and Academic year programs
November 1 for Spring programs
Pre-departure Orientation - All remaining materials due at this time
Passport copies, Petition for Off Campus Credit - If you miss this orientation without having made prior arrangements with the OIP, you will NOT be allowed to study abroad through UND, and you will forfeit your deposit
Early April & Early November
Coursework for study abroad programs may be used to fulfill the following UND requirements:
- Essential studies
- Electives towards graduation
Since most of UND’s partner institutions have their academic catalogs available online it is possible for you to start selecting your coursework now. For some programs, you will see that you are required to compile a preliminary list of course choices to include in your application. Websites for partner institutions are available on the study abroad website. View partner institution page. Please look carefully to be sure the course you are hoping to take will be offered during the semester you are planning to be there.
Working closely with your academic advisor and department is essential in getting your intended coursework approved. It is up to the discretion of the appropriate department whether the courses you take on study abroad will count for equivalencies or electives, and it is your responsibility to make sure you are in communication with the department about what they will accept. Getting credit for study abroad is a three step process:
Step 1: Course Pre-approval
Step 2: Complete course work abroad
Step 3: Transfer credit to UND
- Request a transcript from host institution be sent to UND Office of International Programs
- Complete a foreign transcript evaluation if required a list of programs that require a foreign transcript can be found at here
Course Pre-Approval Process
Step 1: Meet with academic advisor to discuss course options – a list of questions to ask your academic advisor is available on the Get Started page (Step 3: Meet With your Academic Advisor)
Step 2: Review course descriptions available at host institution & choose courses
Step 3: Meet with appropriate departments to request course review to determine equivalency
Step 4: Complete Petition for Off Campus Credit
- Name, Student ID number
- Courses to be taken at host institution
- UND course equivalents
- Required signatures
Courses for Major - department the course is HOUSED under (i.e. if your major is Physical Therapy and you want an Anatomy equivalency approval MUST come from the Anatomy Department)
Course for Minor - same instructions as above
Essential Studies - approval comes from the Registrar’s Office (Twamley Hall)
Electives towards graduation - Academic Advisor
- Complete the information about your program
- Your signature & the signature of your Academic Advisor
Complete Course Work Abroad
Students will receive credit only for courses which they receive passing grades. All courses must be listed on an official transcript from an accredited university. If your course plan changes after your Petition for Off Campus has been submitted you must notify the OIP as soon as possible to request course pre-approval.
Transfer Credit to UND
The UND Registrar’s Office treats credit from study abroad as transfer credit and follows the transfer credit policy outlined in the UND Academic Catalog. If your transcript is issued from a US accredited institution (i.e. IFSA-Butler or the American College of Thessaloniki), the Registrar’s Office is able to evaluate it themselves. However, if your transcript is issued by a foreign institution, UND policy requires a third-party evaluation. The purpose is to evaluate both the credit and grading system as they appear on the foreign transcript and “translate” them into American terms, as well as to verify the institution’s accreditation, if necessary.
Currently the agencies approved by the Registrar’s Office for this process are American Association of College Registrar’s and Admissions Officers (AACRAO) and World Education Services (WES). The fee for the required course-by-course evaluation must be paid by the student. Please ask and Education Abroad Advisor for an updated price.
Before you leave your program to return to the United States, please be sure to request an official transcript in English from your host institution be sent to:
Office of International Programs
ATTN: Study Abroad
2908 University Ave Stop 7109
Grand Forks ND 58202-7109
It is also a good idea to request a copy for you.
The process for transferring credit can take several months from the end of your program and the time your work appears on your UND transcript. Please be prepared to wait before you are able to graduate, transfer, or apply to graduate school.
Once you are enrolled in UNIV 228 or 229, a student cannot graduate from UND until an official transcript and evaluation have been received, and the credit has been posted to your academic record.
In accordance with UND policy for transfer credit, your grades will be recorded on your UND record as they appear on the transcript from your host institution or transcript evaluation. This means that you will receive letter grades for your work abroad. Since study abroad credits fall under the general UND policy for transfer credit found in the UND Academic Catalog, S/U grading can only be granted by UND if it is granted by your host institution (with the exception of Internships and Student Teaching).
Financial Aid and Planning
Most students will be able to use their existing financial aid and scholarships on study abroad. It is up to you to determine whether some or all of your existing funding will be usable. Both the Education Abroad and Financial Aid Offices are available to help you with any questions you may have in this regard.
Financial Aid Process
- Complete FAFSA for academic year that you will be abroad
- Complete the Memorandum of Understanding with the OIP
- Register for UNIV 228, 229 or other study abroad course
- Complete Financial Aid Budget Planning Worksheet
- Meet with Financial Aid Advisor for study abroad to re-evaluate financial need (bring the following documents with you to this meeting):
1. Completed Financial Aid Budget Worksheet (in your notification letter)
2. Cost Estimate sheet (available online)
3. Copy of Memorandum of Understanding (available at OIP)
Summer financial aid requires an application and financial resources are often limited. Be sure to check with the Financial Aid Office for dates.
Financial Aid Disbursement
The disbursement of financial aid is typically done during the second week of classes: early September for fall semester, and mid-January for spring semester, and late May for the summer term. In some cases the disbursement may not coincide with the payment requirements of the host institution. In these cases the student must work with the study abroad institution’s business office to make their individual arrangements. The Financial Aid office may have suggestions for commercial loans, scholarship resources, etc.
Although the cost breakdown forms will give you a good estimate of the overall cost of your program, the costs, such as tuition, are dependent on the exchange rate and are subject to change. It is also important that you do individual research as well. Everyone’s spending habits are different, and it is impossible to define a general amount that will be accurate for each student. The internet is an excellent resource for cost of living and travel information and expenses. Please refer to the resources on www.studyabroad.und.edu for a place to begin your research, but don’t limit yourself to those sites alone. Talk to students who have studied at your intended destination—they are truly your best resources, having lived through what you are about to experience.
Accessing Funds from Overseas
Planning your budget will include not only deciding how MUCH money you’ll need, but also how to bring it with you and safeguard it once you’re there. There are a number of ways to transport and access funds from outside the US, and again, the best way to find out which is the most efficient where you are going is to talk to other students who have been there.
1. Debit and Credit Cards
Debit and credit cards are also relatively safe, easy to use, and often yield the best exchange rate. You can use them to make direct purchases or to access cash from ATMs. Be sure to check with your bank or credit card company to find out what sort of fees they may charge you for each withdrawal. Visa is the most widely recognized credit card abroad. It is best to have both an ATM card and a credit card.
For safety’s sake, keep a copy of your credit card number (even a photocopy of the front and back of the card itself) at home with a trusted person and one with yourself. Make sure you also have a contact number for the issuing company or bank in case you need to cancel the card due to theft or loss.
Some students choose to set up their accounts so that someone at home can monitor their balances (in case of discrepancies due to fluctuating exchange rates) and deposit additional funds if necessary. Delegating the Power of Attorney, or the right to access your funds, to a trusted family may be necessary. Your bank officials can help you with this.
2. Host Country Bank Account
If you’re going to be abroad for an extended period of time, it may be advantageous to look into setting up a bank account for yourself while you’re there. It is absolutely crucial that you understand the banking policies of your host country before making any decisions about opening an account for yourself. However, having a bank account in the local currency can potentially save you time and hassle, as well as give you additional insight into life in your host country. Be aware that there may be additional charges for transferring money.
3. Foreign Currency
Many local banks do provide a service for you to obtain foreign currency before your departure. There is usually a service charge attached to each transaction. A simpler option is to access an ATM when you arrive in your host country.
4. Traveler’s Checks
Taking money in the form of traveler’s checks is a few ways to transport funds. However, once you have arrived in-country, you’ll have to find a place to cash them, and open banks sometimes are hard to find. Both banks and bureau de change will change your checks, but be aware that they will almost always charge a commission fee. It is also a good idea to leave a copy of your check numbers at home with your parents or another responsible party, in case of loss or theft. Keep a copy for yourself as well, but don’t keep it in the same place as you keep the checks themselves!
Passports and Visas
What is a PASSPORT?
A passport is a document issued to you by the United States Department of State, which identifies you as a US citizen with full rights to travel outside the country. You will need to show it when you leave and re-enter the United States and at most other international borders. International situations can change rapidly and without warning. It is important to be informed of entry and exit procedures of your host country. Carry your passport whenever you plan to travel from one country to another.
Just as you do with any important financial documents, keep a photocopy of your passport picture page and any visa pages and paperwork in a separate, safe place. Leave a copy at home with a trusted person as well. If your passport is lost or stolen, having a copy of the original greatly expedites the replacement process.
Adult passports are good for ten years. If you already have a passport, check the expiration date to make sure it will be valid for at least six months beyond your expected return date, as some countries may refuse to issue you a visa if your passport expires within that time frame.
How do I get a passport?
If you do not already have a passport, apply for one immediately. It can take six to eight weeks to get a new passport or renew an old one.
In Grand Forks, there are two issuing bodies, the County Tax Office at 151 S. 4th Street and the US Postal Service located at 2501 28th Ave. South. The process will go much more quickly if you have already completed your application and bring all the necessary additional documentation with you when you go. To download an application and view a list of required documentation visit the passport information website at www.travel.state.gov . Getting a new passport generally costs $135 not including the cost for obtaining required documents and pictures.
When you receive your passport, sign it immediately. Without your signature, your passport is invalid.
What is a visa?
To find out if you need a visa for your study abroad program, visit the website of the host country’s consulate to the United States. There should be a section dedicated to visas. Alternatively you may have to call the consulate directly.
You will not be able to apply for a visa until you have been accepted by the host institution. Most visa applications will require a copy of your acceptance letter, as well as proof of financial stability, a local address in that country where you can be reached during your stay, proof of insurance coverage, and one or more official passport-sized ID photos. There is often an additional processing fee. You may also be required to hand deliver your passport to the consulate.
If you have any questions about the visa process the Education Abroad office will be able to provide you with limited assistance, but please understand that getting a visa is ultimately your own responsibility.
Students are responsible for making their own travel arrangements to and from the program site, as well as for any extracurricular excursions while abroad.
Getting a plane ticket is the first big step, and often a major part of the expense of study abroad. To avoid excessively high airfares, plan your
travel early on. Although we strongly discourage you from buying your ticket before you have been accepted to the program, it is important to make your travel arrangements well in advance after you have been accepted. It is not too early to being looking at airfares and possible routes. It can sometimes be cheaper to fly on what may seem a roundabout route (for instance stopping in Reykjavik, Iceland on your way to Oslo), and if you are planning to travel before or after your study abroad program dates, you may wish to fly in or out of a different city than your program site. Some programs are not located near major international airports, so take a look at local train and bus schedules. You may even want to start looking at transportation options within the town where you will be staying. Once again, your best resource is other students who have traveled to your host country and international students here at UND.
The International Student Identity Card (ISIC) makes you eligible for discounts on tickets (air, land, and sea) purchased through certain student travel agencies, as well as discounts at participating museums, restaurants, and other attractions. Going through a student-orientated travel agency has other advantages as well, they are familiar with your needs, and can often offer you more flexibility and lower change fees. As when making any major purchase, be sure to shop around before committing yourself.
Health and Safety
Your personal health and well-being can have a major impact on your experiences abroad. Suddenly finding yourself in an entirely new culture and climate is stressful and can open you up to a risk of illness or aggravation of a latent condition. Even something as simple as a common cold can take on whole new proportions when you are in a foreign country. There are some simple steps you can take ahead of time to avoid your first on-site activity being a tour of the medical and pharmaceutical facilities.
Check-ups and Vaccinations
It is a good idea to visit your physician and dentist for check-ups before you spend any extended period of time outside the country. Your doctor can also give you any vaccinations recommended for Americans traveling to your host country. For details on safeguarding your health while abroad, visit the Center for Disease Control’s website.
Prescriptions and Over-the-Counter Medications
If you take prescription medication, be sure to bring enough to last through your entire stay abroad. The medication you need may not be available in the same form in your host country. Brand names are usually different, and your medication may not be easily recognizable to pharmacists or to customs agents.
Be sure to pack any medicine—prescription or over-the-counter—in your carry –on luggage when you travel. Take copies of your prescriptions and a letter from your doctor explaining what the medication is and why you take it. Keep over-the-counter drugs in their original packaging.
If you regularly take any over-the-counter medicine for recurring medical problems such as headaches or stomach ailments, bring a least enough with you to last until you find a suitable local alternative. Some students, especially those prone to allergic reactions, may wish to take enough to last their entire stay.
UND's study abroad health insurance specifically covers international health issues; most students' domestic health insurance does not cover them for health related issues outside of the U.S. UND requires all students traveling and studying abroad on a UND related program to have health insurance that can provide the following coverage and services.
This policy costs $50 per month, students are required to pay the total cost of the insurance as the confirmation fee for studying abroad (if insurance is included with the programs cost, students will pay $100 as a confirmation fee) The Office of International programs insures that students are covered for the duration of the study abroad program. If a student decides to stay longer than the duration of the program they can purchase additional insurance for $50 per month. It is the student's responsibility to purchase additional coverage by going to the CISI website. Click here to view the website.
If a student already has insurance that covers these items, it is the students responsibility to provide his/her Education Abroad Advisor with proof of coverage (including a schedule of benefits that meets or exceeds the coverage provided by UND and dates of service that must cover the student for the entire duration of their program). This documentation must be submitted by pre-departure orientation.
It is recommended that students maintain their domestic health insurance for the duration of the study abroad experience.
Basic Guidelines for Personal Healthcare Abroad
Everyday life in other countries is different enough from your life in the United States to pose interesting and constant challenges. The best way to keep yourself ready to meet the unexpected is to maintain your basic physical and mental health. Being sleep-deprived, having a headache, or being overly hungry can all exacerbate relatively minor incidents (like missing the bus or having difficulty communicating your needs in a foreign language), and allow them to turn into larger aggravations—even if only in your perception of the situation. The following are some basic tips to help you keep your head above water.
- Drink plenty of fluids to stay properly hydrated. This begins as soon as you get to the airport on your way out of the country. It is expected that you will be tired and suffer from jet lag when you arrive on site. Staying well hydrated also allows your body to better combat common illnesses like colds and flu.
- In some less-developed regions it may be necessary to drink pre-bottled beverages only and avoid ice; avoid uncooked foods and un-pasteurized milk. Sanitation practices are different in other countries, and your body may not have the same natural defenses that local people have built up to resist bacteria.
- Always wear adequate clothing and footwear. Sturdy walking shoes are a must, as you won’t be driving everywhere like you do at home. In addition, appropriate attire for the weather conditions.
- In some areas of the world the sun’s rays are stronger, therefore, be sure to wear sunscreen anytime you are going outdoors. Even minor sunburn or heatstroke is at best a nuisance, and easily preventable.
- Get enough sleep and rest. It is easy to push yourself too hard academically and socially, and college students are notorious for not getting adequate rest. Try to get at least eight hours of sleep a night, and consider taking a nap if you find yourself feeling over-extended during the day.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)
Even if you feel this issue doesn’t apply to you, please pay attention to this section—you may be able to help a friend. Be aware of the conditions and potential risks in your host country; safety is always a priority, and it is better to be well-informed than to be caught in a situation where you feel you have no control. The Center for Disease Control has country-by-country information on prevalent STDs and outbreaks, and how to protect yourself. No, matter what the local circumstances, please consider practicing abstinence. It is truly the only fail-proof method of preventing STDs and accidental pregnancy. However, if you do choose to remain or become sexually active while abroad, USE CONDOMS. Birth control pills will not protect you from STDs! Take condoms with you, as what is available overseas may be of questionable quality or difficulty to find due to local customs.
Drugs and Alcohol
Customs and laws regarding drugs and alcohol vary greatly worldwide. It is important that you familiarize yourself with how the people of your host country regard alcohol consumption, and equally importantly, how their laws apply to the use and misuse of it. Many countries have much stricter laws than the US regarding drug and alcohol abuse. Remember that you are subject to the laws of your host country (and any country you are traveling through), and that if you are arrested, there is very little the American government can do to help you. Please see consular information at travel.state.gov.
Overindulging in alcohol is an excellent way to become a victim of petty crime—or far worse. Please protect yourself and your companions. If you choose to drink, drink responsibly, and stay with people you trust. NEVER accept a drink from someone you don’t know, and hold onto your glass when you are at the club or bar. Use of date-rape drugs or similar substances is unfortunately present in other countries.
Safety and Security Guidelines
Just as with your health, there are a number of simple things you can do to maintain your personal safety. Nothing can truly guarantee your safety abroad (or anywhere, for that matter), but behaving in an informed, culturally appropriate manner can greatly minimize the risks of foreign travel.
- Educate yourself about the political, cultural, and social conditions in your host country.
- Notify the Education Abroad Office and your host country program representative of any mental or physical conditions you have that may require attention during your stay abroad. This will help them respond appropriately to your needs.
- Understand and abide by any conditions imposed by the study abroad insurance policy provider.
- Keep your contacts at home and in your host country informed of your plans. Make sure at least two people always know how to get in contact with you wherever you are, and leave itineraries with a responsible party when you travel, even on short trips.
- Understand and follow the policies of your study abroad program as well as the laws and codes of your host country. Remember that you are subject to these laws, no matter whether you are familiar with them—or agree with them—or not.
- When traveling, use public transportation. The OIP STRONGLY discourages students from renting or driving any motorized vehicles while abroad, and accepts no liability for students who choose to do so. If you do, NEVER get in a vehicle being driven by someone under the influence of alcohol.
- When taking public transportation, avoid empty subway or railway cars and buses. Travel with another person whenever possible. Never take a taxi alone at night.
- Accept responsibility for your own decisions and behavior. Know your own limits and respect them.
Trust your own judgment and intuition. If a situation is making you nervous, there is probably a good reason. Change what you are doing and get to someplace safe.
If you ever feel yourself at risk, please contact the proper local authorities, your host program staff as well at the UND Education Abroad Office immediately with your concerns. We are here to help you, and your safety is our priority.
During your time abroad, you are likely to experience things you never even thought of before leaving the country. Encountering situations that are completely different from what you are used to can be daunting, even though you are excited about life abroad. You will learn to adapt to your new surroundings, but the process can be difficult for many people. Remember that this is normal! Although each person’s individual experience will be different, generalized stages of adjustment have been identified. Familiarizing yourself with these will help you know what to expect when you are immersed in a different culture.
Stage 1: The Tourist
At this stage you have just arrived in the country and you are really excited to be there. You have been planning this experience for a long time. It is everything you dreamed of.
All things the “tourist” sees and encounters are new and exciting. The host culture is perceived as exotic and interesting, although the “tourist” plays only a passive role, and mostly observes the culture from the outside.
Stage 2: The Stranger
Now that you have had a chance to observe your surroundings you are ready to start interacting with your host culture and its people. However, that feeling of being an “outsider” has not gone away and may actually intensify as you understand that host country nationals see you as the foreigner. You may feel more critical of the culture as things that were initially exotic and interesting become strange and even annoyingly different. A feeling of homesickness usually appears at this stage, partly brought on by the anxiety and stress of adjusting to a different way of life.
Stage 3: The Participant
By this time, you are beginning to feel much more comfortable as you gain more of an understanding of the locals and their customs. You start to feel less like a “stranger” and more accepted a part of everything that is going on around you. As a result, you are more positive about your experiences, and are learning not to judge situations from an American perspective but in a culturally relative context.
Stage 4: The Resident
By now the host culture, along with its customs and people have become normal for you. You are enjoying life in this environment; you know what to expect in most situations and how to behave appropriately. You may even start to compare your new life with American culture and customs, and view your host culture as superior in some ways. You might have adopted certain behaviors from the locals, and feel like you fit in—possibly even better than at home.
Culture Shock usually occurs during the initial stages of adjustment, but can recur at varying degrees throughout your stay. It is all part of adapting to the new environment, and is absolutely normal. The following are recognizable symptoms of culture shock: