​Frequently Asked Questions

The following contains brief answers to the questions most frequently asked by students interested in a Semester Abroad. Information is necessarily limited; we've selected items deemed most useful to the decision to participate.
 
 

 What is International Programs?

 
​International Programs (IP) is a unit of the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point dedicated to providing low-cost, academically based travel‑study for students. Participants often consider our programs to be the highlight of their university career. Perhaps no other opportunity can teach you as much about your world, your country, and yourself.
 
The hallmark of our programs has been extensive travel partnered with academics. All of our study tours have ambitious itineraries. Most tours give you an overview, rather than an intensive experience. We are necessarily frugal including housing in pensions and hostels, train travel, and backpacks as the preferred luggage.
 

 Am I eligible to go?

 
​You are eligible if you have a 2.25 Grade Point Average (GPA) or are in good standing at another college or university. Check with International Programs about special application requirements and study abroad opportunities. Our language specific based programs in France; Germany; Spain and Mexico require a minimum 2.5 GPA and our semester in Limerick, Liverpool, Sydney and Christchurch require a 3.0 GPA. Generally, a GPA of 2.75 is needed for the London Internship program.
 

 Are there special requirements?

 
​Our programs generally give preference to students who have prepared themselves by taking coursework related to the host country.
 

 Do I need to know a foreign language?

 
​Four of our programs require some language ability. Students applying to go to Mexico: Oaxaca, Spain: Valladolid, Germany: Marburg, or France: Caen must have completed the equivalent of four semesters of college-level language courses. Other program sites have no language prerequisite.
 

 What programs are available at UWSP?

 
​Check out our Semester Programs.  We offer a variety of programs!
 
Our short-term programs are generally theme oriented (i.e. environmental studies, cultural geography, or art and design) and change on a regular basis.
 

 How do I choose a study abroad program?

 
​Give serious consideration to your academic and vocational aspirations. Any experience abroad will add to your future employability and broaden your personal horizons, but those that link to your long-term goals will be even more valuable. Some programs are less expensive than others, but all offer an incredible experience. Your primary consideration should be how the experience will help fulfill your goals. We welcome appointments to talk about your specific needs, or just stop by the office.
 

 Will courses taken abroad apply to graduation?

 
​All credits earned abroad are granted through UWSP. In general they are 300 (junior) level or above and many are general degree requirement (GDR) courses. Though we cannot offer every student every class they need, our offerings highlight the culture of our chosen countries while helping students proceed toward graduation. In some cases independent study options are also available. To ensure that overseas courses fit into your overall academic program, plan early and consult your adviser.
 

 Is a study abroad program affordable?

 
​Yes, though it is more expensive than staying in Stevens Point, studying abroad is still an affordable way to gain a full semester of credits and experience a foreign country.
 

 Does my financial aid apply to the cost of the program?

 
For UWSP students, if you are eligible for financial aid, it will apply in at least the same amount you receive on campus. In most cases, additional loan money is made available to you. Please contact the Financial Aid Office, Room 106 Student Services Center, 715-346-4771, finaid@uwsp.edu, for details.
 
Eligible students from other schools may or may not receive financial aid from their institution. Application to UWSP may entitle them to financial aid. The IP office arranges to collect financial aid monies since it arrives after you depart and to send refunds, if any, to the address you give us.
 

 How do I secure on-campus housing while abroad or before I study abroad?

 
​There is a good webpage which explains the process.  Please click here to get details.
 

 What happens after I apply?

 
You will receive a calendar with information about orientation meetings during the semester prior to the study abroad or summer travel‑study you have selected. The meetings will provide more detailed information for current programs.
 
You are ultimately responsible for preparing yourself for a semester abroad. Attend the orientation meetings. Listen attentively, ask questions, and take notes. Frequently students return and tell us that they wished they had prepared better.
 
Our brochures, fact sheets, and files will give you some of the specific information you seek. Late in the semester before you depart, an intensive Saturday Departure Workshop is held. Attendance is required for regional participants.
 

 How do I become admitted to UWSP?

 
Every student participating in a semester abroad must be admitted to UWSP as a regular or special student. If you intend to apply for financial aid at UWSP, you must fill out the regular admission application and send transcripts as requested. If you are financing your own trip, ask us for a guest matriculant form. Credits are treated as resident UWSP credits. Grades and credits will appear on transcripts in the usual manner and be transferred to your home school. It is up to you to make sure your home university will accept the credits.
 

 When are payments due?

 
​When you are accepted as a group member, signify acceptance by sending us a nonrefundable deposit of $250. If you choose to delay your semester abroad or transfer your application to another of our programs, you may do so without penalty. The deposit applies toward the announced price of the program. You will receive a payment schedule with your acceptance letter. All fees are due prior to departure. If you are receiving financial aid, we will wait until your aid arrives. Please supply us with verification of aid eligibility.
 

 What does the announced program cost include?

 
Program costs include:
  • Full-time undergraduate Wisconsin resident tuition; Minnesota resident students pay a reciprocity fee. Other out-of-state students must pay a $1,000 nonresident surcharge.
  • Round trip international airfare for most programs; most flights depart from Chicago or another Midwest airport.  When air is included, airport departure taxes, where applicable, are also included.
  • Lodging and food for the semester including travel‑study tour; a lunch allowance is usually included. Check your fact sheet or ask your faculty leader.
  • Travel expenses including train or bus fare are included for most programs; see individual program fact sheets for details.
  • CISI health insurance for your "official" time abroad; all students participating in UW System study abroad programs are REQUIRED to have the state mandated health/travel insurance coverage. UWSP IP builds this cost into your program price. Under no circumstances are you allowed to opt out of this mandatory coverage. The UW System policy covers:


​Section 1
​Accidental Death per Insured
$15,000.00
​Medical expenses (per accident
or sickness): Basic Medical
​$100,000.00 at 100%
​Emergency Medical Reunion ​$5,000.00
​Section II
​Medical Evacuation/Repatriation/
Return of Mortal Remains
​Combined limit $50,000.00
​WorldNet ID# 577UWIS

In addition, all participants in UWSP study abroad programs may also buy their own health insurance to cover extra medical/hospital costs in the event of sickness or injury while abroad. The choice of insurance is yours. IP can assist you by providing information on special health insurance coverage for foreign travelers.
  • An International Student ID card;
  • Area field trips required as part of class requirements while at your major site;
  • Guest lecturers and guides.
 

 How many credits can I earn?

 
Students may sign up for a maximum of 17 credits during the semester. Each student must take a minimum of 12-14 credits depending on program requirements. In rare cases, noncredit participation is permitted on our short-term programs, if the student agrees to attend class regularly and pay the announced price.
 
An independent study credit option (1-3 credits) is available in some programs. Graduate credit may be available. Contact the IP office for more information.
 

 What will classes be like?

 
You will be receiving instruction in the study center of a university or an adjacent location and will not, in most cases, be attending classes with students from your host country. Core courses are mostly humanities and social studies. Classes will be small and often held in unusual locations or nontraditional classrooms.
 
Be aware that professors from the site country may have accents. Professors accompanying the group may well adapt their material and delivery to the location. Class schedules are not set up until after your arrival.
 

 How much free time will I have on the program?

 
​Students may allocate their free time consistent with class responsibilities. These are academic programs so students are expected to attend the classes for which they have enrolled. There is ample free time. Most weekends are free but check with your  leader to be sure. Do not make extensive "break" plans until you arrive in the country to verify class dates.
 

 Who is in charge?

 
​The faculty leader or our designated on-site coordinator administers all aspects of the program. The administrator has the right to terminate the participation of any individual whose conduct disrupts the program, offends persons in the host country, breaks the law, or endangers someone.
 

 What will we find in the contries we visit?

 
​No one can say for sure what you will find. You will be going to lands of contrasts, enigma, and paradox. You may be traversing a continent, but you will see only a small piece of it. Undoubtedly, you will see things you do not understand, but if you keep an open mind, you will broaden your horizons and find yourself asking new questions.
 

 Do I need a passport or visa?

 
Yes, acquisition of a valid passport is the responsibility of the student. Information on the process will be given to you with forms and an appointment for passport picture-taking sessions. It will save all of us additional stress if you start this process immediately upon ACCEPTANCE to a study abroad program.
 
When visas are required, this office will obtain them for students who turn in their passports on time. When passports are required to gain a visa, they will be returned to students at the airport at the time of departure.
 

 Will I need vaccinations and immunizations?

 
​Currently there are no vaccinations required for travel in Europe, but a health advisory letter will be distributed to participants electing programs in countries where immunizations are recommended. Immunization recommendations can also be viewed on the Center for Disease Control's website: http://www.cdc.gov.
 

 Can I drive in a foreign country?

 
​Yes, but only with proper documents, insurance, and preparation.
 

 What happens if I need to withdraw?

 
When a participant withdraws from a program before departure or returns to the U.S. before completion of a program, the individual must communicate directly with UWSP International Programs as soon as possible to ensure all essential university procedures are followed and to receive the fullest refund possible.  Airlines and international service providers, including foreign universities and their affiliated agencies, often require advanced payments and impose large cancellation fees.  In case of a participant withdrawal, UWSP International Programs will strive to refund payments as much as possible to the individual, but UWSP International Programs is not liable for fees and charges imposed by partner agencies and universities. 
 
UWSP International Programs does not purchase cancellation insurance for individual participants.  Participants are encouraged to investigate trip cancellation insurance to determine if such insurance is in their best interest to purchase privately.  
 
Withdrawal before the Official Program Commences.
A.      Up to one hundred (100) days prior to the official program start date: UWSP International Programs will retain the non-refundable application fee and the arrangement fee.  Both fees are transferable ONCE and only to another UWSP International Program offering.    
B.      In the period from one hundred (100) days to thirty-one (31) days prior to the official program start date: UWSP International Programs will assess penalties for any purchased or reserved transportation and accommodation arrangements as well as any other program expenditure incurred to the date of withdrawal.  Application and arrangement fees are transferable in this period as outlined in point A.
C.      Thirty (30) days prior to the official program start date: UWSP International Programs will assess the penalties listed in point B and any instructional or arrangement costs that on-site providers assess UWSP International Programs.  The application fee is transferable once as outlined above, but the arrangement fee is no longer transferable.
Withdrawal during Official Program:  Generally, no refund of any part of the program costs is possible.  
 
NOTE:  Individual participants are responsible for all expenses and fees charged for their participation.  Any outstanding payments due may be applied to the participant’s UWSP Billing Account.
 

 Am I ready for travel abroad?

 
Put some serious thought into studying abroad. If all you want is a vacation, your money may be better spent with a travel agency. Studying abroad can be exhilarating as well as frustrating, fascinating and frightening. It is a commitment to education as well as step outside of the norm.
 
UWSP and IP exist to open doors for you. You should approach a study abroad experience with humility, with an open mind, and with a spirit of discovery, in the hope that you may learn about new cultures and other parts of the world. In that spirit, IP invites you to share this adventure.