Study Abroad FAQs

Application Process
  1. When is the application deadline? The deadline for each program is 120 days before departure. However most of our semester programs fill up many months in advance of this deadline. For example, programs for your sophomore year will typically fill up in November of your freshman year.
  2. How do I save a spot in a program? To hold a spot in a semester program, submit your application online, turn in the $250 application fee and sign all of the checklist forms: Behavior Contract, Release and Indemnification Agreement, and the Withdrawal Policy. Only applications that have all forms and the application fee can hold a spot. You will then request two references from Faculty. Once both references are in, the application packet will be reviewed and you will be notified of your acceptance status. Spots are filled by qualified applicants based on when the completed application was submitted. Once the program is full, students with later completion dates will be placed on a wait-list.
  3. What if I decide to back out of a program? If you withdraw from a program, your application fee is non-refundable and you may also incur additional penalty charges. Please see our Withdrawal Policy for details.
  4. Will a semester abroad keep me from graduating in four years? No, we have carefully selected classes so that a semester abroad should help you graduate within your four-year goal.
I’ve been accepted - what’s next?

Now that you’ve been accepted, you will have lots of questions! We will have “pre-departure orientations” for each group addressing lots of details, but we know you are eager!

  1. When will we have meetings?
    1. We will email you with dates, times and locations for our Pre-Departure Orientations. These are required meetings that you must attend, or make-up if you miss them.
    2. You may also be invited to other meetings by your professors, so try to make it to everything you can and get to know the people you are going to be living with.
  1. How do I pay for this? Can financial aid help with Study Abroad expenses? Yes! You will still be able to apply your ACU financial aid package to your semester abroad. Also, the program fee counts as an additional academic expense, so it makes some students eligible for more aid. If you currently receive the Pell Grant, you should ask your financial aid counselor about the Gilman Award. For more information about financial aid, talk to your financial aid counselor
  2. What is the Study Abroad program fee? Program fees for full semesters range between $7,000 and $8,000, depending on the destination and length of the program. Semester program fees include airfare, group excursions and overseas medical insurance. Summer fees range from $4,000 to $6,000 and include airfare, group excursions, overseas medical insurance and housing. Check out each program online for more information.
  3. What else will be on my ACU bill the semester I study abroad? For Summers, usually nothing, unless you go over on your block hours, and in that case you will be billed at 50% per hour (for 2019 that is $600/hr). For Semester programs, in addition to the program fee, you will be charged for tuition and fees at the regular ACU rate, study abroad housing (same as a sophomore dorm on campus) and a meal plan.
  4. When will the program fee be charged to my account? It will occur at the same time as all billing for that semester. Fall is usually posted the first week of June, Spring is posted the first week of December, and Summer programs are posted in the first week of May.
  5. What other expenses should I expect? You will have personal expenses such as traveling on breaks, souvenirs and laundry. From what we have observed, most students spend between $1,000 and $2,000 on personal expenses.
  6. I have scholarships, how do I make sure they are posted to my account? Each department is responsible for communicating those scholarships to billing, so make sure they are posted to your account when the bill is posted. If not, contact Wildcat Central or our office to find out who to contact. If it is a scholarship from our office, we will communicate that to billing. If it is a COBA scholarship, they will, Honors, they will… etc.
  7. When is the last day to cancel my application without being charged the program fee? 120 days prior to departure, usually. Please see our Withdrawal Ineligibility Policy.
Passports, Visas & Vaccinations
  1. When do you need to have my passport? If applying for a new passport, it will take 4-6 weeks to come in after finishing the application correctly, and we will need a copy of it at least 60 days prior to departure.
  2. Should I renew my current passport? It must be valid for at least 6 months after your return date. For example, if you are returning from Study Abroad in May 2020, your passport will need to be valid through November 2020.
  3. Where can I apply for a passport? The best way to apply for a passport is to download the application form from You must create an appointment and submit your application in person at a local post office, county courthouse or some public libraries. There are required forms (ID, birth certificate, etc.) you must bring with you and a photo must be taken that meets their requirements, or it will be sent back for you to do again.
  4. Will I need a visa? If you are a U.S. citizen traveling to one of our programs in the United Kingdom, Uruguay or Germany, you will not need a visa. If there are changes to these regulations, the study abroad office will walk you through these requirements.
  5. What vaccinations will I need? Currently, the Center for Disease Control does not require any vaccinations for the United Kingdom, Uruguay or Germany but check for more up-to-date information. Please consult your family doctor to make sure you are healthy enough to study abroad and ask if he or she recommends any vaccinations.
Preparing to Study Abroad
  1. When is the required orientation for Study Abroad programs? Fall programs have orientation in April and also the two days in August before departure. Spring programs have orientation in November and also the two days in January before departure. Summer programs have orientation in April.
  2. Who makes the flight arrangements? The Study Abroad office arranges all flights to and from the Study Abroad destination. You are not able to use flyer miles on the trips to and from your destination, but you are allowed to use them within Europe/South America on personal trips.
  1. I will be a sophomore when I study abroad or return from study abroad - how do I arrange my on-campus dorm for the other semester?
    1. If you are a sophomore during the year or semester you are studying abroad, dorm assignments will follow ACU's already established housing processes. If this applies to you, you will be contacted separately by ACU's student life and everything will be managed by them. If you study abroad in the Spring, you will just sign up for Fall as normal, and make sure to let them know you won’t be there for the Spring. If you study abroad in the Fall, you can email them when it is time to sign up for your housing, and let them know you will only need Spring housing.
  2. I will be an upperclassman and will not be living on campus when I depart and/or when I return, how do I find housing while I am away, or how do I find someone to sublease my space while I am gone?
    1. This can obviously be done through word of mouth connections, but we get this question a lot, so we created this form for you to fill out! It takes you directly to a spreadsheet of information collected from others who have filled out the form, and you can make your own connections that way!
Flight Information
  1. Can I pay for my flight on my own or with airline miles? As much as we know this would be convenient for some of you, no. We book all of our students' roundtrip flights together in groups, and the airfare is included in your program fee.
  2. What if I want to stay in the country or travel after the classes end? Can I do that?
    1. YES! We call this “deviating”, which is just the airlines’s way of saying you change the date of you return ticket. If you would like to extend your stay, you need to discuss the process with the Study Abroad Coordinator no later than 90 days before departure. Please keep in mind any expenses involved in this are your responsibility and you will not be allowed to remain in the ACU study abroad housing after the end of your specific program.
  3. Can my family visit me? Absolutely! Families are welcome to visit but are encouraged to do so either during your Fall or Spring break, or at the end of the program after you have completed your classes and homework and are free to travel.
  1. What are the approximate dates of a Study Abroad program? We follow the ACU academic calendar semester start and end dates as closely as possible. Our semester programs leave the Wednesday of the first week of class and return either Wednesday Thursday of finals week. Summer program dates vary. Please see summer program flyers for more details. Travel breaks and other on-site schedule details change from program to program, so please refrain from planning any travel until you have received a detailed calendar for your program.
  2. Do we go directly to the DFW airport when we leave? Or do we come to Abilene?
    1. For all semester long programs (Fall and Spring) we require the students to attend two days of Check-In sessions (orientation) in Abilene. On the third day, immediately following the Check-In sessions, the students will all travel together to DFW on an ACU coach. It is absolutely required for all students participating in a Study Abroad semester program to participate in the Check-In sessions in Abilene before departure. We recommend that the student plans on being in Abilene the day before the Check-In sessions.
  3. Can we stay on campus for the orientation?
    1. During the duration of the orientation the study abroad office will not arrange lodging for the students. It is the student’s responsibility to find a place to stay during orientation. The most common arrangements include, but are not limited to, staying with a friend in the dorms, staying in a hotel, or staying off-campus with another friend.
  4. Can our parents come?
    1. Parents are welcome and encouraged to participate in the student send-off. On the day of departure (in Abilene), parents are able to join the students before boarding the coach that will take the students to DFW. Alternatively, parents are also welcome to meet the student in DFW before passing through security into the airport gates. Students may not travel from Abilene to DFW with their parents. Parents are also not allowed to participate in the Check-In sessions prior to the date of departure.
  5. How much luggage can I bring?
    1. Luggage is ultimately dependant on the airline. Due to the constant changes in policies regarding luggage, we direct the student to the airline’s website as soon as we have a confirmation of what airline and flight will be used for that particular semester. Students can typically expect to have one 50lbs check-in bag, a carry-on bag (must fit the airlines specifications, otherwise student might incur an additional charge) and a personal item (ie. laptop bag, backpack, purse, etc).

All students will be allowed one standard size "checked" bag under 50lb., and one carry on, plus a personal item that will fit under the seat in front of you (purse or small backpack). For specific dimensions, you will need to look up the requirements set by your airline. Although most of our groups travel on American Airlines, some of our groups travel on different airlines, like Lufthansa or LATAM. You will know which airline you are on when it is time to pack :) IF you wish to bring more than one checked bag, you can pay the airline for it at check-in. However, we like to live by the "less is more" motto, since you will be responsible for carrying your own bags, loading them onto and off of a bus, off the baggage claim carousel, into a taxi, on/off a metro, then a train, bus, etc. and then up a couple flights of stairs. We also have laundry available in all of our houses, and there is plenty of shopping available (with better options, in our opinion) in all of our locations.  

Don’t worry, you will receive lots more specific information about what to pack in your pre-departure guide depending on the season, duration and location of your semester. If you have specific questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us!

Living overseas
  1. How will I access money overseas? You will use an ATM card to access money. We recommend that you have two cards in case one is destroyed or lost.
  2. How will I exchange money overseas? We recommend not bringing much cash to exchange, and instead accessing local currency through ATMs. If you need a place to exchange money, you can exchange U.S. dollars at a nearby bank or Bureau de Change.
  3. What is the housing situation for Study Abroad students? All students will live in our facilities along with their professors. Most situations involve 1-3 roommates and community bathrooms. Bedding is provided in Oxford, Latin America and Germany. The facilities are in safe neighborhoods close to parks, bus stations and markets.
  4. Will I have access to the internet? Yes, wireless internet access is available in our facilities in Germany, Latin America and Oxford. Ethernet connections are available in the Germany apartments. If you are traveling to other destinations, you will be able to use local internet cafes. Many families use the internet to keep in touch with their students through email or
  5. Should I take my cell phone? Please consult your provider to learn more about international plans. Most students do not take their cell phones. Some students buy a pre-paid phone upon arrival, or share a pre-paid phone with several students in their group.
  6. How does an ACU meal plan work at the ACU Study Abroad sites? For semester programs in Oxford and Germany, you will receive your meal plan money in 5 installments throughout the semester. You can use this money to buy groceries or eat at restaurants. For semester programs in Latin America, breakfast and lunch is provided Monday through Friday (or the equivalent), and you can cook or eat out at night and on the weekends. Meals are not included for the summer programs, so please plan for this independently.
  7. What classes will I take, and who will teach them? In a semester program, you will enroll in 15 hours of courses in topics such as Literature, ACU Core, Biblical Studies and Social Science. These courses are taught by our on-site directors and other professors. Also, a visiting faculty member will travel with each group and teach courses from his or area of study. We have classrooms in our facilities, but you will also spend class time on intentionally planned field trips throughout the city, country and continent.
  8. What worship opportunities will be available? In Oxford, there are many opportunities to experience different styles of worship. Most students attend and volunteer at Anglican churches near our facility. A Church of Christ is an easy bus ride away. Students and professors meet at 9 p.m. every Sunday for chapel. In Germany, there are also many worship options. In addition to chapel meetings with the study abroad group, students are welcome to visit local congregations for Sunday worship. There is an English-speaking church that many students have attended in the past. In Montevideo, the Church of Christ is next door to our facility. You are also welcome to visit other local congregations. Students and professors take turns leading chapel several times a week.
  9. Will I have opportunities to travel? Yes! You will take several trips with the directors as a group. These trips will be related to your class material. You will also have a week off of class and at least one long weekend for personal travel. You are not allowed to travel alone.
  10. Should I be worried about terrorism overseas? Safety is one of our primary concerns. We teach students to be alert and aware. Of course no one can make guarantees against terrorism in Oxford, Montevideo, Leipzig, Abilene or your hometown, but we can be prepared.
  11. How is the Study Abroad office prepared in the case of a medical, political or natural emergency? Our office has emergency response plans for each of these situations. We buy evacuation insurance for each student, and we register each student with the U.S. State Department so the local embassies can assist our students.
  12. Where can I go for more information about studying abroad? If you have specific questions about our application process or programs, please email the Study Abroad Office at If you would like to read more information about studying abroad, please visit the U.S State Department Website. If you would like more information about passports please go to For general information about your student’s destination and possible travel opportunities, we suggest investing in some travel guide books.
Summer Programs

Our summer programs are a great opportunity for students that have a tight degree plan, or just can not figure out a way to go for a full semester. The summer programs offer department specific courses, but they can be taken as electives, towards a minor, or anyway that is beneficial for your degree plan. This means that any major is more than welcome to participate in any of our programs. In our summer programs we offer around 3 courses, but students will only take 1-2 courses while abroad. The trips will last anywhere from 3-6 weeks depending on the department and the classes being offered. While you are abroad, as a part of your program fee, ACU will take you on a 1-2 day short group excursion and a 4-5 day extended group excursion. While our summer programs are amazing and offer the chance for students with a tight degree plan to go abroad, we often have students return home after the summer feeling that the trip just wasn't long enough. While we have never had a student return home from a semester abroad saying that it was too long. In fact, many of our students will try and go abroad for multiple semesters. 

  • Withdrawal Ineligibility Policy
  • Alcohol/Drug Policy
  • Guest Policy
  • Behavior Contract
  • 15 hour Enrollment Policy for Full Semesters:
    To keep our focus on academics while abroad, we require all students participating during full semesters to be enrolled in at least 15 hours. Most students will take 16 hours, as we offer walking for fitness in all of our locations. If a student has a special situation or a compelling reason to take less than 15 hours during a semester abroad, an official appeal can be made to the Executive Director of Study Abroad, Stephen Shewmaker, in the form of a formal letter.  
  • Policy for Dropping courses after departure during Full Semesters
    To maintain our 15 hour requirement and keep the focus on academics, we do not allow students to drop or switch courses after departure. If a student has a special situation or a compelling reason to drop a course while abroad, an official appeal can be made to the Executive Director of Study Abroad, Stephen Shewmaker, in the form of a formal letter.