A Mount Student’s Guide to Study Abroad

Studying abroad can be one of the most beneficial and rewarding experiences for a college student. A student can see new places, learn different styles of education and systems, experience different cultures, and learn new language skills.  You will forever remember your experience of studying abroad, and this guide will show you, as a Mount St. Joseph University student, how you can take advantage of the opportunity.

Getting Started

  Can I Study Abroad?

Yes. Any Mount St. Joseph University student, who has completed one semester of study, is of sophomore, junior, or senior status or in graduate school, and who is in good academic standing, has the opportunity to study abroad in a variety of countries during the fall, spring, and/or summer semesters. You will maintain your status as a Mount student, and can apply your financial aid toward your study abroad experience.

  What Types of Study Abroad Programs are offered by Mount St. Joseph University?

Study abroad allows Mount students to experience the world, lending a global perspective and providing valuable opportunities for personal growth. We offer two options for study abroad:  long-term, traditional study abroad and short-term travel study.  There are faculty-led trips and student initiated study abroad programs.


Mount Faculty-Led
Mount faculty-led study abroad programs are those programs, regardless of duration, that are directed by Mount faculty members. Students who participate in these programs enroll in the credit-bearing course(s) which incorporate the trip(s). Tuition and fees apply, and financial aid may assist with the cost.


Student Initiated
Students who wish to study for a semester or more abroad, go through the American Institute for Foreign Study (AIFS), which is recognized as a leading provider of study abroad programs. Recent Mount St. Joseph University students have studied in South Africa, Australia, Russia, and England. Students will work with an AIFS Admission Officer to help you through the study abroad process from application to the host institution to travel. Please note that students will be required to submit a deposit to AIFS. Financial aid can help cover the deposit, and students will work with Student Administrative Services and AIFS to determine if funds are available. In order to maintain financial aid, the Mount registers the student studying abroad for consortia credit hours using the host institution’s name. Students then work with a Student Administrative Services representative and the AIFS Admission Officer to determine how much will be charged for those credit hours based on the tuition and fees of the host institution. Once travel and studies abroad are complete, the courses, credits, and grades are entered on the Mount transcript, and count toward a student’s grade point average.

  How Do I Choose An AIFS Study Abroad Experience?

First, you will want to choose where you want to go, which semester(s) you want to be there, and what you want to study while there.  It is important to consider what your goals are for studying abroad, what experiences you want to have, and whether your values and priorities align with the commitment to traveling outside of the United States. Consider what type of area you want to be in: rural or urban? Where do you prefer to live: apartment, with a host family, or a residence hall with other study abroad students? Do you want a program in English or are you proficient in another language? It is recommended that you read the Consular Information Sheet and any travel warnings about the country. You’ll find up-to-date travel information on the country you plan to visit, entry regulations, the crime and security situation, drug penalties, road conditions, and the location of the US embassy, consulates, and consular agencies. If a travel warning is issued because of dangerous conditions, it is recommended that US citizens defer travel to the country.

  How Do I Choose a Faculty-Led Study Abroad Experience?

Faculty who offer courses which involve study abroad travel post the options on the Course Schedules. Students are encouraged to contact the faculty member with questions.  Students approved to enroll in the course will be required to sign the Mount St. Joseph University Travel Waiver and Release.

  What Can I Study Abroad and How Will It Affect my Degree Completion?

You can study any subject abroad, and the credits can be counted toward graduation requirements. You will want to meet with your Academic Advisor and the Travel Coordinator at Mount St. Joseph University to help determine which courses to take while abroad. The Mount provides advising to all of our students to develop a plan for completion by reviewing students’ majors and core curriculum requirements. You may need to contact AIFS, if that is your chosen study abroad program, to obtain the syllabi from your future host institution. Working with our University Transfer Analysts, you can receive confirmation about what courses taken abroad count toward requirements at the Mount in your major and/or core curriculum. While abroad make sure to keep all documents relating to the courses you take at the host institution. The study abroad options may also qualify for experiential (EXP) credit, which is an undergraduate core graduation requirement and offered through the Career & Experiential Education Center.

  How Much will Study Abroad Cost?

Costs vary by program and consist of tuition, room and board, airfare, books, and any additional experiences or excursions a student takes. Establishing a budget is important. Financial aid can assist, and some students apply for Mount add-on scholarships and independent scholarships.

  If I Don’t Speak A Language Other than English, Can I Study in a Non-English Speaking Country?

Yes. Programs offer courses in English in many countries. Studying Abroad can also be a good time to study, learn, and practice another language.

  When Should I Start Planning to Study Abroad?

Early planning can help make the process to studying abroad easier. It is recommended that you start planning between four and nine months ahead of when you plan to travel. You will want to set up a time to meet with the Travel Coordinator at the Mount, to discuss what your goals are for studying abroad.

  What Do I Need to Do When I Return from Abroad?

If using AIFS, you will have signed the appropriate forms for the host institution abroad to send an official transcript to the Mount. Please have it sent to the Transfer Analyst in the Academic Advising Resource Center, who will post the courses, credits, and grades to your Mount St. Joseph University transcript.  Transcripts may be mailed to Mount St. Joseph University Attn: Registrar 5701 Delhi Road Cincinnati, OH 45233-1670 USA, or emailed to Registrar@msj.edu.

  What Will My Parents Say?

Everyone’s parents are different, but it is wise to gather as much information and documentation as possible when presenting the idea to parents. College is about experimenting with new ideas and concepts. Parents may feel better to know that there are people in the Mount community who will be supportive and good resources for the journey. If they have questions, you may also schedule an appointment to meet with the Mount’s Travel Coordinator with your parents.

  Are There Additional Expectations of Me as a Student Abroad?

Students traveling with a Faculty-led program must follow Mount St. Joseph University’s policies and procedures regarding conduct, as stated in the Student Handbook, while abroad, and are subject to disciplinary action, including being removed from the program and sent home, if violations occur.


Students traveling with an AIFS program, must follow the AIFS Code of Conduct, as stated on the AIFS website.

  I’ve Decided I’m Going. Now What?

Applying for a Visa and Passport
US Citizens can apply for a visa and passport directly through the US State Department: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel.html


You must have a passport valid for the duration of your stay abroad, and some countries require your passport be valid at least six months beyond your intended stay. It can take six weeks or longer to get your passport after you've applied so be sure to get your paperwork in early.  To apply you need:
* Completed passport application, unsigned
* Proof of US citizenship: certified copy of birth certificate, naturalization papers, or old passport
* Two recent passport photos, 2" x 2", with a white background; you can have these taken at the Medical Center Photography Center or the CVS in College Town
* Check or money order made payable to "Department of State," the fee typically ranges from $75-$150. 
* Identification such as a driver's license or other government issued photo ID


A visa is official permission, granted by the authorities of a country where you will study or visit, which allows you to enter and remain in that country for period of time. You must have a valid passport in order to apply for a visa. Some countries require you to obtain a visa either in the US or at a consulate abroad. Costs and entrance requirements vary, but expect to pay between $75 and $600. Visas can take up to three months to process, and you may be required to appear in person to obtain the visa. You cannot apply for a visa until you have been admitted to a study abroad program. It is your responsibility to determine the requirements and to apply for a visa in a timely fashion. Failure to apply for a visa in a timely may jeopardize being able to study abroad.

  Health and Safety

Many countries require specific immunizations before arriving in the country, some requiring multiple visits to your doctor. Please check the Center for Disease Control website for an updated list of required immunizations: 1.800.CDC.INFO or visit the CDC Web site at cdc.gov/.


Health Insurance
All students who study abroad are required to carry health insurance. There are multiple third party insurance companies. Please reach out to the Associate Provost for Academic Support for options.


It is important to have enough prescription and preferred over-the-counter medication to last the duration of your stay abroad. Medications may vary in name, potency, and purity from country to country, and cannot be sent through international mail.

While traveling and going through customs, keep all medicines in the original containers. If you bring syringes with you, you need to bring a doctor’s note. It is also important to bring the written drug information with you through customs in case the customs officer has questions about your medication.


Download the University's emergency contact numbers and keep the list with you in case of an emergency. It is not always possible to return to your living quarters at the time you might need the numbers, so it is recommended that you keep them on your person.


Mental Health
A student may experience culture shock and homesickness. Mental health treatment is not as widely accessible in many foreign countries as it is in the United States. We do not discriminate against individuals with disabilities who wish to study abroad. However, for your own welfare, we recommend that if you have had any such problem that could affect your participation in the program you should consult with a mental health professional before you decide to commit to traveling abroad  to discuss potential stress or other adverse consequences of the study abroad program. Even symptoms that have been dormant for a long time may reappear suddenly as a result of experiencing culture shock.

  If I have a disability, can I study abroad?

A Mount student attending a Mount faculty-led program will work with the Director of the Learning Center to review requests for accommodations.


Through the AIFS program, students will work with the Admission Officer for the intended study abroad program.

  Recommended Tips from Other Students who have Studied Abroad
  • Know the country’s currency. Take an ATM card with you, and don’t rely on currency exchanges. The currency exchanges are not always readily available, and you may need money quickly.
  • Contact your bank to let them know the exact dates you will be overseas. This way they will keep your credit card available for use.
  • Your cell phone will most likely not work without a sim card specific to your host country. Contact a phone distributor or be prepared to buy a disposable phone while there.
  • Learn what types of transportation are available before you go overseas. Look into whether people tend to use public transportation or personal vehicles.
  • Learn what types of weather occurs in your host country. This will affect what you pack.
  • Learn the basic laws of your host country, such as driving a car and legal age to consume alcohol. Even minor incidents can create major legal problems for students.
  • Recognize that the minimum alcohol consumption age tends to be lower than that of the United States. There can be social implications for this, particularly with students are younger than 21 who drink.
  • Make a photocopy of your passport and visa and leave the copy with your family. Should your passport/visa be lost or stolen, they will be easier to replace if you have a copy. It is helpful to leave your family with your personal email information, also, in case of emergency.
  • Become familiar with the dietary customs and availability of food in the host country. Those who regularly take vitamins, or feel vitamin supplements are advisable, should take a supply to last for the entire stay abroad, since the brand may not be available or may be excessively expensive overseas.
  • Students are advised to take a personal first aid kit. Some suggestions include Bacitracin for minor cuts and abrasions, and Imodium for temporary diarrhea.
  A Mount Student’s AIFS Study Abroad Checklist

Before Applying

_____ Inform the Travel Coordinator of your intention to study abroad.

_____ Decide in which country you would like to study.


_____ Contact AIFS and apply to your chosen program.

_____ Review with your Mount Academic Advisor & a Transfer Analyst which courses you should take abroad.

_____ Work with Financial Aid to secure the deposit and funding for your AIFS study abroad program.

_____ Work with AIFS to look into housing options, booking flights, and ground transportation in your host country.

_____ Apply for passport.

_____ Apply for visa.

_____ Purchase student insurance policy.

One Month before & Up to Travel

_____ Make copies of all important documents.

_____ Plan your technology needs and purchase any needed adapters.

_____ Contact your bank to let them know where you are studying and for how long. Give them exact dates.

_____ Pack for the weather.

_____ Print out all emergency contact numbers and have them readily available.


If you would like for study abroad to fulfill your EXP requirement, you will need to register for CED 305: Study Abroad. There is a $30 administration fee and reflections due before, during and after your travel.