Many students wish to go abroad at least once during their college experience, whether it is for a full semester or to take summer classes. Sometimes, international students take courses in their home countries over the summer in order to have the credits transferred to Trinity. Here is information all students wishing to go abroad must know.
According to study abroad advisor Andre Martinez, the first thing a student who wants to study abroad must do is attend a “First Steps” presentation, in which students receive a detailed explanation of the Study Abroad process.
“In the First Steps presentations, we talk about everything related to Study Abroad: the types of programs, either direct enrollment, field-school programs, study-center, our own Trinity faculty-led programs, exchanges, language programs, hybrid “” which is a combination of students taking courses at the local university as well as through a program provider: the study center,” Martinez said.
These presentations focus on teaching the students about the different models of Study Abroad programs and the advantages of each, as well as what sorts of scholarships are available for them. Students can check the dates of future First Steps presentations and sign up at https://new.trinity.edu/academics/study-abroad.
“There’s all different kinds of things you can do abroad. So, we want to be sure that you know all of them, not just one of them, so that you are aware of what the next step is. Once you do a First Steps presentation, you have access to the advising calendar so you can simply go in and sign up for an advising appointment,” said Nancy Ericksen, assistant director of study abroad.
One thing that the study abroad office cannot provide students information about is whether students’ financial aid will roll over to the study abroad program they wish to take part in. However, they send students to the Financial Aid Office, where an advisor will help them determine what portion of their aid, if any, will transfer over to the study abroad program.
“The library has pulled together information on how to do all this research and they have a new research librarian that you can talk to about looking at outside scholarships and additional funding. [You must also] talk to in Financial Aid so that when you come in for advising, we can focus on the things that you’ve already thought about; we’re not starting with just a vague idea,” Ericksen said.
As far as exchange programs go, Trinity University has the following partnerships: Iwai University in Seoul, South Korea; Jà¶tun University, in Shanghai, China; Tunghai University in Taiwan; Lingnan University in Hong Kong; and Yonsei University in Seoul, Korea.
“We do not offer any exchange programs in Europe. However, we do send students to study at European universities all the time. You can be a student in those institutions, and we don’t have to have an exchange program for you to be able to do that,” Ericksen said.
International students who wish to take summer classes in their home countries and have those credits transferred to Trinity go through a very similar process as all other study abroad participants.
“We understand that this is your home, so you don’t need quite all the pre-departure information that a student studying in a different country and culture needs. There are some things that we can fast-track because you are going to be living with your family, for instance. We can assume that, if there’s an emergency, they’re there to help you,” Ericksen said.
As with other study abroad programs, there are certain deadlines for summer study. These deadlines are the same for both international students and American students who wish to take summer courses at a local college or university.
“The last day to begin an application is March 19; the last day to turn in an application is March 25; the last day to complete all of the credit approval forms is March 31. That means everything is finished before Registration opens for fall,” Ericksen said.
Once students get back from their summer study or study abroad program, there is a credit transfer process.
“There’s a process for having credit approved generally as elective hours, and then, having individual classes approved to be accepted toward a specific requirement such as major, minor or common curriculum. There are forms for study abroad in the Registrar’s Office where you can have that done before you ever leave. Then, we have to have an official, original transcript [from the institution you attended], which goes back to the Registrar’s office, and you look at those two things, and if the classes that you took are the ones that show up on the transcript, then that’s easy to sign off and have posted,” Ericksen said.
On occasions when a student attends a university that Trinity has never worked with before, or when the university has a grading scale different from the U.S. system, translation is required. This cannot be done by the student, but has to go through an official credential verification service.
“If you haven’t done the approvals ahead of time, then that all has to be done when you get back, and that just takes more time. Some students have to send their transcript to a credential service, and have that translate the classes, credits and grade scale, so that it can be posted in U.S. terms when it comes back here. You yourself can’t translate anything. It has to come from an official source,” Ericksen said.
In the event that an international student decides to take summer courses after they go home, the study abroad office will work with them to have their credits transferred when they return to Trinity for the new semester.
“This happens all the time. In the event that the verification process of the transcripts does not happen in time, we will provide the registrar’s office with the number of hours that you took, so you wouldn’t have any problem registering for spring,” Martinez said.
There are also certain guidelines for classes to be accepted at Trinity. To get credit, a student must earn at least a C- in the course. Students cannot get duplicate credit for a class they have already taken at Trinity; and the course must be generally appropriate to a Trinity degree.
“It needs to be something that one of our departments might teach but not necessarily do teach. You don’t necessarily have to match a Trinity class. [For example,] we don’t have classes in Portuguese, but we have a degree in Modern Languages, and they could decide to offer Portuguese if they wanted to. On the other hand, we don’t have a degree in hospitality, so classes in tourism or hotel management would not be accepted because they do not fit any degree Trinity offers,” Ericksen said.
In the case that a class is required in a student’s major, then the student would have to match it exactly to a Trinity course. On the other hand, if the student just needs elective hours in their major, a course could be more easily approved for the requirement. Either way, syllabi and other documents must be supplied in order to provide proof of compatibility between the course(s) taken and Trinity degree requirements.
For a list of steps to take to begin the study abroad process, students can visit https://trinityinternational.terradotta.com/