Advising for Study Abroad
Study abroad allows students to explore the world for a summer, winter session, semester, or a year while earning credit. Students are eligible to choose from over 1,000 SUNY programs, virtually anywhere in the world, and in a range of disciplines. Students may attend a college or university, participate in an internship, student teach, or join a short-term specialized program. Students who study abroad describe their experiences as life changing. Surveys that have explored the long-term impact on a student’s personal, professional, and academic life show that the experience positively influences their career paths, world-view, and self-confidence. Students return with enhanced interest in academic study, a greater understanding of their own cultural values and biases, and skill sets that have positively influenced their careers. In most cases, studying abroad will not delay degree completion. Faculty Academic Advisors are often called upon to motivate students to study abroad, discuss study abroad options, evaluate courses for academic credit, and advise return study abroad students. This translates into advisors needing knowledge, tools, and resources. The International Programs Office is available to support academic advisors in their work with students before, during, and after a study abroad experience. The following information and resources, although not all inclusive, should assist you as you advise students. For additional questions or information please feel free to contact the SUNY Cortland International Programs Office.
Assisting Students Considering Study Abroad FAQs
Study Abroad Course Equivalency Charts
Advising International Students
The International Programs Office (IPO) is pleased to provide this brief guide to faculty advisors of matriculated undergraduate international students, defined as students holding non-immigrant status in the United States. While international students have met SUNY Cortland’s admissions standards and are held to the policies and expectations the College has established for all students, many face one or more of the following unique challenges:
- Many are studying in the U.S. for the first time and may be unfamiliar with the U.S. classroom culture and expectations, such as those related to attendance, completing assignments, class participation, and use of syllabi.
- While they have all met the College’s English language requirements, this may be the first time many are completely immersed in an English language environment, both inside and outside of the classroom.
- All international students are subject to the laws and restrictions established by the federal regulations, policies, and procedures related to students in non-immigrant visa status.
As faculty advisors, you are no doubt attuned to these issues, but you may not be aware of how they may influence a particular international student’s immigration status. The International Programs Office therefore offers the following information and suggestions, and requests your assistance in helping the student and the College comply with the federal immigration requirements.
- The College and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security have designated the IPO’s international student advisor and director as having sole responsibility for advising international students on their immigration status and visas. Faculty advisors should refer all student questions about immigration and visas to the IPO.
- International students can only maintain their visa status if they are “making normal academic progress”. Because they often spend at least their first two semesters adjusting to U.S. culture, teaching methods, and English language, we suggest that students limit their enrollment to 12-15 credits, at least in the first semester. Students and their advisors have also found that it may be best to postpone taking a freshman composition or other writing-intensive course until the second semester. This does not generally apply to international matriculated students who have transferred from other institutions.
- All matriculated international students who are non-native English speakers are required to complete a language assessment exam through the Modern Languages Department (MLD) before classes begin to determine if Academic English support courses would be beneficial. If the MLD assessment team recommends a student take one or more of these courses, the recommendation is placed in the student’s advisement file. All non-native English speakers are registered for the three academic support courses before arrival to campus, but students can drop any of the courses not recommended by the MLD assessment team. If a student chooses not to take one of the recommended courses, they and their advisor must sign a waiver form acknowledging that they are dropping a recommended course.
- Matriculated students who are non-native English speakers may be able to satisfy their foreign language requirement, if applicable. Upon payment of their acceptance deposit, the IPO will forward high school or other transcripts to the Modern Language Department Chair and then to the Associate Dean for review. If approved, the Associate Dean will indicate on the student’s CAPP that their foreign language requirement has been met.
- International students are responsible for maintaining their immigration status and often have to perform a number of immigration procedures that parallel our academic ones. SUNY Cortland, through the IPO, must also comply with federal reporting requirements. If students, faculty, or staff do not follow these procedures in the prescribed order, the student could lose their immigration status and the College’s ability to enroll international students could be jeopardized. In the following circumstances these students must complete immigration procedures through the IPO before performing academic procedures:
- change of major
- change of level (e.g., Bachelor's to Master's) program
- any off-campus learning experience that is integral to their curriculum (e.g., required work, internship, practicum, field placement, volunteer service, or other practical experience)
- dropping below full-time enrollment of 12 credits (undergraduates) or 9 credits (graduates)
- leave of absence
- study abroad
- transfer to another institution
- graduation before program completion date on immigration documents
- suspension, dismissal, or expulsion
- In order to maintain status, international students must be enrolled on a full-time basis every semester, excluding annual vacation periods in between semesters in which they are taking classes. Undergraduates must enroll for at least 12 credits, and graduate students must enroll for at least 9 credits (or the equivalent in required thesis or internship work). The federal regulations governing student non-immigrant status, however, do recognize certain specific exceptions, quoted below, with prior authorization from the IPO:
If a student asks about dropping or withdrawing from a course, and that action will leave them with less than full-time status, then please have them make an appointment with IPO to discuss how this will affect their immigration status. If you believe that one of the above reasons applies to the student’s situation, please provide a brief memo to the international student advisor recommending that a student drop a course or courses and for which reason. The international student advisor must authorize the drop below full-time status in the government database prior to the student dropping the course.
- Illness or medical condition (requires a doctor's written recommendation; includes mental health conditions; student can drop down to zero credits)
- Improper course level placement (student may not drop below six credits)
- Initial difficulty with reading requirements (in first semester only; student may not drop below six credits)
- Initial difficulty with English Language (in first semester only; student may not drop below six credits)
- Unfamiliarity with American teaching methods (in first semester only; student may not drop below six credits)
- To complete a course of study in the current term (meaning, they are in their final semester; student may drop down to .5 credit)
- Graduate students that have a graduate/teaching assistantship may take less than 9-credits per semester
- International students may not take more than one on-line or distance-learning course of three credits or less per semester. Hybrid courses are counted as half of a course, so students can take no more than two hybrid courses in one semester.
- International students are never allowed to work off-campus, or do any paid or unpaid experience off-campus, without first obtaining authorization through the IPO’s international student advisor and, in some cases, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). Students may work on-campus up to 20 hours per week while school is in session and 29 hours per week when school is not in session. Please encourage the international student to check with the IPO before completing basic academic procedures. Your help is much appreciated.
Questions? Please contact Daniela Baban Hurrle, Assistant Director, e-mail.
Hosting International Visiting Scholars
Visiting international scholars contribute to the intellectual and cultural vitality of our campus by sharing their academic or professional expertise, different perspectives, and culture. Hosting a scholar can be an enriching experience, but host faculty and departments should recognize that it requires a commitment to providing a meaningful and rich experience.
Role of Sponsoring Department/Unit
The department or unit contracting with the professor should work out all details regarding appointments, housing, logistics, workload, compensation, office space, and insurance. Equally important, the department should be prepared to assist the visitor with settling into life in Cortland and the campus community, and should ensure that the visitor is well integrated into the academic and social activities of the department. Please consult the checklist for Preparing for an International Visitor for a list of steps to take to prepare to host a scholar.
Role of the International Programs Office
The sponsoring department or unit should advise the International Programs Office of the intent to bring an international scholar or professor to Cortland by completing an Intention to Host form. The International Programs Office will advise the department of immigration regulations, insurance requirements, and other important matters. The International Programs Office will work with the department and scholar to process the documents required for their visa and social security applications, and can serve as a resource to the department, providing advice on planning the visit and resolving questions.
Early planning is essential. The process of applying to a U.S. consulate for a visa often takes over three months. On-going communication among all of the offices at Cortland involved in handling the various aspects of bringing faculty members to campus can help ensure a productive visit. Please contact the International Programs Office by email or 753-2209 as early as possible to determine the appropriate visa category for your visitor.
Developing Study Abroad Programs and Partnerships
SUNY Cortland offers over 50 international programs, many in partnership with universities and organizations abroad. Programs provide opportunities for students to study, intern, or student teach abroad, and for faculty to engage in international scholarly exchange. Each program is closely connected to one or more academic departments that are actively engaged in developing and promoting these overseas academic opportunities to students. If you are a faculty member or department interested in developing a partnership, program, or short-term course abroad, please contact the International Programs Office for information on the international program proposal process.
Invite a Study Abroad Peer Advisor into Your Classroom
Would you like to donate some of your class time to tell your students about all that studying abroad has to offer? Invite a Study Abroad Peer Advisor into your classroom! Each Peer Advisor is a returned student who has recently studied abroad. The experience and international expertise of our Peer Advisors can invigorate your class and get students excited about the possibilities of studying abroad.
If you would like to schedule a Peer Advisor presentation for your class, please contact Hugh Anderson.
Funding For Faculty Exchange
Funding Resources for Faculty Exchange
- SUNY Global - Turkish Fellowship for Faculty Exchange: For short-term and long-term collaboration between Turkish universities and SUNY campus (contact IPO for more information)
- DAAD (Germany)
- Fulbright Scholar Programs (e.g., Fulbright Flex Awards, Fulbright Postdoctoral and Career Awards, Fulbright Specialist Program) website
- Fulbright Country Programs (e.g., Fulbright Canada) website
- Find other U.S. Department of State-sponsored programs under "Related Programs" here
- The Clark Center for Global Engagement Newsletter often lists other external faculty fellowship, seminar, teaching, and research opportunities.
Payment arrangements for faculty exchange are made on a case-by-case basis, depending on policies and teaching needs of the two institutions. Below are several examples of salary arrangements:
- If the SUNY Cortland and the faculty member from a partner institution are exchanging teaching duties during the fall or spring semesters, each faculty member usually retains their own salary.
- Sometimes, however, the host institution pays the salary; for example, if the arrangement does not involve a faculty-to-faculty exchange, but rather, a one-way visiting teaching appointment.
- For teaching abroad during summer or winter breaks, the SUNY Cortland faculty member generally makes salary arrangements directly with their host institution.
- SUNY Cortland faculty members on sabbatical may be eligible to receive sabbatical salary as approved by the College.
For International Scholars
Welcome to SUNY Cortland! The International Programs Office is committed to providing you and any accompanying family members with the support necessary to ease your transition to the Cortland community. Below are some links to information to help you prepare for your stay at SUNY Cortland. Please contact us is you have any questions.
Link to: SUNY Cortland Scholar Guide, SUNY J-1 Exchange Visitor Program, SUNY Participant Guide for Exchange Visitors (link), U.S. Department of state welcome brochure (link)