The study abroad advisors welcome contact from families who often have different concerns and questions than students, especially in areas of health and safety, career development, and costs.
Trinity expects students to work as productively abroad as if they were still at Trinity. Work abroad should be considered an integral part of the degree.
The first advising appointment focuses on the student's academic needs and goals and how a portion of that can be successfully completed abroad. During this appointment advisors and students discuss university degree requirements and the limitations or exceptions for study abroad credit within those requirements. Departments and faculty advisors also help the student to understand how study abroad credit can be applied to majors and minors.
All credit abroad is approved, within the general guidelines for such credit as outlined in the Trinity catalog*, as elective hours toward graduation; and individual classes may be approved for the major, minor, or Pathways. A class does not always have to match a Trinity class in order to be approved. Often, it only needs to meet the intent of the requirement and generally satisfy the standards of the University.
Students abroad for a semester remain full-time Trinity students at all times. Upon receipt of an official transcript or grade report for the work completed abroad by Registrar’s Office at Trinity, a copy is sent to the Study Abroad office for review and notation. After the review is completed the Office the Registrar will post each course title, grade, and credit (in U.S. terms) to the student's Trinity record.
Except for classes completed in a Trinity Faculty-Led program, grades earned abroad do not figure into the GPA, but graduate and professional schools may recalculate the GPA to include all grades.
Students are expected to maintain a full-time registration abroad, and It also requires permission to drop below 14 semester hours. Work done abroad requires a grade and cannot be done pass/fail. All classes, with the corresponding grades listed, will be posted to the Trinity transcript to include failing grades.
Safety is always a concern, and no place is 100% safe, of course. In order for Trinity to approve any program or foreign institution, there must be sufficient staff, training, experience, and resources on-site to assist students in an emergency no matter how unexpected or unlikely. We do not approve study in areas under a State Department travel warning, but sometimes events occur with no warning even as they do in the US.
However, the most common crime abroad is theft. The most common causes of injury or death abroad are traffic accidents and anything related to alcohol or drugs. The same is probably true for every campus in the United States, including Trinity.
The dangers are the same, but, realistically, students need to learn how to prepare for and respond to safety issues in a new cultural context. For instance, the emergency number 911 does not work abroad so students need to learn the local emergency numbers upon arrival.
We devote a great deal of attention to these issues in our orientation materials, emphasize it again in the Study Abroad Manual, and spend a portion of every pre-departure session talking personally with students about this. We know that families add their own good advice to our words of caution. Programs and institutions abroad also address these issues in a more site-specific context within their own pre-departure materials and on-site orientations.
Finally, we also expect students to prepare themselves by learning as much as possible about the culture they are entering (language, laws, customs, local issues, manners, etc.) and by taking full advantage of the advice and preparation available to them.