Office of Education Abroad
Top Floor, Garey Hall
800 Lancaster Avenue
Villanova, PA 19085
As you are advising students during the course of their academic careers, many will express interest in studying overseas for part of that career. The Frequently Asked Questions list below should help you to answer many of those questions. If you don’t have time to read these questions, please be sure to read the first question: “How can I help?” For a comprehensive list of policies that pertain to international study, check out the Policies page.
From the first time that the students come to this office, they are told that they need to frame their wish to study overseas by answering the “skills” question: what skill do you want to develop while you are overseas that you cannot while here at Villanova? This skill can be academic, professional in nature, even something unrelated to their course of study (acquisition of a new language, fine arts, perhaps even a discipline not on offer at Villanova). The important thing is for the students not to answer this question with stock responses: “I want to experience another culture,” “I want to be able to travel,” “I want to be independent,” etc.
As a teacher and mentor, you are in a position to best help them frame the answer to this question. Personal development and the ability to travel will be options wherever they go. Get the students to think of what they want to do upon arrival, beyond just tourist experiences. Encourage students to think past study abroad as a geographical exercise: e.g., not WHERE in Ireland to you want to go, but WHY go to Ireland? At the initial information session, all students are told that study abroad is an extension of, not a break from, their Villanova University education. Press them to view their international experience in this way, and give them the tools to enunciate reasons for going that complement their education. Most importantly, keep in mind what John Dewey derisively called the “spectator theory of knowledge:” remind students that they have to be active participants in their education, most importantly when they arrive at their host country
The all-important first step is to encourage the student to visit the Office of Education Abroad. Twice a day during the academic year we run Information Sessions, group meetings where students meet with a staff member of the OEA, talk about their wishes/needs/goals, and are shown how to research programs. After this first meeting, students have individual meetings (always with the same staff member) where they talk in more detail about their goals, get detailed information about programs, and complete the application process. In between these meetings students are encouraged to meet their academic advisers, and will meet with the Chair of their department prior to the completion of their Villanova University application. For the full student list of items to accomplish, please see the Preparations Checklist.
The Office of Education Abroad (OEA) is located in Middleton Hall (formerly the infirmary). For our purposes, we usually tell the students that we are “beside Campus Corner.”
Given the number of programs with which the OEA works, we often tell students that we can send them to any country in the world. One caveat: we cannot send students to those countries under a Travel Warning from the U.S. Department of State.
The OEA does not maintain an “approved” list, instead allowing students to select programs based on criteria established by this office (see Programs for these criteria and information on our most commonly-used programs). In general, we work with three types of programs: 1) “traditional” programs, where students enroll directly into an overseas university by themselves or through a program provider; 2) “nontraditional” programs, where students take classes and also receive academic credit for outside-the-classroom work (internships, service-learning, independent study, field research, etc.); and 3) Villanova University programs, either semester study abroad (see….) or summer programs managed exclusively by this office.
Students can study overseas during their sophomore or junior years, or during the first semester of their senior year.
Students must have a 2.75 GPA and be in good standing (no disciplinary probation). Some programs have higher GPA requirements, and students with a lower GPA must have the approval of their Dean in order to apply.
Students pay Villanova University tuition regardless of their program or location in lieu of that program’s tuition. Students themselves are responsible for all other costs (room, board, flights, etc.) which vary by location. However, all financial aid applies to these costs.
No. In fact, students can even go to countries where Villanova University does not teach the host country’s language.
In working with students, the primary function of the OIS is one of academic advising. We work closely with students to help them choose classes that meet requirements for their majors, minors, concentrations, or core requirements. Students from any major can study overseas, and classes can be found in all disciplines. ALL CLASSES TAKEN BY STUDENTS MUST COUNT TOWARDS THEIR GRADUATION.
The final approval for all courses rests with the chair of the department in which that class falls. If a student wishes to take a history course, they must meet with the Chair of the History Department, if they want to take a Finance course, they must see the Finance Chair, etc. If the course does not meet the standards of that department—or, if the program offers another course that the student should be taking instead—it is the right of the Chair to refuse permission for a student to take a course or to replace it with another. By going through this process, students must have all courses approved before their departure and transfer of credit is as seamless as possible.
Students receive a “T” (transfer) credit upon completion of an approved class as long as they make a “C” grade or better.
Where are they, and how long does this process take? The OEA transfers students’ credits immediately upon receipt of their overseas transcripts to this office. If the credits are not appearing on the student’s transcript, then one of three things has happened: 1) the host university has not issued the transcript yet (European universities particularly take a long time in issuing transcripts); 2) the student did not request a transcript be sent to the OEA; 3) the student owes the program provider money and the transcript will not be issued until the bill has been settled. In each of these situations, there is nothing that neither you nor we can do, it is the responsibility of the student to contact the university or the program provider.
Students that are planning on studying overseas can take any number of courses while abroad. In terms of approvals, though, it is easiest for students to “save” a few classes from their colleges’ core requirements for their semester overseas (advanced literature, social science, humanities, etc.). Any courses that are prerequisites for electives in their majors also should be taken before studying overseas, to make it easier to get those major electives. Finally, courses that are core to the mission and heritage of Villanova University (Theology 1050, Ethics 2050, etc) cannot be taken overseas. We are happy to help with any other advising that is college-specific.
A Villanova University faculty member leads each of the Villanova International Summer Programs. Any specific questions and applications should be submitted to the faculty member leading the program.