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FAQ - ISU Vet Med Study Abroad


Frequently Asked Questions about ISU Vet Med Study Abroad
Is there a timeline for all deadlines?
Are there any specific application requirements?
Yes.  All programs require a minimum 2.5 cumulative GPA, both at the time of application and travel, and a completed ISU Study Abroad application.  Others may ask for additional application materials, such as one or two letters of reference, a resume and a short essay.  It depends on the course requirements the program director chooses to put into place. 
Please note that the GPA requirement is being strictly enforced. You must maintain a 2.5 GPA after fall and spring grades are posted to be fully eligible to go on your trip. If you are in danger of falling below a 2.5 GPA at spring mid-terms you will receive a warning letter from the Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs. If you fail to achieve a 2.5 GPA after the spring semester, you will not receive the scholarship award of $1000. If you are dismissed from the veterinary program, you will not be eligible to go on your trip and will be responsible for all costs your enrollment has incurred up to that point. Costs will include but are not limited to airfare, deposits, pre-paid meals or entrance fees, and your share of program director costs.
If you have questions about this policy, please speak with Katie Davidson or Dr. Monica Howard in the Office of Academic and Student Affairs.
All study abroad courses are graded on a satisfactory/fail basis.  Additional requirements depend on the program.
How do I decide on a course?
Choose a course that suits your veterinary and travel interests.  Don't choose a course if the location is attractive but the veterinary portion isn't, or vice versa.  We try to provide a wide range of study abroad courses to interest every vet student, regardless of species preference.  If we don't have a program that interests you, let us know.  Chances are we can create one.
Can I get financial aid to cover my course expenses?
Yes, if you take the course for credit you can apply for summer financial aid and receive an award package.   Simply make sure you check "yes" in the financial aid section of the ISUAbroad application process.  This may depend on the total amount of aid you've already received, but if you have concerns, feel free to make an appointment with Clay Gurganus (515-294-2223).  If you are a UNL PPVM student, you will be able to get financial aid as well and it will also be processed through the financial aid office at Iowa State.  Please contact Katie Davidson first with financial aid questions, as Clay's time is limited.
Are any scholarships available?
Yes!  As of summer 2012, all tuition-paying students who have successfully completed the requirements of a study abroad course will receive a $1000 scholarship from the College.  The award is given at the time summer financial aid goes through, but will be rescinded in the fall if students fail to complete the requirements of their course (see ISUAbroad signature document for more information).   A 2.5 GPA must be maintained to receive this scholarship. There is also the Hutton International scholarship and the Hill's Travel Grant program.  For more information on applying for those scholarships, please contact Katie Davidson.
How does the $1000 College scholarship work?
The College is able to provide tuition-paying students the $1000 scholarship that is awarded at the time they receive summer financial aid.  The award will be rescinded if students do not successfully complete all aspects of their course.
Will I be able to receive the $1000 scholarship more than once?
Yes, if you study abroad in multiple summers you will receive the scholarship each summer.
Will I receive the $1000 for each course I take if I take multiple courses within one summer?
No, you are only able to receive the $1000 scholarship once per year.
What is included in the program cost?
Program costs include the following expenses: airfare, lodging, most meals, entrance fees, passport & visa processing (if needed), immunizations (if needed), course fees, and incidentals.  These costs are estimated at various times throughout the year and can vary based on season, availability, currency conversion rates, or other uncontrollable variables.  Program costs do not included tuition.
Do I have to pay tuition and fees?  How much is it?
If you are traveling in the summer after your 1st or 2nd year, you will pay tuition and fees for 3 elective credits.  If you are traveling after your 3rd year, no additional tuition is paid and the course is taken as an elective rotation.  If you are paying non-resident tuition and go on more than one trip in a summer you will pay non-resident tuition for those credits.  This applies to all contract students, including UNL.
Do these trips count towards my weeks of rotation?
Yes!  These trips count as elective rotations.  Please be careful when scheduling 4th year around study abroad courses.  You are required to be in the U.S. for five days before having animal contact during a rotation, so keep that in mind.
If I go on the trip after my first or second year, can it count as a 4th year rotation and give me two extra weeks of vacation during my 4th year?  
No, sorry!  If you take the course after your first or second year it counts as an elective.  If you take it after your 3rd year, it counts as an elective rotation.
Can I go on two or more trips in one summer?
Of course!  Provided the trips don't overlap and your schedule works with both.  You also may be limited to the total amount of financial aid you qualify for, but in most cases, financial aid would cover most costs of the trips.  Please remember, if you're a non-resident, you will pay non-resident tuition for your credits if you take more than one trip.  If you are paying tuition, please remember you are only eligible to receive the $1000 scholarship once per year.
Will I need to be able to speak the native language when I travel abroad?
No!  Although it is always beneficial to know how to say the following: hello, good-bye, please, thank you, and where is the bathroom?  You'll find a smile is universal and the friendlier the attitude the higher your host's patience level.  Some pre-departure courses will include a language element, but most will not.
Do I have to fly out of Des Moines?
No!  We understand that summer is a busy time, so you can fly to your course destination from the airport that is most convenient for you!  Airfare costs may be higher (or lower), but that cost is factored into your program costs.  Just be sure to let Katie Davidson know if Des Moines isn't your departure airport of choice as soon as possible.
Can I book my own flights?
Sure!  But you also have to pay for them out of pocket at the time you book them and will have to carry that cost until financial aid kicks in a week before your trip.  You will also need to make sure you send Katie Davidson a copy of your finalized itinerary.
Can I go on a pre or post trip?
Yes, in fact we encourage you to see and do as much as you can while abroad.  Please make sure all pre and post trip arrangements are made by February 1st to ensure that group tickets can be purchased as soon as possible.   Also keep in mind that Iowa State is only responsible for you during the group trip.  You are on your own before and after.
Will the International Programs Office help me with my pre/post trip arrangements?
Yes, to an extent.  Katie Davidson can help you find flights, arrange itineraries, and suggests things to do if her time permits.  The sooner you make an appointment with her to discuss your options the better.  Please note that your financial aid may not cover all pre/post trip costs.
Do I need to get vaccinations?
It depends on your destination.  Some of our programs require immunizations and some don't.  This is the topic of discussion at your first pre-departure orientation session and immunization costs are built into your study abroad budget.  We recommend scheduling an appointment with the Thielen Student Health Center (515-294-5801) or your family practitioner as soon as you know you are traveling abroad to make sure you are able to get the necessary medications before traveling.  For more information, visit the Center for Disease Control website at www.cdc.gov
Do I need to get additional medical/health insurance?
No.  All students will have comprehensive health insurance coverage through Cultural Insurance Services International (CISI).  The cost is minimal and includes medical/political/natural disaster evacuation, accidental/emergency health coverage with a $0 deductible, and much more.  The cost to the students is approximately $1.15 for each day they are abroad.  For more information on coverage, please click here.
Is trip cancellation insurance available?
Trip cancellation insurance will be available for purchase at the time of application in case you are required to cancel after your trip arrangements have been made.  We currently do not require that you purchase trip insurance, but we always recommend it . . . Just in case!  Without trip insurance, you are responsible for all program costs should you need to cancel your participation in a program, regardless of the justification.  The trip cancellation insurance providers we recommend are Travelex Insurance, Travel Insured International, or Travel Guard but you're welcome to go with any provider you choose.  Insurance costs start at $132-$305 and range up to $228-$443, depending on the coverage you choose and the total cost of your trip. 
How do I sign up? 
The study abroad application process is much improved and requires minimal paperwork.  Click here and find the program that sparks your interest.  Login with your University network ID and your password and submit the online application.  Once you've completed each piece of the process satisfactorily, your application will be reviewed and you will be sent an electronic acceptance letter.  You will then receive e-mails from Katie Davidson with details on your pre-departure course and travel arrangements.

Do I have to be an Iowa State veterinary student to apply?
Not necessarily.  You must be a veterinary student enrolled at an accredited U.S. institution*, but you are still able to take our courses if your institution accepts ISU transfer credit.  You will have to work out your financial aid with your home institution, but any of these programs are possible, as long as you've completed your first or second year of vet school!  You will be assessed the summer tuition rate for 3 credits as well as an extra program fee to offset administrative costs.
Do you have any Pre-veterinary programs?
*Yes!  We recently opened up our Galapagos trip to Pre-vet/animal science/animal ecology/etc. undergraduate students and are looking at offering trips only to Pre-veterinary students in the future.  If you are a Pre-veterinary student and are interested in studying abroad on a Vet Med program during the summer please contact Katie Davidson.  If you are interested in undergraduate study abroad during the summer or for a semester or year, please contact Jodi Cornell in Global Agriculture Programs at jcornell@iastate.edu.
Are any of these locations dangerous?
There are elements of danger to any type of travel, international or domestic.  Several hours of your pre-departure course are devoted to safety and how to manage country-specific risks.  The course covers local crime, terrorism threats, animal behaviors, and health risks.  If the U.S. State department does not advise travel to a country when it is time for the students to go there, then the program does not go at that time.  Additional arrangements would be made if that situation occurs. 
Are there any non-ISU study abroad programs available to me?
Sure!  And depending on the experience you may or may not qualify for financial aid to assist you with costs.  Here are a few links to non-ISU study abroad experiences:
If my parents have questions or concerns can they contact someone?
All course concerns and information will be communicated through the student.  Students are free to communicate any or all information to their parents if they choose, but the students are taking the courses, therefore all details will be communicated only to students.  Please understand there are federal privacy regulations that restrict information given to those other than the students. Our office will not give out any student information over the phone or through e-mail to anyone but the student.  Not only does this keep the lines of communication clear and respect student privacy, but it better prepares the student for their trip abroad and ensures that they are responsible for their own safety and are taking charge of their learning experience.  Students are encouraged to contact Katie Davidson by phone or e-mail at any time if they have questions or concerns.
Have any other questions?
Please direct them to Katie Davidson at katied@iastate.edu or (515) 294-1501.  Or visit her in her office in 2270C Vet Med in the Office of Academic & Student Affairs.