Pre-Departure Orientation Step Two: Program-Specific Information

school

Semester Abroad

Academics

Academic Policies & Your Academic Environment Abroad

Review the Penn Abroad academic policies, including:

  • Conduct, Academic Performance, and Integrity

  • Grades & Academic Credit

  • Courses, Exams, & Program Duration

Review your Penn Abroad program brochure on PASSPORT for additional academic requirements, course information, grade scale information, and possible differences you may experience in the academic environment at your host university. Remember that you will be graded and treated as a local student and, as such, are expected to abide by local expectations and policies at your host university. If you have questions, please check with your Global Programs Manager for clarification. Past participants are also an excellent resource to learn more about the academic setting in your abroad location and how it may differ from Penn.

Penn Course Registration While Abroad

You will be registered for 4 Penn CUs during your semester abroad. You must remove all registration and financial holds in order for Penn Abroad to register you for study abroad. Your academic advisor or SFRS may be able to assist if you are unsure why you have a hold.

Obtaining Credit for Courses Taken Abroad

While abroad you are required to be taking coursework in the equivalent of 4 – 5 Penn CUs. Individual academic departments at Penn are solely responsible for determining exactly which courses taken abroad will receive credit in particular disciplines. It is important to note that not all courses taken abroad may be assessed in the equivalent of 1 Penn CU. Therefore, prior to going abroad, use Penn’s External Course Approval Tool (XCAT) to determine both whether your proposed courses abroad are approved for credit by the relevant Penn departments and how much credit you will earn for each of your courses. You are expected to have sought the advice of your major advisor in planning your studies abroad. Failure to request course approval in advance may result in the denial of credit upon your return to Penn. Additional information on how to navigate and submit courses to XCAT, including a tutorial video, can be found on the XCAT information page for study abroad.  

Note: A summary of information on registration, credit, using XCAT, and obtaining Penn support while abroad can also be found in the Academics Abroad “How-To” Guide

Finances 

Financial Policies & Your Semester Abroad

Review the Financial Information page, including:

  • Financing Study Abroad

  • Financial Policies, Insurance, and Fees

  • Program Participation and Withdrawal

Your Penn Bill & Your Budget Sheet

The estimated cost for your semester abroad can be found in PASSPORT under the “Finances” tab of your program’s online brochure. Your Budget Sheet is also attached as a document to your Penn Abroad application. Remember:

  • All expenses on your budget sheet are estimates.

  • Any item on your budget sheet with a cost of $0.00 is an expense which may or may not apply to you, and which will vary by student. When planning your finances for your semester abroad, keep in mind that you may need to budget for this expense. 

  • Your Penn bill during your semester abroad will always include Penn tuition and the study abroad fee. This is listed as a “billable expense” on your budget sheet.

  • Your budget sheet will indicate whether additional expenses such as housing, board, or visa fees, will be billed to your Penn student bill (as billable expenses) or if you will owe them directly to your host institution (as non-billable expenses to Penn).

  • Non-billable expenses may be items that you need to pay directly to your host institution or they may be items that you will pay on your own over time during your term abroad.

Study Abroad & Financial Aid

Every semester, Penn Abroad shares updated budget sheets with Student Registration & Financial Services. Schedule time to meet with your SRFS advisor to understand how your aid package will be adjusted during your semester abroad. Also, read the information on study abroad and financial aid on the SRFS special policies webpage.

Note: A summary of information on program costs, financial aid, work-study, and scholarships for semester study abroad can also be found in the Money Matters: Semester Abroad FAQ guide.

Housing

When planning for a semester abroad you need to consider both what housing arrangements you will have during your time abroad, as well as how to cancel and then return to your housing at Penn.

Housing Abroad

Housing information is available on the “Student Experiences” tab of each program brochure in PASSPORT. You are expected to reside in the housing indicated for your program, which may include sourcing your own housing on arrival to your host location, living in a homestay, or living in student university housing. For some programs, housing is paid directly to your host institution. Some programs also include housing deposits or fees, which you are expected to pay by all stated deadlines. You are also required to follow all housing rules while abroad. If you are unsure about what type of housing is required for your semester abroad program, how to pay for your housing, or if you experience any challenges with your housing while abroad, contact your Global Programs Manager at Penn Abroad.

Canceling Your Housing at Penn

If you currently live on campus, review the steps on Penn’s Residential Services for canceling your housing at Penn.

  • Studying abroad in fall: Cancel housing by the last day of spring semester classes or within one week of program acceptance

  • Studying abroad in spring: Cancel housing by the date listed within the Terms & Conditions of your housing contract or within one week of program acceptance

Canceling Your Dining Plan at Penn

  • You can cancel housing and dining at the same time by indicating you also want to cancel your housing in your “Request for Early Termination” form.

  • If you need to cancel a dining plan only, complete the Cancellation Request Form on the Penn Dining website and email it to bsd-housing@pobox.upenn.edu.

Canceling Your Greek Life Chapter Housing

If you are approved for study abroad for a semester in which you have already signed an Occupancy Agreement with Penn Greek Life Chapter Housing, you must submit a cancellation request by email to the Office of Fraternity & Sorority Life at vpul-ofsl@pobox.upenn.edu.

Returning to Housing at Penn

If you plan on returning to on-campus housing after your semester abroad, review the steps on Penn’s Residential Services for securing on-campus housing on your return, whether it be the fall or spring term.

book

Penn Global Seminars

Academic Policies

Students in Penn Global Seminar are expected to participate fully in all course meetings and activities throughout the semester, including a pre-departure orientation and a group health consultation. Students are furthermore required to take part in the entire course travel component. Students who do not participate fully in the on-campus and travel components of the course will be subject to a grade deduction, and cannot be guaranteed course credit. If extenuating circumstances (health or personal issues, or inability to fulfill the requirements above) prevent the student from participating in the travel component of the course, s/he should seek approval to miss course travel from both Penn Abroad and the course professor, and must then work with the professor to find a suitable alternative (for example, an additional research paper).

Students are required to maintain good academic standing in the Penn Global Seminar as well as their regular course load. Students must also maintain good judicial standing at Penn.

Penn Global Seminars are Penn courses taught by Penn faculty and will be awarded Penn credit and letter grades. PGS courses may not be audited nor taken Pass/Fail. PGS participants must be enrolled full-time at Penn during the semester that they are participating in the program. Each PGS course is worth 1 C.U. and may fulfill general education or major requirements. Registration to the course will be by permit only, and the permits will be issued to accepted students by the rostering department.

Financial Policies

Review the complete PGS Financial Policies, including:

  • Funding

  • Financial aid

  • Tuition

  • Program fee

  • Refund policy

  • Withdrawal policy

Program Fee and Inclusions

Penn Global Seminars are funded by a generous donation from the Ahmad Fund, as well as contributions from Penn's Global Engagement Fund. These funds cover the majority of program costs and are intended to make this program accessible to all students.

PGS students are charged a flat program fee of $950 for participation. This flat fee serves as the student contribution toward the full program travel experience and includes round-trip airfare, all hotels and accommodations, all ground transportation, entrance fees, translation and guide services, and group meals. Students will only be responsible for the cost of any personal meals and incidentals, any visa/consular fees, and (if applicable) the cost of travel to/from Philadelphia to meet the required group flight.

Financial Aid

For eligible students with demonstrated financial need, it is the policy of Student Registration & Financial Services to cover these programs with a mixture of grant and loan funding. Penn Abroad will provide your PGS program costs to SRFS, which will add that amount to your cost of attendance, increasing your eligibility for financial aid. SRFS first increases your parent contribution by 5% to help cover the difference. For your remaining financial need, SRFS will offer 60% of the funding in the form of a grant and 40% as a loan.

You are not required to accept any loans that are offered to you, but if you do, please discuss next steps with your financial aid counselor. The process is different for federal loans, student aid loans, and alternative loans. Any financial aid recipients with further questions should make an appointment with their assigned financial aid consultant.

All costs related to the on-campus component of the program are the responsibility of the student and are not calculated into the program budget for SRFS.

Student Expectations

PGS participants must travel on the group flight booked by Penn Abroad. No exceptions or deviations to the group flight itinerary will be allowed. Students must participate in all required aspects of the itinerary and stay in the accommodations booked by Penn Abroad.

Students traveling abroad as part of a Penn Global Seminar are expected to demonstrate maturity, flexibility, good judgment, and a willingness to learn at all times. Program participants are required to be on time for all activities, maintain a positive attitude, and remain engaged in all aspects of the itinerary throughout travel. Students are expected to be a good ambassador for Penn.

PGS participants are required to observe the laws of the host country and the rules of all host institutions and organizations abroad. Further, while abroad, PGS participants continue to be subject to Penn's Code of Student Conduct and Penn’s Code of Academic Integrity. Students who violate these codes will be subject to dismissal from the program. Misconduct of any kind will be referred to the University's Office of Student Conduct.

Any PGS student whose conduct is determined to be detrimental to the safety and well-being of the program or its participants may be subject to program dismissal. Students who are dismissed from a PGS course are not entitled to a refund of any portion of the program fee, and are responsible for any costs associated with required withdrawal from the program and return to the US.

work

Global Research & Internship Program

Committing to GRIP

Once you are accepted to GRIP, you will be required to sign a Commitment Contract which outlines what is required of you as a GRIP participant and funding recipient.  By committing to GRIP, you agree to abide by the program policies and expectations outlined in the Commitment Contract by stated deadlines, including, but not limited to:

  • Attending a GRIP pre-departure meeting and completing all pre-departure forms and submissions

  • Participating in your internship or research placement for its entire duration (8-12 weeks) and on a full-time basis (up to 40 hours/week)

  • Submitting all requested deliverables to Penn Abroad, including program evaluation surveys, blog entries, and a donor thank you letter

Prior to signing, please carefully review your Commitment Contract for full program expectations and requirements. As an accepted student, you will find your Commitment Contract in your online application in PASSPORT.

Committed GRIP students who do not fulfill all program requirements will be subject to the GRIP Financial Guidelines, found in the acceptance letter, and may be required to repay all or a portion of their funding award, non-recoverable costs paid on their behalf, and/or a post-commitment withdrawal fee, as per GRIP financial policies.

Funding Awards

All students accepted to GRIP will receive a GRIP Funding Award.  Award amounts vary by student and by program; accepted students will find their award amount in their GRIP acceptance letter.

Funding awards are disbursed to committed students through the Penn Marketplace in the form of a grant. Students must complete all pre-departure requirements before awards are disbursed. As an accepted student, you will receive instructions on how to register in the Penn Marketplace via email.  It is important that you follow these instructions carefully, as mistakes in your registration can cause your funding disbursement to be significantly delayed.

Please note that GRIP funding awards are taxable. Tax information can be found on the GRIP Funding page.

Preparing to Work Abroad

Professionalism
During the course of your internship or research assistantship abroad, you are expected to behave in a professional and respectful manner and to comply with the behavioral expectations of your employer. Some tenets of professionalism include but are not limited to, arriving to work on time each day, dressing appropriately for the office, responding to your supervisor’s emails in a timely manner, and being open to constructive feedback. You are expected to represent Penn with maturity and to demonstrate cultural sensitivity and a willingness to learn throughout your experience.

As you prepare for your time abroad, you may find it helpful to speak with your employer in advance to set expectations and ensure that you are properly prepared. We also recommend researching your host country, city, and company prior to departure and speaking with past program participants, when available, to help you prepare for your new work environment.

Further professional resources are available through Penn Career Services. We recommend reviewing these resources before, during, and after your internship abroad.

Behavioral Expectations
As a GRIP intern, you will be a representative of the program, the University of Pennsylvania, the United States, and your country of origin at all times during your experience abroad. Please remember that you are a guest in your host country and, as a guest, you are expected to be respectful of cultural norms and to interact with others in a respectful manner. For more information on adapting to a different culture while abroad, please refer to the above module, “Adjusting to Your New Environment Abroad.”

Every country has its own laws and standards of acceptable conduct, including dress, manners, morals, politics, drug use, and behavior. Participating in political activities or using illegal drugs, for example, may subject you to significant civil or criminal penalties. You are responsible for being informed of and abiding by all such laws and standards for each country to or through which you may travel this summer.

As a participant on a Penn-sponsored program and recipient of Penn funds, you are also required to abide by the Penn Code of Student Conduct at all times.

school

Semester Abroad

Academics

Academic Policies & Your Academic Environment Abroad

Review the Penn Abroad academic policies, including:

  • Conduct, Academic Performance, and Integrity

  • Grades & Academic Credit

  • Courses, Exams, & Program Duration

Review your Penn Abroad program brochure on PASSPORT for additional academic requirements, course information, grade scale information, and possible differences you may experience in the academic environment at your host university. Remember that you will be graded and treated as a local student and, as such, are expected to abide by local expectations and policies at your host university. If you have questions, please check with your Global Programs Manager for clarification. Past participants are also an excellent resource to learn more about the academic setting in your abroad location and how it may differ from Penn.

Penn Course Registration While Abroad

You will be registered for 4 Penn CUs during your semester abroad. You must remove all registration and financial holds in order for Penn Abroad to register you for study abroad. Your academic advisor or SFRS may be able to assist if you are unsure why you have a hold.

Obtaining Credit for Courses Taken Abroad

While abroad you are required to be taking coursework in the equivalent of 4 – 5 Penn CUs. Individual academic departments at Penn are solely responsible for determining exactly which courses taken abroad will receive credit in particular disciplines. It is important to note that not all courses taken abroad may be assessed in the equivalent of 1 Penn CU. Therefore, prior to going abroad, use Penn’s External Course Approval Tool (XCAT) to determine both whether your proposed courses abroad are approved for credit by the relevant Penn departments and how much credit you will earn for each of your courses. You are expected to have sought the advice of your major advisor in planning your studies abroad. Failure to request course approval in advance may result in the denial of credit upon your return to Penn. Additional information on how to navigate and submit courses to XCAT, including a tutorial video, can be found on the XCAT information page for study abroad.  

Note: A summary of information on registration, credit, using XCAT, and obtaining Penn support while abroad can also be found in the Academics Abroad “How-To” Guide

Finances 

Financial Policies & Your Semester Abroad

Review the Financial Information page, including:

  • Financing Study Abroad

  • Financial Policies, Insurance, and Fees

  • Program Participation and Withdrawal

Your Penn Bill & Your Budget Sheet

The estimated cost for your semester abroad can be found in PASSPORT under the “Finances” tab of your program’s online brochure. Your Budget Sheet is also attached as a document to your Penn Abroad application. Remember:

  • All expenses on your budget sheet are estimates.

  • Any item on your budget sheet with a cost of $0.00 is an expense which may or may not apply to you, and which will vary by student. When planning your finances for your semester abroad, keep in mind that you may need to budget for this expense. 

  • Your Penn bill during your semester abroad will always include Penn tuition and the study abroad fee. This is listed as a “billable expense” on your budget sheet.

  • Your budget sheet will indicate whether additional expenses such as housing, board, or visa fees, will be billed to your Penn student bill (as billable expenses) or if you will owe them directly to your host institution (as non-billable expenses to Penn).

  • Non-billable expenses may be items that you need to pay directly to your host institution or they may be items that you will pay on your own over time during your term abroad.

Study Abroad & Financial Aid

Every semester, Penn Abroad shares updated budget sheets with Student Registration & Financial Services. Schedule time to meet with your SRFS advisor to understand how your aid package will be adjusted during your semester abroad. Also, read the information on study abroad and financial aid on the SRFS special policies webpage.

Note: A summary of information on program costs, financial aid, work-study, and scholarships for semester study abroad can also be found in the Money Matters: Semester Abroad FAQ guide.

Housing

When planning for a semester abroad you need to consider both what housing arrangements you will have during your time abroad, as well as how to cancel and then return to your housing at Penn.

Housing Abroad

Housing information is available on the “Student Experiences” tab of each program brochure in PASSPORT. You are expected to reside in the housing indicated for your program, which may include sourcing your own housing on arrival to your host location, living in a homestay, or living in student university housing. For some programs, housing is paid directly to your host institution. Some programs also include housing deposits or fees, which you are expected to pay by all stated deadlines. You are also required to follow all housing rules while abroad. If you are unsure about what type of housing is required for your semester abroad program, how to pay for your housing, or if you experience any challenges with your housing while abroad, contact your Global Programs Manager at Penn Abroad.

Canceling Your Housing at Penn

If you currently live on campus, review the steps on Penn’s Residential Services for canceling your housing at Penn.

  • Studying abroad in fall: Cancel housing by the last day of spring semester classes or within one week of program acceptance

  • Studying abroad in spring: Cancel housing by the date listed within the Terms & Conditions of your housing contract or within one week of program acceptance

Canceling Your Dining Plan at Penn

  • You can cancel housing and dining at the same time by indicating you also want to cancel your housing in your “Request for Early Termination” form.

  • If you need to cancel a dining plan only, complete the Cancellation Request Form on the Penn Dining website and email it to bsd-housing@pobox.upenn.edu.

Canceling Your Greek Life Chapter Housing

If you are approved for study abroad for a semester in which you have already signed an Occupancy Agreement with Penn Greek Life Chapter Housing, you must submit a cancellation request by email to the Office of Fraternity & Sorority Life at vpul-ofsl@pobox.upenn.edu.

Returning to Housing at Penn

If you plan on returning to on-campus housing after your semester abroad, review the steps on Penn’s Residential Services for securing on-campus housing on your return, whether it be the fall or spring term.

book

Penn Global Seminars

Academic Policies

Students in Penn Global Seminar are expected to participate fully in all course meetings and activities throughout the semester, including a pre-departure orientation and a group health consultation. Students are furthermore required to take part in the entire course travel component. Students who do not participate fully in the on-campus and travel components of the course will be subject to a grade deduction, and cannot be guaranteed course credit. If extenuating circumstances (health or personal issues, or inability to fulfill the requirements above) prevent the student from participating in the travel component of the course, s/he should seek approval to miss course travel from both Penn Abroad and the course professor, and must then work with the professor to find a suitable alternative (for example, an additional research paper).

Students are required to maintain good academic standing in the Penn Global Seminar as well as their regular course load. Students must also maintain good judicial standing at Penn.

Penn Global Seminars are Penn courses taught by Penn faculty and will be awarded Penn credit and letter grades. PGS courses may not be audited nor taken Pass/Fail. PGS participants must be enrolled full-time at Penn during the semester that they are participating in the program. Each PGS course is worth 1 C.U. and may fulfill general education or major requirements. Registration to the course will be by permit only, and the permits will be issued to accepted students by the rostering department.

Financial Policies

Review the complete PGS Financial Policies, including:

  • Funding

  • Financial aid

  • Tuition

  • Program fee

  • Refund policy

  • Withdrawal policy

Program Fee and Inclusions

Penn Global Seminars are funded by a generous donation from the Ahmad Fund, as well as contributions from Penn's Global Engagement Fund. These funds cover the majority of program costs and are intended to make this program accessible to all students.

PGS students are charged a flat program fee of $950 for participation. This flat fee serves as the student contribution toward the full program travel experience and includes round-trip airfare, all hotels and accommodations, all ground transportation, entrance fees, translation and guide services, and group meals. Students will only be responsible for the cost of any personal meals and incidentals, any visa/consular fees, and (if applicable) the cost of travel to/from Philadelphia to meet the required group flight.

Financial Aid

For eligible students with demonstrated financial need, it is the policy of Student Registration & Financial Services to cover these programs with a mixture of grant and loan funding. Penn Abroad will provide your PGS program costs to SRFS, which will add that amount to your cost of attendance, increasing your eligibility for financial aid. SRFS first increases your parent contribution by 5% to help cover the difference. For your remaining financial need, SRFS will offer 60% of the funding in the form of a grant and 40% as a loan.

You are not required to accept any loans that are offered to you, but if you do, please discuss next steps with your financial aid counselor. The process is different for federal loans, student aid loans, and alternative loans. Any financial aid recipients with further questions should make an appointment with their assigned financial aid consultant.

All costs related to the on-campus component of the program are the responsibility of the student and are not calculated into the program budget for SRFS.

Student Expectations

PGS participants must travel on the group flight booked by Penn Abroad. No exceptions or deviations to the group flight itinerary will be allowed. Students must participate in all required aspects of the itinerary and stay in the accommodations booked by Penn Abroad.

Students traveling abroad as part of a Penn Global Seminar are expected to demonstrate maturity, flexibility, good judgment, and a willingness to learn at all times. Program participants are required to be on time for all activities, maintain a positive attitude, and remain engaged in all aspects of the itinerary throughout travel. Students are expected to be a good ambassador for Penn.

PGS participants are required to observe the laws of the host country and the rules of all host institutions and organizations abroad. Further, while abroad, PGS participants continue to be subject to Penn's Code of Student Conduct and Penn’s Code of Academic Integrity. Students who violate these codes will be subject to dismissal from the program. Misconduct of any kind will be referred to the University's Office of Student Conduct.

Any PGS student whose conduct is determined to be detrimental to the safety and well-being of the program or its participants may be subject to program dismissal. Students who are dismissed from a PGS course are not entitled to a refund of any portion of the program fee, and are responsible for any costs associated with required withdrawal from the program and return to the US.

work

Global Research & Internship Program

Committing to GRIP

Once you are accepted to GRIP, you will be required to sign a Commitment Contract which outlines what is required of you as a GRIP participant and funding recipient.  By committing to GRIP, you agree to abide by the program policies and expectations outlined in the Commitment Contract by stated deadlines, including, but not limited to:

  • Attending a GRIP pre-departure meeting and completing all pre-departure forms and submissions

  • Participating in your internship or research placement for its entire duration (8-12 weeks) and on a full-time basis (up to 40 hours/week)

  • Submitting all requested deliverables to Penn Abroad, including program evaluation surveys, blog entries, and a donor thank you letter

Prior to signing, please carefully review your Commitment Contract for full program expectations and requirements. As an accepted student, you will find your Commitment Contract in your online application in PASSPORT.

Committed GRIP students who do not fulfill all program requirements will be subject to the GRIP Financial Guidelines, found in the acceptance letter, and may be required to repay all or a portion of their funding award, non-recoverable costs paid on their behalf, and/or a post-commitment withdrawal fee, as per GRIP financial policies.

Funding Awards

All students accepted to GRIP will receive a GRIP Funding Award.  Award amounts vary by student and by program; accepted students will find their award amount in their GRIP acceptance letter.

Funding awards are disbursed to committed students through the Penn Marketplace in the form of a grant. Students must complete all pre-departure requirements before awards are disbursed. As an accepted student, you will receive instructions on how to register in the Penn Marketplace via email.  It is important that you follow these instructions carefully, as mistakes in your registration can cause your funding disbursement to be significantly delayed.

Please note that GRIP funding awards are taxable. Tax information can be found on the GRIP Funding page.

Preparing to Work Abroad

Professionalism
During the course of your internship or research assistantship abroad, you are expected to behave in a professional and respectful manner and to comply with the behavioral expectations of your employer. Some tenets of professionalism include but are not limited to, arriving to work on time each day, dressing appropriately for the office, responding to your supervisor’s emails in a timely manner, and being open to constructive feedback. You are expected to represent Penn with maturity and to demonstrate cultural sensitivity and a willingness to learn throughout your experience.

As you prepare for your time abroad, you may find it helpful to speak with your employer in advance to set expectations and ensure that you are properly prepared. We also recommend researching your host country, city, and company prior to departure and speaking with past program participants, when available, to help you prepare for your new work environment.

Further professional resources are available through Penn Career Services. We recommend reviewing these resources before, during, and after your internship abroad.

Behavioral Expectations
As a GRIP intern, you will be a representative of the program, the University of Pennsylvania, the United States, and your country of origin at all times during your experience abroad. Please remember that you are a guest in your host country and, as a guest, you are expected to be respectful of cultural norms and to interact with others in a respectful manner. For more information on adapting to a different culture while abroad, please refer to the above module, “Adjusting to Your New Environment Abroad.”

Every country has its own laws and standards of acceptable conduct, including dress, manners, morals, politics, drug use, and behavior. Participating in political activities or using illegal drugs, for example, may subject you to significant civil or criminal penalties. You are responsible for being informed of and abiding by all such laws and standards for each country to or through which you may travel this summer.

As a participant on a Penn-sponsored program and recipient of Penn funds, you are also required to abide by the Penn Code of Student Conduct at all times.