International Programs and Study Abroad
It is essential that you get academic advising before you go overseas to ensure that you understand how these courses will apply to your specific degree requirements.
You must fulfill two types of requirements to get a degree:
Advising is NOT course approval. Advising directs your course of study before you actually register for classes. Professors suggest possible transfer equivalencies prior to departure. Course fulfillment decisions happen after you have taken the courses and faculty see an official transcript (and supporting materials).
Faculty may approve equivalencies for credits earned on an exchange, direct enrollment or study abroad...after you return.
Transfer credits are ultimately awarded by the Record's Office. Before you see your advisor, do the following steps. (*When you are enrolled in GS 251, you will meet with your major advisor and fill out advising forms.)
If your program lasts more than 90 days, usually student visa is required. Visa procedures vary depending on countries, check with consulate/embassy. Some countries, such as Spain and France require students to submit their visa application in person in LA consulate. More and more countries started requiring FBI background check. It will take a month or more to require FBI background check, so make sure to check all your requirements and procedures carefully and plan ahead.
Note: Some programs require at least one year of language before they will accept you into BEGINNING classes. Usually, semester long intensive language courses meet 4 hours per day, 5 days a week (20 hours). Some may offer academic classes in English at the same time; others may allow you to take courses from the regular curriculum. Check individual programs for details.
If you are a senior during your planned term(s) abroad, there are a few obstacles you must clear before you sign into GS251.
You must be prepared to have graduation postponed for at least one term because many study abroad programs are not over by FLC graduation deadlines.
If you are completing final credits abroad, you will need to make sure all grades are posted before your final graduation check by the Record's Office. The general advice is if you have all of your major department requirements COMPLETED by your senior year, and you are going abroad for elective credits only, you will probably be granted approval - but this is entirely up to your advisor, department chair, and/or Records Office (not the IPO).
Check with your advisor and the Record's Office PRIOR to departure regarding petitions to graduate, grad checks, and exception to graduation applications.
If your graduation is dependent upon taking one or a few specific courses while abroad, you are taking a big chance. Course schedules are usually not available in advance and you may not know what courses are being offered until you are there. Certain FLC courses, i.e. Senior Seminars, are seldom available anywhere else and equivalencies are not normally accepted. Check with individual departments and faculty before you count on fulfilling your last credits abroad. The IPO does not make this decision or advice on this issue. It is up to each student to have this discussion with their department advisor prior to enrolling in GS251 or going abroad their senior year.
Enrollment in a program of study abroad approved for credit by Fort Lewis College may be considered enrollment at the College for the purpose of applying for Federal Title IV, HEA (Financial Aid) program.
You will need to have at least sophomore standing (a minimum of 30 completed college level credits) for most exchanges and study abroad programs. These credits must be earned on a university campus, not through Advanced Placement high school programs. Adjusting to college is difficult enough in the United States. You have a better chance of success overseas if you have experience on an American campus first.
You cannot have any academic, financial, or disciplinary HOLDs on your record when we complete the processing of your paperwork during the term you are enrolled in GS251. Registration into the Studies Abroad CRN is contingent on you having a clean record. All HOLDS must be cleared before we can register you into the appropriate CRN for your overseas experience. If you are not clear to go when applications are processed, you must wait until the next term to participate. If you still have a HOLD when GS251 is over, you will be dropped from the class with a "W" and you must re-enroll in GS251 the next term.
Do you have the prerequisites completed that will make this experience successful? There's no sense taking courses in a foreign country if you don't understand the basic concepts they are referring to. Most international universities do not offer lower level courses to get you up to speed. They expect you to have this academic background in core classes BEFORE you get there. Taking the appropriate introductory courses at FLC will prepare you for the more advanced courses abroad. Read course descriptions carefully and plan your semesters at FLC prior to departure carefully.
Are you aware that all academic systems and teaching methodologies are not alike? In general, students in Europe and elsewhere in the world are expected to be much more independent and more actively involved in their own learning process and education than in the U.S. The bulk of the learning is expected to happen "outside" the classroom through reading, research and writing - and this is not necessarily work that is assigned, collected or graded.
The class lectures are designed to give you the framework necessary to explore the subject on your own. There are few of the mechanisms we Americans are used to that "make" students do the work. (i.e. required class attendance, quizzes, daily homework assignments). The professor or faculty member is not expected to make you learn.
The assumption is that you are there by free choice and that you will do whatever is necessary to learn the required information. Lectures are merely the "framework" necessary to explore the subject further. Your semester or year grade may be based entirely on one comprehensive exam with oral and written components, or one final paper. Are you ready for this?
There are thousands of study abroad programs and sites, making the choice process extremely difficult. Before you start randomly picking a program, it is extremely important that you understand that your choices are limited. Credit from every program is not guaranteed. The International Programs Office is the liaison between these programs and the administrative offices at FLC. Programs must be evaluated and consortium agreements established before credit will be accepted and financial aid disbursed. Please see [Programs] for approved programs.
The experience literally expands your world. The people you meet, the places you visit and the perspectives you gain in a foreign learning environment will change the way you think and deal with life's challenges. Returned students feel more confident and independent. They now see themselves and their own community in the context of the world. Their classes gain new meaning and enrich their academic pursuits. Global awareness and having a global perspective are qualities that will enhance employment opportunities in all professions in the 21st century.
FLC students who participate on programs run through the International Programs Office receive transfer credit after transcripts are received and processed through the Records Office. Students are required to seek advisor recommendations PRIOR to departure to give them an idea of what courses may fulfill certain requirements AFTER they are transferred back to FLC. An advising session to go over course selections is required from all applicants during the application process.
After transcripts are received from foreign institutions, and posted to FLC transcripts, the student will need to sit down with their advisor and/or professors who teach similar courses here to determine if it is indeed a course that can be used to fulfill a requirement. Not all courses are equivalent. A course approval form will be filled out at this time that will require signatures of appropriate faculty and chairs of each department where credit is desired. Courses may possibly be substituted, or requirement exceptions made, but this is ENTIRELY the decision of the department chairs and Records - not the IPO.