Study Abroad Guidelines
Guidelines for Study Abroad Course Approval in Romance Languages
Romance Languages encourages all students to study abroad, especially our majors and minors. You'll need a number of approvals to study abroad:
- from the Center for International Education (CIE)
- from the program or institution where you plan to study, typically an application
- for coursework abroad, and
- for your plan of study from your academic advisor.
For guidelines on W&L approval of your study abroad plans, contact the Center for International Education. For guidelines on choosing a program and on course approvals, see below.
Fall and Winter-term Study Abroad
For All Students
W&L requires that you have a full-time course load approved prior to studying abroad. We are happy to approve the courses you need for a full-time course load, typically four courses. It is often the case that courses you register for while still at W&L are not available once you arrive at your study abroad destination, or that once abroad you decide to change your course selection. This is not a problem you should try to foresee or resolve prior to departure since all course approvals can be modified once you return to campus from study abroad. Course approvals are not transferred to your W&L transcript until after the study abroad transcript arrives in the registrar's office, often a month or more after you return to campus. Therefore, seek approval only for the courses you will need to carry the requisite full load, typically no more than four courses in all. If you are subsequently placed into a different course than the one approved, or decide to change courses while abroad, the changes required for credit approval can be made after you return to campus. Remember that no credit decisions are final until the university registrar processes your study abroad course transcripts, usually well after you return to campus from study abroad.
For Students Not Majoring or Minoring in Romance Languages
First Step: Choose a Program
This decision should be based on as much information as possible. W&L has many approved programs and CIE can help you understand some of the features of each program. Romance Languages faculty may be familiar with a few of the programs, but most of us have not been involved in the IE program approval process and are not familiar with the program choices. A basic difference that you may wish to consider in choosing a program is that most programs only allow you to study in classes made up entirely of international students taught outside of the regular university curriculum, as a kind of university extension program. A few programs allow you to study in regular university classes with native-speakers, as is the case with international students at W&L, or to take one or two classes with nativespeaker university students and the remainder with international students like yourself.
Second Step: Choose your Courses
Course choices are crucial to the successful integration of your study abroad plans into the completion of a major or minor. Choose the courses that interest you and discuss with your major advisor how these courses can complement your academic goals.
Third Step: Course Approvals
Post your course choices and the requisite information on the study abroad credit transfer website. It is especially important to clarify the ‘contact hours per week' and the ‘weeks of instruction,' without which we cannot give approval. If you are unsure about these details, contact the program and ask for a clarification. Once you post the course information on the study abroad website, request approval by contacting the Romance Languages department head (Chair). There is no automatic notification function on the website, so your request is the only way the approver will know to review your course selections. In your e-mail requesting approval, please identify yourself as a nonmajor, list the courses you have taken previously in the target language, and specify if you are seeking the FDR FL for any of your course choices. If the course(s) you choose for approval is language-focused and class meetings add up to the standard 45 hours, you will typically receive approval for 3 credits of 100-level language. This may be the appropriate designation even in cases where you have completed the FDR in the same language. Courses on culture and literature in the target language that do not have language skills as the main focus of the course may be approved at the 200 or 300 level for non-major credit.
If you are requesting credit for the requisite study-abroad language course (example: if you study in Italy, you must take one Italian language course), limit your request to one section of that course. If you are placed into a different section once you are abroad, we can acknowledge that change when you return to campus.
For ROML majors and French minors
First Step: Choose a Program
This decision should be based on as much information as possible. W&L has many approved programs and if you need guidance on understanding the program options and how to distinguish between them, please do avail yourselves of all the resources offered by CIE. Romance Languages faculty may be familiar with a few of the programs, but most of us have not been involved in the IE program approval process and are not familiar with the program choices. An important difference that you may wish to consider in choosing a program is that most programs only allow you to study in classes made up entirely of international students taught outside of the regular university curriculum, as a kind of university extension program. A few programs allow you to study all the courses you need for a full-time load exclusively in regular university classes with native-speakers, as is the case with international students at W&L, or to take one or two classes with regular university students and the remainder with international students like yourself. These are excellent options for majors and French minors since the classroom experience offers invaluable cultural insights.
Second Step: Choose your Courses
Course choices are crucial to the successful integration of your study abroad plans into the completion of a major or French minor. Choose the courses that interest you in consultation with your major/French minor advisor about how these courses complement your studies. Romance Languages expects you to take the majority of your major/minor coursework on campus, but we also encourage you to expand the breadth of your coursework and to improve your language skills and cultural knowledge through study abroad. Study abroad programs that are most suitable to majors and French minors will offer a variety of in-depth courses in literature and culture that are country specific, and therefore greatly expand the range of intellectual inquiry available to you.
Third Step: Course Approvals
Have your preferred courses approved by contacting the Romance Languages department head (Chair). Although it is possible that the courses you choose won't be available once you arrive at your study abroad site, or once there that you will decide to take a different course, limit your requests for approval to the number of courses required for a full course load, typically no more four courses in all. If placement tests or course availability abroad require changes in course choices, approvals can be modified after you return to campus. Please remember that W&L does not grant credit for internships alone. French faculty have created an option for students to receive credit for a previously approved internship through additional coursework in the semester subsequent to study abroad, via French 450. For this option, you must first gain course approval from a professor of French.
Romance Languages will grant credit for a wide variety of courses that you may wish to take abroad in the target language, but we also need to ensure that your major or French minor reflects the curricular aims of our programs. For this reason the courses taken abroad for major credit and the course expectations for the 200 and 300-level courses in our own program should be equivalent (equivalent amounts of reading, writing, and testing). In some cases the course syllabi provided by programs or universities abroad prior to departure are not sufficient to determine equivalency. In these cases, we may initially grant non-major credit at the appropriate level and wait for you to return to campus with relevant syllabi and coursework before assigning the appropriate credit. For this reason, keep all course syllabi and all coursework completed for any courses for which you wish to obtain major credit, especially if you wish to request more specific equivalents, such as SPAN 397, 398, or FREN 261, 273, or 397, since such course-specific approvals can only be made with sufficient evidence of equivalence to departmental coursework.
Remember that all credit assignments can be modified after you return from study abroad since the transfer of your coursework to a W&L transcript only occurs once the University Registrar has received your transcript from abroad, typically a month or more after you return to campus.
Summer Study Abroad
Romance Languages encourages all students to consider study abroad in the summer months, especially those students who cannot be away from campus during the standard academic year.
W&L requires a minimum of four weeks of study abroad for consideration of credit approval.