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Study Abroad and Domestic Study Away

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Who will direct my program?

All Lake Forest programs are directed by a faculty member who accompanies the group (Greece, Border Studies).

On-site directors for ACM (Associated Colleges of the Midwest) programs may be individuals from the host country employed by ACM or faculty members from one of the consortium colleges. The Chicago programs maintain staff and offices in Chicago.

Third party programs such as those through CIEE or AIFS will have an on-site director that lives in the country year-round. 

ISEP programs and other direct-enroll options (AIT Budapest, University College Cork, American College of Greece) will have a coordinator on-site to help you with orientation, class registration, etc.  This is the same coordinator that works with all incoming international students; a similar role at Lake Forest would be Erin Hoffman.


2. What kind of credit will I earn?

Students will earn Lake Forest credit for all programs included on the College’s approved list of affiliated off-campus study programs.  

For Lake Forest program courses taught by Lake Forest faculty, the grades will appear on the transcript and count toward the GPA.  These courses include the bridge course on the Lake Forest College in Auckland program, College faculty-taught courses in the Loop, the Lake Forest College Border Studies program, and all courses on Lake Forest College in Paris and Greece programs.  Students may opt to take these courses as Credit/D/Fail.

For all other courses/programs on the approved list of affiliated off-campus study programs, the course titles and grades will appear on the transcript, and be considered Lake Forest credit.  However, the grades will not count toward the GPA except for Dean’s List and honors calculations.  Students may not opt to take these courses as Credit/D/Fail through the College, but may elect to do so if allowed by their host program.

Participants in any other program, including summer programs, will earn transfer credit for courses completed with grades of C- or better. All programs must be approved by the College before transfer credit can be earned; certain programs may have been pre-approved for transfer credit and students can consult with Alexandra Olson, Global Engagement Office Coordinator, for details.  Course titles and grades earned for transfer credit will appear on the College transcript, but those grades will not be calculated in the GPA except for honors calculations.

Students must successfully complete 15 US semester hours to earn the equivalent of 4 Lake Forest credits. Certain programs may have a different credit system, and the program profile will explain credit transfer requirements.

3. What are student living arrangements?

Living arrangements vary from program to program. Some require or include the option of living with a host family. Other possibilities include living in a dormitory or in shared apartments. Do not hesitate to ask administrators of the program about the type of housing provided and how it is assigned.

4. What kind of documents will be required?

Students must possess a valid passport for study abroad, and a visa is often required. While some programs completed within a 90 day period may not require a visa of US citizens, many domestic students choose to obtain one to allow flexibility in travel before or after the program.  International students are often required to have the visa, no matter the length of travel time.

Applications for passports can usually be made locally, through a post office or other government office. Visas may require a personal visit to the nearest consulate of the host country, many of which are located in Chicago. The State Department web site is a useful place to search for information about visa requirements and for procedures to obtain a passport or visa.


Programs may offer guidance and assistance to facilitate obtaining these documents, but most of the process must be completed by the applicant. The Director of Off-Campus Programs may also be able to provide assistance or advice.

Students should make 2 copies of passports/visas: one to take with them (along with additional passport photos) and keep separately from the actual documents, and one to leave at home with someone who can be easily reached.

Parents/guardians who do not already have a passport may want to consider obtaining one in case of emergency.

Students who are not U.S. citizens and who hold a foreign passport may have to obtain further documentation, both to travel abroad and to return to Lake Forest. Our Director of Intercultural Relations can answer questions for those students.

5. What kind of insurance is required?

The College requires that all off-campus study participants provide proof of insurance. Students enrolled in programs abroad must confirm coverage for medical evacuation and repatriation of remains.

Students participating in Lake Forest programs are automatically covered under the College’s consortial insurance policy (EIIA) for up to $100,000 for these instances for the duration of the program plus 14 additional days. The College also recommends the International Student ID card. This card provides coverage for medical evacuation and repatriation (myisic.com).

Both above plans also include some coverage for accidental medical and hospitalization. You may wish to check your personal policies to verify coverage while abroad, including coverage for lost luggage and valuables such as laptops or cameras.

6. How much will my program cost?

Program prices vary considerably, depending on provider, host country, housing arrangements, food costs, included field trips or travel, additional required fees, and, of course, the current value of the dollar against the host country currency. Travel to and from the host country is usually not included in overall costs, though some programs do offer assistance with airfare.

Be sure you understand the program’s policies regarding penalties for withdrawal either prior to the beginning of the program or during its term. Most programs also require you to sign an acknowledgment of regulations and conditions under which they might be dismissed.

A student’s Lake Forest financial aid will automatically be applied to those programs on our Programs We Offer page, with certain exceptions based on TREP, etc. If a student receives outside scholarship money not granted by the College, the student will have to check with the scholarship sponsor about transferability. More information can be found in the Financial Aid section.

All students will be billed through Lake Forest College, regardless of program. A $500 administrative fee will be added to the bill of all students participating in a program not on the Programs We Offer page. This allows the student to remain enrolled as a Lake Forest student, even while off-campus, thus eliminating the need to withdraw from and reapply for admission to the College.

Students who pay the College on the monthly installment plan may continue to do so.

There is no Lake Forest financial aid for any summer programs.

7. What is the best way to handle finances while abroad?

Ask your program provider for advice on the best way to access money in the host country. Depending on the country, it may be easier to use a credit or ATM card than to carry traveler’s checks. In any case, inform your bank and your credit card company that you will be abroad for a specified period of time, and inquire if there are any regulations or extra charges involved with using your card abroad.

8. What health concerns should I consider?

Some programs may require participants to have a physical exam by a doctor. Depending on where you will be studying and traveling, certain immunizations may be necessary with proof that they will be current through the full period of time abroad. The Center for Disease Control maintains a website (www.cdc.gov/travel) that offers health information for specific countries and regions, including required and recommended immunizations. 

Some countries may allow entry of only a limited amount of certain drugs, so students may not always be able to bring with them enough medications to last their entire stay. It is important, therefore, to take copies of all medication prescriptions, listed by generic not brand names.

Don’t forget an extra pair of glasses and the prescription for glasses or contact lenses.

If medical attention—a doctor or hospitalization— is needed while abroad, the on-site director should be the first contact. This person should be able to recommend a doctor and see that you get to a hospital if necessary. Do not hesitate to ask the program for the phone number and email address of the on-site director or of the appropriate person to contact in case of emergency. Instructions and relevant numbers in case of emergency may not be given to students until they arrive on site, so be sure to relay this information to your parents/guardians after you have arrived.

In the case of a serious medical problem, please contact the Coordinator for the Global Engagement Office at Lake Forest College, aolson@lakeforest.edu so that appropriate campus personnel are kept informed and can be ready to assist with necessary arrangements or coordination of services.

9. Contact information

Students must carry a cell phone while off-campus. Lake Forest College programs require a cell phone and some include the price of the phone—distributed to students upon arrival in the host country—in the program fee. Appendix  A serves as a reference sheet for important numbers to be kept readily available.

Students calling parents: Students are usually able to resolve small problems on their own, with the help of the on-site director and, sometimes, the home institution contact person. Students are asked to identify an emergency contact in the event that the program needs to notify someone on behalf of the student. At Lake Forest, we also ask that students program ICE (an internationally recognized acronym for In Case of Emergency) and the appropriate number into their cell phones.

Parents calling students: Because of time differences, you may wish to establish in advance a regular time to call your student. It is not unreasonable to maintain regular communication, but it should probably not be overly frequent. Email may be the easiest way to maintain contact for non-emergency communication. Most programs offer some internet access, and cyber cafes abound all over the globe!

Appendix A is a form for listing phone numbers for easy reference.
Appendix B  is a worksheet to help calculate costs.