Types of Programs | Program Selection/Approval | Service Learning Programs | Eligibility and Requirements | Transfer Credit | Financial Aid | Pre-departure Checklist | Student Obligations

The following policies guide Georgia Gwinnett College (GGC) students who wish to study or perform service abroad.

Types of GGC Study Abroad Programs

Georgia Gwinnett College considers study abroad one of the most important experiences that the institution can offer its students. GGC sponsors a variety of study abroad programs, including spring break, maymester, summer, semester, and academic-year programs. These programs fall under the following categories:

GGC Faculty-Led Study Abroad Programs

The Office of Internationalization works with GGC’s academic schools to develop faculty-led study abroad programs. These programs are primarily spring break, maymester, and summer programs led and taught by GGC faculty members. The programs tend to focus on a particular topic or theme and generally attract between 10 and 20 students, though some programs may be larger. These programs grant GGC resident credit, and no course substitution or transient permission is necessary. Students participate in lectures, site visits, excursions, and tours as part of the program. These programs can last between ten days and six weeks. Students find the programs a great way to get to know their professors and other GGC students while earning GGC credits and grades. Financial aid and scholarships are available.

GGC Exchange Programs

Currently, GGC has formal exchange agreements with these foreign universities: Hanyang University (South Korea), Sookmyung University (South Korea), Vytautas Magnus University (Lithuania), Thai Nguyen University of Technology (Vietnam), University of Prizren (Kosovo), Nguyen Tat Thanh University (Vietnam), and such other universities as may be added from time to time.  GGC exchanges will offer semester or academic-year studies at a foreign university, and classes may be taught in the host language, English, or both. Exchange programs are among the most affordable study abroad options, as the costs are comparable to spending the semester at GGC. Students who are very independent tend to do well on exchange programs. These programs offer a high level of cultural immersion as GGC students take their courses at the overseas partner institution with local students. Financial aid and scholarships are available. Courses taken through GGC exchanges or with GGC exchange partner universities count as transfer credit. 

USG Affiliate Programs

In cases where one of the above-referenced GGC programs does not suit the student’s academic needs or interests, the student may choose from many other programs within the University System of Georgia such as the USG European Council programs or the USG Asia Council programs.  

GGC International Internships and Independent Study

Students interested in pursuing credit-bearing international internships or independent study under the supervision of a GGC professor should contact the Office of Internationalization. There are some additional requirements related to insurance and documentation, since the student is not on an organized study abroad program. No course substitution or transient permission is necessary. If a student pursues a non-GGC-supervised international internship, course approval and transient permission is required.

Back to top ]

Study Abroad Program Selection and Approval

Study Abroad Intake Process: Getting Started Account

The first step for GGC students interested in studying abroad is to contact the Office of Internationalization (OI) in order to create a Getting Started account in the GGC Education Abroad Portal. Students should make an appointment to visit in person. The Office of Internationalization’s goals for this initial intake process are as follows:

  1. Set appropriate student expectations regarding program options and requirements.
  2. Explain in detail the various study abroad program options available to GGC students.
  3. Verify that applicants are GGC students who meet the basic requirements, including number of collegiate credit hours and GPA. Students will also understand that certain study abroad programs may require a higher GPA or have other prerequisites.
  4. Discuss the basics of studying abroad, including choice of destination, types of programs, financial aid, availability of scholarships, credit transfer, passport/visa issues, and health and safety abroad.

It is the responsibility of the student to ensure that, through his/her advisor, this is the right course of study.

If the student needs to receive course approval, s/he will work with his/her designated point of contact (POC) for study abroad to make sure courses will count towards his/her academic program. If a student selects a non-GGC study abroad program, the student must obtain approval from his/her POC or faculty mentor as well as the appropriate dean. After this, depending on the type of program, the student will do one of the following:

For GGC Faculty-led Study Abroad Programs

  1. Meet with the faculty leading the study abroad program for initial approval to participate in the program.
  2. Apply for the program in the GGC Education Abroad Portal.
  3. Forms to be completed in the GGC Education Abroad Portal. 
    1. GGC Institutional Study Abroad Application Form
    2. Education Abroad Emergency Contacts
    3. Education Abroad Participant Health Statement
    4. Liability Participant Agreement-Adults OR Liability Participant Agreement-Minors
    5. Financial Aid Form (optional)
    6. Passport Information (including visa information for non U.S. citizens)

For Affiliate Programs and Non-GGC Study Abroad Programs

  1. Apply for the program in the GGC Education Abroad Portal.
  2. Complete and submit the following forms in the GGC Education Abroad Portal. 
    1. Study Abroad Course Approval Form (in order to receive credit approval)
    2. Education Abroad Emergency Contacts
    3. Education Abroad Participant Health Statement
    4. Liability Participant Agreement – Adults OR Liability Participant Agreement – Minors
    5. Financial Aid Form (optional)
    6. Passport Information (including visa information for non-U.S. citizens)
    7. Supplemental Education Abroad Information
    8. Copy of any and all forms completed for program provider
    9. GGC Request for Transient Permission Form** or a Consortium Agreement Form (unless advised otherwise)
    10. Course Substitution Form
  3. Obtain signatures of approval as part of their study abroad application and Individual advisement process from the following:
    1. School Point of Contact (POC) for study abroad
    2. School Dean
    3. Wellness Center Representative
    4. Office of Internationalization Assistant Director for Education Abroad

Note: Students for both GGC faculty-led study abroad programs and non-GGC study abroad programs are required to submit their applications within the published deadlines, as well as attend all mandatory pre-departure orientations.

Back to top ]

Service Learning Programs

Service learning is a form of study abroad, except that it may or may not be credit bearing. It focuses on contemporary global and transnational issues and emphasizes human connection, thereby challenging notions of nations and cultures. Service learning incorporates community work into students’ educational experiences, by providing real-world learning experiences that enhance students’ academic learning while providing a tangible benefit for the community in which activity occurs. The only existing international service learning program at GGC is the Global Civic Engagement Program, a non-credit service learning program which offers students non-credit experiences in activities which address human needs or learning about an international community. In many instances, the community and student/institution are equal partners. The program requires students to dedicate thought, time, and ability to working with communities to learn about local challenges, while digging into complicated questions of power, injustice, and inequality in a global context. Each gains from the other by having significant opportunities to reflect on their service and experiences and engage theory and knowledge reflexively with the experience. The Global Civic Engagement Program is organized by the Office of Internationalization; however, other GGC faculty/staff members may also establish and lead their own service-learning programs.

Service Learning Intake Process

Students interested in participating in a GGC service-learning program should do the following:

  1. Meet with the faculty or staff member leading the program for initial approval to participate in it.
  2. Complete and submit a GGC Institutional Service-Learning Application in the GGC Education Abroad Portal.

Note: Students for both study abroad and service learning programs are required to submit their service-learning applications within the published deadlines, as well as attend all mandatory pre-departure orientations.

Back to top ]

Eligibility and Requirements

  1. GGC students who wish to participate in study abroad programs must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5; students who wish to participate in service learning abroad must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0. 
  2. Students may not be on any form of academic probation, suspension, dismissal, warnings, or continued probation. 
  3. Certain study abroad programs may require higher GPAs or other prerequisites. 
  4. Students must have achieved the required GGC GPA by the application deadline of the study abroad program. 
  5. GGC students are eligible to study abroad participate in service-learning programs after completing a minimum of 24 collegiate credit hours by the program application deadline. Transfer students must complete a minimum of one full-time semester at GGC before they may study or serve abroad. International students wishing to study abroad should consult the Office of Internationalization to verify that their student visa will allow them to study or serve in the proposed host country.

Back to top ]

Transfer Credit for Study Abroad

Credit vs. Non-Credit

Not every experiential program abroad is credit bearing. For an education abroad program, students must be sure to verify whether it is credit bearing or not. If it is credit bearing, students must verify how many credits and whether the credits will transfer to their GGC program of study.

Affiliate Programs and Non-GGC Programs

GGC has agreements with several affiliate program providers, and students are encouraged to consider using one of these providers. For non-GGC and affiliate study abroad programs, courses will be reflected on another institution's transcript and will count as transfer credit at GGC. Please note the following important policies:

  1. Completed GGC Request for Transient Permission or a Consortium Agreement Form (unless advised otherwise), Course Substitution, and Study Abroad Course Approval forms are required prior to registering for the program. These forms allow students to plan how courses will transfer in. They also enable students to maintain student status at GGC for financial aid and other purposes.
  2. Courses may transfer as major, minor, core, or elective credit. The appropriate GGC school(s), in collaboration with the Registrar’s Office, will determine how the course(s) will transfer and how the course(s) will be applied towards degree requirements.
  3. GGC students should contact the Office of Internationalization as early in the planning process as possible to review the steps required for completing the transfer credit or transient permission approval process.
  4. Transfer credit will be given only for courses that are from accredited U.S. universities/colleges and/or operated by approved GGC study abroad affiliates or consortia.
  5. Other USG Programs: These programs include all public colleges and universities within the state. GGC students may be eligible to participate in study abroad opportunities through these institutions. Students should consider the following regarding USG programs:
    • USG programs tend to be around the same cost and are often led by a faculty member from the host USG institution. 
    • To participate in a program through another USG institution, students will need to apply as "transient" students to that school as well as apply to their particular study abroad program.
    • Each institution is different, so students should pay special attention to the instructions given to them by the contact person for that specific USG study abroad program.
  6. Foreign Language Programs/Schools: In order for credit to transfer to Georgia Gwinnett College, it must originate from an accredited institution of higher learning in the US or be evaluated by one of the approved credential/evaluation services.

Back to top ]

Financial Aid and Requirements

Financial Aid

GGC students can use their federal and state aid, including the HOPE Scholarship, for study abroad. Financial aid can be used on any study abroad program for which the student will receive academic credit. Students studying abroad for an academic year are eligible to apply for both the fall and spring grant competitions. Interested students should make an appointment to meet with Office of Internationalization or Financial Aid.

Important Note: While most students are able to use financial aid to assist with the cost of studying abroad, it is very likely that the student will need to cover these expenses up front and be reimbursed at a later date by financial aid or other scholarships. Due to federal regulations, these funds very rarely come through in time to use them to cover study abroad expenses in advance. Students should be aware of this and make arrangements to have their expenses covered in the meantime.

Securing Financial Aid for Study Abroad

Students should complete their FAFSA application well in advance of their term abroad. They should verify how their financial aid package will apply to their study abroad program. This is easily accomplished by meeting with a Financial Aid counselor.

International Education Fee (IEF) Stipends 

The GGC Study Abroad Grant Program is funded by a mandatory international education fee (IEF). The program has limited funds, and applications will be accepted as long as there are funds. Application deadlines are as follows:

Term AbroadDeadline
FallApril 15
SpringNov. 15
Maymester/SummerMarch 15
Criteria for IEF Stipends

All IEF stipend applicants must:

  1. Have been enrolled the previous semester and be working toward completion of a degree program at GGC,
  2. Have earned 24 credit hours, 
  3. Have a minimum institutional GPA of 2.5 (transfer GPA not considered),
  4. Be in the process of enrolling in a study abroad program for which they will receive academic credit. 

Note:

  • Meeting eligibility requirements and submitting an application do not guarantee an award.
  • IEF funds may not be used towards study in countries that are currently under a U.S. Department of State Travel Warning.
  • Maximum number of awards per student during his/her time at GGC: 2
Award Amounts

If approved for an IEF stipend, students may receive the following amounts:

  • Less than 28 days: $500
  • 28-41 days: $700
  • 42 days or longer: up to $1,500 (depending on availability of funds)
Considerations for determining award amounts for programs lasting four weeks or longer:
  • Financial need (based on applicant’s financial aid package),
  • Program sponsor (GGC or other),
  • Program location (traditional or non-traditional),
  • Previous international experience and OI funding,
  • Number of credits being earned (applicable only to maymester and summer programs)

Other Study Abroad Scholarships and Funding Sources

Students should contact the Office of Internationalization to inquire about other types of external scholarships and funding sources.

Back to top ]

Education Abroad Student Pre-departure Checklist

Be sure to check off all applicable items below before you depart for your program:

  1. Obtain/renew your passport and make sure it is signed and valid for at least six months after your return.
  2. Obtain a visa, if required.
  3. Determine whether your file is complete for your study abroad program with the Office of Internationalization.
  4. Meet with your academic advisor or school Point of Contact to discuss your course selection and have them approve your selection (see Study Abroad Approval Form).
  5. Finalize your financial aid (if applicable).
  6. For semester programs: Make necessary housing arrangements at GGC for your return.
  7. Learn about your host country.
  8. Pay any remaining program balance on your study abroad program.
  9. If you are registered at GGC: Pay your tuition and fees before departure.
  10. Obtain a medical release from your doctor allowing you to travel to the host country (if this is required).
  11. Finalize registration for courses if necessary.
  12. Register with the US Department of State Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).
  13. Reconfirm your flight(s) to your destination.
  14. Check your airline for any baggage restrictions.
  15. Make a copy of your passport and other important documents for your family.
  16. Make a list of all contact information in your host country. Carry a copy with you and leave one with your family.
  17. Bring copies of insurance cards, medical prescriptions, passport/visa, ID cards.
  18. Inform your credit card company and/or bank of your travel dates.

Summary of Student Obligations (Mandatory) for Study Abroad and Service Learning

For Study Abroad

Students ensure that, through their academic advisors, they choose the right course of study.

For Service Learning

Students ensure that, through their advisors, they choose the right service program.

All Students

  1. Complete, sign, and submit to the Office of Internationalization all required forms, including an application form, a Waiver of Liability, and the pre-departure checklist for their program within the published deadlines. Electronic forms must also be duly completed and submitted.
  2. Submit to the Office of Internationalization all required documents.
  3. Obtain signatures of approval as part of their study abroad application and individual advisement process.
  4. Attend all mandatory pre-departure orientations.
  5. Sign up for the US Department of State Smart Traveler Enrollment Program.
  6. Take all recommended travel prophylaxes/shots, and according to the recommended schedule.
  7. Secure and take with them all required travel documents, including passport, visa, and health card. Failure to do so would result in the student not traveling. GGC is not responsible for ensuring participants have the appropriate travel documents.

Back to top ]