Category Archives: Education Abroad

Use it or lose it – the $1200 study abroad voucher!

If you are a new or returning Chatham undergraduate student, you may have heard about the study abroad voucher.  If you haven’t heard about the study abroad voucher, read on!

Chatham University values international experiential learning and offers each full-time undergraduate student a $1200 study abroad voucher to use toward any credit bearing experience abroad.  Students can use their study abroad voucher toward a short term field experience such as a May term (Maymester) or summer term faculty led program.  Last Maymester, students used their vouchers towards short term programs in Taiwan, Indonesia, Brazil, Sweden and Greece.

Some students choose to use the $1200 study abroad voucher toward a semester or summer program, or toward an internship abroad. Chatham students have used their study abroad voucher toward a semester program studying literature in London, a health science internship in Ghana and toward a summer program on environmental sustainability in Iceland.

Kayla Clem summer 2014 Costa Rica study abroad

Chatham alumna Kayla Clem (2012) used her voucher to study in Costa Rica 

Students completing an International Studies Certificate in one of five regions of the world may be eligible for an additional $1800 toward a credit bearing experience abroad.

As part of the study abroad application process, Chatham students complete and submit an application including their advisor and department chair signatures. Once the student submits the study abroad application and is approved for study abroad, the study abroad voucher will be added to the aid package for the appropriate term along with the registration in the place holder course.  The voucher will then be posted with other aid at the start of the term.

If you are a Chatham undergraduate student in good standing, you are eligible to use your voucher after completing 30 credits (15 credits of which must have been completed at Chatham before your program begins).  But, as the title suggests, if you don’t use it, you lose it.  Don’t miss out, plan your experience abroad today!

When will you study abroad?  For more information about study abroad options or the study abroad process, please contact or visit us at the Office of International Affairs in Falk Hall, lower level.

How to get a passport to meet the Chatham Plan graduation requirement

The Chatham Plan requires all undergraduate students to have a passport by graduation.  Many students wonder how to apply for and get a passport.


Your first step is to visit – as the requirements state, you will need to present an original document, usually your birth certificate, as evidence of U.S. citizenship (which will be returned to you after your application is processed), photo identification, and a photocopy of that identification.

You will also need to have a passport photo taken. Many pharmacies and grocery stores provide this service. You must ask specifically for a “passport photo” because it needs to meet U.S. State Department requirements.

Next you will need to fill out an application. If you have never had a passport, you will complete form DS-11, gather your identification documents, passport photo and payment and apply in person.  In Pittsburgh, a convenient location is the Allegheny County Department of Court Records at the City County Building, located at 414 Grant Street.  You don’t need an appointment and the office is open from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm daily, with the exception of Wednesdays, when the office stays open until 7:30 pm. It is easy to get there from Chatham with the 71B or 71D public bus.

At your appointment you will submit your application, required documents and payment to the clerk.  It will take several weeks for your application to be processed and for your passport to arrive; there is an expedited option if you’re in a hurry.

For a video tutorial on the passport process, please see

Once you receive your passport, sign it and you are ready to travel! Study abroad or intern abroad and use your $1200 study abroad voucher toward your program.  Students completing an International Studies Certificate may be eligible for an additional $1800 toward study abroad.  Email to learn more.

Developing Women’s Leadership through Study Abroad!

Chatham University is very fortunate to be part of the Vira I. Heinz (VIH) Program for Women in Global Leadership.  In addition to a $5000 scholarship to be used toward study abroad during the summer after sophomore or junior year, this leadership program provides up to three Chatham undergraduate women with a comprehensive leadership development program.  Entry into the program is competitive and students must meet eligibility and application requirements. Awardees agree to participate in pre-departure and returnee retreats, as well as participate in a Community Engagement Experience in the fall semester following studying abroad.  During summer of 2016, the three Chatham VIH awardees are studying in Iceland, Scotland and Cuba.

Applications for the 2017 cohort are due on November 1. To learn more, including eligibility requirements, please see

Meg Scanlon summer 2016 Italy

VIH awardee (2015) and Chatham graduate (2016) Meg Scanlon in Italy

My Italian Study Abroad Experience

By Emily Schmidt, BA Visual Arts, 2015

The opportunity to study abroad twice during your college career is definitely not typical, and I knew I needed to carefully think about my decisions of where to go. It seemed counterproductive to go to the same city for the same experience, and I even considered choosing a different country, in some weird effort to soak up as much worldly knowledge and culture as possible. However, upon further thought I decided to go “an inch wide and a mile deep” rather than “a mile wide and an inch deep”. In other words, I’ve chosen to focus on Italian culture and language with the hope of becoming an expert and effectively making Italy my home away from home. To do this, I needed to stay away from the ultra-touristic cities such as Rome and Florence the second time around to round out my understanding of Italy.

My time living in Florence was the typical study abroad experience. For one summer month, I lived with a host family, took a couple classes each week, and saw almost every site and city of historical or cultural importance that Italy had to offer, including Rome, Venice, Milan, Verona, and Pisa. We hit 6 cities (2 per day) every weekend, and the month went by in a flash. Coming to Italy the second time, I felt that I had the cliché “must do” experience out of the way, allowing me to focus my energy on the people rather than the places. While in Viterbo, I’ve realized that the reason I love Italy so much is due less to the art and history (as incredible as it is) and more because of the people and culture. I’ve become accustomed to the easy-going lifestyle here, and no doubt I will begin to miss it as soon as I step on the plane home.

I’ve only recently realized just how much I love the people of Italy and I attribute that to my unique perspective of having studied here before and getting the “important” things out of the way. I am less worried about having to see all the famous sites and am now able to sit back, observe, and find my place among the people living in Viterbo. Studying abroad twice has also given me a unique perspective in watching my American friends discover Italy for the first time. I had a bit of an outsider’s perspective for the first two weeks as everybody around me oohed and awed at things that a short month in Florence had already hardened me for. I also realized I had once been in those shoes, and it was fun noting the things that made them gasp and laugh that I had forgotten about. I feel that in this way I’ve gained an interesting perspective on the experience of studying abroad, not just on the country itself.

I’ve learned a lot while abroad. Any tourist or student will find that learning Italian in a city like Rome, where everybody speaks English, is not much different than learning Italian in Pittsburgh where you speak the language for a couple hours per week and quit as soon as you leave the classroom. Living in a small town like Viterbo forces you to use what you know. I’ve also learned so much about Italian culture in general. I’ve seen the faster pace of the big city where everyone is doing something and going somewhere, and I’ve now seen the slower pace of a small town where tractors cruise down the main streets and people seem to have nothing to do but live la dolce vita. I’ve rounded out my understanding of culture and people in a way that would not have been possible in a singular experience.

Studying abroad has made me appreciate home in many ways. For one, I’ve realized how stable our economy is compared to Italy’s. Every Viterbo native I’ve talked with has spoken of the impossibility of finding work in Italy, allowing me to appreciate my silly summer job at McDonalds. Also, after my first trip abroad, I found myself in awe of the beauty of my own home. Italy is unquestionably a beautiful country and upon seeing it for the first time, it can leave you in shock. However, upon returning home, I realized the beauty of my own country, which I had previously taken for granted having lived there my entire life. I could compare the rolling hills of Italy to home, and even the Pittsburgh skyline had a new sheen I’d not previously realized.

The biggest advantage to studying in two different cities is being able to compare and contrast your experiences which allows you to constructively evaluate your time abroad. It is important to break it down and define your experiences to yourself, as this allows you to get more out of your time abroad. Living in two different cities in the same country will allow you to round out your understanding of a people and a culture, something I value greatly.