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What FAQ is best for me?

Because the process for study abroad involves many phases, we've broken our FAQ according to phases.  Figuring out which phase you're in, will help us answer your questions more quickly.

  • Explore, is a phase for you if you're considering your options and examining studying abroad as a possibility in your academic plan.
  • Apply, is a phase for you, if you've decided on a program and are looking to apply.
  • Prepare, is a phase for you, if you've been accepted by SCU and are preparing your program-specific application or other materials.
  • Return, is after you've come back from your program, and is for you, if you're looking for ways to get involved on campus now that you are back and have questions about grades.

While we don't have a phase for when you are abroad, we are still here and available for you.  We've organized our Frequently Asked Questions according to when students experience these questions most frequently.

Not a student?  If you're a parent or family member, you might find this FAQ most helpful.

Where can I study abroad?

Santa Clara has study abroad in many locations, but at Santa Clara, we advise that you think about “what” you will get from your study abroad experience rather than “where” you will go.  As such, we encourage you to look closely at the academic opportunities offered by your program and the additional RIISE opportunities.  Browse our program search to find the best program for you.

Where can I study abroad?

Santa Clara has study abroad in many locations, but at Santa Clara, we advise that you think about “what” you will get from your study abroad experience rather than “where” you will go.  As such, we encourage you to look closely at the academic opportunities offered by your program and the additional RIISE opportunities.  Browse our program search to find the best program for you.

What programs are most popular?

We tend to focus less on popularity so much as what is the best fit for you.  In our experience, Santa Clara students tend to be the most pleased with their study abroad decision when it connects them with their goals. As such, we encourage you to look closely at the academic opportunities offered by your program and the RIISE opportunities.

Can I study abroad on the same program as my best friend?

Study Abroad is a great opportunity to explore yourself as an individual.  As such, we instead encourage you to look closely at the academic opportunities offered by your program and the RIISE opportunities in order to explore which opportunity will allow you to grow the most.

What is RIISE?

RIISE opportunities are additional options that are built into Study Abroad programs that we think cause students who participate on Study Abroad to "'RIISE' above the rest".

RIISE stands for Research, Intensive Language, Internship or Professional Experience, Study with Locals, Engagement in Community and are the five types of engagement opportunities that we encourage you to participate in while abroad.

Past Study Abroad students report these as being the best aspects of their experience.

Am I eligible to participate?

Check out our eligibility requirements for Study Abroad.

Can engineering students study abroad?

Yes, check out our eligibility requirements for Study Abroad.

Can I Study Abroad more than once?

Yes, if you are interested in participating on Study Abroad more than once, please work with our office.

Are there language requirements?

We always recommend that if studying in a non-English speaking country, you study the language before studying abroad.  However, we do have options at all levels.  You can check the language requirement for your program by utilizing the program search under, “Eligibility”.

What are the GPA requirements?

Check out our eligibility requirements for Study Abroad.  If you do not currently meet eligibility, we recommend working with the many resources across campus to improve your GPA and working with us in another Study Abroad cycle.

Can courses taken abroad fulfill my graduation requirements?

So long as a program appears in our program database, it will transfer automatically to SCU as at minimum elective credit towards your GPA, but can also fulfill major, minor or core requirements.  If a course doesn't appear in our database, please request evaluation by the appropriate Department Chair or the Director of Core for core classes.

How can I get a course evaluated?

After checking the database, if a course you are interested in taking abroad doesn’t appear there, submit an evaluation.

What does Study Abroad cost?

Like all University fees, the study abroad fees are set by the University Board of Trustees. By standardizing the study abroad fees, the Trustees enables students to pay the same tuition as on campus students. The difference is in the "Housing & Program Fees" which are based on program and location. See a complete list of the study abroad cost. To find your specific program’s cost, check in the program database.

Are there scholarships for Study Abroad?

Santa Clara has a small fund set aside to provide scholarships.  There is no additional application for this, simply check the box in our Study Abroad application requesting to be considered for the Santa Clara Fund.  

We recommend that you apply to scholarships offered by your program or offered nationally.

Can I study in a program that does not appear in the program search?

A program that doesn’t appear in our program search, is considered a “non-approved” program.  Learn more…

How do I apply for study abroad?

All students must follow the University's procedure as outlined in the "Application Process" page.

Who should I talk to about study abroad options?


Can I use my financial aid towards study abroad fees?

Yes, you can use your aid programs towards study abroad fees as long as you participate in an approved program for the regular terms.

Do I have to purchase additional insurance to go abroad?

All SCU students who participate in approved SCU Study Abroad are required to have health insurance coverage while abroad.

  • Students should contact their health insurance provider to see if they are covered while abroad and what the coverage will entail.  If covered, make sure that the amount of coverage fulfills program and possible country visa requirements.
  • Students should also check with their Study Abroad program to see if additional health insurance is provided by their program.  Many include Study Abroad health insurance in their program fees.

If your current health insurance policy does not provide coverage abroad or your program does not provide health insurance for the program, contact SCU Study Abroad for resources in finding Study Abroad health insurance coverage.

All students who participate on SCU Study Abroad programs are covered by SCU’s ACE Insurance/AXA Information and it is included in the SCU Study Abroad program fees.  This insurance covers emergency evacuation and repatriation of remains; it is not health insurance.

Can I travel while abroad?

We advise that you engage in your host community.  Rather than travelling outside of your host community every weekend, see it as an opportunity to better connect.  If you must travel, we recommend that you speak with our program partner to determine the best time to do so to avoid missing class.

Can family visit me while I am abroad?  When should they visit?

On average, approximately 20-30% of parents or guardians visit students while they are abroad. Of course, all students are different and some will be more homesick than others.

Do not plan trips until the student is in his or her program and knows exact dates for breaks and/or mandatory weekend excursions essential to certain courses.

One recommended time to visit students abroad is during a break or at the end of the program. This way, students can show family members around and share their experiences. However, if planning to travel with a student prior to the start of his or her program, it is advised that parents or guardians depart before orientation as to promote a smoother transition into the program early on.

What will my housing/meal situation be like abroad?

This depends on the program that you select.  Students have a variety of different living and meal situations abroad.  Check out your specific program website to learn more or connect with a returnee.

I’m a student with DACA status, can I study abroad?

Check out our resources for DACA-mented students!

I have concerns about my identity abroad.  What resources are available for me?

We’ve created a whole site full of resources for our diverse student body and we are always here to help.

Got something we didn’t answer?

We’re sorry. Check another section and if it’s not there, please, ask us!

When should I begin my application?

Now!  Start early, start well before the cycle that you actually intend to apply.

What would make my application stand out?

Setting clear and achievable goals based on your selected program.  Students who go to a Study Abroad 101 session and work with our office regularly during drop-in hours and do extensive research into their program and plan in advance, tend to produce applications that stand out above the rest.

What resources are available to me when preparing an application?

Is Study Abroad at Santa Clara competitive?

Yes, and as such, we recommend starting early.  Students who pick the correct program for themselves, prepare excellent applications, and meet the eligibility requirements are able to be successful on study abroad.

Should I select a back-up?

Yes, so long as the program would meet your academic, professional, and personal goals.  If you do not meet the requirements for your selected program, or if your program is particularly competitive one year, but you meet eligibility for Santa Clara’s requirements, we can sometimes allow students to participate in their back-up program choice.  If you are redirected to your back-up program choice, please meet with our office.

What type of citations do I need for the Academic essay?

You must include both in-text citations and a list of citations.  We don’t care which format you utilize for these, but please be consistent.

How strict are the word limits?  Is it okay if I go over/under?

Over:  A major part of Study Abroad is learning effective communication skills.  As such, please be as close as possible, do not go more than 100 words over the word count for any given question.

Under: This is fine, but we’d encourage you to go to the HUB Writing Center and ensure that you have fully answered the question and asking them to compare your answer with what is being assessed via the rubric.

How do my grades come back to campus?

Please see Grades and Transcripts.

How can I ensure that my grades come back to campus quickly?

  • Verify that your  matches the courses that you took perfectly, if there are discrepancies your grades will not be processed
  • Check with your International Office or the representatives from your program to see if grades have been mailed

Read more about grades & transcripts.

How do I register for classes if a course that I took abroad is a pre-requisite for a course that I am taking now and my grades are not yet back?

The best thing for you to do is to go to the department or the professor of the class that you are trying to get into and seek a permission number.

Can I be on one of those Study Abroad panels that I saw at an event?

Yes, join our Bronco Abroad Ambassador program.

How is my application rated?

Your application is rated via the rubric.  A member from the Study Abroad team and another office on campus evaluate your application.  The person across campus could be outside of your major, and as such it is important to ensure that your answers are clearly articulated for someone who may not know about or understand your program.

Yuliana Mendozaimage

Diversity Perspective

Yuliana Mendoza

"I did not imagine that I would have the opportunity to travel to 13 countries and 20 cities in 4 months. Most importantly, I did not know I would come back a different person than I was when I first left U.S soil."

Monet Gonnermanimage

Diversity Perspective

Monet Gonnerman

"We took classes in both English and Spanish. All professors know both languages, so even if students only understand minimal Spanish, the professors speak slowly and can explain and clarify words or concepts if needed. The classes were with other students from our program only, so we all worked together on homework or projects if we needed help."