Below are some questions frequently asked by Penn parents about the study abroad process:

How do students choose and apply to a study abroad program?

The process of obtaining permission to study abroad and Penn course approval invovles a number of steps:

  • Step One: Watch the mandatory Penn Abroad 101 Session online
  • Step Two: Research options in the Penn Abroad website and resources
  • Step Three: Meet with a Penn Abroad Global Programs Manager
  • Step Four: Start the application process
  • Step Five: Meet with Home School Academic Advisor
  • Step Six: Consult Penn departments and schools, and complete the course approval process

Can I login to see a student's application page?

  • No, Penn students use their Penn identification number and private password to login. It is a violation of the University's honor code for students to give their Penn password to anyone else. For that reason, only Penn students can log into their Application and Status page.

Will Penn students have to sign an agreement to study abroad?

  • Yes, every student who studies abroad will have to electronically acknowledge that they have read the Penn Abroad Academic and Financial Policies and Penn Abroad Acknowledgement of Risks and Release as part of their program acceptance materials. Both documents are located on their Penn Abroad online application.

As a parent, will I have to sign anything related to my student's study abroad participation?

  • Except in special circumstances, such as programs in countries with a travel warning and certain programs offered by third party providers, students do not require parental signatures for the Penn Abroad application.

Will Penn students receive academic credit while abroad? Will they graduate on time?

  • Students must take a full load of courses (as defined by the host institution) just as if they were studying on Penn's campus. Students will receive Penn graded credit while abroad, which will be factored into their overall GPA.

How much will study abroad cost?

  • Penn students pay Penn tuition and study abroad fee for all study abroad program.   Housing, airfare, food and personal expenses are separate expenses.  Each program has an estimated budget sheet to reference when planning for study abroad.  More information on costs and financial policies can be found on our Finances page
  • The University of Pennsylvania practices "home school tuition" billing for all Penn-approved undergraduate and approved petition programs for semester and academic year study abroad.  This means that Penn students pay Penn tuition for their study abroad experience.  Penn in turn pays tuition to the partner institution abroad.  Penn students benefit from this practice by earning Penn credit and grades for their study abroad courses as well as having a wide range of program types to select from.  Each overseas course is reviewed by academic personnel to determine creditworthiness at Penn, thereby enabling overseas courses to count for grades. Charging Penn tuition enables students continued access to Penn services such as CAPS, academic advising, library resources, and financial aid.  It also ensures that programs are selected based on best personal and academic fit instead of cost and provides access to study abroad for the entire Penn undergraduate community.

Where do students live abroad?

  • Housing will vary from program to program.  It is important that students carefully read the program brochure page for their program of study so that they understand housing options and requirements for their program. 
  • The most typical housing arrangements are in a dormitory with host national and/or other international students, with a host family, or in apartment style housing.  Some programs require that students live in program housing, while others have students find their own housing.

How can I best prepare my student for study abroad?

Penn Abroad believes parents can support their student in the study abroad experience while empowering them to take responsibility for their term abroad.  Suggestions include:

  • Encouraging students to be thorough and reflective in their research
  • Helping students pinpoint their interests and motivations to study abroad
  • Asking if they have read Penn Abroad’s statements related to Academic and Financial policies and Acknowledgement of Risks and Release policies
  • Having an open discussion on financing a semester/academic year abroad.  Ask to see a sample budget for a Penn Abroad approved program. Funding opportunities for undergraduate study abroad scholarships are available for eligible students.  Ask what opportunities there might be to receive a scholarship to study abroad
  • Being aware of the foreign university’s calendar which may not be identical to the Penn academic calendar

In Case of Emergency

During regular business hours call +1-215-898-9073.

After business hours, on holidays, and weekends call Penn Police +1-215-573-3333.

Contact Our Office

Penn Abroad
3701 Chestnut Street, Suite 1W
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Tel: (215) 898-9073
Fax (215) 898-2622

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