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Why should I study abroad?
Students, parents, businesses, and even government policymakers increasingly recognize that an experience living and studying abroad is a valuable component to undergraduate education. Travel and study abroad are an important part of experiential education, and while abroad, students have first-hand encounters with other cultures, immerse themselves in another language, and develop new skills and perspectives like independence, cultural understanding, and global awareness. You can also expect to make friendships and create memories that will last a lifetime.
Who can participate in the study abroad program in Belgium?
Both to apply for and participate in any FHU Abroad program, students must have a minimum GPA of 2.5, and they must be on track to complete two semesters of college studies and achieve sophomore classification by the time they go abroad. Students whose GPA falls below 2.5 or who are on any kind of probation—academic, disciplinary, or otherwise—may not participate. If you are an intercollegiate athlete, seek permission from your coach before applying to study abroad during your off-season.
How do I apply?
The application process for the semester in Belgium includes:
Paying a $300 deposit
The application can be filled out online, or paper applications can be obtained from the FHU Abroad Office in the Joy Simon McDaniel House. In order secure a spot in a study abroad program, applicants must complete the application, pay the deposit (which is refundable until the first day of class the semester before going abroad), and submit the Student Responsibilities Form (available from the FHU Abroad Office). The Faculty Recommendation may also be obtained from the FHU Abroad Office.
When do I need to apply?
The application deadline for the fall 2015 Belgium program is February 6, 2015.
The application deadline for the spring 2016 Belgium program is September 11, 2015. All FHU Abroad programs can accommodate a limited number of participants, so students are encouraged to complete the application process well before the deadline. Once a program is full, later applicants will be placed on a waiting list. All applicants who are placed on the waiting list and do not make the program will have their deposits refunded.
When is the Belgium program offered?
The Belgium program is offered during the fall and spring semesters, mid-August to mid-November and mid-February to mid-May.
How can I fit a semester abroad into my academic plan?
With the help of your academic advisor and the FHU Abroad Office, you can often plan ahead and work studying abroad into your academic plan. Many of the courses offered in Belgium meet general education requirements, and independent studies or individualized instruction courses may allow you to continue to work toward your major even while studying abroad.
How much does the program cost?
The cost of participating in the Belgium program is comprised of two parts: a program charge ($8,500 for the 2015-16 academic year) and a per-credit hour comprehensive charge ($560/hour for the 2015-16 academic year). The program charge covers room and board, airfare, a Global Eurail Pass, student travel insurance, and any other group travel and transportation expenses.
Will there be any other expenses?
Students will be responsible for their own expenses during three weeks of independent travel. While the provided rail pass will cover most transportation expenses, students will need to pay for their own accommodations and meals while traveling independently, as well as any other modes of transportation that do not involve train travel. Students are encouraged to budget $1,500-2,500 for personal and independent travel expenses.
Can I still use my financial aid?
Any grants and loans that you are eligible for at FHU may be used to cover all or part of FHU study abroad expenses; most scholarships and discounts also still apply. See the Financial Info section for more information.
When will I make payments for the program?
Deposits toward the program fee are scheduled throughout the semester before you study abroad.
Scheduled deposits for Belgium Fall 2015:
Scheduled deposits for Belgium Spring 2016:
How can I make the payments?
All payments may be paid by cash, check, or credit card at the Office of Business Services in Loyd Auditorium. Make checks payable to FHU. To pay with a credit card via phone, contact the Office of Business Services at 731-989-6357.
The final payment (the remaining program charge balance and tuition charges) will be billed to your student account and may be paid online at my.fhu.edu.
What are the living arrangements in Belgium?
Students and faculty live and study in a three-story facility in Verviers, Belgium. The facility includes dormitories and faculty/staff apartments, a kitchen and dining area, a classroom and lounge area, laundry services, and wireless Internet access. The local Eglise du Christ meets in an auditorium on the lower level of the building, and students and faculty will worship with the congregation.
Why is the program in Belgium?
Belgium is an excellent hub for the program because of its central location. Being based in Belgium makes travel throughout Western Europe relatively simple. From our facility in Verviers, students can travel by train to cities like London, Paris, Amsterdam, Cologne, and Luxembourg in just a few hours.
What courses are offered in Belgium?
The following courses are offered in Belgium every semester:
Additional courses may be offered based on the faculty who participate. Students may also pursue taking up to two additional courses through individualized instruction.
Where will I travel during my semester overseas?
While classes will be conducted in Belgium, learning will also take place off-site during group day trips to sites and cities in and around Belgium and extended group trips to other locations throughout Europe. The program includes extended trips to Paris, Germany and Austria, and either the United Kingdom (fall semester) or Italy (spring semester). Students are also given three weeks for independent free travel, along with a rail pass that covers train tickets to virtually anywhere in Europe. Most students visit a dozen or more European countries during their time studying abroad.
How will I access money in Europe?
Students are encouraged to obtain an ATM card or credit card and use it to withdraw the local currency while studying abroad. We do not recommend that students carry traveler's checks or U.S. cash to exchange overseas.
How does the FHU Abroad Office address safety concerns?
The health and safety of students traveling overseas is always very important to Freed-Hardeman University. Every effort is made to keep our students abroad safe and secure. An entire pre-departure orientation session is spent educating students about safety concerns, appropriate conduct while traveling abroad, and what to do in the event of an emergency. In the event of an emergency, the FHU Abroad Office will be in close contact with the faculty and staff in Belgium as well as the students and family members involved.
Students are required to submit extensive itineraries before independent travel, and locations where there is a threat of instability are prohibited. Two pre-departure orientation sessions are dedicated to learning how to plan and prepare for independent travel.
The U.S. State Department works to alert U.S. citizens of any international travel risks, and all of our international program participants are encouraged to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). STEP is a free program provided by the State Department that allows international travelers to receive the latest travel updates and information about their location.
What happens if I get sick or injured while in Europe?
All participants will be provided with comprehensive travel insurance for their time in Europe. This insurance will cover each participant in the event of an illness or injury that requires a visit to a hospital or doctor. The insurance policy also provides coverage for lost or stolen belongings, emergency evacuation, and trip and baggage delays.
What is pre-departure orientation?
Students who are accepted into FHU’s study abroad program will be required to participate in the mandatory pre-departure orientation program held throughout the semester before they leave. These orientation sessions cover topics like safety and student conduct, packing, travel planning, academic coursework, and general study abroad information. The orientation meetings are a great opportunity to ask questions about the study abroad program.
When do I need to apply for a passport?
Applicants who do not already have a passport should begin the passport application process immediately. Valid passports are required in advance for all participants in order to make travel arrangements. Even if you already have a passport, check the expiration date! All of the countries within the Schengen Area—26 European countries—require travelers to have a passport that is valid for three months after they plan to return from their travels. For information about how to apply for a passport, reference these instructions on the State Department website.
Will I need a student visa?
If you are a U.S. citizen, you will not need to apply for a visa to study in Belgium. Because the program lasts less than 90 days, you are not required to obtain a student visa and will technically be in the Schengen Area as a tourist. International students should consult the FHU Abroad Office to determine whether or not they will need to obtain a visa.
Do I need to get any immunizations or vaccinations before I study abroad?
Students are encouraged to maintain their regular immunizations and vaccinations, including tetanus, polio, and MMR. Speak with your doctor and check the CDC's recommendations about any other recommended vaccines. The FHU Abroad Office does not require students to provide a copy of their shot records.
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