How to Apply & Study Abroad FAQs

Take advantage of your time at Chatham by exploring our study abroad opportunities. Gain priceless experiences through multicultural learning and living that will help develop your confidence in communications, problem-solving, and adaptability skills.

Chatham will approve individual students to participate in mobility-based study abroad for upcoming terms in locations that have a U.S. Department of State Travel Advisory of Level 1 (Exercise Normal Precautions) or Level 2 (Exercise Increased Precautions) and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) COVID-19 Travel Health Notice of Level 1 (Low) or Level 2 (Moderate). Study abroad applications for locations that do not meet approval levels at the time of application may be conditionally approved. Virtual study and internship opportunities are available for many locations that do not meet health and safety approval levels. Students must submit Chatham’s study abroad application for consideration of any credit-bearing international experience and should contact the Office of International Affairs,, with any questions.

Summer, Semester, or Year Program

  1. Start planning early and think about your study abroad goals. Attend a Study Abroad Fair or an  Information session.
  2. If you do not have a valid passport, apply for or renew your passport.
  3. Review US Department of State Travel Advisories and CDC Travel Health Notices for the locations you are interested in.
  4. Review the exchanges and partner programs that Chatham offers.
  5. If these programs do not meet your needs, review programs offered by third party providers
  6. Meet with your academic advisor about study abroad plans.
  7. Contact the Study Abroad Coordinator to review application process and ask questions.
  8. Check with financial aid office about federal, state and Chatham aid.
  9. Apply to program (through Chatham for exchanges or to institution or provider).
  10. Complete and submit Chatham Study Abroad application (including all required signatures) and the Study Abroad Course equivalenscies worksheet
  11. Attend MANDATORY predeparture orientation.

Questions? Please email Office of International Affairs or call 412-365-1388. 

Chatham Study Abroad Application


Study Abroad FAQs 

Financial, Timing, Safety, & Language

The program I am interested in is so expensive. Are there cheaper programs?

The cost of study abroad programs range, from "all-inclusive" to "no frills." In addition to program inclusions, some study abroad countries and cities are less expensive than others, and the study abroad office can help you to find a program to meet your financial needs. Once you've found the program that works best for you, there are many ways to fund your experience.

How can I pay for this?

There are many ways to afford a study abroad experience. Most Chatham undergraduates pay for study abroad through a combination of aid, personal finances and savings, scholarships, and Chatham vouchers.

  • You may qualify for financial aid such as student loans to cover the academic expenses for the trip. Federal aid and state aid can be used toward semester study abroad. Check with the Financial Aid office with questions related to your aid package.
  • If the program is a Chatham exchange you can apply your Chatham aid and Federal financial aid toward the tuition costs.
  • Each Chatham undergraduate student receives a one-time study abroad voucher of $1200 which can be used toward any credit bearing experience abroad. Students who have completed at least half the requirements for an International Studies certificate are eligible for an additional $1,800 voucher which can be combined with the $1,200 voucher for a total of $3,000. The study associated with the International Studies voucher must be equivalent to a minimum of 6 credits. To be eligible, students must have completed with a grade of at least "C" or better at least one half of the total credits for the certificate, including at least 8 credits of the foreign language requirement (or proof of proficiency). Students who leave Chatham without completing the certificate or who do not complete the certificate for other reasons will be required to repay $1,800 to the university. Study abroad programs taken in connection with the International Studies Program or the International Certificates must be approved by the International Studies regional coordinator. To receive funding, students must complete and submit the International Studies Certificate Verification form.
  • You may be eligible to apply to outside scholarship opportunities, including the Gilman scholarship and the Boren Scholarship.
  • Some students fundraise for their trip abroad. See the fundraising ideas compiled by NC State University's Office of Study Abroad for some creative ways to cover costs.

How should I handle money abroad?

  • It is best to have access to multiple sources of money in case you should have difficulty with any one source. You should always have some foreign currency and some U.S. dollars with you. Keep these in a secure place on your person such as in a hidden pocket or travel pack. Do not leave money or documents in pockets or bags that could be easily accessed by someone passing by. Awareness is the key to keeping your belongings safe.
  • ATMs in other countries often charge expensive fees for withdrawals, so be prepared to pay extra for the convenience of taking cash out. Be sure to inform your bank of your travel plans.
  • You may consider bringing a travel money card, which works like a declining debit card.
  • Most major credit cards are accepted abroad. You can research whether your card is accepted at most locations within the country you are traveling to. You should inform your credit card company in advance of your travel dates, otherwise they may put a stop on your card if they suddenly charges are made in another country.
  • Be aware of the exchange rate. Check for current rates.

I don't have the time to study abroad because I have to finish my degree in ___.

With some careful planning, you can probably find a way to fit a study abroad experience into your degree program. Plan ahead; plan early! Check with your academic advisor to see if there are ways that you could get credit toward your major. Some abroad programs may fit directly into your degree problem with no trouble, and some experiences just need to be tweaked so that they count for classes or time that you would need at Chatham anyway. Summer and short-term programs may work well for study abroad if you are crunched for time.


Is it really safe to travel abroad? What about terrorism/disasters/COVID-19, etc.?

Chatham will approve students to study abroad in locations at US Department of State Travel Advisory Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions and Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) COVID-19 Travel Health Notice of Level 1 (Low) or Level 2 (Moderate). Study abroad applications for locations that do not meet approval levels at the time of application may be conditionally approved. Students should read the US Department of State Country Information page for their host country and pay attention to the specific risk indicators listed for the travel advisory for each country. Check the US Department of State website for travel information and updates.

Regarding safety, you will need to take precautions and follow the same basic rules that you would follow at home in the US. Read local news to be informed about current conditions in your study abroad destination. Pay attention to your instincts and if you are in a location where something does not feel right, leave. Do not travel alone if you don't have to, and never travel alone at night. Always carry your fully charged cell phone and a copy of your passport ID page with you at all times. Keep your personal belongings close to you and keep valuables hidden and out of easy reach. Be careful about sharing personal details with strangers and accepting invitations to private events or locations. Never accept open drinks unless you are at a dining establishment. Above all, make sure that you know who to contact and where to go in the unlikely event of an emergency.

What if I get sick while I'm abroad? What about my prescription medications?

Students abroad may have minor complaints like a cold or stomach flu, and should familiarize themselves with the location of a pharmacy or store that sells basic remedies like pain killer, throat lozenges, cough syrup, etc.

For situations that require medical attention, U.S. health insurance may not provide coverage abroad. You should contact your health insurance provider to check on the coverage provided by your insurance plan. Before you travel, you can purchase supplemental travel insurance for additional coverage. Many study abroad programs include travel insurance, or you can purchase insurance through providers, such as: iNext.

If you have prescription medication, make sure that you have enough for your entire trip or that you can get a prescription filled where you are going. Bring a copy of your prescription and check to be sure that your medications are legal in the country you are traveling to. You can talk with a doctor about an alternative if your medication is not legal in the country you will be visiting.

I only speak English; doesn't that mean I can only go to England, Canada, or Australia?

No, many institutions abroad offer coursework in English. You can find a program or school that offers most or all courses in English. You can work on language skills while you are abroad, but a lack of them should not keep you from going.

I'm not proficient enough in my secondary language to study abroad.

Study abroad is a great way to improve your language skills! You may need to prove proficiency if you want to take an academic course or a whole semester of courses in another language while you are abroad, but if you are going to work on language or to study in English, you do not need to worry that your language skills are not fluent. Check with your academic advisor, study abroad coordinator, or program contact person to find a program that is right for you. Many programs and courses through study abroad are either taught in English or you can choose language courses equivalent to your level of proficiency.

Homesickness, Documentation, & Miscellaneous

I'm afraid I'll miss my family and friends too much if I go abroad.

You may miss the people you are close to here, but while you are away you can email and call them. (If your cell phone does not allow international calls, international calling cards are easy to use and reasonably priced.) Social media makes it easy to connect with home. You can share pictures and stories online, and you will have lots to share with them about the new friends that you made while you were traveling.

What if things are really different when I get there? I won't know how to do anything.

A little bit of discomfort in a new culture is normal and to be expected at first. You will adjust well if you are flexible, patient and keep an open mind. Do some research about the area you will be visiting before you go to learn a little about local customs. Do not be afraid to ask questions if you want to understand something. Just ask politely and try to apply what you learn. Before long, things that seemed hard or confusing at first will seem like second nature.

Will I get credit for classes abroad?

You must meet all Chatham study abroad requirements to receive academic credit. Students must:

  1. Submit Chatham study abroad application and internship learning agreement (if applicable) with all signatures
  2. Submit course equivalencies worksheet
  3. Successfully complete study abroad courses and/or internship requirements. Undergraduate students must earn the equivalent of a C or higher to receive credit. Graduate students must earn the equivalent of a B- or higher.
  4. Request an official transcript from institution or study abroad provider sent directly to:

Students are responsible for ensuring that a transcript is sent directly to the Chatham Registrar; otherwise, Chatham cannot accept and verify grades. Chatham students with any questions about the study abroad process or requirements should email the Office of International Affairs.

I am international student. Can I study abroad, and do I need another visa?

Yes, international students can study abroad! If you are studying in the United States from another country, you may need another visa to go abroad.

You should discuss your plan with the International Student Services and Study Abroad Coordinator. They will help you navigate the immigration process to study abroad.

I don't have a passport.

If you do not already have a passport, now is a great time to get one. US passports are valid for ten years and they are useful because you need them to travel anywhere outside of the US, including Canada and Mexico. You can begin your application for a passport online and submit it to a passport acceptance agency, often at a US Post Office. (Not all post offices provide this service, so call ahead to check.) You may need an appointment to submit your application.

Passport books cost $130 plus $35 in fees. Remember that passports may take up to 12 weeks to process, so you cannot wait until the last minute to apply. Expedited services may take up to 7 weeks, and carry additional fees. Don't put it off!

Check your passport’s expiration date. Note that many countries require that your passport will be valid for at least six months after your planned departure date.

Will I need a visa?

Students may need a visa, or an endorsement placed within a passport that grants the holder official permission to enter or stay in a country for a specified time period. Your host institution and/or study abroad provider should be able to provide details of visas required for study in your study abroad host country. If you are a US citizen, please check the Exit, Entry and Visa Requirements listed on the Country Information page for your travel location. If you are a citizen of another country, please consult your country’s information for its citizens with respect to travel abroad. All travelers should check the embassy web page of countries they plan to visit for updated visa and travel requirements. The Office of International Affairs does not process or issue visas. 

Do I need immunizations or proof of medical records?

Check with the State Department's website to answer health-related questions. Please note that some vaccinations must be taken several weeks in advance, and you may not be permitted to leave for your trip if you do not have documents proving your compliance. Please review the Travel Advisory and COVID-19 Information page for your travel location to determine any health related entry restrictions or quarantine requirements.

Can I use my cell phone while I am abroad?

Most smartphones can be used with local Wi-Fi in airplane mode. You can check with your cell phone service provider to see if international calling is included or available for an additional fee. Some phones have no international utility at all, and you may prefer to purchase an international calling card or a temporary/pay-by-use phone.

Can I take electrically powered devices with me?

You can take things like laptops and other electrically powered devices, but you may need an adapter or a converter to be able to use them since not all countries use the same voltage and plugs in their electrical systems. You could easily destroy an appliance or machine if you plug it in without a voltage converter. 

Who should I tell that I am going abroad?

  • If you are receiving academic credit for your study abroad experience or internship, you must have your coursework approved through Academic Advising and complete Chatham's study abroad application. If you are doing an internship, you must also complete paperwork with the Office of Career Development. Email International Affairs with questions about the study abroad process or requirements.
  • You should register with the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) when you are preparing to go abroad. The program exists in order to help the US State Department get in contact with you in the event of an emergency.
  • You should also inform your bank and credit card company so that they do not put holds on your accounts if you make charges from another country.

Where will I live? (with a family, by myself, find apartment, in a dorm)

Depending on your program, you may live with a host family, with other students from your program, or on your own. If you are going with a group, you will likely have accommodations through the group. If you are going alone, you should find out if your program provides housing or if you need to find your own.

What should I pack?

In addition to the regular necessities like clothes, shoes, and toiletries the following items are recommended:

  • Proof of Insurance
  • Program acceptance and local contact details
  • Proof of Vaccinations and medical history
  • Prescriptions and medications
  • Student I.D. Card
  • Money Belt
  • Backpack (for class and for day-trips)
  • Camera/Journal
  • Family Photos
  • Set of dress clothes (just in case you go somewhere fancy)
  • Gift (it may be appropriate to bring your host family a simple gift from home)
  • An inventory list of the items you packed in your checked baggage, in case you need to make an insurance claim on lost luggage
  • Identification tags with your contact information on them, attached both outside and inside your checked bags and carry-on bags

How should I plan my travel?

Depending on where you are going, you may travel by land or by air. If you are flying, take the time to shop around as flight costs can vary greatly. Try websites such as,, and Be sure to check baggage rules with your airline. Certain items may be banned, or you may incur additional charges for too many bags or too much weight. Once you get to your destination, make sure you have your program contact information if you are being picked up at the airport. If your program does not include airport pickup, plan ahead for how you will travel to your housing. Taxis can be very expensive, so a rail or bus shuttle may be more efficient and affordable.

What should I buy when I arrive?

There are inexpensive items you can purchase at your destination. Consider buying items like shampoo, soap, sheets, towels, and an umbrella while on your program. Hairdryers and curling irons are best purchased abroad because the voltage conversion may destroy your appliance–just buy an inexpensive one when you get there.


What can I bring back to the United States?

Check with Customs and with your airline to see what you are permitted to carry into the US. Guidelines change frequently, so you should check right before you return to the US to make sure everything you want to bring back is allowed.