Fundamentals

Allegheny College recognizes the enormous academic, professional, and personal value of studying off-campus, either nationally or internationally. Our many and varied off-campus programs offer an attractive complement to what we strive to cultivate at Allegheny: an openness of mind and spirit, an appreciation for the unexpected, and a willingness to take ideas seriously and observe their importance to the way we live and what we come to expect of ourselves and others.

Some of our programs require skills in languages other than English, while others have no language requirements. All Allegheny sponsored programs require serious engagement with the on-site learning opportunities and a strong connection between the off-campus experience and the student’s academic goals and objectives. To ensure the most from the off-campus program, students are carefully selected and prepared, and the decision to study off-campus is made together with the student’s academic advisor and International Programs and Services (“International Office”). Please see individual program descriptions for additional information and requirements.

Allegheny College sponsors 22 semester and yearlong programs. Summer programs led by Allegheny faculty are also organized, in addition to a small number of short-term programs over winter and spring breaks. Allegheny sponsored programs may include internships and community service opportunities. For students whose academic goals take them to parts of the world where the College does not sponsor a program, the International Office and the academic advisor will work together with the student to provide information about appropriate programs.

Linda DeMeritt
Dean of the College

Basic Application Policies Include The Following:

  • Students must be approved by their academic advisor for the program to which they are applying: double majors must have approval from both advisors. This applies to students who are applying to Allegheny-sponsored programs, and to students who are applying to study independently.
  • Students must clearly relate their selected program off-campus to their major, minor or other well-articulated academic/professional goals at Allegheny, in their application personal statement.
  • Students may study off campus for only one semester on sponsored programs, with Allegheny aid. Allegheny aid may not be applied to a second semester except for the following academic year programs: Oxford; MSID India, Ecuador, Kenya, and Senegal; Tübingen, Angers-Paris sequence, Cologne-Tübingen, or an approved Spanish language combination. If students intend to be away for two semesters on programs other than those listed above, approval must be obtained for both semesters in advance of their departure, but Allegheny aid will only apply to the first semester.
  • Students on Allegheny-sponsored programs must enroll in and complete requirements for EXL 300 Cross-Cultural Learning: Theory and Practice which is a graded, 1 credit course that accompanies the off-campus study experience.
  • Students who transfer into their junior year at Allegheny will not be permitted to study off-campus; this is to ensure a smooth transition into the Allegheny junior seminar and senior thesis sequence.

Important Guidelines

Questions To Help You Decide On The Program That’s Right For You
Types of Programs
Academic Credit
Program-Specific Questions About Housing, Meals, Activities & Support Services
Program Costs
Final Considerations
Resources For Studying Abroad

Questions To Help You Decide On The Program That’s Right For You

So you know you’d LIKE to study abroad—but what do you DO next? Here are a few basic questions we think you should ask yourself to get the ball rolling:

WHERE do you want go?

Do you want to study…
…At a particular university?
…In a particular city or country?
…In a place that has some personal, historical or geographical relevance to you?

WHAT do you want to do?

Do you want to…
…Study?
…Work?
…Volunteer?
…Intern?

WHEN do you want to go?

Do you want to be abroad…
…As a sophomore, junior or senior?
…In the fall or spring semester?
…For a whole academic year?
…During winter or summer break?

WHAT goals do you have or what are you expecting to accomplish?

Do you want to…
…Learn a language?
…Become fluent in a language you have been studying?
…Earn upper division credit that fulfills your major or minor requirements?
…Gain hands-on experience related to your major or expected career?
…Learn about your host country?
…Have a completely new and challenging experience that will most likely build your crosscultural communication skills, critical thinking skills, self-confidence and independence?
…Other goals?
…All of the above?

WHICH of the answers above is the most important to you?

Determining what is most important to you will help you decide which program to apply to and how much money you want to spend. Explore the types of programs that are available to your or the specific programs that Allegheny sponsors…

Back to Top

Types of Programs

What type of study-abroad program is right for you? Allegheny offers several different types of programs that you can consider:

Intensive language programs
Discipline-based courses in English and language learning programs
Language and area studies programs
Major-specific programs
Direct enrollment or exchange programs
Field
placement/service internship programs

Summer programs
Questions to ask regarding the type of program for you

Intensive language programs

To participate in this program, students need little or no host country language background and study with people who want to learn the language of that country (students will probably only take language classes). Example: You go to Rome, Italy, and only take Italian language courses with other visiting students in Rome.

Allegheny sponsors several  intensive language programs:  China, Egypt, France (Angers), Germany, Japan, Mexico.

Discipline-based courses in English and language learning programs

In this type of program, students choose from a limited number of special courses for visiting students as well as some language courses. Example: You study in Warsaw, Poland, and take courses in Eastern European history and political science in English, and one or two Polish language classes with other students who are not native Polish speakers.

Allegheny sponsors several discipline-based programs: Costa Rica, Ecuador, Egypt, Germany, India, Kenya, Israel  and Senegal.

Language and area studies programs

To participate in this program, students must already have some college level language experience. Example: You already have two years of college-level Spanish language and you study (in Spanish) Latin American market economy and post-Cold War/NAFTA-era political strategy in Mexico City with other students on the program.

Allegheny sponsors five language and area studies programs: Argentina, China, Egypt, France (Angers/Paris), Germany (Tübingen), and Spain.

Major-specific programs

These programs are specifically designed for students with a particular major. There is no language learning involved in these programs. Example: You participate in a program geared to environmental science students in Brazil and the only courses offered (in English) are specific ones for that major.

Allegheny offers several major-specific programs: Costa Rica, Israel (Arava Institute, Washington Semester, Woods Hole (Massachusetts) and the Duke Marine Lab (North Carolina).

Direct enrollment or exchange programs

In these programs, students enroll in regular classes at the host institution. These programs often involve an exchange between another institution and Allegheny. Example: You directly enroll in physics courses with Australian students at James Cook University.

Allegheny sponsors six direct enrollment/exchange programs: Australia, France (Angers), Germany (Tübingen),  and United Kingdom (Lancaster and Oxford).

Field placement/internship programs

Students participating in this program have an internship after completing 6 to 8 weeks of classes and receive Allegheny credit for both parts of the program. Example: You enroll in a program which provides internship experience in Tokyo and your academic department at Allegheny thinks this is superb and agrees to award credit.

Allegheny offers six field placement/internship programs: Ecuador, France (Paris), India, Kenya, Senegal, NY Arts Program, The Philadelphia Center, Oakridge Science Semester, and Washington, D.C.

Summer programs

These programs are usually three to eight weeks and are very often led by U.S. faculty members. They are often less expensive than semester programs (because they are shorter), but they also offer less flexibility in program structure as well as fewer courses.

Questions to ask about the type of program:

  • What types of courses are offered on this program? Language courses and labs? Discipline-based classes? Lectures? Seminars? Tutorials?
  • Are the courses offered as part of the regular courses at the host institution or are they special courses for visiting international students only?
  • Who are the faculty who teach the courses? Are they from a US institution sponsoring the program or are they from an institution in the host country?
  • Are the classes taught in English? In the language of the host country? In another language?
  • Are there opportunities for independent research or field projects?
  • What qualifications does the program or experience require? A certain GPA? Language ability? Particular skill or abilities? Other qualifications?

Back to Top

Academic Credit

The next step in preparing to study abroad is to determine from the program information the type of credit that will be earned for the off-campus course work. Listed below are the types and definitions of credit that are available for off-campus course work:

Allegheny resident credit
U.S. transfer credit
Foreign transfer credit
Non-credit experience
Questions to ask regarding academic credit

Allegheny resident credit
This is credit that will be recorded on the Allegheny transcript as Allegheny credit and the grade earned for the course work will be factored into the Allegheny GPA. On the following Allegheny-sponsored programs, students earn Allegheny resident credit and their grades count towards the Allegheny GPA: Costa Rica, Germany (Cologne), Duke Marine Lab and Woods Hole. All grades are factored into the Allegheny College GPA.

U.S. Transfer Credit
This is credit that will be recorded as US transfer credit on the Allegheny transcript. On the following Allegheny sponsored programs, students earn U.S. transfer credit AND the program GPA counts toward the Allegheny GPA: France (Paris). On the following Allegheny-sponsored programs, students earn U.S. transfer credit only but the grades DO NOT count towards the Allegheny GPA: Ecuador, India, Kenya, Senegal, Spain and Washington, D.C. Only the courses in which you have earned a C or higher will transfer to Allegheny.

Foreign Transfer Credit
This is credit earned at a non-U.S. institution and subsequently transferred to Allegheny. In order to accept this transfer credit, Allegheny must acknowledge the credit granting foreign institution as officially accredited and recognized. If the foreign transfer credit is accepted by Allegheny, it is then recorded as foreign transfer credit on the Allegheny transcript. On the following Allegheny sponsored programs, students earn foreign transfer credit AND the program GPA counts toward the Allegheny GPA: Israel (Arava). On the following Allegheny-sponsored programs, students earn foreign transfer credit only but the grades DO NOT count towards the Allegheny GPA: Australia, China, France (Angers), Germany (Tübingen), Israel (Haifa), Mexico, United Kingdom (Lancaster), United Kingdom (Oxford) and all independent programs. Only the courses in which you have earned a C or higher will transfer to Allegheny.

Non-credit Experience
An experience where there is no credit available or the credit is not transferable to Allegheny. Examples of these experiences could be language institute credit, work or volunteer experiences.

Questions to ask regarding academic credit:

  • Which institutions award the credit earned?
  • In what form will the transcript come and when will it be sent to Allegheny?
    If there is no transcript, what form of assessment will be provided?
  • What kind of credit will you get (U.S. transfer, foreign transfer, etc.)?

Remember, the decision on whether or not the credit will transfer is made by the Allegheny RegistrarNOT with the program itself or your academic department. The decision as to how the transferred courses will fit into your degree requirements of your Allegheny degree is made by your academic department. If you are considering a non-Allegheny program (i.e., an independent program), it is especially important to find out before you go abroad if Allegheny will accept these credits as transfer units, and whether or not they will help you graduate.

Back to Top

Program-Specific Questions To Ask On Housing, Meals, Activities and Support Services

WHAT about housing?

  • Are housing arrangements made by the program or by you? If you are making the arrangements, what kind of assistance does the program offer in helping find accommodations?
  • What housing choices does the program offer: A university/college residence hall? An apartment? A private rooming house?
  • With whom would you live: Host Family? Host country student? Other US students? Other international students?
  • What is included: sheets, towels, pillow, study table, lamp, heater?
  • Will you have a single room or a shared room? Shared with whom?
  • If the housing placement turns out to be difficult one, what is the process for leaving a situation that does not work?
  • Is housing near the site of your classes or at least near convenient public transportation?
  • If your program includes a break (e.g., semester break, long religious holiday) are you expected to vacate your lodging for that time?
  • What access will you have to a telephone? Are you expected to get a cell phone?

WHAT about meals?

  • How many meals per week are included in the program cost?
  • If less than 21 meals per week are provided by the program, where are you expected to eat or prepare the rest? Local student cafeterias? Restaurants?
  • If you live with a host family, will you be allowed free access to the kitchen?

WHAT about activities?

  • To what community and/or host institution activities will you have access?
  • If the program fee includes excursions, do you have the option not to participate?
  • What activities are organized to provide interaction with people of the host country?
  • Do you want a structured experience this time abroad, or do you like making your own choices?

WHAT about support services?

  • What kinds of support services are available at the program site for any special needs (dietary, religious, accessibility)?
  • How will family and friends contact you while you are abroad?
  • Is there an on-site orientation when you arrive?
  • Are organized field trips and excursions available?
  • Is there a Resident Director who accompanies, or is regularly available to, participants?
  • Is there someone who can provide crisis intervention and/or counseling, if needed?

Back to Top

Program Costs

The following information addresses program costs for Allegheny-sponsored programs:

  • Students who participate in these off-campus programs “take” all their Allegheny aid with them and they pay their program fee through Allegheny.
  • The program fee always includes tuition and students will be charged Allegheny tuition.
  • If the program fee includes room and board, students will be charged Allegheny room and board rates (the room charge is the double room rate, and the meal plan charge will be appropriate Allegheny meal plan: either the 14 or 20 meals/week plan). Depending on the program, students may pay for room and board directly to the host institution.
  • Students are always responsible for their own airfare. Some sponsored programs bill students directly for airfare; in these cases, students should also pay those programs directly.
  • Each student will pay a $300 off-campus study fee per semester.
  • Students will be billed by Allegheny for their sponsored programs at the same time that bills for the next semester are going out to students remaining on campus. It is important to note that the general program literature on sponsored programs may provide prices that are different than what students pay when they go through Allegheny. This is because program sponsors do not make information handouts specific to the various institutions they work with. It is very important that students check with both the Financial Aid Office and Student Accounts to make sure that they understand exactly how financial aid and billing for their specific programs will be handled.

The following information addresses program costs for independent programs:

  • Students who participate in these programs pay tuition, fees, room and
    board, and (depending on how the program handles it) airfare directly to the program they have selected.
  • Allegheny financial aid is not applicable to independent programs; however, most state and federal aid can be applied. Students going on independent programs are responsible for notifying the Financial Aid Office in order to make arrangements for the transfer of state and federal aid (e.g. student loans).
  • Each student will pay an $800 off-campus study fee per semester.

Questions to ask regarding program costs:

  • How much money will this cost (including tuition, fees, airfare, passport, visa, room, meals, local transportation, communication costs (cell phone, internet access), books, supplies, linens, telephone costs, immunization, etc.)?
  • What resources are available — parents, relatives, extra jobs, etc.?
  • What sort of financial aid (loans, grants, scholarships), if any, is available through the program? Through outside sources?
  • What are the refund policies if the program is cancelled or otherwise interrupted?

Back to Top

Final Considerations

Here are some final matters to consider:

  • When is the application deadline? Is there a “space available” policy if you’re already past the deadline?
  • Will you be able to contact past participants of the program to get an evaluation of their experience?

Pick up a printed version of this information if you would like a handy table to compare the programs in which you’re interested. Printed versions of these guidelines are available at International Programs and Services at 200 Reis Hall.

Back to Top

Resources for Studying Abroad

For information about programs not sponsored by Allegheny College:

For information about raising funds for studying abroad:

For information on travel:

For information on safety abroad:

For information on health abroad:

For additional and interesting information on studying abroad:

Back to Top