Who must fulfill the new study-abroad requirement?
All degree-seeking students who begin their studies at Goucher as first-year students in Fall 2006 or thereafter must fulfill the new requirement.
Transfer students admitted in or after the 2006-07 academic year with 26 or fewer credits will also have to fulfill the study-abroad requirement, unless three or more of those 26 credits are from an approved study abroad program. For the 2006-07 academic year only, transfer students admitted with 27 or more credits accepted by Goucher will not be required to study abroad; after the 2006-07 academic year, all transfer students will be subject to the new requirement.
What do I need to do to satisfy the study-abroad requirement?
You need to study abroad in a Goucher-sanctioned program at some point during your undergraduate career at Goucher.
You may do this through one of the many study-abroad programs offered through Goucher's Office of International Studies—including any of our three-week Intensive Courses Abroad or any semester or academic-year program.
You may also complete an international internship for credit. The Office of International Studies currently offers internship-based study-abroad programs in various countries. Some students also complete internships abroad independent of these programs; these are coordinated jointly through Goucher's Office of International Studies and Career Development Office.
Are there any exceptions to the study-abroad requirement?
Because there are exceptions to every rule, we can't say no unequivocally. But we have made study abroad a required part of our curriculum because we believe it is integral to a complete liberal arts education. We expect every student who enrolls in Goucher College to do so with the full understanding that study abroad is a requirement for graduation, and we will expect every student to fulfill it.
As in all of our programs, we will make every effort to accommodate students with special needs and enable them to take advantage of the fullest possible range of study-abroad opportunities. Nonetheless, we recognize that, in some cases, circumstances may arise that could preclude certain students from studying abroad, and we will have a system in place by which they may petition to have the requirement waived.
Transfer students who have studied abroad for at least three credits prior to coming to Goucher will have completed the study abroad requirement, and will not receive a voucher, though they are welcome to study internationally while at Goucher.
It bears repeating, however, that we expect every student to make a good-faith attempt. If you know you do not wish to study abroad, or if you have reason to believe from the outset that you will not be able to do so, it may be best for you to consider attending a different institution at which international study is not a degree requirement.
When will I get my voucher, and how does it work?
In order to receive your voucher, you must study abroad on an approved study abroad program. You may only apply the voucher once, so if you want to study abroad more than once, you must choose the program to which you would like to apply your voucher.
If you are participating in a program coordinated through Goucher College, you will receive a credit in the amount of your voucher after your account is charged for that program. If you're studying abroad on an approved non-Goucher program, Goucher may, upon request, transfer funds in the amount of your voucher to the institution where you are studying when that institution confirms your attendance after the add/drop date for that semester.
A couple of important things to keep in mind:
Your voucher will be applied only once during your undergraduate career at Goucher. While you may study abroad more than once, your voucher is good for only the first program you complete.
If you withdraw from a study-abroad program after initial acceptance and your prorated charges for the program equal or exceed the amount of your voucher, the voucher will remain credited to your account. In this case, you will have used your voucher without satisfying the study-abroad requirement; we will have used it to pay our partner. If we have not used your voucher to make any payments to a partner, the voucher will be cancelled, and you will be able to use it on a subsequent study-abroad program. We will do our best to recover any unused portion of the voucher or your program fees, but in some cases, this will not be possible.
Some of our Intensive Courses Abroad include seminars before and/or after the travel component. In these cases, the credit will be applied only to the travel component—not to the pre-travel seminar. If you complete the travel but not the follow-up seminar, you will have used up your voucher without satisfying your study-abroad requirement.
Your voucher cannot be used to cover enrollment deposits and some of the early costs of study abroad, including passport purchase. If you need the voucher amount earlier than it may be credited to your account, please contact OIS.
I'm planning to participate in the International Scholars Program, which includes a required study-abroad component. Will that satisfy the main study-abroad requirement, or will I need to complete more than one international experience?
The study-abroad component you complete for the International Scholars Program will satisfy your degree requirement.
The International Scholars Program includes a voucher of $3,000. Does that mean I'll get that money plus the regular voucher of $1,200?
No. The $3,000 voucher awarded to ISP participants supersedes the regular voucher of $1,200.
Will either of the study-abroad vouchers affect my financial aid?
Students who receive only merit-based scholarships from Goucher will see no change in their awards as a result of the travel voucher.
This is a much trickier question if you receive any need-based financial assistance, not only because each person's financial aid package is different, but also because the extent to which your need-based financial aid may be affected depends on when the voucher is applied to your account.
The easiest way to explain it is to say that:
For students who choose to satisfy their study-abroad requirement through a Goucher-sponsored semester or academic-year program, the cost of attendance will be higher than for a term on campus by approximately the same amount as the value of most travel vouchers. Accordingly, many students will be able to cash in the full amount of their vouchers with no appreciable difference to their other need-based aid. The voucher, however, must be counted as one of your available financial resources, and financial aid is recalculated each year, so, in some instances, your financial aid package may be affected.
If you use your voucher toward a Goucher Intensive Course Abroad over the summer or winter breaks, your financial aid is unlikely to be affected significantly. That's because these programs take place outside Goucher's official semesters, and so your financial aid generally does not apply to them.
The same is true if you participate in a semester or academic-year program coordinated by an institution other than Goucher College; the amount of financial aid you can use toward these programs is limited, so the effect your voucher will have on your financial-aid package will be limited, too.
We know this is very complicated, and even these explanations won't cover all cases. We encourage you to consult with the Financial Aid Office to find out more about how this will work out for you.
Can I study abroad as a first-year student? When do most students study abroad?
Some of our language-based three-week Intensive Courses Abroad (ICAs) are open to first-year students who have placed into the appropriate level. However, most ICAs require sophomore standing, and all semester and academic-year programs require applicants to have completed at least three semesters in college residence. Most students study abroad for the semester or year as juniors.
Where can I find more information about all of this?