Frequently asked questions

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Study Abroad and COVID-19.

We know that COVID-19 has negatively impacted many students’ study abroad plans. We hope that UW Tacoma study abroad programs will resume by spring 2021. As you plan for your study abroad experience, understand that if a program is cancelled due to COVID-19, students will receive a full refund for their UW Tacoma study abroad administrative fee and program fee. Furthermore, all study abroad participants are REQUIRED to purchase UW student abroad insurance, which will provide benefits such as medical coverage abroad as well as medical, security and natural disaster emergency evacuation services. If students are abroad during a pandemic outbreak, the UW student abroad insurance would cover the cost of medical bills, emergency evacuation, etc.

The Office of Global Affairs will consider CDC, WHO, U.S. Department of State guidance along with any travel restrictions destination countries may have in place. We want to make sure it's safe and ethical for us to send students and faculty abroad. We acknowledge that, as of autumn 2020, the University of Washington still has travel restrictions in place. To learn more about this, please see the COVID-19 and UW Study Abroad website.

If you have further questions about the impact of COVID-19 on study abroad, please contact

Why should I consider studying abroad?

Studying abroad is a great way to earn credits towards your degree, gain skills in your area of academic or professional interest, explore a new culture, and grow both personally and intellectually.

There are a plethora of benefits linked to study abroad. To learn more, click here.

Will the credits count towards my degree?

We recommend that you meet with your academic advisor to determine exactly where your study abroad credits will fit into your course of study. In some cases, you can meet degree requirements with study abroad courses. In other cases, the credits will be counted as general electives. Either way, the experience can be a valuable part of your education.

Do I have to be a UW Tacoma student to participate in a UW Tacoma study abroad program?

No. Some programs may be restricted, but most of our programs are open to students from any UW campus.

I am a UW Tacoma student. Can I participate in a UW Seattle study abroad program?

Yes. If you don't find a program that interests you here at UW Tacoma, you are encouraged to look into the wide variety of programs offered through UW Seattle and Bothell.

There are a lot study abroad programs. How do they differ?

There are four categories of study abroad programs:

  • Faculty-led programs are programs led by UW faculty, and you study abroad with other UW students. These programs last from about 10 days to a quarter, and you’ll likely be abroad with 12-15 other UW students.
  • University exchanges: Exchanges are an opportunity to take classes in one of over 70 UW partner universities around the world. For a complete list of available universities, go to the UW (Seattle) Study Abroad website.
  • UW partner programs which are approved study abroad options administered by other universities, study abroad program providers, or foreign language schools. For more info, please go to the UW (Seattle) Study Abroad website.
  • International Internships are also an option for students who would like to integrate academic credit with on-the-job experience and gain professional and cultural skills abroad. UW works with IE3 Global Internships.

For more information about the different types of programs, visit the “Programs at a Glance” page on the UW (Seattle) Study Abroad website.

Can I apply my financial aid to study abroad programs?

Yes. Your financial aid package may not cover all of the expenses related to study abroad, but certainly can be applied towards those expenses. Visit the Office of Student Financial Aid website to learn more and or watch our Study Abroad and Financial Aid webinar. We also recommend you watch our How to Fund Your Study Abroad webinar to learn more about planning for your study abroad experience.

What about scholarships?

If you have a scholarship which can be applied to your tuition expenses, then you can most likely apply those scholarship funds towards your study abroad expenses; check with a financial aid advisor or the organization that provided the scholarship to be sure. In addition, the Office of Global Affairs Scholarships website lists many UW and national study abroad scholarship opportunities you can apply for. To learn more, we suggest you attend one of our “How to Fund Your Study Abroad” info sessions, listed on our Events page, or watch the webinar located at the bottom of the page here.

How do I get a letter of recommendation?

You will be required to have someone submit a recommendation form as a part of your online study abroad application. Please note that the letter of recommendation you submit may not be written by the faculty or staff leading the study abroad program for which you are applying. Click here to learn more about this process.

Can I use my VA education benefits for study abroad?

If your chosen study abroad program fulfills major requirements, your VA education benefits may cover a portion of your study abroad costs. Please contact the Veteran and Military Resource Center for more information.

Do I need a passport?

Yes. Passports are required for all international travel. Since it can take several weeks or even months to get your passport, we encourage students to apply early. If you already have a passport, be sure to check the expiration date to make sure it will still be valid at the time you will be traveling. Many countries require your passport be valid for 3-6 months beyond your departure date.

What about a visa?

Some destinations will require a visa in addition to a passport, while others will not. If a visa is required, you will be informed of this requirement and provided with instructions on how to apply for the visa. For expedited visas and passports at discounted fees, the UW has a contract with A Briggs Passport & Visa Expeditors. For more information about this service, see the UW A Briggs Q&A or you may go directly to the UW A Briggs website.

Should I visit my doctor before studying abroad?

We encourage anyone participating in a study abroad program to visit their doctor prior to departing. Depending on your health and where you will be studying, there could be several things to discuss with your physician: Should you consider any immunizations? Do you need an extra supply of prescription medications? How should you prepare for possible changes to your diet or daily routine?

What about insurance?

tudy abroad insurance coverage is required. UW students must purchase the UW Study Abroad Insurance, as an easy and affordable option. Students with personal insurance may petition for a UW Study Abroad Insurance waiver. Details can be found at the bottom of the page on UW Study Abroad Insurance.

How do I register for a study abroad course?

In most cases, UW Study Abroad will register you for the appropriate course once you have been accepted and submitted all required paperwork.

What is a study abroad program fee?

Payment for study abroad programs are handled differently than regular tuition. For most programs, you will be charged the study abroad program fee and the study abroad administration fee ($450) on the date that tuition is due for the quarter you’ll be studying abroad.

Can I register for other courses in the same quarter that I'm travelling abroad?

Yes, but there are some important things to consider. First of all, you should consider how much you can actually handle in one quarter. Secondly, be aware that if you register for study abroad credits and regular tuition credits in the same quarter, those will be billed separately, so your tuition bill may be substantially larger. Finally, other things to consider are time differences, access you’ll have to the internet, etc. This can be confusing, so please feel free to contact us for more information!

Will my cell phone work? What about my laptop and internet access?

Good questions. For the best answers, you'll need to do a little research. Call your phone company first to find out if they offer coverage abroad. Your next best resource will be the faculty leading your program. They'll be able to answer general questions about strategies for cell phone use, internet access, and the need for an outlet or voltage adapter for your electronic devices. Another option is to get online and search for it; look for information specific to your country. If all else fails, go there and find out first-hand for yourself; after all, that's what this is all about.

Can I study abroad on your programs if I am not a UW student?

Students from other universities will need to enroll at UW Tacoma as non-matriculated (non-degree seeking) students in order to be eligible to apply to and receive credit for a UW Tacoma study abroad program. The application fee when applying as a non-matriculated student is waived for study abroad programs. Please contact the Office of Global Affairs for further details. Non-matriculated students who have not yet earned a high school diploma or equivalent cannot study abroad on our programs.

Can I study abroad as a running start student?

Unfortunately, running start students cannot participate in study abroad.

I have a spouse or dependent that wants to go with me while I study abroad. Will that work?

This is really up to the program directors that lead your study abroad program. However, spouses and dependents are not permitted to participate in ANY study abroad programming. That means they may not participate in classes, field trips, group meals, or anything else that is included in the program.