Frequently Asked Questions

Whether you're a student considering studying abroad or the parent of a student preparing for departure, there are many issues to consider and questions that may arise. A student's first point of contact should always be the Global Education Office of the Reves Center for International Studies but some questions may be answered below:

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

Our students may study abroad through W&M faculty-led programs, W&M tuition exchanges, W&M sponsored semester programs, third-party study abroad provider programs, other US university programs and in some instances direct enroll in a foreign university. 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/her academic advisor to determine when study abroad might be most appropriate. With that in mind, s/he should attend a Study Abroad Workshop, and sign up for an individual appointment with a study abroad advisor. Study Abroad Peer Advisors are available  Monday-Friday 11-5 in the Global Education Office. Walk-in's are fine, however it is best to make an appointment to speak with an advisor individually. No reservation or appointment is needed to attend a workshop.

Read more about Getting Started.

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

W&M accepts transfer credit from courses taken abroad if the student receives faculty approval and a grade of C or higher. This will be determined upon completion of the program and receipt of the host university official transcript. The Global Education Office will guide students through the transfer credit and approval process. W&M faculty-led summer programs and the W&M sponsored programs in Seville, Spain and La Plata, Argentina offer W&M-taught courses which will appear on the transcript and be included in W&M GPA calculations.

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 W&M 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. 

What will I be billed by W&M for study abroad?

That answer will depend on the type of program you are studying abroad through:

For W&M sponsored summer and sponsored semester programsStudents will pay a $75 application fee directly to the Bursar's Office via check, money order or cash by the stated application deadline.

Students will be billed the program fee directly on their student account. CISI medical/evacuation insurance is included in the program fee.  Students are asked to commit to a program by paying a non-refundable deposit prior to paying the remaining balance of the program.  Please note that your program will provide you with specific dates and program fee information.

For W&M exchange programs: If you are going on one of the W&M's exchange programs, you will be billed your regular W&M tuition and fees along with the CISI medical/evacuation insurance for that term, and a $375 study abroad administrative fee. Room and meals will be paid directly to the institution or housing partner.

For all other credit bearing study abroad programs: If you are going on a credit bearing study abroad program the only charges you will see on your W&M account will be the CISI medical/evacuation insurance and the $375 study abroad administration fee. Other charges for your study abroad program (ie: tuition, housing, etc.) will be paid directly to the third party provider.

If you are unsure what type of program you are studying abroad on, please contact the Global Education Office.  The billing cycle for each type of program is available in the student's individual application.

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 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 Global Education Office awards over $450,000 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 Global Education Office, and on our Scholarships section of the website. All third-party study abroad providers offer scholarships for their programs as well.

How does a 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, W&M 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?

All study abroad students are required to be covered through Cultural Insurance Services International (CISI)'s health and emergency evacuation insurance unless a waiver is approved based on the same or better coverage through another policy.

FAQ For Parents
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 Global Education Office staff directly.

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.