Study Abroad FAQs


Chapter 1: Study Abroad Programs

  1. Length of Programs
  2. Enrollment Process
  3. Enrollment Steps

Chapter 2: Finances

  1. Program Cost
  2. Program Billing
  3. Cancellation and Refund Policies
  4. Financial Aid
  5. Scholarships

Chapter 3: Academic Issues

  1. Advisement and Registration
  2. Grades
  3. Student Account

Chapter 4: Travel Documents and Identification

  1. Passport
  2. Visa
  3. Identification Card

Chapter 5: Health and Medical Concerns

  1. Immunizations
  2. International Health Insurance

Chapter 6: Study Abroad Checklist



The Office of Global Education would like to welcome you to SUNY Old Westbury's study abroad programs. The experience of living abroad for several weeks or months in a foreign country will be of tremendous value to you. You will grow culturally, personally, and intellectually. These programs will give you the opportunity to go beyond sightseeing, and become familiar with another country, another culture, and another language.

We would you to have a wonderful experience selecting and applying to the program of your choice. This booklet is designed to guide you through that process. Please take the time to carefully read the information inside before making such an important decision.

Please feel free to stop by the Office of Global Education at

Chapter 1: Study Abroad Programs

SUNY Old Westbury has several student exchange programs in China and South Korea. More recently, study abroad programs in Spain, Taiwan, Russia, Barbados, India and Haiti, Cuba, India, France and the United Kingdome have been or are in the process of being approved. Additional programs are being developed and for the most current information, visit our website at You will find information about the dates of our various workshops, programs that are offered, and will even be able to register for an individual appointment online. 

You can also take advantage of other programs offered within SUNY. The advantage of being part of the SUNY network is that an Old Westbury student can apply for any one of the over 600 study abroad programs that are offered at through our SUNY campus partners. To find out about these programs, visit Study Abroad. Courses are available in more than 100 subjects.

1. Length of Programs

Programs vary in length from two weeks to one year, depending on the type of program that you desire. Here are some of the different programs:

Academic or Semester Programs: About half of all US students currently studying abroad are participating in semester or academic year abroad programs. Such programs, because of their length and opportunities for true immersion in a foreign culture, are likely to make the strongest and most long-lasting impact both academically and in terms of cross-cultural understanding and career preparation. It takes time to adjust to a new living and learning environment, and many would say that the best learning takes place after such adjustment has taken place. Shorter programs, if well planned, can offer a more intensive and focused experience. They may be the only realistic alternative because of the demands of your degree studies and your economic resources.

Short-Term Programs: Summer or winter programs range in length from two weeks to three months, with the largest number offered for one to two months. You can combine academic course work with program-related travel or course work can be followed by vacation travel. Sometimes the program is travel-based only, and earning credit may not be possible.

A. A Study Tour or a Faculty-Led Program is a short-term program in which a US professor (or International Education Tour Company) leads a traveling group of students, alumni, or others within one country or to several countries for credit or just for the educational exposure.

2. Enrollment Process

The Office of Global Education will assist you with selecting a study abroad program, which will serve as an important part of your academic program at SUNY Old Westbury.

The Office of Global Education has established criteria for participation and an application process, which includes a deadline by which the application must be submitted. In addition, you should carefully consider the benefits of each program in which you are interested, especially when you select programs that are not sponsored by SUNY Old Westbury. You will be able to find a checklist online.

What are the criteria for participation?

  • Students, in general, must have a minimum grade point average of 2.5. Some programs may require a higher average.

  • Students may not apply for, nor participate in, a study abroad program while on academic or behavioral conduct probation.

  • Freshman or transfer students applying to study abroad must complete at least one semester at SUNY Old Westbury.

  • Late applications will not be accepted. Completed applications must be submitted by the required datelines.

3. Enrollment Steps

Step 1: Review the study abroad online application, and review the study abroad checklist on our Website.

The SUNY Overseas Academic Program application includes several forms that must be completed in order to be considered for an Old Westbury sponsored program. The application consists of the following:

  1. SUNY Overseas Academic Program Form
  2. Program of Study Statement
  3. Foreign Language Proficiency Form
  4. Confidential Letters or Recommendation
  5. Physician Form
  6. Academic Advising Form

Students are also required to submit an official college transcript/official college grades before a final decision can be rendered.

Step 2: Meet with your academic advisor to discuss your program choice. Make sure that your academic advisor signs off on your courses and the Dean of your registered degree program approves your course of study by signing the Academic Advising form. Failure to have the form signed may result in loss of credits. If you have any questions, please contact the OIES.

Step 3: Meet with your financial aid advisor to discuss your payment options. Remember to give your advisor all requested information and required forms (including the Consortium Agreement form if you are studying at another SUNY institution).

Step 4: Return a completed application and supplemental forms to the Office of Global Education by the stated deadlines.

The deadlines for study abroad applications are March 15th for fall programs; October 1st for the spring and winter; April 1st for summer programs. You are responsible for monitoring and complying with all deadlines.

Chapter 2: Finances

1. Program Cost

SUNY Old Westbury’s exchange programs allow students to maintain full matriculation for the duration of the semester or year. Old Westbury students pay the tuition, fees, program fees, and, in most cases, room and board to the SUNY Old Westbury. The additional cost to the student often includes meals, round trip airfare, international health insurance, local travel and non-academic excursions. Students enrolled at a different SUNY campus will be required to pay tuition and fees to their home campus. All additional charges will be paid directly to SUNY Old Westbury.

The costs of a study abroad experience and/or a faculty-lead program vary. Students are responsible for reviewing their program’s literature to know exactly what is and what is not included in the cost.

2. Program Billing

Application fee--Students should submit a check (made payable to SUNY Old Westbury) at the time of application.

• The initial deposit should be paid directly to SUNY Old Westbury once the student is accepted to the program. A deposit is usually required to hold the student’s place in the program, and it is most often non-refundable.

• Program fee balance – Upon receipt of an invoice, the student will make payment for the balance to the program. Financial aid funds, if any, are then credited to the student’s account. A bill is sent to the billing address on file with the Office of the Registrar for the remaining balance due. Most financial aid funds are directly credited to your student account. However, special arrangements must be made for any scholarship or loan checks.

3. Cancellation/Refund Policies

It is each student’s responsibility to know what the cancellation policies are for his/her program. Students are responsible for all payments. Withdrawing from most programs once they have begun is equivalent from withdrawing from programs at Old Westbury. Withdrawing from most programs prior to departure results in forfeited deposits and any pre-paid program expenses. Carefully review your program’s literature for its refund and cancellation policies.

4. Financial Aid

Your financial aid awards must be reviewed to determine whether or not the type of funding offered to you may be applied for off-campus study in an approved program and/or if the amount offered requires adjustment.

While most financial aid can be applied to the cost of the study abroad program, college work study and TAP may not be used. Keep in mind that grants and scholarships may be reduced if your program’s tuition is less than the cost of full-time tuition on campus. Contact your financial aid advisor early in the year. Remember, summer aid reduces fall aid. You do not want to be short of funds in the fall.

5. Sch​olarships

Old Westbury’s students have the opportunity to apply for numerous scholarships, including an Old Westbury Scholarship for study abroad. This scholarship is made available through funds raised by the Old Westbury College Foundation Inc. through its annual International Partnership Awards luncheon. Students must generally have a grade point average of 3.0. For information, please contact the Office of Global Education.

Students may also find organizations that sponsor scholarships for study abroad by searching the internet. Here are a few websites that will help you in your search to obtain outside study abroad scholarships.

Study Abroad Scholarships Information Websites:

Chapter 3: Academic Issues

1. Advis​ement and Registration

Students must obtain permission for any course they take overseas from their academic advisor(s) prior to departure. Academic advising forms are included in the Overseas Academic Program application. You should not assume that any department will accept the courses you have complete upon your return. Most professors will require a written course description, or even a syllabus, in order to grant an approval for a course.

Remember to exchange contact information (i.e. email address, cell phone number, etc.) with your advisor before you leave. You should contact him/her about half way through the semester to arrange advisement and registration for the following semester. Students who study abroad through Old Westbury or through another SUNY program remain registered as Old Westbury students for the duration of their time abroad.

​2. Grades

SUNY Old Westbury will only accept grades which are submitted by the hosting institution on an official transcript. Grades received from an Old Westbury’s faculty-lead programs will be entered on the Banner system upon the professor’s return. Only grades of a “C’ or better will be transferred or accepted.

Grades will NOT be released to students if there is an outstanding balance on accounts related to the study abroad program.

3. Judicial ​Review

SUNY Old Westbury requires a judicial review form of all applicants of Old Westbury-sponsored study abroad programs. It is necessary for us to be informed of any judicial record that exists for any participant. The existence of unfavorable judicial records at Old Westbury or at the home university does not necessarily mean denial of admission to a program.

4. Studen​t Account

Stop by the Financial Aid Office to verify that all financial aid, loans and scholarships are applied to your student account. It is important that students check with the Bursar’s Office to make sure that their account is paid in full before departing.

Chapter 4: Travel Documents and Identification

​1. Passport

U.S. citizens need a valid passport to travel abroad. You should apply for a passport well in advance to avoid any conflict that may delay your departure. Make sure that your passport has been renewed six (6) months (preferably a year) prior to departure. New passports cost approximately $135.00; renewals cost $110.00. Expedited service is also available for an extra cost. Passport applications can be obtained at your local United States Post Office. Applications can also be downloaded from the State Department’s Website at

Return the application to the United States Post Office once it is completed. In addition to the application, you will need to provide proof of citizenship (e.g. a certified copy of your birth certificate or an expired passport), proof of identity (e.g. valid driver’s license) and two (2) passport-ready photos taken within six month of submitting the application.

* If you do not have an original birth certificate, it would be in your best interest to obtain one. You do not want to delay the process.

2. Visa

A visa is a stamp or attachment in your passport that allows you to enter a specific country at a certain time. It may be necessary to obtain a visa to study abroad depending on the country and the proposed length of time. OIES will assist you in obtaining a visa application for the majority of countries. You can also find out visa requirements by visiting This website has a list of all foreign embassies in the United States.

You have the option of applying for a multiple entry visa or a single entry visa. A multiple entry visa allows you to leave and reenter a particular county as many times as you wish during your stay. A single entry visa allows you to enter a country during a certain period of time.

There is always a fee attached to the visa application, and the process can take several weeks. The cost of the program does not include the visa fee. Please do not wait to the last minute to obtain a visa. You will not be able to enter the hosting country if one is required and you do not have it. Do not purchase a plane ticket until you have obtained your visa.

3. Identification Card

A valid SUNY Old Westbury I.D. card is the official form of identification for all students, faculty, staff and other employees. It must be carried at all times when you are participating in an Old Westbury sponsored program. It is nontransferable and must be presented upon request.

Most hosting universities issue temporary ID cards to study abroad students. It is important that you purchase a passport photo to give to the campus that you’re visiting.

Chapter 5: Health and Medical Concerns

Living and learning in a different environment can add additional stress on a person’s mind and body. The emotional effects of dealing with a new lifestyle can cause anxiousness, confusion, and discouragement. As a result, you could experience very severe mood swings that can be very stressful. If you take proper care of yourself, you will be more capable of adjusting to your surroundings.

It is important that you are honest about your health status when you are applying for a study aboard program. Let the Office of Global Education know if you have any allergies, disabilities, dietary requirements, and/or medical needs so that the necessary arrangements can be made. You are advised to wear a medical alert bracelet overseas if you have a medical condition that is not easily recognized. If you have a medical condition (i.e. asthma) that could be aggravated by conditions abroad, discuss with your doctor ways to deal with the problem before you leave the United States.

You must complete a medical form to ensure that you are in good health before you depart. Take copies of your important health records, as well as, prescriptions (medication and eyewear) with you. It might be a good idea to take an extra pair of glasses.

1. Immunizations

You are advised to determine whether any immunizations are required for the country you will be visiting early on in the process. Make sure your tetanus shot is current, and consider a vaccination for Hepatitis A when traveling to areas where the risk is high. For information, contact the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) website at The CDC also has an International Traveler’s Hotline (404) 332-4559 where you can obtain current information about the country you will be visiting.

It is important to bring a medical kit so that you have the supplies you may need at a moment’s notice. Here is a list of items you should include in your kit:

  • Band-Aids
  • Cold/cough/allergy symptom relief
  • Motion sickness medication
  • Pain/fever relief
  • Pepto Bismol tablets
  • Sunscreen

2. International Health Insurance

All students are required to purchase the SUNY International Health/Accident Insurance policy. Most health insurances are not sufficient for overseas traveling. Information on the health insurance plan will be sent to you by email. Be sure to retain the attached ID card and bring it overseas with you. 

If you believe that your own health insurance policy has the same coverage as the SUNY policy, please give a copy of the policy to the Office of Global Education, and we will forward it to the insurance company to request a waiver. We will not forward the waiver request until you have identified the similarities in all parts of the health insurance coverage

Chapter 6: Program through Other SUNY Campuses

  1. Study Abroad Procedures for Old Westbury students interested in participating in a program offered by another SUNY campus.
  2. Fill out the study abroad application online or by hard copy.
  3. Meet with an advisor and review program participation requirements and eligibility.
  4. Fill out an application and select courses of interest offered by the study abroad program. Bring course information to your academic advisor. (Note: Check the host campus for course information)
  5. Fill out the Academic Advising Form and obtain the appropriate signatures. Please email the form to our office,
  6. OIES will notify the offices of Registrar, Bursar, and Financial Aid of your participation in study abroad when you have been accepted into the specific program. You must notify OIES when you are accepted to and enroll in another program.
  7. The Registrar’s Office will block schedule you for the appropriate number of credits as defined by the study abroad program.
  8. Students receiving financial aid must meet with their financial aid advisor. They must fill out the financial arrangement form and submit it to our office and the Office of Financial Aid.
  9. Make sure that official copies of transcripts are mailed directly to our office when the Study Abroad program is completed.

            Note: Overseas institutions may take several weeks to generate and send transcripts.