Frequently Asked Questions

Whether your student is considering studying abroad or preparing for departure, there are many issues to consider and questions that may arise. Students should always contact the Reves Center for International Studies first for answers to these questions and we invite you to encourage them to do so. If there are still questions your student cannot answer adequately for you, feel free to contact us directly.

Whom should I contact with questions about study abroad?

If your student has already chosen a study abroad program, s/he is the best person to ask. We strongly encourage students to take responsibility for managing all aspects of their study abroad experience, and your expectation that they be fully informed can greatly strengthen that encouragement.

Of course, if you have questions that your student cannot answer, please feel free to contact the Reves Center staff directly.

What programs are William & Mary students permitted to participate in?

Our students may study abroad through William & Mary faculty-led programs, William & Mary tuition exchanges, direct enrollment in a foreign university, or through third-party study abroad providers (other universities or specialized organizations). For more information, please see the section on Programs.

What are the first steps a student wishing to study abroad should take?

A student contemplating study abroad should first look at his/her 4-year academic plan and consult with his academic advisor to determine when study abroad might be most appropriate. With that in mind, s/he should visit the Study Abroad Library, attend a Study Abroad Workshop, and perhaps sign up for an individual appointment with a study abroad advisor.

Read more about Getting Started.

Will credit and grades earned abroad transfer to William & Mary?

William & Mary accepts transfer credit from study abroad based on approval from the teaching faculty. The Reves Center will guide students through the transfer credit and approval process.

How much does study abroad cost?

The range of program costs is very broad, affected by location, academic offerings, length of stay, type of housing, extent of student services and number and type of extracurricular activities.

Are students required to pay William & Mary tuition while abroad?

Unless a student is participating in a William & Mary tuition exchange, s/he will not be required to pay home tuition while abroad. Tuition exchange students pay tuition and fees to William & Mary and all other costs (accommodation, etc.) to the host institution.

Can students use financial aid to pay for study abroad?

Yes. Federal, state, and most private grants, loans, and scholarships may be applied to the cost of study abroad. The student will need to complete a Consortium Agreement (pdf) and a Disbursement Form (pdf), and should talk his plans over with his/her W&M financial aid advisor. W&M Student Accounts now offers eRefunds, which provides financial aid refund disbursements via direct deposit as opposed to a paper check via mail. Students need to opt-in to this program, and may do so here.

Are there study abroad scholarships available?

The Reves Center awards over $100,000 annually to William & Mary students participating in the university's programs abroad. These scholarships are need based; scholarship applications are due at the same time as the program application. For students studying abroad with other institutions, there is information on sources of funding for study abroad in the Study Abroad Library, and on in our Scholarships section.

How does my student apply for a passport and visa?

Please read about obtaining a passport and visa under Travel Documents and Information.

How safe is it for students to study abroad?

To a great extent, a student's safety abroad, just as at home, is a function of common sense and responsible behavior. To help students prepare to conduct themselves wisely in their new surroundings, William & Mary offers all students going abroad a Pre-Departure Orientation and a Study Abroad Handbook which cover many aspects of traveling to and living in a foreign country, stressing issues of safety. In addition, providers of study abroad programs conduct on-site orientations and have resident staff on site available to advise and care for students.

To view health and safety information or specific destinations, we recommend that you visit the websites of the U.S. Department of State, the World Health Organization, and the Center for Disease Control.

Do you offer any medical insurance?

The Reves Center does not offer medical insurance, but we recommend the insurance provided by Cultural Insurance Services International.

How can I stay in touch with my student while s/he is abroad?

E-mail and cell phones have made it much easier to stay in touch around the globe. It is very likely that your student will have access to one or both of these means of communication while abroad. Skype is also a cheap and easy way to communicate over long distances. In addition, be sure that you have contact information for the on-site faculty and staff responsible for the participants on the program and, if available, a phone number with which to reach your student's place of residence.

What should I expect when my student returns home after studying abroad?

It may take your student some time to re-adjust to life in the U.S. after his/her study abroad experience. Students often grow and change remarkably when they live and learn abroad and are sometimes quite surprised to find their "home" culture almost as unfamiliar as the "foreign" one they've become part of while abroad. They may feel different, disoriented, divided from friends and family. This re-entry, or "reverse culture" shock is a normal part of the study abroad process and you can help make the transition an easier one. Encourage your student to talk through his/her experience with you, but be patient and don't take his/her new views on the home culture personally. You can also encourage him/her to keep the experience alive by becoming involved in international programming and events on campus.