The mission of the Center for Global Education and Experience is to promote the globalization of UT Martin’s students, faculty, and programs, to assist all campus units in developing and implementing experiential projects, and to provide a forum for the discussion of global issues of student, faculty, and staff experiences abroad.
Travel Study Frequently Asked Questions
What is travel study and why is it important?
Travel Study is an opportunity for UTM students to have an educational experience in another part of the world. This is a chance for individuals to become more globally engaged citizens and to gain a unique understanding of the world and one’s place in it.
Are there different program types? What is the difference?
Here at UTM we have a few different study abroad program options:
- Faculty Led: these are programs that are led by a UTM faculty member and linked with a very specific UTM course. Students who participate in a UTM faculty-led study abroad program must enroll in that faculty member’s UTM class and must participate in the study abroad program to complete the requirements of the class. Faculty led programs are great for students who might be nervous about travelling abroad for the first time or for those who prefer to travel abroad with a group of UTM peers as well as a UTM faculty member.
- Exchange: these are programs in which UTM has signed partnership agreements with certain overseas universities. Students participating in UTM exchange programs will pay UTM tuition and will have the host university tuition fees waived. Participating students would be responsible for room & board charges at the overseas institution (as well as other associated expenses). Currently, UTM has exchange agreements with partner universities in Japan, France, and Germany.
- Provider/Affiliate: these are programs in which UTM has partnered with US based organizations/companies who offer study abroad programs to our students. The Center for Global Education and Experience has thoroughly vetted these affiliates. These providers offer a wide variety of programs and are usually the option that most students select when looking at study abroad programs for a semester or summer.
- Direct Enroll: students who cannot find an option that works for them from one of the above may want to consider a direct enroll program. This is an option in which a student may elect to enroll directly with an overseas university. It’s important to note that this is NOT going through a provider that UTM is not affiliated with (as mentioned above); this is electing to enroll directly with an overseas university (and working with that foreign institution to enroll as a non-degree seeking, temporary, student at their institution).
How long are programs?
Programs can be as short as 1-2 weeks and up to a full year. Faculty led programs are traditionally 1-2 weeks but are sometimes up to 4 weeks (over summer). Exchange programs can be anywhere from 3-weeks in the summer, to a semester or academic year. Provider and direct enroll programs can be a few weeks in the summer, a full summer, or a semester or a year abroad.
What is housing like on study abroad programs? Where will I live?
Most study abroad programs give students at least two options for housing while abroad. Some may have more options available, while others may only have one option. Typically, housing options include:
- Residence Halls: this option usually has students staying on-campus at the host university. It can be a great option for students who want to be closer to campus or those who prefer to be surrounded by more students (local as well as international) as well as those who want the convenience of having campus amenities close by.
- Apartments: this option usually pairs students up with roommates who are also studying abroad on a similar program or who may be local students studying at the host university. Apartments may be within walking distance to the university or may require students to use local transportation.
- Homestays: this option allows students to live with a host family while they are abroad. Usually students are provided with 2-3 meals, 5-7 days a week. It is a great option for students who want to immerse themselves in the local culture and language. Host families may be within walking distance of the university or may require students to use local transportation.
- Hotels: this option is really only relevant for students participating on short duration faculty led trips (1-2 weeks) or those who might have excursions built into their summer/semester abroad programs.
- Independent accommodation: this option applies to students who wish to make the housing arrangement on their own. Our office does not typically recommend students choose this option. In fact, it’s rarely selected; in the past, students have only selected this option when they have friends or family in the host city they’ll be studying abroad in and they are invited to live with them (please note, this request needs to be submitted to the provider running the program a student selects; they will review and approve the housing selection).
Is there a best time for when I should study abroad?
We encourage students to begin planning their study abroad experience as early as freshman year, and at least one year in advance, to ensure that the courses available to them fit their degree plan. We usually require students to have completed 24 credit hours prior to going abroad (so, for Freshman, that usually means you can study abroad as early as the summer after your freshman year. For Transfer students, you can usually go abroad after having completed 12 credit hours at UTM; so, the 2nd semester at UTM would be the first opportunity for you to go abroad as a transfer student). Students should work with their academic advisors to determine which semester/year/summer term is best for them. Considering recent global events, we are seeing some Senior students having their study abroad plans disrupted due to program cancellations. While you can certainly study abroad as a Senior, we would highly encourage students to think ahead and imagine what it might be like if you had planned a study abroad during your senior year and something happened that caused those plans to change, how would you feel? Usually, we see most UTM students studying abroad during their Sophomore or Junior years. This also gives students the chance to study abroad again if they wish to do so.
Will I receive credit for the classes I take while abroad?
Yes, any UTM student who wishes to study abroad through a UTM sponsored program must have their study abroad courses pre-approved for credit prior to going abroad.
Will study abroad put me behind in terms of my degree requirements?
Study abroad will not necessarily keep students from graduating in four years. For UTM students on approved study abroad programs, credits earned can be applied to their UTM degree—provided that all the required documents and authorizations are completed on time and according to due process. Student should meet with their academic advisors to determine what types of courses are transferable and when would be the best time in the student’s college career to study abroad. It is very important that students going abroad begin the conversation with their academic advisor well in advance of their departure. This will help to ensure that students select the courses they need for any degree requirements they would like to complete while abroad.
Health and Safety
Is study abroad safe?
Our University is fully committed to offering a safe and secure learning environment. We have spent a great deal of time reviewing all of our abroad programs. We do not allow any student to travel to a country with an active Department of State travel advisory of level 3 or 4. We are also partnered with numerous affiliate providers who have robust and comprehensive health, safety, and security policies. With that being said, students must do their own research and determine how safe they feel going to a location in which UTM has an abroad program. If you do not feel safe going to a specific location (for whatever reason!) then we would never advise that you travel, there. It is important for students to understand, and be aware of, the fact that a situation in a city, country, or region can change rapidly. We cannot predict when natural disasters may strike, for instance. These sudden changes can greatly impact the on-going health and safety within an area. In events such as these, students should know that the University has plans in place to assist students, whether that means getting them services in their host country or arranging their return to the US. Our office is more than willing to talk with you about any concerns you may have as these can often vary between students. Feel free to schedule an advising appointment and we can chat about anything you would like to chat about.
How does UTM determine safety factors in study abroad programs?
The Center for Global Education and Experience looks at a number of different areas when determining what programs we will offer to our students. We rely on Department of State travel advisories as well as CDC alerts. We are also partnered with International SOS and thoroughly review their travel alerts in relation to specific countries or regions. We also work closely with our Office of Safety and Security when it comes to any international travel for our students. For those students who elect to study through one of our affiliate providers, we have full faith in the vetting process that these partners have done. All of them have teams dedicated solely to the health, safety, and security of students going abroad and have dedicated and reliable teams on-ground, in-country to assistance students.
What resources will I have while abroad to support me?
While abroad you will have many of the same resources you might find here at UTM. You will have host university/center resources, affiliate provider resources (if you go through a provider), as well as continued support from UTM. If you live with a host family, you will have their support; if you live on-campus or in an apartment, you will have the support of roommates. And, you will have support through the new networks you build once you get abroad (friends, co-workers if you are doing an internship or service-learning).
Will I have insurance when I am abroad?
Yes, we require all students to be covered by a comprehensive study abroad health insurance while abroad. UTM uses utilizes our onsite travel agent for travel insurance.
Can I receive ADA accommodations while abroad (like what I have here at UTM/in the US)?
The ADA is applicable in the US only and does not apply internationally. However, many programs will work with students to find comparable accommodations for them while abroad. It is important to be very open and upfront with the host university and/or affiliate provider regarding your program plans as well as any accommodations you may need while abroad. As much as some programs would like to accommodate students, they may be limited in their resources and what they are able to provide. This is something you would want to know before making a firm commitment to a program. If you plan on participating in a faculty-led program, you can work with the Office of Disability Services at UTM to determine what type of accommodation they may be able to arrange for you while abroad.
Financial Aid and Scholarships
Can UTM financial aid be used for study abroad?
Yes, you can utilize most types of financial aid for study abroad! Students can utilize State and Federal financial aid such as HOPE scholarship, Pell Grant, Loans, and University scholarships for study abroad. Students who receive any type of academic service/work-study aid need to work closely with financial aid to determine if this aid can be utilized for study abroad. In most instances, to use financial aid and scholarships, students must maintain the equivalent of full-time UTM enrollment while abroad.
I receive a tuition discount at UTM due to my parent’s employment status; does that apply to study abroad?
Unfortunately, these types of discounts do not apply to study abroad programs. These programs give students discounts on their UTM tuition for when they are taking classes at UTM. We recommend that you schedule an advising appointment with a study abroad advisor to discuss options if you receive some type of UTM tuition discount due to a family members employment status.
I am a UT Promise student, how does that apply to study abroad?
It is possible that you may be able to use UT Promise for certain study abroad programs (such as exchange). We recommend that you schedule an appointment with a study abroad advisor to discuss your options for study abroad. Please also keep in mind that there are a wide variety of scholarships that you can apply for as part of study abroad.
Do I pay UTM tuition for study abroad?
You will only pay UTM tuition if you elect to go abroad through an exchange study abroad program. For exchange programs you pay UTM tuition and would not pay the host university tuition. You would pay room & board, and any other miscellaneous expenses overseas though. If you elect to participate in an affiliate provider program, you will not pay UTM tuition but instead pay the provider program fee (which may be higher than UTM tuition). You would also pay for housing through the provider and be responsible for any additional fees. If you select a direct enroll program, then you would follow the guidance of the host university but would not pay UTM tuition on top of the host university rates. For faculty-led trips, you pay UTM tuition for the UTM courses you are taking as well as the study abroad program fee associated with the study abroad trip.
What are other scholarships I might be eligible for if I study abroad?
In addition to being able to potentially use your UTM financial aid for study abroad, students should also know that there are a wide variety of scholarship opportunities available for study abroad.
- Gilman Scholarship (note: you must be a Pell Grant recipient to apply for this scholarship)
- SGA Scholarship
- Additional Outside Scholarship
Reasons you may think you cannot go abroad but may not actually be true.
It is too expensive/I could never afford it.
Here at UTM we have a variety of study abroad programs and, if you give us the chance, we may be able to find the perfect abroad program for you. We have programs that are comparable in price to study at UTM. Additionally, students can use some types of financial aid and can also apply for additional scholarships related to study abroad (SGA, College, and departmental scholarships as well as outside scholarships through US government agencies and through specific host providers).
I do not see how a study abroad experience would benefit me personally or professionally.
Studying abroad really instills a greater sense of independence in our students, it often helps shape, and sharpen, their goals (personally and professionally). Among the most cited benefits of studying abroad are: increased self-confidence, increased maturity, enhanced interest in academic study, improved problem-solving skills, reinforced commitment to foreign language study, enhanced understanding of one’s own cultural values and biases, new career direction, and improved employability.
There is no way I could study abroad with my major.
There are study abroad opportunities available for most majors. We recognize that some majors may have additional areas that need to be considered when planning a time abroad, but we are more than happy to work with any student to find a program that fits what they are needing.
I have never been outside the state/region/country before, let alone on a plane! I cannot see myself getting on a plane and traveling overseas.
Believe it or not, many of UTM study abroad alum had never been outside the US prior to going on their study abroad program. We certainly understand the uncertainty that can surround going abroad for the first time and being so far away from home. What’s great is that we have a wide variety of study abroad opportunities, so if you aren’t ready for a full semester abroad (or even summer) you can look into shorter program options (maybe a 2 week faculty led trip that allows you to go abroad with a group of your UTM peers and a UTM faculty member?).
I do not speak another language and/or I do not want to study a language while abroad.
We have such a wide variety of programs that if you do not want to study another language while abroad, or if you do not know another language, you can still find a program. Studying a foreign language is not a requirement to go abroad, nor is it a requirement for you to take a foreign language course while abroad (although, there are some programs that do require the study of the local language, so just make sure you’re looking at those requirements when reviewing programs).