Learn about Abilene Christian University’s Study Abroad programs. By immersing in a new culture, our Study Abroad programs inspire you to build connections, discover new things about yourself and the world, and expand your perspective in a way that strengthens and deepens your classroom knowledge.

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Application Process

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 the fall of your freshman year.

How do I apply? To apply to a Study Abroad program, submit your application online and turn in the application fee. Only applications with all forms completed and the application fee can hold a spot. You will then request two references from ACU faculty. Once both references are in, the application packet will be reviewed and you will be notified of your acceptance status.

What if I decide to withdraw from a program? If you withdraw from a program, your application fee is non-refundable and you may incur additional withdrawal charges. Please see our Withdrawal Policy for details.

Will a semester abroad keep me from graduating in four years? If planned in advance, 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 many questions! We will have “pre-departure orientations” for each group addressing all the details, but we know you are eager!

When will we have meetings? We will email you with dates, times and locations for our pre-departure orientations. These are required meetings. 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 will be living with.

Billing

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 qualifies as an additional academic expense, thereby making some students eligible for more aid. For more information about financial aid, talk to your financial aid counselor and the ACU Study Abroad coordinator.

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 $5,000 to $7,000 based on destination and length of the program. This includes airfare, group excursions, overseas medical insurance and housing. Check the details of individual programs for more information.

What else will be on my ACU bill the semester I study abroad? For summers, usually nothing, unless you go over on your block tuition hours. For semester programs, in addition to the program fee, you will be charged a Study Abroad housing charge (same as a sophomore residence hall on campus), and a meal plan charge, as well as tuition and fees at the regular ACU block tuition rate.

When will the program fee be charged to my account? It will occur at the same time as all billing for that semester. Fall charges are usually posted the first week of June, spring charges are posted the first week of December, and summer charges are posted in the first week of May.

What other expenses should I expect? You will have expenses such as personal travel on breaks, souvenirs and laundry. From what we have observed, most students spend between $1,500 and $2,500 on personal expenses.

I have scholarships. How do I make sure they are posted to my account? Each department is responsible for communicating those scholarships to the ACU billing office. Contact Wildcat Central or ACU Study Abroad if you have questions or need more information.

When is the last day to withdraw without being charged the program fee? 120 days prior to departure. Please see our Withdrawal Ineligibility Policy.

Passports, Visas & Vaccinations

When do you need to have a copy of my passport? If applying for a new passport, expect it to arrive 6 to 8 weeks after finishing the application correctly. We will need a copy of it at least 60 days prior to departure.

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 2021, your passport will need to be valid through November 2021.

Where can I apply for a passport? The best way to apply for a passport is to download the application form from travel.state.gov. If you have any questions, stop by our office and we are happy to help. 

Do 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.

What vaccinations will I need? Currently, the Center for Disease Control does not require any additional vaccinations for the United Kingdom, Uruguay or Germany, but check www.cdc.gov for the most 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

When are the required orientations for ACU 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.

Who makes the flight arrangements? The ACU Study Abroad office arranges all flights to and from all Study Abroad destinations. You are not able to use frequent flyer miles or make other arrangements for flights to and from your destination.

Housing

I will be a sophomore when I study abroad or return – how do I arrange my on-campus dorm for the other semester? 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 Residence Life. If you study abroad in the spring, you will email ACU Residence Life when it is time to sign up for housing, and inform them you will only need fall housing.

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? This can be done through word-of-mouth connections. 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

Can I pay for my flight on my own or with airline miles? ACU Study Abroad books all of your flights to and from the destination, and the airfare is included in your program fee.

What if I want to stay in the country or travel after the classes end? We call this “deviating,” which is just the airlines’ way of saying you change the date of your return flight. 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 program.

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 course work and are free to travel.

Departure

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 or 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.

Where do we depart from? For all semester long programs  students are required to attend two days of check-in sessions (orientation) in Abilene. On Wednesday, immediately following the check-in sessions, the students will all travel together to DFW on an ACU coach. All students participating in an ACU Study Abroad semester program are required to participate in the check-in sessions in Abilene before departure. We recommend that students plan to in Abilene the day before the check-in sessions begin.

Can we stay on campus during orientation? The ACU Study Abroad office will not arrange lodging for the students during the check-in sessions. It is the student’s responsibility to find a place to stay. The most common arrangements include, but are not limited to, staying with a friend in a residence hall, staying in a hotel or staying off-campus with friends, relatives, etc.

Can family come to the send-off? 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 them to DFW Airport. Alternatively, parents are welcome to meet the student at DFW.

How much luggage can I bring? Luggage limits are determined by 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 50lb checked 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).

Packing

All students will be allowed one standard size “checked” bag under 50 lbs. 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, look up the requirements set by your airline. 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. We also have laundry available in all of our houses, and there is plenty of shopping available.

Don’t worry, you will receive 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

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.

How will I exchange money overseas? We recommend not bringing much U.S. currency 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.

What is the housing situation for Study Abroad students? All students will live in our facilities along with their professors. Most situations involve one to three roommates and community bathrooms. Our facilities also have kitchens for student use. Bedding and linens are provided in all locations. ACU Study Abroad housing is located in safe neighborhoods close to parks, bus stations, cafes, stores and markets.

Will I have access to the internet? Yes, wireless internet access is available in all our facilities.

Should I take my cell phone? Please consult your provider to learn more about international plans. Many students turn their cell phone to airplane mode and use the internet to communicate. Students come to appreciate the freedom that comes with not having cell phone data.

How does an ACU meal plan work at the ACU Study Abroad sites? For semester programs in Oxford and Leipzig, your meal plan charge acts as a deposit, and 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 Montevideo, 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 at any of our locations, so please plan for this independently.

What classes will I take, and who will teach them? In a semester program, you will enroll in 15 hours of ACU courses. These courses are chosen to further you in your degree plan and allow any major to spend the semester abroad. These courses are taught by our on-site directors and other local professors. Also, an ACU faculty member will travel with each group and teach courses from his or her discipline. While there are structured class room meetings, our programs are holistic in nature and incorporate field trips throughout the city, country and continent.

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 many students have attended in the past. In Montevideo, the Church of Christ is close to our facility. You are also welcome to visit other local congregations. Students and professors take turns leading Chapel several times a week.

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.

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.

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.

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 studyabroad@acu.edu. 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 http://travel.state.gov. 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 who 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, toward a minor, or any way that is beneficial for your degree plan. This means any major is more than welcome to participate in any of our programs. In our summer programs, we offer about three courses, but students will only take one or two courses while abroad. The trips will last anywhere from three to six 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 the trip just wasn’t long enough. While on the other hand, 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. 

POLICIES

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.