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While You Are Abroad

Learning about your destination

Research, research, research your destination!  Check out Country Handbooks for your study abroad location, read blogs, watch YouTube videos, and talk to returned study abroad students.  You can't ever fully prepare for your study abroad experience, but the more you learn about your new home, the better off you'll be.

Keeping in Touch

Make a plan to keep in touch. It may take a while for you to set up your cell phone so don't promise to phone home as soon as you arrive unless you have an international plan. Generally speaking these plans are very expensive and you are much better off getting a local SIM card. If your phone is not unlocked you'll need to buy a cheap phone when you get to your destination. If you have a smart phone research apps that allow you to call home for free or at very little cost. Skype, Whatsapp etc. are great ways to keep in touch, but don't spend too much time calling home - you are abroad to experience new things! 

You should also consider:
  • Blog and link it to the Study Abroad Facebook page.  You'll encourage other students to study abroad and keep connected with friends and family.
  • Send the Center for International Programs a post card - pack your address book for snail mail.
  • Share your pictures and see them posted on the study abroad website.
  • Skype, Facebook and call, all easy to do - provided you have electricity and connectivity. Don't spend too much time on these activities though - you are abroad to experience as much as you can - get out there and get involved!

Bead Market - S. AfricaLaws Abroad

You are bound by the laws of the country in which you reside. If you break those laws you are subject to the consequences of the legal system of that country. Ignorance will not keep you out of jail. In some countries the punishments are very severe. The American Embassy cannot get you out of jail. They can make sure you are not treated badly and are fed, but that is about it. You can read more about this subject here.

Do not take any illegal drugs while abroad even if it seems there is a more relaxed atmosphere regarding drugs. Foreigners are sometimes the target of 'stings' set up by locals. The use of illegal drugs on any study abroad program is grounds for instant dismissal and further disciplinary action upon return to campus.

Financial Aid

If you are a financial aid recipient (grants, loans, scholarships) on a third party provider program or a bilateral exchange program you must let the Financial Aid Office know that you are registered in classes. Your aid will not disburse until you send them this information.

Thank You Notes

If you received a scholarship or received other significant assistance in order to study abroad, consider writing a thank you note to the donor or person(s) responsible. They will be thrilled to hear of your progress and will appreciate the thoughtful gesture.

Registering for next semester's classes

Remember to register. Check the calendars for registration dates. Communicate with your academic advisor if you have any questions about classes.

Changes to the classes you take abroad

If you are receiving transfer credit and decide to take a class that was not signed off on your credit transfer agreement before you left you can still get this course approved. Simply e-mail your academic advisor the course title and the course description and ask how it can be used towards your degree requirements. If you already have a syllabus for the course, then e-mail that as well. Your academic advisor can then respond to you via e-mail stating how the course can be applied towards your degree requirements. Make sure to keep any written correspondence from your academic advisor! You should also forward to your study abroad coordinator the e-mail in which your academic advisor states the course approval. Your study abroad coordinator will put a copy of the e-mail correspondence in your file so that there is a record of how the course was approved. Do NOT throw your syllabi and coursework (papers, projects, etc.) away before you come home. Your academic advisor may ask to see your work for final credit evaluation.

Your Transcript

Once your official transcript has been sent to HSU it becomes the property of the university and cannot be given to you for use in applying to master's degree programs or for any other purpose. If you are receiving transfer credit get an official transcript in a sealed envelope for yourself while you are at the host university (bilateral, third party). It is much easier to take care of it while you are there rather than two years later when you are applying to grad school! If you are at a host institution make sure your academic records are accurate and include all of the courses you took. Get the contact information for all your host professors in case your need to contact them regarding errors in your coursework posting or grades. At the end of your study one copy of your official transcript will usually be sent to the Center for International Programs.


The grades you receive for your work abroad will count towards your HSU grade point average.