How do I know that Academic Studies Abroad is a reputable study abroad provider? Academic Studies Abroad has hosted students from such prestigious universities as Harvard, Cornell, Duke, University of California at Berkeley, University of Michigan, University of Virginia, and many, many more. In addition, we are on the "approved list of programs" for many colleges and universities throughout the country. We are always happy to provide contact information for students currently on our programs, alumni, and study abroad advisors who know our programs so that you can ask them about their experience with ASA.
How do I apply? Our application guidelines can be found on our How to Apply page.
What is the GPA requirement? The minimum GPA requirement varies by program. Please go to Program Eligibility to find out the GPA requirement for your desired program.
What is the application deadline? The application deadline also varies by program and term. You can find a complete list of program deadlines on our Dates, Prices & Deadlines page. Please note: 2 weeks after the Application Deadline is the Forms and Payment Deadline, by which you must submit full payment for your program fees (or financial aid verification).
How far before the deadline should I apply? Students are always encouraged to apply early, as some programs fill up before the deadline. Also, for some programs, applying early will give you the best possible course selection. Applying at the last minute, or after the deadline, may result in late fees and/or diminished housing and course selection. If you're unsure about when is the best time to apply for your particular program location, just give us a call at 888-845-4272.
I don't have my passport yet. Can I still apply? Yes. Go ahead and send us the rest of your application materials, minus the passport copy. Then, when you get your passport in the mail, simply email or mail us a copy. (Please mail or email it instead of fax it, because faxed passport copies come out too blurry to read.)
You should apply for a passport immediately if you don't have one already. Also, if your passport expires anytime between now and 3 months AFTER your proposed return date from abroad, you must have your passport renewed immediately. (Scroll down to the "Passports, Visas & Travel" section to find out how to apply for or renew a passport.)
NOTE:Please make an effort to provide ASA with a photocopy of your valid passport when you apply. For programs requiring Student Visas, such as France, Spain, and Italy, ASA will need a photocopy of your passport as soon as possible after you're accepted in order to obtain your Visa Letter. You can not apply for your Student Visa without your passport and corresponding Visa Letter, and you need to apply for your student visa at least 60 days prior to departure. (Scroll down to the "Passports, Visas & Travel" section to find out if your program requires a Student Visa.)
Is the application fee refundable? All students must submit a $50 application fee (non-refundable) and $100 program deposit along with the rest of their application materials, in order for their application to be considered. If you are not accepted to the program, the $100 program deposit will be refunded in full. If you are accepted to the program, then the $150 is applied as a credit to your program fees due. (For example, if your program costs $5,000, then your balance due would be $4,900 after being accepted.) If you are accepted to the program and withdraw before the application deadline, then we will refund you the $100 program deposit. If you withdraw after the application deadline, your $100 program deposit cannot be refunded.
What are the program dates? The dates are different for each program location and term. You can find a complete list of program dates on our Dates, Prices & Deadlines page.
How soon will I find out if I've been accepted? You will receive an email from us regarding your acceptance within 3 business days of receiving your complete application package, containing all of the required documents as described on our Apply Online page. We'll also mail you an official acceptance letter. There will be additional post-acceptance paperwork for you to fill out once you have been accepted, which is due 2 weeks after you were accepted.
CREDIT TRANSFER & ACADEMICS
How many credits can I earn on an ASA program? It is possible to earn 3-30 semester credit hours or 4-42 quarter units per session, depending on the length of the program (summer/semester/trimester/academic year).
Are credits transferable? Yes. Credits are transferable, however, you must first get pre-departure approval and the proper signatures from your university's Study Abroad Office or Office of International Education/Programs. They will help you determine how many credits will transfer.
Students should always get pre-approved for more classes than are needed to allow flexibility at registration. Many times the actual class schedules aren't published until just before the term begins, so schedule conflicts can occur. If your college or university is not cooperative, please contact ASA so that we can assist you.
How do I go about getting the credits and courses approved at my home university? First, pay a visit to your school's Study Abroad Office or Office of International Education/Programs. They are there to guide you through the process of getting the ASA program approved for credit by your school.
Next, one of the documents required when you apply is our Release & Credits Form, where you must have your study abroad or academic advisor sign off on the academic credits. If you have a copy of the ASA catalog, the Release & Credits Form is on the reverse side of the ASA application form, found on the last page of the catalog. If you apply online, you can download the Release & Credits Form under Step 3.
Who will issue my final transcript, and how will the credits be transferred to my home university? After your program ends, ASA will forward your final transcript to your home school for you. Just be sure to give ASA the correct forwarding address for your school when you fill out your Transcript Address Form. In order for your credits to transfer, you must get the necessary pre-approvals from your home university per the previous FAQ.
The final transcripts are issued for our programs as follows:
Buenos Aires, Argentina - Universidad de Belgrano
Vina del Mar, Chile - Universidad de Vina del Mar
San Jose, Costa Rica - Universidad Latina de Costa Rica
London, England (London South Bank University) - London South Bank University
London, England (University of the Arts, London) - University of the Arts, London Oxford, England - Oxford Brookes University
Aix-en-Provence, France - Institute for American Universities (You may have a U.S. transcript issued by Truman State University, for an additional fee of $500. If you require a TSU transcript, please be sure to notify us at least 3 months prior to departure.)
Paris, France - Université Paris - Sorbonne Dublin, Ireland (Griffith College Dublin) - Griffith College Dublin
Dublin, Ireland (National University of Ireland, Maynooth) - National University of Ireland, Maynooth
Dulbin, Ireland (Marino Institute of Educaiton) - Iona College Florence, Italy - University of South Florida
Sorrento, Italy- Alfred State, SUNY College of Technology
Cuzco, Peru & Lima, Peru - Universidad San Ignacio de Loyola
Edinburgh, Scotland - University of Edinburgh
Sevilla, Spain I - Universidad de Sevilla Sevilla, Spain II - Universidad Pablo de Olavide Barcelona, Spain I (UB) - Universitat de Barcelona Barcelona II (UAB) - Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona Madrid, Spain (summer) - Universidad Complutense de Madrid
Madrid I (semester/academic year) - Universidad Carlos III Madrid II (semester/academic year) - Universidad Complutense de Madrid
How many hours a day will I have class while I'm abroad? This depends on how many credits you are taking. Most semester students taking a full load of classes (minimum 12 credits for a semester) and summer students taking 6 credits will be in class 3 to 4 hours a day. This will leave you plenty of free time to explore your city.
What kinds of classes can I take? ASA's programs offer classes in a wide variety of subject areas! Go to our Courses page to see what types of classes are offered through each of our programs.
Does ASA offer graduate level programs? No. All of our programs are at the undergraduate level.
Do I have to be currently enrolled as an undergrad to go on an ASA program? This depends on the program. Some of our programs are open to students who have graduated from high school but have not gone to college yet, and some programs are open to students who have already graduated from college. Please see our Program Eligibility page to see the eligibility rules for each of our programs.
PAYMENT & FINANCIAL AID
Are ASA's programs affordable? Yes! If you compare various study abroad programs and what is included with each, you will find that ours are some of the most affordable programs available. When you're comparing prices, just be sure you're comparing apples to apples - it's essential to compare what is included with that price rather than simply the price itself. For a list of what is and is not included with the ASA program fee, simply click on the price of your program.
We also offer scholarships and accept any type of financial aid, grants, scholarships, or loans that you receive to help pay for our programs. For full details on how to use your financial aid to study abroad, please visit our Financial Aid page.
How much does the program cost and what is included? This varies by program. You can find a complete list of program costs on our Dates, Prices & Deadlines page. Click on the price to see what is and is not included with our program fee.
When is payment due? For all ASA programs, full payment (or financial aid verification) is due 2 weeks after the application deadline. This is called the Forms & Payment Deadline. Students may be subject to a late fee if they do not complete their post-acceptance forms and make their financial arrangements before the Forms & Payment Deadline.
If you plan to pay for the program using financial aid (thereby deferring your payment until your financial aid is disbursed), ASA must receive the following items by the Forms & Payment Deadline:
Consortium Agreement from your home institution's financial aid or study abroad office
Written verification of your financial aid award and disbursement date. (We provide a "Financial Aid Verification Form" that you'll have your university financial aid office complete.)
Any portion of the program fees not covered by financial aid must be paid to ASA by the Forms & Payment Deadline.
Please remember that in order to provide ASA with verification of your financial aid by the Forms & Payment Deadline, you will need to contact your school's financial aid office and/or study abroad office several weeks ahead of time to begin making these arrangements. Once again, the Forms & Payment Deadline is 2 weeks after the Application Deadline. For full details on how to use financial aid to study abroad, please visit our financial aid page.
PLEASE NOTE: Because some of our partners abroad require a down payment up front in order to secure your enrollment and housing, certain programs require a non-refundable Down Payment to be paid within 2 weeks of being accepted to the ASA program. Once paid, your Down Payment will be deducted from your balance due. Because we cannot enroll you in classes and housing until we receive your Down Payment, we recommend paying it as soon as possible after you're accepted for the best possible housing and course selection. Please note: Down Payments cannot be deferred with financial aid.
The following programs require a non-refundable Down Payment. For these students, your space on the ASA program is not confirmed until we receive your Down Payment.
Aix-en Provence programs: $1,000
Barcelona, Sevilla and Madrid (summer program only): $1,000 for students who choose the shared student apartment housing option
Costa Rica programs: $1,000
Edinburgh program: $1,500
Italy programs: $1,000
Madrid semester or academic year programs: $500 or $1,000 for students staying in a homestay
Paris programs: $500 or $1,000 for students staying in a homestay
University of the Arts London programs: $1,000
Full payment or verification of financial aid is still due by the Forms & Payment Deadline, as described in the above FAQs.
What types of payments do you accept? Payments for all program fees and down payments must be made in the form of a personal check, money order, cashier's check or e-check, made payable to Academic Studies Abroad.
Do any of ASA's programs require a Damage Deposit? Yes, some programs do require a Damage Deposit, as follows. Damage Deposits are refundable after the end of the program. Please note: Damage Deposits cannot be deferred with financial aid.
Florence, Italy: $350, paid to ASA at least 30 days prior to departure
Buenos Aires, Argentina: $250, paid to ASA at least 30 days prior to departure
Sevilla, Barcelona and Madrid Summer: $500, paid to ASA at least 30 days prior to departure (applicable only to students who choose to live in a shared student apartment)
Edinburgh: $250, in the form of a credit card authorization upon arrival.
Sorrento: $250, paid to ASA by the Forms & Payment Deadline
Where can I find more information about scholarships and financial aid? You can find everything you need to know about financial aid by clicking here.
We do offer scholarships, and you can find out how to apply for one here.
PASSPORTS, VISAS & TRAVEL
How do I get a passport? You can pick up a passport application at most any U.S. Post Office. Or, click here.
If you don't have a passport already, you should apply for one right away, as they can take 6 weeks to process by regular service; the same goes for passport renewals. You have the option to pay extra for expedited service, which should get you a passport in 2 weeks. For many programs, ASA must have your passport number at least 3 months prior to departure for visa and enrollment purposes! Your passport must NOT expire less than 6 months after your proposed return date from abroad. (In other words, if your program dates are Aug. 26 - Dec. 16, 2011, then your passport must be valid until at least June 16, 2012.) If your passport expires between now and 6months after your proposed return date, you must have your passport renewed immediately.
Do I need a Student Visa? NOTE: This information applies to U.S. passport holders. In all cases, you must have a valid passport in hand at least 3 months before departure in order to apply for your visa. Do NOT delay in applying for a passport!
Below is a summary of visa requirements for U.S. passport holders. You can find detailed instructions on how to apply for a visa in our Information Library. Students who overstay their visas are subject to fines and deportation. ASA is not responsible for any repercussions resulting from overstaying your visa.
London/Oxford students: If you're studying in London/Oxford for a Summer or Semester program (a program under 6 months long), then you aren't required to apply for a Student Visa before you depart, but there are certain documents you must bring with you on the plane and present to the Immigration officer at the airport of your first entry into the UK, in order to be issued a Student Visitor Visa. If you're going to England for an academic year, you must obtain a Tier 4 Student Visa prior to departure. If you are considering extending your study course in the UK past 6 months, then you MUST obtain a Student Visa prior to departure because the Student Visitor Visa cannot be extended. While the Student Visitor Visa is free and simple to obtain upon arrival in the UK, applying for a Tier 4 Student Visa must be completed several months prior to departure and carries a fee. Please see our Information Library for fees and detailed instructions on how to apply.
Ireland students: Students aren't required to obtain a Student Visa before departure. U.S. citizens may stay in the European Union for up to 90 days within a 180-day period as a tourist, with no prior visa (this is called entering on a Tourist Visa, indicated by a stamp you'll receive in your passport upon your first entry to the European Union). Therefore, students attending Summer programs have a maximum of 90 days to study and travel in the European Union/their host country. Because semester/academic year programs are always longer than 90 days, these students will also receive a 90-day stamp in their passports upon first entry to Ireland; then, after arrival you must apply for a visa extension using certain documents that you must bring with you. On-site staff will assist semester students with the visa extension process. Please see our Information Library for fees and detailed instructions on what documents you have to bring with you.
Spain, Italy & France students: If your program duration is less than 90 days, then you don't need to apply for a Student Visa. U.S. citizens may stay in the European Union for up to 90 days within a 180-day period as a tourist, with no prior visa (this is called entering on a Tourist Visa, indicated by a stamp you'll receive in your passport upon your first entry to the European Union). A Student Visa will allow you to complete a program that is longer than 90 days. If your program duration is greater than 90 days (i.e. semester/academic year program), then you will need to apply for a Student Visa 2-3 months prior to departure at the Spanish/Italian/French Consulate in the U.S. that represents your state's jurisdiction. (Spain & Italy students must apply 2 months prior to departure; France students must begin the process 3 months prior to departure.) IMPORTANT: DO NOT PLAN ANY INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL DURING THE 3 MONTHS PRIOR TO THE START OF YOUR PROGRAM. If you're applying for a Spanish, Italian or French Student Visa, you must leave your passport at the Consulate while your visa is being processed (up to a full 60 days prior to your departure date).Please see our Information Library for fees and detailed instructions on how to apply.
The Spanish/Italian/French Consulates will not issue Student Visas to U.S. passport holders if your program duration is less than 90 days (i.e. Salamanca trimester & all Summer programs) because you can simply enter the European Union as a tourist (see above). Therefore, students attending a program with a duration of less than 90 days have a maximum of 90 days to study and travel in the European Union/their host country. If you overstay your Tourist Visa, it is at your own risk, and you risk fines and deportation. ASA is not responsible for any repercussions resulting from overstaying your visa.
Chile Semester students must apply for a Student Visa 2 months prior to departure at the Chilean Consulate in the U.S. that represents your state's jurisdiction. IMPORTANT: One of the visa requirements is an FBI Background Check. Because it takes the FBI 13 weeks to process it (3 months + 1 week), and because your visa appointment must take place 45-60 days prior to departure, YOU NEED TO APPLY FOR THE FBI BACKGROUND CHECK 5 MONTHS PRIOR TO DEPARTURE. For students attending a summer program, a Tourist Visa is issued upon arrival and is valid for 90 days. IMPORTANT: DO NOT PLAN ANY INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL DURING THE 3 MONTHS PRIOR TO THE START OF YOUR PROGRAM. If you're applying for a Chilean Student Visa, you must leave your passport at the Chilean Consulate while your visa is being processed (up to a full 60 days prior to your departure date). Please see our Information Library for fees and detailed instructions on how to apply.
Argentina students: Visa is issued after arrival (fee required). Students born in the U.S. do not have to apply for anything or bring any particular paperwork with them in order to have their visa issued after arrival. However, students who were born in certain countries (other than the U.S.) may need apply for an Entry Permit prior to departure or bring proof of an FBI Background Check in order to have their visa issued after arrival. It takes the FBI 13 weeks to process this (3 months + 1 week), so if you were not born in the U.S., please read the Argentina visa information found in our Information Library (visa fees are also described here).
Peru students: While you are free to apply for a visa, it's not mandatory. U.S. passport holders may stay in Peru for up to 90 days; after the first 90 days, you simply pay $1 per additional day.
Will I be able to travel on my own during the program?
Absolutely. You will have free time to travel on weekends and during scheduled breaks. Just be sure to let your parents, Site Director or someone at your school know where you are going and when you will return. Some students also choose to travel before or after the program. If you want to do this, just make sure that you are not overstaying your limit in your host country according to its Visa regulations.
Don't book any personal travel before you depart, since you may want to plan your trips with the new friends you make while you're abroad. Also, you are encouraged to take your personal trips during scheduled breaks or holidays. Don't forget that traveling every weekend may interfere with your studies, and we want everyone to do well in their classes!
How much luggage can I bring? You must check your particular airline's luggage policy to find out their weight and size limits, as every airline has different regulations. Please note that many airlines have recently decreased their luggage weight limits for both domestic and international flights, and some airlines have begun charging a fee to check baggage on both domestic and international flights. DO NOT BRING MORE LUGGAGE THAN YOU CAN CARRY BY YOURSELF! Be sure to leave some extra room for souvenirs, or bring along an extra lightweight duffel bag that you could use as a carry-on for extra things on your way home. You'll also want to bring a backpack or small suitcase to use on weekend trips.
Should I get a Eurail pass if I'm studying abroad in Europe? While it is not at all mandatory for ASA students to purchase Eurail passes, some students choose to purchase one if they wish to travel on their own. In general, Eurail passes are helpful for students who wish to travel through several European countries within a certain time period (i.e. one consecutive week or more). This is because once you activate your pass, it expires within a certain time period. The validity period depends on which kind of Eurail pass you purchased.
If you are planning to do a few weekend trips here and there spread throughout the semester, a Eurail pass is probably not worthwhile for you. If you are planning to travel for a week or more consecutively, then a Eurail pass may be a good idea. Or, if you know that you want to travel on a few weekends in a row, then a Eurail pass may be worthwhile. KEEP IN MIND THAT EURAIL PASSES MUST BE PURCHASED IN THE U.S., PRIOR TO DEPARTURE. You cannot purchase a Eurail pass in Europe. To purchase a Eurail ticket, go to www.raileurope.com
What is the local currency?
UK - British Pound Sterling Spain - Euro Ireland (Republic of Ireland) - Euro (NOTE: Northern Ireland's currency is the Pound. Dublin is located in the Republic of Ireland, therefore, Dublin students will use the Euro.) France - Euro Italy - Euro Chile - Chilean Peso (CLP)
Peru - Nuevo Sol (PEN) Argentina - Argentine Peso (ARS)
Yes, at least one day excursion is included with most of our programs. Some programs also include one or more overnight excursions. The number and kind of excursions included vary per program location and duration. To see how many and what type of excursions are included with your program, go to our Dates, Prices and Deadlines page and then click on the price of your program to see a list of what is and is not included.
What types of housing are offered through ASA's programs, and how many meals are included?
Sevilla, Barcelona, Madrid Summer - Students can choose one of two housing options: Spanish host family (includes 3 meals a day and one load of laundry per week) or shared student apartment (no meals included). Bedrooms are double or single occupancy. Madrid (Semester/Academic Year) - Students can choose one of two housing options: Spanish host family (includes daily breakfast and dinner and one load of laundry per week). Bedrooms are double or single occupancy; or students can opt tofind their own apartment (for this option students pay for all room and board costs). Aix-en-Provence, France - French host family (includes daily breakfast, 6 dinners a week and one load of laundry per week). Bedrooms are double or single occupancy.
Paris, France - Students can choose one of two housing options: French host family (includes daily breakfast and dinner and one load of laundry per week). Bedrooms are double or single occupancy; or students can opt tofind their own apartment (for this option students pay for all room and board costs).
Dublin, Ireland - Shared apartments in on-campus residence halls. Bedrooms are double occupancy; generally, 4 students per apartment. Students are reponsible for their own meals.
Florence, Italy - Shared student apartment. Bedrooms are double occupancy, with a small number of triple occupancy rooms. Students are responsible for their own meals.
Sorrento, Italy - Students can choose one of two housing options: Italian host family (includes either daily breakfast and dinner or just a daily breakfast) or shared student apartment (no meals included). Housing does not include laundry. London, England - Students live in a university managed residence hall. Oxford, England - Students live in on-campus apartments (Halls of Residence). Bedrooms are single-occupancy; 5-9 students per apartment. Students are responsible for their own meals. Vina del Mar, Chile - Chilean host family (includes 3 meals a day and one load of laundry per week) Buenos Aires, Argentina - Students can choose one of two housing options: Argentine host family (includes daily breakfast and dinner) or shared student apartment (no meals included). Housing does not include laundry.
Cuzco, Peru - Students can choose one of two housing options: Residence hall (includes daily continental breakfast) or Peruvian host family (includes 3 meals a day and one load of laundry per week)
Lima, Peru - Students can choose one of two housing options: Residence hall (no meals included) or Peruvian host family (includes 3 meals a day and one load of laundry per week)
PLEASE NOTE: Some programs require a damage deposit. Please see the "Payment and Financial Aid" section above for details.
When will I find out where I'll be living? ASA will notify you of your living arrangements by email approximately 1-2 weeks before the start of your program.
How are the host families chosen? All of the host families are interviewed in their home before placing students there. Most of our host families have already been hosting international students for several years. Students find that having the opportunity to speak the language at home is the single greatest factor in increasing their facility with the language, and most students say that living with a host family was the best part of their study abroad experience!
Living arrangements and the composition of host families vary. The term "host family" should not be interpreted too narrowly. Increasingly, about 50% of the hosts are childless couples or divorced women with children who enjoy having a student living with them. ASA's hosts come from a cross-section of society; they belong to no particular professional or social milieu.
All ASA students will fill out a Housing Questionnaire after they have been accepted, where they can tell us about their housing preferences, allergies, dietary needs, etc. We use this information match them with a host with whom we think they will be compatible.
We take great care to ensure that students are happy with their living arrangements, and we encourage you to talk to us if you have any concerns about your housing.
What if I don't like my host family? If it is a problem with the family and not a cultural misunderstanding, ASA will change your family right away. There is on-site staff in every city who are there to help students at all times with any issues they encounter while abroad.
Will my host family speak English? No, but there's no need to worry. Living with a family is the best way for you to learn Spanish or French, and you'll be amazed at how quickly you will improve. Also, don't forget that your host family has hosted American students before, so they understand that you are there to learn their language and want to help you.
Will I have a roommate? Yes, for the majority of programs.
Can I room with a friend? Please keep in mind that if you request to live with a friend, he/she must be of the same sex as you. All questionnaires/forms where you can request a roommate will be completed after you're accepted.
Spain, France, Chile, Peru and Argentina - You may request to live with a friend by noting this on your Housing Questionnaire, and we will do our best to accommodate you. If there is no major difference in your housing needs, then it's usually not a problem to place you and your friend with the same host family. (If your housing needs differ, for example, if one of you is a vegetarian and the other is not, then we cannot place you with the same host.)
For those of you who have not requested to live with a friend, your roommate will be another ASA student.
London, England - London students attending Regent's College who want to room with a friend must note this on their Course Pre-registration form. NOTE: ALL London students who want to room with a friend are strongly encouraged to apply early and speak with ASA to see if their preference can be met. Applying late may result in diminished choice of classes, housing and roommate. Students at London South Bank University live in single rooms, so you may request to be in the same suite as your friend(s).
Oxford, England - You may request to live with a friend, but being a very large university, Oxford Brookes University is responsible for hall allocations and cannot guarantee that you will be placed in the same apartment or hall of residence as your friend. Oxford students will meet their roommates upon arrival; they could be from the U.S., UK, or another country.
Dublin, Ireland - If you want to room with a friend, you must note this on your Housing Questionnaire. ASA students who have not requested to live with a friend will be placed with roommates from the ASA program, from another American study abroad program, or with international students.
Florence, Italy - If you want to room with a friend, you must note this on your Housing Questionnaire and it should not be a problem to accommodate you.
What should I bring with me?
A detailed list of what to bring (and what not to bring!) will be included in your ASA pre-departure packet, which you will receive about a month before your program begins.
What is the food like?
The food is great and will be typical of each host country. Be prepared to try new things!
How many people go on the trips, and where are they from? Depending on which program you choose, the number of ASA students per group normally varies from 10-40 students. Keep in mind that no matter which program you attend, your host institution will have other students going there besides just ASA students, so you will meet students in your classes who are from outside the ASA group. We have students from all over the United States, from hundreds of different college and universities. Click here to see the colleges and universities that past ASA students have come from.