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Semester Study Abroad General Guidelines
Penn State Law and its partners have developed specialized off-campus international study programs to prepare students for the complexity of international issues that practitioners face in an increasingly interconnected world. Participants will enhance their understanding of language, culture, and legal systems to be effective practitioners in the United States and abroad.
1. Pre-departure Process and Preparation
a. Academic Advising
Study Abroad students are asked to consult with Stephen Barnes to discuss academic requirements and course options prior to their departure. Questions about graduation and registration requirements should be discussed with the Law School Registrar.
Students should plan to enroll for a full course load at Penn State Law for the study abroad semester when registration opens. Once a student has been approved to study abroad, and has been admitted by the partner school, the student should drop their classes and register into SALAW 900 for 12 credits.
b. Mandatory Medical Insurance
All students planning University-affiliated international travel MUST purchase the international health and emergency coverage offered through HTH Worldwide for the entire period of their travel abroad (include travel time). The Penn State HTH health insurance plan through this link HTH health insurance directly online for the duration of the formal program (include travel time).See also:
Questions should be directed to the Student Health Insurance office at Studentinsurance@sa.psu.edu or (814) 865-7467.
The Penn State HTH Worldwide health insurance policy includes an evacuation insurance for political, security and natural disaster related evacuations.
Medical Insurance for personal travel
Students can purchase the HTH Extended Coverage when they extend their Penn State sponsored travel for personal travel. The Extended Coverage does not include evacuation insurance. Students enroll for the HTH Extended Coverage through the following website: HTH Worldwide Enrollment for Extended Coverage.
c. Pre-departure Orientation
Students are required to attend a pre-departure orientation on health and safety. Please contact Stephen Barnes for an appointment.
Study abroad students are asked to familiarize themselves with the Education Abroad pre-departure information.
d. Liability Waiver/Student Conduct/Emergency Contact Form
Study Abroad students are asked to complete a liability waiver/student conduct/emergency contact form (which will be provided by the Study Abroad Advisor) and return the signed document to Brenda Johnson prior to departure.
Upon return, Study Abroad students are required to meet with the Study Abroad Advisor for a de-briefing. Students are asked to provide feedback regarding academic and other issues.
The Registrar will require the transcript of the partner school. Depending on each partner school, the partner school transcript will be provided to the student or to Penn State Law directly or will be available through an online process.
3. Costs and Financial Aid
- Students participating in semester abroad exchanges pay full tuition and mandatory fees at Penn State Law. Students do not pay tuition or mandatory fees to the partner institution.
- Tuition covers the number of classes considered a full course load by the partner institution; if a student wishes to take courses in excess of the full course load, they may be required pay individually for those courses.
- At some schools, additional language courses are offered at the host institution for an additional fee.
b. Financial Aid
- Students studying in semester abroad programs are eligible for financial aid. Director of Financial Aid Susan Bogart will answer individual questions about financial aid for particular programs.
- It is possible that due to the differences in semester start dates, financial aid disbursements will not be correctly timed; short term loans are available with advance planning.
- Typically students should start addressing study abroad financial aid about three months prior to the start of the program.
c. Additional Expenses: Please consider the following additional costs when calculating the financial needs.
- Airfare and other travel costs
- Health Insurance
- Passport/ Visa costs.
4. Funding Resources
Students who have been selected for a study abroad program are encouraged to start researching and applying for scholarships well in advance given strict scholarship application deadlines.
a. Contact Information
Students should consult with the University Fellowship Office, 210 Boucke Building.
The following is a selection of scholarships for study or research abroad available to graduate students:
- Boren Fellowship: provides scholarships to add an international language component to their graduate studies abroad
- Fulbright: Offers a variety of scholarships
- Local Rotary Scholarships and Global Rotary Scholarships for sustainable projects
- Global Studies Foundation: supplemental funding for study abroad
- Student Mobility Program (Canada): travel grants for students participating in study abroad programs in Canada
- German Academic Exchange Service: scholarships for studies, research and language courses in Germany; summer law and internship program offered through the DAAD
- Pennsylvania Commonwealth Scholarships for Embedded Faculty-Led Programs (contact Education Abroad Office)
- German Marshall Fund of the United States Fellowship.
c. Scholarship Database
The following is a sampling of databases that have been designed to provide students with information on various funding opportunities.
- IIE Passport Study Abroad Funding
- StudyAbroad.com Scholarship Database
- Study in Australia Scholarships
- International scholarships
- Scholarships abroad
5. Health and Safety
a. Country-Specific Knowledge
Travel is safest and most secure when you educate yourself about your destinations well in advance of your trip. The following resources can provide you with important health, safety, cultural, logistical and transportation information.
World Watch: This is an intelligence database provided by the University for all students, faculty and staff. It includes:
- daily specific updates on safety, security and health
- transportation safety
- visa, entry and exit requirements
- plugs, electricity
- city-specific information
OSAC: This website is maintained by the U.S. Department of State through its Bureau of Diplomatic Security. Among other things, it provides crime and incident reports.
U.S. Department of State Countries and Regions Information: This website is maintained by the U.S. Department of State and it provides background information on countries and regions.
CDC Country-specific health information: This website is maintained by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and provides health and medical information for countries andregions. Travelers should also be aware of HTH Worldwide insurance health resources and the University Health Services Travel Clinic.
Penn State Library — Country Analysis Guide: Requires Penn State Access ID and provides many country information links.
Like the United States, most countries have rules and restrictions about who can enter, what activities are permitted and what is required for each length of stay. Travelers should be aware of the requirements for entry, stay and exit from each destination and transit country on their itinerary. The following resources provide up-to-date and specific information for most locations.
Websites of Foreign Embassies in the U.S.: U.S. Department of State portal provides up-to-date links with instructions and contact information for travel to other countries.
World Watch: provides country-specific immigration/customs information and advice that might clarify some countries’ requirements. Immigration and customs information should be reviewed for all transit and destination countries.
Passport and Visa
Some countries require passports of travelers to be valid for a certain period of time after entry into their country. Travelers should confirm passport and visa requirements of all transit and destination countries.
Please note that your passport must be valid for at least six (6) months past the end of students’ program of study. Many countries require a visa for a semester long stay; details are available through the partner institution or the country’s consulate. Early application is recommended. Please see here for additional information on passports and visa.
Country-specific entry/exit requirements and import/export requirements
Some countries impose vaccination requirements, entry or exit taxes or other requirements that visitors should be aware of prior to their departure. Many countries have restrictions on which items you may bring into the country, including medication, and export from that country.
Some countries have restrictions on importing certain medications. Travelers should check with foreign embassies to make sure their medications are not considered illegal narcotics under the countries’ laws. Any medications should be left in their original container and be clearly labeled.
International students going abroad
International Students at Penn State should consult with an international student adviser in the Directorate of International Student Advising (DISA) in 410 Boucke Building to determine how the study overseas will affect their current immigration status in the U.S.
Taking cash abroad
Under U.S. requirements, travelers may bring into or take out of the United States, including by mail, as much money as they wish. However, if it is more than $10,000, it must be reported to Customs and Border Patrol. In addition, destination and transit country requirements may apply.
U.S. customs restrictions
Some items may not be brought into the U.S., others may require permits and others may only be restricted from certain locations. Special restrictions apply to products made from endangered wildlife.
b. General Travel and Safety Tips
All students traveling on University-funded or University-affiliated travel outside of the U.S. are required to be aware of the information provided in these handbooks:
- Education Abroad Health and Safety Handbook
- Penn State’s Pre-Departure Handbook Student Life 2011-2012
Other useful resources are listed below:
- U.S. State Department Tips for Traveling Abroad
- U.S. Department of State Students Abroad
- Downloadable U.S. Department of State Smart Traveler i-Tunes App
- FrontierMEDEX Pre-Travel Checklist
U.S. citizens should register all international travel using the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) on the U.S. Department of State website. Non-U.S. citizens should inquire about their country’s registration programs.
Travelers should notify their credit card company of pending international traveland have international credit card emergency telephone numbers available. Generally, it is recommended to have different types of payment methods available abroad.
Copies of important documents
It is recommended to make copies of travel documents and credit cards keep one set separate from originals and leave one set of copies at home or with a trusted person. Travelers should leave their itinerary and emergency contact information with their department as well as with a trusted person.
Travelers should carry an internationally functioning cell phone that is turned on and charged at all times. They should also make sure they have the appropriate equipment to use destination country plugs and voltage and know how to make phone calls from the destination. The cell phone number and emergency contact information should be made available to appropriate persons and the department. It is recommended that travelers stay connected with their family and department.
Local customs and laws
Many resources are available for travelers to familiarize themselves with local laws and customs. The following are some free online resources which provide a range of perspectives.
- BBC Languages
- CIA World Factbook
- Cultural Profiles Project
- Culture Crossing
- Kwintessential Country Profiles
- Penn State Library — Country Information and Data Sources
- U.K. British and Commonwealth Office Destination Advice
- U.S. Department of State Country Specific Information
- World Business Culture.com
- World Watch
U.S. Department of State Assistance to Americans Abroad
Travelers should be aware of the resources provided by the American government to its citizens abroad as well as the limits on the role the government can play in a foreign environment.
- U.S. Department of State Legal Issues Abroad
- U.S. Department of State Emergency Advice
- U.S. Department of State Lost Passports
Travelers should be aware that building codes and fire safety procedures and equipment might be different in other countries and should be aware of good fire safety practices.
- Penn State fire safety tips and evacuation guidelines are available at: http://www.ehs.psu.edu/occhealth/fire.cfm
- See also:
c. Health Issues
Visit the Penn State Travel Clinic or other health care provider as soon as possible to get immunization and other pre-travel medical and health advice. It is important to make an appointment early because some series of shots may need to be given over a period of months.
CDC Country-specific health information: This website is maintained by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and provides health and medical information for countries and regions. Travelers should also be aware of the specific health and medical resources provided by their travel health insurance.
Medical Care Abroad HTH Worldwide provides assistance with scheduling of doctor’s appointments overseas as well as in the event of medical emergencies. Holders of HTH health insurance should contact HTH’s Call Center to schedule your appointment and arrange for direct payment to one of HTH’s doctors (call collect from abroad or toll-free inside the U.S.)
Download HTH App with country-specific health information
d. What to do in an emergency abroad
Medical emergency: Go immediately to the nearest physician and then contact HTH’s 24/7 call center (call collect): + 1.610.254.8771
ALL emergencies: Contact the 24/7 Penn State emergency number at +1.814.863.1111
Depending on the type of emergency:
- if you are an American, contact the nearest U.S. Embassy, Consulate or Diplomatic Mission
- contact the consulate of your country of citizenship if you are not an American
- contact the local police
- contact the local institution or organization you are working or studying at
e. Travel to Countries on the U.S. Department of State Warning
The U.S. Department of State issues travel warnings when conditions in a country or location are considered dangerous or unstable.
Currently, none of the law school’s study abroad destinations are subject to a travel warning. Students wishing to travel to a country or remain in a country which is on the U.S. State Department Travel Warning list are required to seek advance approval by the university. Please contact Kara Amoratis, International Risk Analyst, Office of Glboal Programs, at email@example.com. This policy applies to all students traveling with University funds, traveling to fulfill degree requirements and/or carrying out University-sponsored or affiliated activities.