Frequently Asked Questions
What exactly is "study abroad"?
Study Abroad is the opportunity to take classes and earn Southern Miss credit that will plug directly in to your degree plan, in countries other than the United States.
What types of Study Abroad programs are out there?
Southern Miss offers...
Short-term faculty led programs: 2-5 weeks.
Semester programs: fall or spring.
Exchange programs: semester or year.
Do I need a passport?
Absolutely! And what's more, your passport must be valid for SIX months after your return date so if you already have a passport check the expiration date to make sure it is VALID.
How do I apply for a passport?
Visit the State Department's website for detailed information on how, where and when to apply for a passport.
How long does it take to get a passport?
That depends on the time of year submitted, because of the seasonal nature of travel. During peak travel periods, the normal processing time ranges from six to eight weeks. If you need a passport more quickly you can apply in-person at a passport agency and receive same-day service.
Can freshmen study abroad?
Yes! The first opportunity is our summer programs so long as the student meets minimum requirements.
How much does it cost?
Well, program fees vary by program, and you can find most of that information when you search our programs online - if the information is not listed, it's probably because we're still finalizing some details.
On top of your program fees, you will need to prepare to take additional funds with you to pay for things like meals, sight-seeing, independent travel, etc. Speaking with former students is one of the best ways to get an idea of what you should budget. Our staff is also available to counsel you, this amount varies between programs.
What do my program fees include? (Accommodation, meal plans, etc.)
You'll want to check the program information for specifics, because this varies by program also. Fees always include tuition and mandatory travel insurance. Accommodation, in-country transportation, and program excursions are also included in your fees - however you should speak with the program director or verify what is written in the program description to confirm what else is included. Specifics on each program may be found on our application site, Horizons, and you can browse all programs by clicking the "Apply Now" button at the top right of this screen and then "search programs" -or- click "browse programs" under the "student" menu option at the top left of this screen.
What types of loans are available?
Financial aid in the form of student loans or Pell grants may be used to finance your credit-abroad program fees. There are several venues that you may choose from if you qualify. Please be aware that any form of financial aid will depend on circumstances that the student or parent may have. Also, before applying for any form of financial aid, all students must have completed the appropriate FAFSA application, which can be obtained from the Southern Miss Financial Aid website.
Parent Plus loans are borrowed on behalf of the student by their parent.
Subsidized loans are available for any student that wishes to borrow regardless of family contribution. The amount that you may borrow depends on your classification at the time you attend the program.
Subsidized loans are awarded to those students with lower family contribution or other financial circumstances.
Pell grants are available for qualifying students.
Alternative loans or "outside loans" are available for all students. These are signature loans through certain lending institutions. They are handled in the same way as an subsidized loan. Because these are signature loans, a student that does not have enough income or credit may need a co-signer. This can be anyone that has an appropriate credit rating. The Southern Miss Financial Aid office will have a budget for each credit-abroad program. This budget will include the cost of the program and an estimate for spending money. You may borrow up to the total budget for each program in any combination of aid.
Scholarships that are applicable for the summer semester may be used towards the cost of the program.
Are there scholarships available?
Our office doesn't have any available scholarships, but that does not mean they aren't out there!
Foreign Language majors at Southern Miss may refer to the Foreign Languages website for scholarship opportunities.
Here are a few places for everyone to start looking:
Study Abroad Funding - a directory featuring detailed descriptions of hundreds of study abroad scholarships, fellowships, grants, and paid internships for U.S. undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate students, and professionals.
The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program is open to all U.S. citizen undergraduates, in good academic standing, who meet certain criteria. If you currently qualify for a Pell Grant, you are eligible to apply for the Gilman Scholarship and should schedule an appointment to meet with Robyn Curtis, National Scholarship Officer, as soon as you review the scholarship's website.
AllAbroad Suggestions - offering suggestions for "general" study abroad, "diversity" study abroad and nontraditional country destinations.
What's the best way to communicate [with family/friends] from abroad?
Former students strongly recommend study abroad participants purchase an inexpensive pay-as-you-go phone while abroad. While many students do take their U.S. cell phone with an international plan, using a local phone and plan has proven to be much more efficient and financially-friendly. Especially considering that with most pay-as-you-go plans in other countries, all incoming communication is FREE. This means mom/dad/sibling/friend can call YOU via skype (as an example) and it charges them a minimal fee and you absolutely nothing.
Tips for keeping in touch long-distance
Programs (free to download) like Skype, Google Talk,
Where can I find information about my course?
Your best bet is to contact the professor. If you're not sure who that is, ask us! You can rest assured though, your professors will communicate with you prior to your program, and will send all the helpful information you need prior to departure.