Frequently Asked Questions
“Won't study abroad cost a lot more than spending a semester at my home university?”The fact is, that for most students, a semester or a year abroad costs about the same as a semester at their home university. If you receive financial aid, it may transfer to the EPA Program if they go to an affiliate university. Advisers in your Financial Aid Office are there to help, and there are many special scholarships for which students may be eligible.
“Will I have to spend an extra semester at my undergraduate institution? Will the courses transfer?”During the fall and spring semesters students will take two courses in addition to their internship, so students graduate on time. In most cases, students can even transfer courses for majors and minors by consulting with a department adviser. In addition, students that choose to go through the University of Rochester for academic credit will write an internship journal that can be used as a grading tool to receive credit for their internship. The Study Abroad Office at their home university can guide students through the process of having their transfer credits approved.
“There’s so much going on at my university campus - how can I leave for a whole semester?”There is a lot out there in London, Edinburgh, Brussels, Bonn, Berlin, and Madrid, too. Going away for a semester does not mean giving up all of the interests and activities they have on your campus. For example, musicians seek out venues to play, and athletes find teams to join. EPA students are enrolled at universities abroad at all Program Sites except those in Germany. At all locations students are able to participate in campus activities such as intramural sports or clubs. Your university will still be here when you gets back - and you will have new perspectives on your university, the United States, and youself when you return.
“Can I study abroad with my major?”One of the unique things about EPA Internships in Europe is the wide range of majors that it can accommodate. Since students are enrolled at such prestigious universities as Westminster University in London and Edinburgh Napier in Edinburgh, they can choose from a large number of classes in all different fields. In addition, EPA has placed students in internships in everything from theatre and fashion design to politics, medical research, and banking. Faculty advisors will look favorably at a program where students not only take classes towards their major but can also get professional experience in their field.
“I don't speak another language.”EPA has program sites in English speaking countries as well as countries where you will be required to study and intern in a foreign language. Students who wish to intern and study in English can go to London, Edinburgh or Brussels. Students applying to the programs in Germany or Spain will be required to have a minimum of four semesters of college-level instruction in the host language or a demonstrated proficiency. Although there is no language requirement for Brussels, knowledge of French is helpful and certain internship placements do require four semesters of college-level French or a demonstrated proficiency. At the European Parliament in Brussels, internships can be arranged in other languages as well.
“I am planning on med school/ grad school /law school. Won't a semester abroad get in my way?”Students who have clearly defined interests such as graduate or professional schools can plan with counselors in their Study Abroad Office, their Center for Academic Support, and their Career Center. The professional and personal experiences a student gains while interning abroad far out way any negatives.
“I’m concerned about what employers or graduate schools will think of study abroad.”That is the beauty of an Internship in Europe Program. Students who intern abroad highlight it on resumes. Employers and graduate schools – yes, even medical schools - look for independent people who can adjust to new situations. Alumni emphasize how interested interviewers are in their international background and the work they performed in a European company, hospital, newspaper, etc. Career Centers also encourage these experiences. You will find EPA students who went abroad for a semester in all fields: professors, physicians, scientists, lawyers, entrepreneurs, journalists, writers, teachers, gallery and museum administrators, human rights activists, filmmakers, and academic administration, to name a few!
“Where will I live while abroad?”The housing situation for EPA students will vary by program site. In Edinburgh and London students are typically housed in a ‘flat’ or apartment with other students on the program. These flats come fully furnished and usually have broadband internet access. In Brussels the students live in shared studio apartments. In Berlin students are housed in apartments, however in Bonn they can also live with host families. At the Madrid program site students live in flats or rented sections of family homes where they are provided with breakfast and one other meal each day.
“While I'm overseas, who is responsible in case of emergency?”Every Program Site has a responsible Program Director, available on 24-hour call in case of emergencies. That person is fluent in the local language(s), and in some cases, is a citizen of the country. They will guide students in the event of medical or other problems. Program directors manage everything from cultural questions, mediating roommate problems, helping students adjust to local foods, registering for classes on the program, or guiding students in the event of a crisis. The United States EPA Internships in Europe staff is always available for questions as well.
“I am an international student without a US passport. How will I remain in status while abroad?”International students can study abroad as part of their academic program at their home institution. In order to maintain their SEVIS record and eligibility for re-entry in valid F-1 or J-1 status, they must notify their university’s International Services Office (ISO) in advance. A new immigration document will be issued to show that the study abroad is authorized. ISO will guide students and provide them with necessary information about maintaining valid immigration status.
"What if I need transfer credit?"All students going abroad with EPA Internships in Europe have the choice to go abroad directly through EPA or through the University of Rochester. If your university is an affiliate school of EPA you can go abroad with EPA and receive academic credit without issue. However, if your university is not an affiliate of EPA and your school will not recognize the credit, then they can choose to go through the University of Rochester. Going abroad through our affiliate US institution will ensure that you receive full academic credit. In addition, you will usually have the choice of getting your internship credit as a pass/fail or as an academic letter grade. If you wish to receive a letter grade you will then keep an internship journal, which will be graded by a University of Rochester faculty member upon completion of the program.
"What needs to be taken care of before I leave?"We often remind students to take care of all business before they leave their home university. It is much easier for students to contact professors and staff members, obtain necessary signatures, and sign important forms in person, rather than from a distance. Here is a brief checklist we provide to students in their Pre-departure packet:
• Find out about the banking options in the host country. Inquire about international fees at your bank and notify them that the credit card or debit card will be being used in Europe.
• Meet with a counselor in the Financial Aid Office at the home university if receiving any financial aid (this includes need-based aid or merit awards, i.e. scholarships).
• Obtain course approvals for foreign language courses and for courses they wish to use towards their major, minor, or certificate. Verify with the home
university that all of the courses will be accepted for transfer credit before leaving. If the university is not an affiliate of EPA inquire whether they will accept transfer credit as pass/fail, an academic letter grade or both.
• Make several copies passport copies. Send a copy to EPA’s US Office.
• Research the city and country where you will be studying, as well as the place you will be interning.
• Forward university email account to a web-based email provider such as Yahoo or Gmail.
• Visit the home institution’s post office to give a forwarding address and to maintain your school mailbox.
Useful items and gift ideas for students going abroad
Here are some suggestions that can be purchased on-line, or in stores that cater to travelers’ needs
• TRAVEL GUIDE / MAP
• “HEALTHY TRAVEL” GUIDE
• POWER ADAPTERS
• PAPERBACK COOKBOOK
• INEXPENSIVE WATCH
• ALARM CLOCK
• SMALL FLASHLIGHT
• CAMP TOWEL
• SAFETY WALLET
• SMALL PHOTO ALBUM OF FAMILY AND FRIENDS
• DECK OF CARDS
• ADDRESS LABELS FOR POSTCARD
• PHONE CARD
• SLEEP SACK (FOR SIDE TRIPS)