Study Abroad Guide
Studying abroad is a rewarding and life-changing experience. Students who incorporate overseas study into their academic careers deepen their knowledge and understanding of international, political, and cultural affairs.
You may return from your sojourn abroad with a better perspective on world issues as well as a broader understanding of the U.S. and its way of life. Most significantly, when you spend time in another culture, you learn a great deal about yourself. Regardless of what major you are pursuing, from Biology to Theater Arts, you can benefit from study abroad.
To obtain permission to study abroad you must:
- have completed at least 12 credits (one semester full time) at MMC at the time of application to study abroad.
- have earned a cumulative MMC GPA of 2.8. Check this on MMC Connect.
- have declared a major.
The credits and grades you earn abroad will appear on your MMC transcript and be calculated into your GPA.
You may take a maximum of 30 cumulative credits on study abroad, 15 credits per term.
You may not audit study abroad courses or take study abroad courses on a Pass/Fail basis.
Take some time to answer the following questions to assist you in choosing a study abroad program.
- Why do you want to study abroad? You may want to learn about another culture, to enhance your education, to improve language skills, or to impact your career trajectory.
- Where do you want to go? Why?
- How much time do you want to spend abroad?
- How will study abroad fit into your academic program? Will the courses you take fulfill your major requirements or general education requirements or count as electives? Will going abroad alter your graduation plans?
- How will you finance your study abroad?
- Do you want to attend classes with students from the host country or mainly with other Americans? Do you want classes to be on the U.S. model or on another model that may involve more independent work on your part?
- Do you want to live with a family, with students from the host country, or with fellow American students?
You have a wide range of programs to choose from including summer and January programs, programs for a semester abroad, and opportunities to spend a full year abroad. MMC is affiliated with two consortia which offer programs in about 50 countries. In addition, there are programs sponsored by U.S. colleges and universities; others are sponsored by private organizations focused exclusively on study abroad; finally, you may enroll directly in a foreign college or university. For the most part, academic credit from institutions and organizations offering study abroad programs is accepted by MMC. However, in all cases, to ensure the credit you earn will apply to your MMC degree, you must receive appropriate permission for each of the courses you will take abroad.
Many factors may influence your choice of program, such as course content, location, your financial situation, your degree requirements, language proficiency, and the amount of time you have available. Keep these factors in mind as you evaluate the programs in which you are interested. Listed below are some of the major types of programs you may consider.
MMC is a member of two consortia, the Academic Consortium of the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) and the College Consortium for International Studies (CCIS). Together these consortia offer programs in over 49 countries. Information is available on their Web sites at www.ciee.org and www.ccisabroad.org, respectively.
In addition, MMC has an exchange program for students of any major with the American College of Thessaloniki (ACT) in Greece—www.act.edu, the International Studies Institute (ISI) in Florence, Italy—https://isiflorence.org/, and the Umbra Institute in Perugia, Italy—https://www.umbra.org/.
Many MMC students have participated in study abroad programs organized by other U.S. colleges. Academic credit for these programs is easily arranged. Program sponsors usually make some or all of the academic, housing, and travel arrangements for students. One example of a U.S. university that has such programs is Syracuse University, which has programs in several countries. There are many such colleges and universities that make programs available.
Nonprofit and proprietary (for profit) organizations, both U.S. and foreign, sponsor study abroad programs. Some of these organizations have agreements with colleges and universities that allow students to be registered on their home campuses. An example of this type of an organization is the American Institute For Foreign Study (AIFS), a for profit organization offering many and varied opportunities for study abroad. Though AIFS programs are accredited and usually of high quality, the cost is often higher than that for study through nonprofit institutions and organizations. Another example of this type of organization is CAPA, a nonprofit organization which also offers many and varied opportunities for study abroad.
Students may enroll directly at foreign universities and colleges. Some programs sponsored by foreign universities are especially designed to meet the needs of English-speaking students, with courses offered in English as well as the language of the host country. Some foreign universities admit undergraduates as special students, which is similar to taking classes in the country as an auditor or part-time student. In these cases receiving credit from Marymount for courses taken at foreign universities may be more difficult.
If you are currently receiving financial aid, you may be able to use it to study abroad. Federal aid which can consist of loans, grants, or scholarships may be used for study abroad. Some State aid may also be used. MMC grants and scholarships may not be used for study abroad.
In addition there are several scholarship opportunities for funding your study abroad, but you have to start early and be persistent. Information on scholarships and awards for study abroad may be found on the following websites:
Begin planning as soon as possible—a year is not too early! First, review this Study Abroad Guide and the MMC Study Abroad Application, which includes the Student Assumption of Risk, Waiver and Release (Attachment A) and the Emergency Contact Information form (Attachment B) at the end of this page or from the links at the left, and then start the process that is outlined below.
- Speak with your faculty advisor about your interest in studying abroad before you begin to make any arrangements to study abroad.
- Make an appointment by calling 212-774-0791 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can review any questions you have about study abroad during the meeting. If you have selected a study abroad program already, bring all of the information with you.
- Select a study abroad program. It is strongly advised that you select at least one alternate program in case your faculty advisor does not approve of your first choice. Print all of the course descriptions and other relevant information from the program’s website. If you have any questions about a program or the institution that is sponsoring the program, seek additional help from either the study abroad coordinator or your faculty advisor. The websites listed below are a good start. They are not all alike, so it is best to look through two or three of them:
The Institute of International Education (IIE) is the established leader in the exchange of people and ideas for over 100 years.
GoAbroad.com provides a good site on international education and alternative travel.
StudyAbroad.com is another good site that even offers a Parent’s Guide to Studying Abroad!
For students with physical disabilities, an additional resource is MIUSA:
- Begin to complete the MMC Study Abroad Application. Review the application in its entirety before completing any part of it. The application process involves multiple steps and consultation with several faculty and staff members.
- Meet with the study abroad coordinator who will confirm your eligibility to study abroad by completing and signing page 3 of the application. (Step 1 under Advisement.)
- Meet with your faculty adviser to discuss and review your plans. If your faculty adviser agrees with your plans, please ask him/her to complete and sign Step 2 under Advisement (top of page 4).
- Schedule an appointment with an adviser in the Office of Academic Advisement for a review of your academic record or an unofficial degree audit. What’s a degree audit? It is a review of the requirements you have already completed and those that are still outstanding in your degree program. This information will help you select study abroad courses that will apply to your degree program and allow you to graduate on time. With this information, your faculty advisor can better advise you as to what courses you should take on your study abroad program.
Make an appointment for this unofficial review with an academic advisor in the Office of Academic Advisement (on the lower level of Nugent). Please ask the academic advisor who conducts the preliminary audit to complete Step 3 under Advisement (page 4).
- If you have not done so already, apply to the study abroad program of your choice. Be sure to keep a copy of your program application and attach it to your completed MMC Study Abroad Application when you give it to the study abroad coordinator.
- Get permission from individual faculty members for each of the courses you intend to take abroad. Your course of study must be approved to ensure that your courses abroad will be accepted and recorded on your MMC transcript. Your faculty advisor will direct you to the appropriate faculty members. You may need to consult the Chair of the Division offering the MMC equivalent of the course for approval. The Division Chairs will either approve your courses or tell you who can help you.
Dr. Vandana Rao (Business)
Prof. David Mold (Fine & Performing Arts)
Dr. Brad Herling (Humanities and Social Sciences)
Dr. Benedetta Sampoli Benitez (Sciences)
Dr. Peter Schaefer (Communication and Media Arts)
In order to obtain all of the necessary approvals you may have to talk with several people so please start early and do not attempt to do this during vacation periods.
Complete Section IV: Course Selection Part A on the application (page 5). Write in all of the courses you plan to take abroad. Select several alternate courses just in case your first choices are not available once you get abroad and write in these courses on page 6. Bring all of the information you have about the study abroad courses with you when you seek a professor’s permission. The professor will complete Part B on pages 5 and 6 and indicate which MMC degree requirements your study abroad courses will fulfill.
- Schedule a follow up meeting with the academic advisor who conducted your preliminary degree audit for a final review of your course selection and the faculty approvals. The academic advisor will sign under Step 1 on page 7.
- Complete Step 2 in Section V (page 7). If you are currently receiving financial aid and would like to apply it to your study abroad experience, you need to make an appointment with the associate director of financial aid (Center for Student Services, LL, Nugent, 212-517-0481) to discuss funding the cost of your study abroad program. You will be given the MMC Study Abroad Financial Aid Application to complete. In order to use your Federal or State grants or loans to pay for study abroad, please remember:
- You must take a full load of courses, which for a semester program is at least 12 credits.
- You must take courses that you need to complete your degree program. You cannot take courses that will not move you toward graduation.
- If you fail a course while you are abroad, you many jeopardize your financial aid depending on the type of aid you receive.
- Courses may not be taken as Pass/Fail.
- All coursework and grades earned through study abroad, including “F” grades will be recorded on your MMC transcript and included in your grade point average.
The Associate Director of Financial Aid will help you determine what financial aid is available to finance your study abroad. Please be advised that your entire financial aid package may not apply to study abroad. MMC scholarships and grants are not applicable to traditional study abroad programs, but Federal grants and loans may be used. New York state financial aid is applicable to study abroad if you apply through a New York state college or university.
- Complete Attachments A and B. You must give these documents to the Study Abroad coordinator for your file.
- You must schedule one last meeting with the study abroad coordinator to give him/her your MMC Study Abroad Application, a copy of your study abroad program application, Attachments A and B, proof of health insurance and any vaccinations you have received, and a copy of a medical report or health declaration. The study abroad coordinator will sign your Study Abroad Application and forward it to the Registrar’s Office. You will be registered as a study abroad student for the term(s) you are away from MMC.
You can obtain an application for a passport at any Post Office including the one on 70th Street (between 2nd Avenue and 3rd Avenue). If you already have a passport, please check that it will not expire for six months beyond your planned stay abroad. If you have to apply for the first time for a passport, please apply early—it could take four to six weeks—even longer during the peak travel season. Please check with the State Department for instructions and an application:
A visa is an official document granting permission by a foreign government to enter and reside in that country for a specific length of time and for a specific purpose. Not all countries require student visas, so check with the consulate or embassy of the country you are planning to visit to determine whether or not you will need one. If you plan to study in a country that requires a visa, you may obtain one from the nearest embassy or consulate of the country concerned. Check to be sure that your passport will not expire for six months beyond your planned stay abroad. Applications for visas sometimes require a letter from the home college. Some embassies and consulates process visa requests quickly, but many do not. Some consulates accept visa applications by appointment only. During peak travel seasons, it can take two or more months to schedule an appointment. Please check with the consulate of the country in which you are going to study for visa requirements. The NYC Mayor’s office maintains an online list of all of the consulates in New York City:
Note: Consulates usually have very useful information about their country on their Web sites such as, political leaders, geography, history, weather conditions, latest domestic news and trends, etc. Please familiarize yourself with the conditions of the country you are visiting.
Insurance for Students Going Abroad
Being insured while you are abroad is very important. Health insurance will cover you in case of an illness or accident. Travel insurance will cover your luggage and flight/trip cancellations. Sometimes these types of insurance may be purchased together in a package.
All MMC students going abroad to study must be covered by a health insurance policy that extends coverage overseas and includes coverage for “evacuation and repatriation.” The study abroad program sponsoring your study may include the cost of health insurance in the cost of the program. Or you may have to buy a separate, short-term insurance policy for travelers or purchase a short-term extension (“rider”) to yours or your parents’ regular policy for health and/or travel while you are out of the country.
If you have to purchase insurance, there are several things to consider:
- Your age
- Length of time you will be abroad
- Country or countries to which you will be traveling
- Possibility of you going home for a visit during your study abroad period
- Requirements for health coverage set by the country to which you are traveling
Here is a list of six insurance companies that offer insurance to students. There are many others. All of these companies have a wide range of insurance products, so please be careful that you select the policy suited to your needs. Be sure to purchase insurance covering “Evacuation and Repatriation.”
U.S. Embassies and Consulates Abroad
If you are a U.S. citizen, you should register with the U.S. State Department before you leave the U.S. This is very important. Should there be an accident, attack, or natural disaster, the Embassy will be able to contact you. This step is meant as a safeguard for you. The study abroad program sponsoring your study may register you with the U.S. State Department.
U.S. State Department travel registration: https://step.state.gov/step/(opens in a new tab)
To find a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad: http://www.usembassy.gov/(opens in a new tab)
Stay Connected While Abroad
- You will have to register for classes for the semester following your time abroad. To do so you will need to e-mail your course selection for the next term to your faculty advisor for his/her permission. Let your faculty advisor know where you are.
- Space in student housing is very tight so do not wait until you return from abroad to apply for housing at MMC.
If you want to live in MMC housing in the spring and you are away in the fall, contact the Residence Life Office by November 1 at email@example.com.
If you want to live in MMC housing in the fall and you are away in the spring, contact the Residence Life Office by February 1 at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The grades you receive abroad will be calculated in your cumulative MMC grade point average. It is very important for you to arrange to have the transcript of your grades from your study abroad program sent directly to MMC. MMC cannot request your transcripts for you—only you can do this. Please be advised:
- You must pay all of your bills before the school abroad will release your transcripts.
- Without your transcripts MMC cannot process any further financial aid for you.
- If you complete fewer than 12 credits while studying abroad, you may forfeit some financial aid.
- Because courses taken for Pass/Fail will not transfer to MMC transcripts, you may not take any course abroad on a Pass/Fail basis.
MMC needs to receive letter grades from the school abroad. If the school gives grades in some other form (some schools give number grades), ask for an explanation of how to convert the grades to letters. If the MMC registrar does not receive your study abroad transcript within a month of the end of the MMC semester, you will jeopardize your eligibility for financial aid for the following term; your application for financial aid cannot be processed until your grades for study abroad are received and recorded by MMC.
Have the study abroad institution send the official transcript to:
Study Abroad Coordinator, Academic Affairs
Marymount Manhattan College
221 East 71st Street
New York, NY 10021
International Student Identity Card (ISIC)
The ISIC offers savings on airfares, trains, buses, accommodations, museums, cultural events, and entertainment for students ages 12 and over who are currently enrolled at an accredited institution and matriculating towards a diploma or degree. Continuing education and language school students are not eligible. The card costs $22.
How much do you know about your destination? Are you familiar with the current social and political issues of the country? What are the important issues facing college students in that country? What do you know of the history, literature, and artistic traditions of the country? These websites can give you some basic information and link you with more:
U.S. State Department’s ,www.state.gov—overviews complied by the U.S. diplomatic services.