Ultimately, it is up to you to find a program that fits your needs. Use the resources below to aid you in your search.
What types of Independent programs are there?
Provider programs are programs offered by a non-profit or for-profit company, or other U.S. educational institution. These programs usually have a central administrative office that supports students on their programs beginning with initial advising, through to application, placement and support throughout the term abroad. This central office is often based in the United States and many providers have satellite offices located at their program sites abroad. Providers negotiate direct placement at host institutions around the world or they may be custom designed programs that offer an academic focus tailored to U.S. students. For this reason, you may hear these programs referred to as "third party" programs.
In choosing a provider program, it is important to consider two things:
- Does the provider work with an accredited institution abroad or is the provider itself accredited?
- What level of student support do you require from the provider?
You should check with your provider to find out if the institution issuing the official transcript for your program is accredited.
Provider programs offer a wide range of support to their students. Some provide complete support with advising for program selection, pre-departure processes, visas, travel, in-country support, full medical insurance, etc. Others may only provide placement and minimal housing assistance. The overall cost of the program may reflect these differences so it is important to see what you will receive for the fees you pay. Regardless of program, UC Davis Study Abroad and UC Davis are not involved in administering provider programs and cannot provide assistance with visas, travel, pre-departure orientation, or in-country logistics. Therefore, it is important to determine what level of support you will require, ask questions accordingly, and choose a provider that suits your needs.
"Direct Enrollment" Programs
Many foreign universities allow U.S. students to apply directly to their institution as a short-term visiting international student. This process does not involve any third-party intermediary. Instead, students work directly with the host institution's international student office or admissions office – thus the term "direct enrollment."
You will need to contact the institution directly to ask if they are accredited with the accrediting body in their country.
Application processes, selection and in-country support will vary widely and will differ by institution. You will need to contact the institution directly to determine if they accept visiting students and, if so, what the process is and what services they provide. For example, some provide on campus housing, some assist with local housing, some provide no support. Some may assist students in obtaining student visas, others will leave it to the student to obtain visas on their own. Some have special international programs, others allow students to enroll in any course on offer.
It will be your responsibility to obtain a transcript and ensure the proper documents are provided to UC Davis Undergraduate Admissions upon return.
Direct enrollment programs represent a unique immersion opportunity that challenges students to be resourceful and fully independent. However, direct enrollment is also the most unstructured study abroad option. Students interested in direct enrollment MUST be highly organized and willing to work independently with various international agencies (consulates, local immigration, landlords/housing agencies, insurance providers, etc.). Students must also be responsible for setting their own deadlines to coordinate visa applications, travel and arrival logistics, housing, etc. In short, students must have a high tolerance for uncertainty and risk.