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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Applying

What are the deadlines for applying? When will I hear if I was accepted?

For the majority of our programs:
  • Applications for Spring semester and Winter Intersession (J-term) programs are due by October 1st.
  • Applications for Summer, Fall, and Academic year are due by March 1st.
  • Check the respective web site for your program in case there is a different due date.

Note: Some programs fill quickly and acceptance is on a first come first serve basis. The sooner you apply, the better your chances. Once we have received your complete application packet, it will be reviewed and you will be emailed notification of acceptance.

Reminder: If you pursue a non-UWL sponsored program, you may not be registered for UWL classes for the term(s) abroad - unless we receive departmental support for the non-UWL sponsored program. This means you may have to go through the re-entry process. The Admissions Office has re-entry information and procedure available on their website (http://www.uwlax.edu/Admissions/Re-entry-student/).

Language

Do I have to know (or speak) a foreign language to participate in an education abroad program?

NO, not necessarily. Though some of our programs may require that students know the host language prior to their arrival, there are many programs which offer courses taught in English. If you are interested in learning a language, many of our education abroad partner programs offer introductory language courses as well.

Academics

What is the Academic Plan?

The Academic Plan is a document that becomes available to students once they commit their participation on an education abroad program. This document is where students will list potential international courses and their equivalencies here at UWL.

To complete the Academic Plan, all students are required to meet with their Academic Advisor and then with appropriate Academic Department Chairs for course approval.

Students should meet with their Academic Advisor to ensure that the course work they intend to take while abroad, will still fit in with the student's academic plan and keep the student on track for graduation. Students are strongly encouraged to have courses pre-approved prior to their departure. In some cases, students may not be able to get courses approved prior to their departure. In these instances, students should work with International Education & Engagement as well as the appropriate academic departments to ensure that courses are approved accordingly. The academic plan will allow the IEE Staff to complete the course transfers for a student's education abroad program once his/her program has been completed and official transcripts received in our office from the host institution.

A list of course equivalencies that have been previously approved are available via our Course Equivalency Database/Spreadsheet. This list is not comprehensive nor does it take the place of meeting with your Academic Advisor, or the appropriate Academic Department for final approval! These lists are meant as a guide to give you a sense of what courses may be appropriate for your studies while abroad.

Can a class that was failed at UW-La Crosse be retaken while abroad?

No. A student cannot retake a failed course abroad. The failed course must be repeated on campus.

What happens to my elective credits at UWL?

Unless the department evaluates the courses as satisfying a Gen-Ed course/category they do not count in Gen-Ed. If the course comes in with a 000L or 000U at the end, it does not fall into any of the Gen-Ed categories. “L” stands for lower division elective; “U” stands for upper division elective. Other letters of the alphabet at the end of an elective course determine where it could fall on the SNAP in the Gen-Ed categories. If the elective courses are not used in a major or minor, they will fall in the elective box at the end of the SNAP.

General elective courses do count toward the 120 credits needed to graduate. The number of electives a student has room for depends on their major/program. Some students have room for 10-20 credits of electives. Others have so many requirements that elective credit does not serve them well. Students are not "penalized” for taking electives (unless they go over the 165 credit rule for Wisconsin public institution credit).

Do I have a GPA?

Grades have always been posted to students’ transcripts for credits earned abroad and a GPA was calculated for that term, which appeared on the UWL transcript. There has never been a policy of pass/fail unless the course abroad awarded a grade in that manner. The previous transcripts that UWL issued contained only one GPA and transfer credits were not included in its calculation, although the GPA for the term abroad did appear. Currently UWL transcripts have three GPAs:
  • A cumulative GPA which serves as the official GPA and includes grades earned on campus or otherwise in residency.
  • A transfer GPA which includes courses taken at other campuses including study abroad programs.
  • A combined GPA which calculates the cumulative and transfer GPAs together.
There has been no change in policy, but rather additional information is now included on a UWL transcript. A student’s OFFICIAL GPA will be the first GPA that appears on their transcript, or the cumulative GPA.

Acceptance Materials

What is the deadline for pre-departure checklist I receive upon acceptance?


Some follow-up application items must be completed within two to three weeks of the application deadline. These include applications to provider programs or direct/exchange universities. Students applying for direct-enroll or exchange programs through UWL will have follow-up items or materials to complete for their specific host university. More information will be provided to you, via your online student checklist, post acceptance.
  • For Academic Year, Fall and Summer programs, the priority deadline for all other items is March 31st.
  • For Spring and J-term programs, it is October 31st.
Flights

Where can I find a flight?

Since students are not required to purchase their flights through any one specific agency, students are able to utilize any airline or travel agency which they prefer. These are some of the recommendations that previous students have made with regards to purchasing airfare: STA Travel, Student Universe, Priceline, or Kayak.

Faculty-led Program Flight Requirements

Students who are participating in faculty-led programs where flights have been configured into the budget are required to use the provider that the UW System is contracted through: Fox Travel. Students will receive more information regarding flight arrangements through Fox Travel if this applies to their specific faculty-led program.

Orientation

What is Pre-Departure Orientation?


The orientation must be attended by all students who are participating in an education abroad program. It consists of three hours on a designated Friday and includes coverage of the following: UWL procedures and policies, health & safety information, and travel tips.. At the end of the session, program alumni who have studied at your abroad university will be available for a program specific Q&A session.

Insurance

What if I already have insurance for international travel?


UW System has established a mandate that, in order to ensure that all students have the standard level of coverage, the CISI insurance is mandatory for UW System students engaged in education abroad programs UNLESS their program provides insurance of equal or greater coverage. 

What about programs that require students to buy insurance coverage through the host country? Can I get a waiver from the UW insurance requirement?

Some countries require the purchase of country insurance in order to secure an international student visa, and so purchase of the UW System insurance may seem unnecessary. However, there are some important differences between the two types of coverage. Country insurance generally provides no benefit for medical evacuation and repatriation. Country insurance is specific to the host country, and will not provide coverage for participants who travel to other countries while abroad. For these reasons, the UW System insurance requirement will not be waived in these circumstances.

Note: Some foreign consulates may issue student visas without requiring purchase of the country insurance if the participant can provide proof of coverage under a valid group plan. The sponsoring UW System institution and CISI will work with participants to provide proof of coverage letters for submission to consulates. Source: UW System's Insurance Requirement Website

Financials

What additional fees can I expect?


Students may also be required to pay additional application fees, confirmation deposits, and/or housing/security deposits directly to host institution or provider program in order to secure their placements within the program. Students should consider these, and other out-of-pocket expenses, when creating a budget for their study abroad program.

Will I have a bill for a Winter program?

Yes, students do receive a separate bill for Winter Intersession. It is sent to students the first Monday in January and is due February 1. Be sure to check your student account while on program! Spring payments are usually due around March 1. The tie-in with Spring fees occurs if a student receives aid for Spring that is applied before the Winter bill is due. If they receive enough aid to pay both Winter Intersession and Spring, their financial aid will cover both bills. For additional information, please consult the Tuition/Fee Schedule on the Cashier's website.

Will my financial aid apply to my education abroad program?

YES!! On your application, make sure to indicate that you qualify for, or are considering, applying financial aid towards your program. Once you are accepted into your education abroad program, an Education Abroad budget will be given to the Financial Aid Office indicating the program and your out-of-pocket expenses for the term(s) you are studying abroad. The Financial Aid Office will use this budget to determine your award. The Financial Aid Office has prepared a useful reference brochure to answer many of your questions about applying financial aid to education abroad programs.

Are there any scholarships I can apply for?

There are several scholarships available to UWL students for education abroad programs. You can check the Financial Aid Office's Scholarship Website for scholarship information. For scholarships that are specific to UWL, please check our scholarships page:

Scholarship Information

What is the I-Engage Scholarship?

The I-Engage Scholarship for International Education is a student funded program to facilitate a higher quality academic experience at UWL. Stipends for UWL students may be awarded in exchange for getting involved on-campus activities and by promoting international awareness and international education. The I-Engage Scholarship is only available to UWL students who are participating on UWL approved or sponsored programs and eligible international students.