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Experience Education Abroad

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Why Study Education Abroad with Illinois?

Education abroad is a powerful step towards building your own familiarity with other cultures, improving your own teaching practice, and developing your own global network of colleagues that can support you as a teacher.

The University of Illinois College of Education has designed programs for education majors that are research-based, education curriculum driven, and train you to translate your education abroad experience into skills you need to teach future generations in our diverse global society. 

Illinois Education Abroad programs are designed to enhance your own global competency so that you can teach those skills to your students:

  • Work with Education faculty before departure to learn about your host site
  • Meet local Education faculty at the host university institution
  • Study languages at any level, but also study Education
  • Join classes and activities with Education students from the US and from your host institution
  • Observe classrooms in the host country
  • Spend time in placements with students from your target age group within local PreK-12 classrooms
Program Themes

While each of the programs is suitable for studying any focus within education, the following themes can guide participants in choosing locations of particular relevance based on areas of interest. Embedded within each program are opportunities to study issues of diversity, social and economic justice, and best practices in education:  

1. Citizenship in a Global Era – consider issues of student mobility including both voluntary and forced migration, the resulting fluctuations in our school communities, and societies’ understanding of borders and the resulting implications for schooling 

Greece, Australia, Hong Kong/Macau, France, Indonesia, Spain

2. Best Practices in Global Education - study first-hand the locations that are attracting global attention for high achievement on international testing, teacher training, leadership, or other measures of outstanding performance.  Discuss these innovations directly with colleagues on location and consider the societal, policy and other contextual factors that contribute to these innovations in education

Italy (Early Childhood), Spain (Language Learning), Hong Kong/Macau, China, Australia

3. Resilience in Schools to (Re)Build Communities – study protective factors, which include characteristics of the school, family and community ecologies.  Visit schools that work to mitigate chronic or sudden exposure to trauma or risk in the mission of preparing students for healthy and productive adult lives, regardless of the experiences that children bring with them into the classroom.

New Zealand, Ecuador, Greece, Indonesia

4. Historical Depth and Context – consider alternative interpretations of both contemporary and historical events, contexts, and cultural productions ranging from literature, media, art forms and even social movements and political action. Develop collaborations with colleagues in the locations that are a part of what you teach. 

France, Spain, Hong Kong/Macau, China, Greece, Australia, Italy

5. Preparing Schools for a Changing Environment - study approaches to environmental education through interactions with teacher, school, and community practices that prepare students to engage in environmental protection while recognizing connections to social justice, economic development, national and global policy. 

Costa Rica, Australia, New Zealand, Ecuador

Withdrawal Policy

Withdrawal Prior to Application Deadline

You can log into your My Study Abroad account, click the "Withdraw" button located next to the application you wish to withdraw from, and provide the reason you are withdrawing. Other than the non-refundable $100 Study Abroad Systems fee, there are no financial obligations for withdrawing prior to the application deadline.

Withdrawal after Committing

You must notify OIP by email of withdrawal from a program. The official withdrawal date is the date we receive the e-mail notification, and all withdrawal fees will be calculated based on that date. You are also required to notify the host institution or provider, by email, of withdrawal from a program.

From the time of commitment to a program, OIP begins making program arrangements on behalf of students, including but not limited to student housing, excursions, local language instruction, and many other preparations. If you are withdrawing from an OIP-sponsored study abroad program after committing, you will be billed a $500 withdrawal fee and any non-refundable payments OIP has made to vendors on your behalf.  

Up to 3 Weeks Prior of Departure

Students who withdraw from the study abroad program after committing and up to 3 weeks prior to the starting date of will be billed the following:

$500 non-refundable program fee

Any non-refundable payments made on behalf of the student to the host university

Any non-refundable payments made on behalf of the student for round-trip airfare

Within 3 weeks of Starting Date of Program

No Refunds.

Notice of withdrawal must be made by email to the OIP before the withdrawal will be officially recognized. The date on which the email is received is the date by which any refund of balance due will be calculated. If a balance is due at the time of withdrawal, that amount will be billed to your student account or to you directly, according to established policies, to cover expenses incurred up to that point.

Program Refund

No refunds of any kind can be given once participants have arrived at the program site and have begun the program except for extremely serious and verifiable health reasons. In that case, the portion of room and board money that has not been used, minus any penalty, may be refundable.

Under no circumstances can any requests for refunds be considered for students who complete the program.

If the program is cancelled by OIP or the host institution, all fees billed by OIP will be refunded.

If a student is dismissed from a program, there will be no refunds. 

Program Dismissal

There are circumstances under which overseas coordinators and institutions have the authority to require that a student withdraw from a study abroad program. These circumstances include but are not limited to the following: 

• Students whose conduct while on the program is deemed undesirable and whose actions are in violation of the University of Illinois' Code of Campus Affairs and Regulations will be dismissed from the program and subject to campus disciplinary reviews.

• Students whose conduct is in violation of the rules and guidelines of the sponsoring overseas institution. 

• Students whose conduct is in violation of regulations set forth by the resident director.

• Violation of the foreign country's civil and/or criminal statutes.

• Students dismissed from the program for the above reasons will receive no credit for their academic work and will be considered as not having completed the program. In addition, no refund of program fees will be issued. If dismissed early, the student is responsible for return airfare.

Scholarships
Recognizing the academic, professional and personal value of study abroad experiences

The College strongly encourages its students to study abroad, and provides financial support through scholarships or program discounts of $500 (depending on available funds) that are awarded to defray the costs associated with studying abroad on University of Illinois sponsored programs.

Eligibility

Scholarship recipients must be degree-seeking students in good academic standing who are currently enrolled in an eligible education program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Eligible programs include undergraduate Early Childhood, Elementary, and Special Education, and Secondary Education programs in Biology, Chemistry, Earth Science, English, Math, Physics and Social Studies (History), Learning and Education Studies, as well as all graduate programs in all College of Education departments.

All eligible students who are admitted to, and enrolled in, a University of Illinois sponsored study abroad program will be awarded the Study Abroad Scholarship. This scholarship is repeatable for subsequent study abroad experiences. However, students may not receive more than one scholarship per academic year + summer (August to August).

Application and Award Process

1. Once you are admitted to a study abroad program, please submit the Scholarship Application.

2. Enroll in the study abroad course as soon as possible. You will be contacted with information about the program discount or scholarship by email with further instructions.

3. Once you’ve enrolled in the study abroad course, scholarship funds will be deposited directly into your student account.

4. If you have any questions, please contact the Office of International Programs at international@education.illinois.edu.

Applying for a Passport

Applying for a passport for the first time?

The U.S. Department of State provides step-by-step instructions for first-time applicants here.

1. Fill out the form on the website
2. Obtain necessary documentation - proof of identification, citizenship
3. Get your passport photo 
4. Check the fees
5. Submit documents in person. 

For Champaign-Urbana:

Champaign Post Office
2001 N. Mattis Ave
Champaign, IL 61821
(217) 373-6018
Mon-Fri: 10:00am - 5:00pm

Champaign County Circuit Court Clerk
101 E. Main St. 
Urbana, IL 61801
(217)384-3726
Mon-Fri: 8:00am - 4:30pm

Urbana Post Office
3100 E. Tatman Ct. 
Urbana, IL 61802
(217) 337-6297
Mon-Fri: 9:30am - 5:00pm

Applying at home - Check with your local post office to see if they offer passport application services. 

Renewing your Passport?

Be sure to check the expiration date on your passport prior to any international travel. You may be denied travel if you attempt to travel internationally within 6 months of your expiration date. 

Click here for instructions on how to renew your passport by mail.

Visa Information

What is a Visa?

A visa is an endorsement on a passport provided by the government of the host country, indicating that the holder is allowed to enter, leave, or stay for a specified period of time in a country. The type of visa is typically determined according to the purpose of your visit to the country, such as: tourism, attending school, relocating for work, etc.

How do I Apply for a Visa?

It is your responsibility to determine if a visa is required. To determine if a visa is required, you should consult the consulate or embassy of the host country. U.S. citizens can also find additional visa and country info on the U.S. State Department website.

If your program of study requires a visa, IAGE strongly encourages you to apply as soon as you find out about your acceptance into the program and have access to the required materials. Failure to obtain a visa, or the correct visa, may lead to denial of entry or criminal charges and would not result in any program refunds.

If a visa is required, be sure to research what materials are required as part of your visa application. Some countries may require a bank statement showing sufficient funds to study abroad, acceptance letters from host institutions, proof of health insurance, etc. The most up-to-date information on what will be needed for your visa application can be found on the host country’s consulate or embassy website. You will also be able to determine from the website if you need to make an in-person appointment with the consulate or embassy. If you need assistance, there are fee-based companies (visa agencies) that can aid you in the visa process.

Detailed Visa Information for Non-U.S. Citizen

If you are not a U.S. citizen, it is your responsibility to know and understand the rules and regulations of leaving the U.S. to study within another country. You must follow the visa regulations for the country that issues your passport. For example, a Chinese student enrolled at the University of Illinois who wants to study abroad on an Illinois program in Italy should follow Italy’s visa requirements for Chinese citizens.

If you are a non-U.S. citizen and plan to return to the University of Illinois after studying abroad, please remember the following:

  • You must be registered as a full-time student (minimum of 12 credit hours) while abroad to maintain your status with the University.
  • Carry all necessary documents and authorizations to re-enter the U.S. after your study abroad program ends. You may not reenter the US past the program end date listed on your I-20 or DS-2019.
  • If your entry visa were to expire while you are abroad, you must return to your home country to obtain a new entry visa. Your passport should be valid at least 6 months beyond the date you return to the U.S.
  • Your I-20/DS-2019 must have a travel signature less than one year old to return to the U.S.

If you are a non-U.S. citizens and require more information on what you may need to return to the U.S. from your study abroad program, please email International Student and Scholar Services at isss@illinois.edu.

Advice & Tools

Below are some resources from the Illinois Abroad and Global Exchange Office for your experience abroad.

Pre-Departure Checklist

• Talk to the Office of Student Financial Aid to see how your financial aid package applies to education abroad

• Check with your Academic Advisor and ensure that you have completed any prior course approval worksheets

• Make photocopies of your passport/visa, credit/debit cards, prescriptions, and flight itineraries to have on hand while abroad and email copies to yourself and a family member or friend

• Get the necessary vaccines for your host country and consult with your International Insurance provider and doctor about getting medications/prescriptions for the duration of your time abroad

• If you have a visible or non-visible disability, understand your rights and responsibilities and arrange the necessary accommodations

• Alert your bank of your international travel and arrange to have multiple forms of payment on hand while abroad

• Understand your health coverage while abroad and investigate international insurance

• Review the Office of International Safety and Security’s general travel guidelines and safety advice for undergraduate students

• Talk to your cell phone provider about your international travel and arrange for any upgrades

• Label your luggage, inside and out, with your name and information

Withdrawal

• Talk to the study abroad advisor at OIP if you have any concerns BEFORE you commit. 

• You must notify Dr. Witt by email of withdrawal from a program. The official withdrawal date is the date we receive the e-mail notification, and all withdrawal fees will be calculated based on that date. You are also required to notify the host institution or provider, by email, of withdrawal from a program.

• From the time of commitment to a program, OIP begins making program arrangements on behalf of students, including but not limited to student housing, excursions, local language instruction, and many other preparations. If you are withdrawing from an OIP-sponsored study abroad program after committing and signing the payment form, you will be billed a $500 withdrawal fee and any non-refundable payments OIP has made to vendors on your behalf. If you have already been billed the full amount for the program, refunds will be credited to your account within a week of notifying OIP.

• No refunds of any kind will be made if you withdraw on or after the official program start date.

If you are on a program in which a provider or host institution is billing you directly, there may be additional fees related to withdrawing from the program that you would be responsible for paying to the provider or institution.

Students who withdraw from a study abroad program and do not return to the University of Illinois for that term must contact their college office and follow the established procedures pertinent to their situation to be allowed to register for the following term.

No refunds will be given if a student is dismissed from a program for undesirable behavior, whether it is academic or social.

While Abroad

Safety & Security

The Office of International Safety and Security can support you with problems concerning your health, safety, security, logistics, finances, as well as legal, personal, and behavioral issues you may face while abroad.

Health

Being abroad may cause various degrees of physical and psychological stress. Be sure to take care of yourself and learn to read the signs your body is sending. Most importantly, follow the advice and guidelines from your medical professionals and program coordinators.

Getting Help from Embassies

There are U.S. embassies in more than 160 capital cities of the world. Each embassy has a consular section. There are also consular officers at about 60 U.S. Consulates General and 20 U.S. Consulates around the world (Consulates General and Consulates are regional offices of Embassies). The consulate can provide the following emergency services:

  • Replace a Passport. If you lose your passport, a consul can issue you a replacement. If you believe your passport has been stolen, first report the theft to the local police and get a police declaration. Passport Resources from the U.S. Department of State
  • Help Get Funds. Should you lose all your money and other financial resources, consular officers can help you contact your family, bank, or employer to arrange for them to send you funds.
  • Visit in Jail. If you are arrested, you should ask the authorities to notify the Office of International Safety and Security and a U.S. consul.
  • Help in a Disaster/Evacuation. If you are caught up in a natural disaster or civil disturbance, you should contact the Office of International Safety and Security as well as let your relatives know as soon as possible that you are safe.

If you are an international student, search for “embassy” online with the name of your home country and education abroad location. Make sure to review the resources available to you from your home country’s embassy.

Culture Shock

You may find it difficult adjusting to your new environment abroad and most students will experience some form of culture shock and it is normal to have a range of reactions when adapting to a new culture. Remember to be patient with yourself and those around you. Explore the resources below for tips on how to deal with culture shock and how to better immerse yourself in your host community.

Technology

There are many options to help you communicate with family and friends, as well as online Illinois resources that you can access while abroad. Talk with your cell phone provider to see what services they can provide and what they charge for international calls. If those options are too costly, look into getting a U.S. phone card, SIM card, or an international cell phone (some programs will provide an international cell phone as part of their program costs). Explore messaging and video messaging apps like WhatsApp, Skype, and Facebook messenger. Additionally, take advantage of Illinois resources that you can access online.

Money

Protect your finances abroad by having multiple forms of payment on hand. Alert your bank and credit card company about your travel, contact them with issues you have abroad, and ask about additional international fees they may charge. If you need more money while abroad, contact your bank for recommendations on reputable banks or financial services companies in your host city. In a financial emergency, the Bureau of Consular Affairs can assist U.S. citizens abroad. International students should seek the support of their home country’s consular office.


Contact Us

Office of International Programs
372A College of Education
international@education.illinois.edu