Study Abroad FAQ
Do I have to know a foreign language to study abroad?
- Most programs either offer beginning language while you’re abroad, are in English-speaking countries, or don’t require any prior study of a foreign language.
- Only three programs (semester in Florence, Chile, and Salamanca) require that you already have an intermediate knowledge of a language before you go.
What’s the difference between a Dominican-run program, an affiliate program, and exchange program?
- Dominican-run programs are short-term courses offered to Dominican students and students-at-large. These trips are led by Dominican University faculty who have expertise in a particular country and in leading students abroad.
- For certain programs, we have an affiliation agreement with a study abroad provider like American Institute for Foreign Studies (AIFS). Students participating in affiliate programs will travel and study with students from all over the United States. These programs have been carefully selected by Dominican faculty and approved for our students.
- Exchange programs are offered at universities with which Dominican University has a written exchange agreement.
How do I prepare to study abroad?
- Plan early academically. You can earn Core Area Requirements on each short-term, faculty-led study abroad program, and on most semester-long programs. Many times it is easier to fulfill a Core Area Requirement abroad, than to fulfill a major requirement on a study abroad program. For that reason, students should plan ahead for the study abroad program they desire, and save the Core Area Requirements that can be fulfilled for that semester or short term program, so they can get the most "bang for their buck." Do not wait until your senior year to consider study abroad—it will be hard to fit the experience into your academic plan.
- Talk to your academic advisor early on and make sure that you will be able to fit a study abroad program into your four-year graduation plan. This is especially important if you want to spend a semester abroad.
- Talk to your family about studying abroad. Get them on board with your plans, and allow them to ask questions. Attend information sessions so you are as informed as possible.
- Make sure you have a valid passport. In order to travel, a passport must be valid for six complete months after you would return from your destination.
- Start to save your money. Even though the actual cost of a semester program may be less than a semester on campus at DU, remember that there will be additional expenses associated with traveling, living away from home, and not being able to work. Short-term programs occur between semesters, so they are an additional expense. Plan ahead financially.
- Keep your grades up. There are minimum DU GPAs for all programs, ranging from 2.5 to 3.7. The main reason why students are turned down for our programs is a low GPA.
- Learn about the different experiences available. All programs approved by DU are on this website. You should also attend information sessions and open house events, and talk to the faculty advisors for each program, in order to learn more about it.
How do I apply for a study abroad program?
Attend an information session to learn about the program and learn how to apply. Dominican utilizes an online application portal that will be demonstrated during these sessions. Students can also begin applications by clicking "Apply Now" on most program pages, however, they must attend an information session in order to be accepted.
Complete your applications quickly and early and, after acceptance, complete the post-decision requirements just as quickly. The online application includes forms and waivers to complete, and students are required to ask faculty members to complete a brief recommendation survey on their behalf. Be sure to ask faculty to do this long before the application deadline. After acceptance, students are required to sign additional waivers and submit a completed medical form, copy of their passport, and a copy of their deposit receipt. We recommend that students obtain their passports and meet with a medical professional to complete the medical form BEFORE they are accepted. Some programs also require an additional external application after being approved at DU, and many times there are visa requirements and timelines to consider. Students should pay close attention to the timelines communicated to them by the Office for Global Learning, and ask for an appointment if they have questions.
When will I know if I’ve been accepted?
Once your application is complete, it will be evaluated by the Office for Global Learning and the director(s) of the individual programs. You should hear if you have been accepted within a few days after the application deadline. Upon acceptance, you should immediately begin completing the post-decision phase of the application to ensure you can participate in the program (medical form, passport, deposit and waivers). Many program directors will accept several students, but are only able to allow the first few students that complete all of the post-decision tasks, to travel.
Is this the same for affiliate programs, like Salamanca?
Students complete an application with Dominican University, first, and after they are "Approved to Apply," students must then complete post-decision tasks on their DU application, as well as complete an application with the affiliate program. The application for these programs can take a bit longer, and many of our affiliate programs require a visa application as well, so it is important to complete applications within the timelines communicated by the Office for Global Learning. You will need to collaborate with your academic advisor at DU to select the courses you will take during your semester abroad.
Do I need to complete a medical form?
Yes. The Travel Medical Form is required for all international experiences at Dominican. This is so we can ensure you have considered all of your wellness needs before committing to travel. Medical forms are due after initial acceptance, by the deposit deadline. Sometimes there is only two weeks between your acceptance and the deposit/medical form deadline, so we advise students to complete the medical form as soon as possible. Students complete Part A independently, then work with their own physician or a professional in the Wellness Center to complete Parts B and C. Remember to schedule your appointment with your practitioner as soon as you can.
What does it cost?
Semester-long programs are surprisingly affordable. Students are charged the same Dominican University tuition, student fee, and tech fee all students are charged, plus a $1000 Study Abroad Program Fee (for affiliated programs) or just the cost of insurance ($50 a month for exchange programs). Students who enroll in semester-long study abroad programs that extend into the summer months are also charged the summer tuition rate and a summer study abroad fee for the summer credits earned. Some summer exchange programs (like Strasbourg: European Business) are offered at a significantly discounted rate. More information is available on each program page.
All global learning students studying abroad for a semester participate in cultural activities and excursions, earn full-time credits, and receive international health insurance. Students enrolling in exchange programs may need to pay an additional cost for housing and meals. Housing is included in all of our affiliated semester abroad programs, and meals are also included in some programs. All students need to purchase their own flights for semester-long programs, and may desire to bring extra funds so that they have money to travel and experience the culture.
Short-term faculty led programs typically cost between $2500–$5000. Factors that contribute to the variation in cost are the length of time students are abroad, the cost of living in each city, whether meals are included, costs of flights, etc. The advertised program fees for short-term faculty-led programs include the flight, coursework, housing, insurance, excursions, and sometimes your meals.
What are the additional fees for the type of program I am interested in?
Affiliate Semester Programs: Students participating in an affiliated semester program are charged a $1000 Study Abroad Fee, in addition to regular tuition and fees. Students who participate in affiliated semester programs that also earn credits in Summer I or II are also billed a $500 Summer Study Abroad Fee and the summer tuition rate.
Exchange Programs: Students participating in a semester-long exchange program pay the same DU tuition and fees they always pay, plus $50 a month to cover medical insurance while you're abroad. Students participating in a short-term (summer) exchange program are charged a discounted tuition rate (see individual program pages), plus $50 a month for insurance.
DU Programs*: Students participating in short-term DU faculty-led programs are not charged Technology Fees, Student Fees, or Tuition for the credits earned. The advertised cost of the program is the only charge you will receive, and it includes the coursework, housing, flight, insurance, excursions, and sometimes your meals.
*Please note that graduate programs may not include the flight, and may require a separate charge for the credits earned. Attend an information session to learn more about the exact costs of each graduate-level international program.
Will I get financial aid?
100% of the state and federal financial aid you are approved for can be used on semester-long programs offered through Dominican University. The Residence Life Grant does not apply to semesters abroad. 100% of your other Dominican University grants and scholarships can be used on each of our semester abroad programs. If a student earns additional scholarships for a semester study abroad program, their Dominican aid may be reduced if their total aid received (DU Scholarships and grants plus additional scholarships) exceeds the cost of the program. When total aid would exceed the cost of the program, adjustments would be made to reduce your DU aid package for that term, so that you would have a $0 balance at DU.
There are no financial aid cycles during winter break, spring break, or summer, however, Pell eligible students participating in short-term DU programs in the summer are able to apply Pell Grant funds if they register for six credits. Occasionally, additional aid is available for short-term programs, however this depends on the program, the year, and your major. For this reason, we refer accepted students to financial aid to discuss specifics, after they are accepted.
How do I find out if I will get more financial aid?
After the acceptance deadline, the Office for Global Learning will send a list of the students accepted to financial aid. You must make an appointment with the Office of Financial Aid after the application deadline to discuss additional loans or aid.
Are there competitive scholarships I can apply to?
Yes! All eligible Dominican University students are encouraged to apply to the ExcEL Scholar Awards to earn up to $2000 towards their study abroad experience. Some schools and departments like the Brennan School of Business and journalism may also offer a competitive study abroad scholarship.
All students can apply to Fund for Education Abroad scholarships for program that is four weeks or longer.
Pell eligible students planning to participate in a program that is three weeks long or longer should apply to the Gilman Scholarship for study abroad.
Children of active duty military members, who also receive any type of Title IV Federal Financial Aid, should apply to the Gilman-McCain Scholarship.
Students participating in a DU approved AIFS program should apply to all of the AIFS scholarships they qualify for:
- Generation Study Abroad ($1,000)
- Diversity Abroad ($5000)
- Sir Cyril Taylor Scholarship ($1000)
- HACU-AIFS Scholarship (up to 50% off program fees for students of Hispanic heritage)
- Russel and Deborah Taylor Foundation (up to 50% off program fees)
- John S. Linakis Scholarship ($5000)
- AIFS also provides additional discounts for Gilman and Fund for Education Abroad winners, as well as students with family members who have participated in an AIFS program
Can I apply for loans?
Many students elect to take out loans to cover out-of-pocket expenses associated with study abroad, and sometimes students are offered higher loan packages for their semester abroad. Families can also elect to file for a Parent PLUS loan in order to secure additional funds for their child. Each student's eligibility is different, and you should consult with financial aid on the eligibility of loans. Make sure that you have a current FAFSA on file in order to be considered.
What if I find out that I can’t afford to go?
There is always a two-week period between the application deadline and the deadline for the non-refundable deposit. If you can’t go, just notify Alison Healy, Director for Study Abroad, before the deposit deadline and your name will be removed.
Deposits are a commitment to pay the full expense of the program and are non-refundable.Therefore, students should only make deposits if they are prepared to participate and pay the entire cost of the program.
Will I get academic credit for study abroad?
All programs are academic and credit-bearing. The number of credits varies on the length of the program and the academic requirements. But you will receive some credit for each of the programs. Short-term faculty led programs typically fulfill at least one Core Area Requirement, and sometimes major/minor requirements. Other programs may fulfill Core Area Requirements, major/minor requirements, or electives. Credit fulfillment will be explained at information sessions.
What do I have to do for the credit?
This varies from program to program. The professor or a Study Abroad advisor will explain this to you.
Packing, money, passports, etc.
How do I know how to access money and what to pack?
Each program has a detailed orientation in which practical questions will be answered. Most programs also have individual interviews before you go, so you can ask these questions then.
Do I have to have a passport?
Yes, you will need a passport which will not expire within six months (one year for some countries) after your return to the U.S.
Do I have to have a visa?
Visas are not required for most programs, but some, like semesters in Paris, Florence, or Salamanca, do require visas for entry. You’ll find out about this at the orientation.
Where will I stay while abroad?
This varies by program. Please consult the program director or the webpage for the program you’re interested in.
Can I find my own housing?
No, you must live in Dominican University-approved housing or housing arranged by the affiliate program.
Can I study abroad again and again?
Students can participate in as many short-term faculty led study abroad experiences as they desire. Students should work closely with their advisors and consider the financial aspects of participating in multiple short-term trips.
Although they can travel multiple times on short-term programs, students are more limited with long-term travel. Typically, students can only spend one semester abroad during their time at Dominican, however there are some circumstances in which two semesters abroad are possible.
- Students participate in the the year-long Blackfriars College program at Oxford
- Students participate in one semester-long affiliated program, and one semester-long exchange program
- Students participate in two semester-long exchange programs
It is important to plan early and determine which study abroad experiences you want to plan for during your time at Dominican University.
Can I apply to study abroad programs that are not affiliated with Dominican University?
Students who wish to study abroad on programs that are not listed on the Dominican website have the option to stop out of Dominican University, for a semester, to study abroad. If you wish for credits taken abroad to appear on your DU transcript and count towards graduation requirements at DU, the program must be affiliated with an accredited Institution of Record. Students who choose to choose to study abroad on a non-DU program should work closely with their advisors prior to travel, to complete the transfer credit approval form for each course they wish to take, in order to determine if those courses can be transferred back to DU and count towards any DU graduation requirements. It's important for students to understand that their Dominican grants and scholarships will not apply to semester in which they are not enrolled at DU. Students should work with financial aid to determine which, if any, of their non-DU grants or scholarships could be accessed during the term abroad.
For more information, please contact:
Office for Global Learning