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Santa Clara University

Understanding the Program Models

A variety of study abroad program models or structures exist. There is no single, perfect model for all students. Rather, different program models will allow students to accomplish different goals during their term abroad. Understanding program models will help students determine which Santa Clara programs may best meet their needs. The four program models are Direct Enroll, Hybrid Programs, Island Programs, and Virtual Programs.

Program Models

Level of Immersion:

Direct Enroll programs are the most immersive of the program models. Direct Enroll programs an ideal environment for challenging your independence and self-sufficiency. Navigating daily life and classes will take a proactive and responsible approach. 

Is this Model Right for you?:

We would recommend this model to those students who:

  • Want to become more independent while abroad
  • Are prepared to be more autonomous in academics and personal endeavors
  • Prioritize “living like a local” as they will be fully immersed within the university, and often the local language.

Key Characteristics of this Academic Experience:

Independence

  • Students may be expected to pace their studies individually throughout the academic term
  • The American liberal arts college notion of “continuous assessment” is absent from most institutions overseas
  • students may find that faculty may not hold office hours nor make themselves accessible to students outside of class to the same degree as Santa Clara faculty

Class Structure

  • Large lecture classes are common and attention to individual students is unusual
  • Professors may expect to lecture without interruptions, including questions and comments from students. 

Grading

  •  Grades for individual courses are often determined by one final examination or paper. 
  • Students should not expect homework, quizzes, and midterms. Naturally, students will be graded by foreign standards which may differ from American grading norms.

Visa information:

It is the responsibility of the student to research and apply for their student visa in time for their departure. SCU Study Abroad cannot provide expert visa guidance, expedite visa processing times, nor make appointments on students’ behalves. Begin the research process immediately as visas can be complicated and consulate appointments can be difficult to secure if not made on time. Be aware that requirements can vary between consulates and are subject to change with little notice so adhere to the instructions on the website of the specific consulate to which you are applying.

 

Level of Immersion:

Hybrid Programs combine the characteristics of Direct Enrollment and Island Program models. Hybrid programs that provide a more American style educational experience may require students to make greater efforts toward cultural integration and experiencing the host country like a local. Santa Clara students may or may not take courses with local students, depending on their choice of courses.

Program Goals and Student Experience:

Hybrid programs can be good opportunities for students who may be looking for a bit more structure to their experience, both in and out of the classroom, but are also interested in exploring the local university. Hybrid programs will often have options for structured internships, excursions, or other program opportunities through the program provider. 

Academic Experience:

Hybrid programs offer students an opportunity to create a program of study combining one or more integrated university courses alongside host country students, and courses taught for students on the program, only. As with Direct Enrollment programs, language proficiency is required for non-English speaking countries, but students who are less confident with their language abilities may find that the Hybrid model allows the opportunity to explore regular courses overseas in an environment with a great deal of American-style support.  

Visa information:

It is the responsibility of the student to work with the program provider and apply for their student visa in time for their departure. SCU Study Abroad cannot provide expert visa guidance, expedite visa processing times, nor make appointments on students’ behalves. Be aware that requirements can vary between consulates and are subject to change with little notice so adhere to the instructions on the website of the specific consulate to which you are applying. If students have questions about the visa process, students are highly encouraged to reach out to their program provider directly.

 

Level of Immersion:

Island programs are the least immersive of the program models. Classes are relatively small and designed for American students. Santa Clara students will take courses with other US students, not local students, at an English learning center instead of a university abroad. Papers, reports, exams, and projects are all part of the curriculum. Courses may be taught by host country professors or on-site program staff and may be taught in English or the language of the host country. 

Program Goals and Student Experience: 

Island programs typically offer students opportunities for programs such as internships, research, and cultural excursions as part of the structured program. Due to the organization of these programs, students should be prepared to have less exposure to local students and may have more rigidity in their program. Island programs may be good options for students who may be uncomfortable with a full immersion program or want more personalized support while abroad.

Academic Experience:

Island Programs offer a set curriculum of courses for students on the program only. Typically, if students pursue coursework in English, a host-country language course will be taught and required of all students to afford basic cultural interactions. Island programs may be thematic and focus on such areas as Social Justice, Economic Development, or Sustainability. This program may or may not be ideal for students who desire a great degree of independence and immersive experience. 

Visa information:

It is the responsibility of the student to work with the program provider and apply for their student visa in time for their departure. SCU Study Abroad cannot provide expert visa guidance, expedite visa processing times, nor make appointments on students’ behalves. Be aware that requirements can vary between consulates and are subject to change with little notice so adhere to the instructions on the website of the specific consulate to which you are applying. If students have questions about the visa process, students are highly encouraged to reach out to their program provider directly.

 

Level of Immersion:

Depending on the program, virtual programs can be the least immersive of the program models. Classes are relatively small and designed for American students. Santa Clara students may take courses with other US students or local students in a virtual environment. Courses may be taught by host country professors or on-site program staff.

Program Goals and Student Experience: 

Virtual programs typically offer students opportunities for programs such as virtual internships, research, and cultural excursions as part of the structured program. Due to the organization of these programs, students should be prepared to have little to no exposure to local students and may have more rigidity to their program. Virtual programs may be good options for students who may be looking for a more affordable and/or more accessible international experience

Academic Experience:

Virtual programs offer a set curriculum of courses for students participating in the virtual experience. This program may or may not be ideal for students who desire a great degree of independence and immersive experience. 

Visa information

No visa required

Program Model Comparison Chart

 Direct EnrollHybrid ProgramIsland ProgramVirtual Program
Fellow Classmates Host-country students; occasionally other study abroad and international students. Study abroad students from U.S. colleges and universities while also having the ability to take courses with Host-country students Study abroad students from U.S. colleges and universities; may or may not have a level of integration with local students of that country. Study abroad students from U.S. colleges and universities
Location Courses at a local university Courses at a program provider center with the opportunity to take courses at a local university  Typically classroom at a program provider center, or field-based, which may or may not be near a university. Virtual format 
Academic Structure Learning is self-directed or independent; a wide variety of courses; course information may be limited prior to arriving; grading structures differ from U.S. style. Similar to U.S. style with regular assignments, frequent exams, and seminar-style teaching, or experiential for field-work; may offer a chance to experience both U.S. style and host-country academic culture. Similar to U.S. style with regular assignments, frequent exams, and seminar-style teaching, or experiential for field-work. Similar to U.S. style with regular assignments, frequent exams, and seminar-style teaching, or experiential for field-work 
On-site Support Limited; you are expected to be independent and pro-active in asking for assistance on-site.

Usually a high level of support by staff from the provider program. You are expected to be pro-active in asking for assistance on-site. 

Usually a high level of support by staff from the provider program. You are expected to be pro-active in asking for assistance on-site.

Not applicable