Frequently Asked Questions
Who can study abroad?
Any student, regardless of major, may be eligible to study abroad. It’s not just for language majors or minors anymore.
Where can I study?
It is possible to study in an increasing number of countries around the world, with more options being added every year. In the past few years, Carthage students have studied in Argentina, Australia, Chile, China, Costa Rica, Egypt, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Peru, Spain, and the UK, among others.
How will I study?
There are a number of different formats for your study abroad experience, ranging from direct enrollment at a foreign university to enrollment in a language program to enrollment in a Carthage-sponsored program. A number of our students also participate in programs offered by other U.S. universities or international study program providers (see the “Preferred Program” list available in the Study Abroad Office or from the Director of Education Abroad).
What can I study?
Nearly all academic disciplines and interests may be studied during your time abroad. Internship opportunities are also available in some locations. Some students choose to combine the academic and internship options into one experience. A number of Carthage students choose to fulfill distribution (general education) and/or major or minor requirements while abroad. (These must be approved prior to departure.)
When can I study abroad?
The best time to study abroad is usually during the junior year, as the student will likely have declared a major, begun the associated coursework, and completed many of his or her distribution requirements. Upon completion of the study abroad experience, the student returns to campus to finish the major with a new perspective and a broader understanding of the world around us, ready to tie the undergraduate education together in a meaningful way. In some instances, a well-prepared, highly motivated sophomore may participate in the international education experience, and occasionally, a senior may choose to study abroad as well.
Do I have to be fluent in another language?
Yes or no. It’s worthwhile to keep in mind the importance of knowing the language of the country in which you will study. The ability to communicate clearly and effectively will affect the academic, social, professional, and personal integration into the host culture.
Yes — If your plan is to enroll directly in a foreign university, you must know the language of the host country well enough to follow lectures, complete assigned readings and research, and take written and/or oral examinations; thus you must be highly proficient in the appropriate language. Typically, a minimum of two years of college-level study is required for programs conducted in the language of the country. (You should, however, verify the requirements of your particular program prior to applying.)
No — Your ability to enroll in many programs is not determined by demonstrable proficiency in the language of the host country. Nevertheless, you should be prepared and willing to learn the language while you are there (usually through intensive language courses and your daily contact with the people around you).
For how long should I study?
Many factors contribute to the answer to this question, such as your academic goals, the ability to integrate your study abroad with your chosen academic program of study here at Carthage, etc. The majority of students find that a full year abroad is more beneficial academically, socially, professionally, and personally than is a shorter period. The depth of your experience and learning is intensified by longer stays, so please do consider carefully the advantages of a full-year experience.
If I’m not able to go for a full year or semester program, are there short-term opportunities available?
Carthage offers a variety of J-Term courses that incorporate or are based on an overseas experience. These courses provide a wonderful introduction to international education and have frequently served as the catalyst for students’ subsequent pursuit of longer programs abroad. Additionally, there are a number of summer programs available for academic credit.
Where will I live while abroad?
Student housing options vary by program (dorms or residences, apartments, homestay, etc.), though our students are strongly encouraged to live with a host family if the option is available.
Can I get credit for my classes taken while abroad?
Yes, credit is usually awarded, provided that you have carefully planned your program of study and have obtained approval of the courses in which you will enroll while abroad PRIOR to departure. The transfer of credit is dependent upon the approval of the Registrar’s office, in conjunction with the Study Abroad office and all appropriate departments. The actual number of credits will vary by program and the number of classes taken abroad. You should review your credits with the Director of Education Abroad, your major advisor, and the Registrar’s Office before you leave for your overseas experience, but many students apply courses taken abroad to their Carthage requirements.
Will it delay my graduation?
Not if you plan ahead. Most students are able to use their study abroad courses to fulfill some of their distribution requirements and/or some requirements for their major and/or minor.
Can I take my financial aid with me abroad?
An excellent question. Each student’s financial situation is different. Typically, most sources of federal aid can be applied toward the study abroad experience, but each student should meet with a Financial Aid advisor to discuss his or her particular situation. Additionally, many study abroad programs offer “internal” scholarships for which the students may also apply. A list of additional “external” scholarships is available from the Director of Education Abroad, as well.