The Visa – Not just a credit card

To travel outside the United States or your home country, you need a passport. Please see previous post on How to Get a Passport to Meet the Chatham Plan Graduation Requirement.

Sometimes, you also need an additional document called a Visa.  A visa is official permission from a country for you to visit. It is usually a stamp in your passport, but is also sometimes a piece of paper or electronic document that states how long you are allowed to stay in that country and in what capacity (tourist, study, business or other).


Some of the countries that require US Citizens to have an entry visa currently include Brazil, China and Vietnam.  Other countries require a visa for study abroad if you will be in the country for a certain length of time, such as France, Italy and Spain.  Many countries require a visa if you will complete an internship while abroad, including the United Kingdom.

You should apply for a visa through the foreign country’s embassy in the United States several weeks or months in advance.  To apply for a visa, go to the country’s consulate website and find out the requirements, process of application and the fee.  Each country will have different requirements; however, countries usually require proof of funds to support the student while abroad, proof of enrollment, proof of travel, proof of housing in country, and sometimes fingerprints, or other biometrics.

Some countries may require a student to appear in person to obtain his or her visa. For some countries, students may be able to use a visa service that acts as a stand in for the student.  This visa service will charge the student an additional fee plus mailing charges.

Most study abroad providers have experience assisting their incoming students in the visa process.  Generally it is a good idea to find out about visa requirements and begin the visa application as soon as possible once you confirm your study abroad plans.

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.

Maymester 2017 Chatham Field Experiences

Maymester 2016 field experience in Brazil

For students looking for an intensive travel experience and a  great introduction to study abroad, Chatham field experiences offer short term faculty-led study abroad programs during which students earn 3 credits.  Chatham field experiences are held during Maymester (May 1- May 19, 2017), though the exact travel dates of each field experience are not yet confirmed.  Each Chatham field experience is preceded by a 3 credit prerequisite spring semester 2017 course.

2017 field experiences:

  • Canada – Our Northern Neighbors (Dr. Sweet-Cushman and Dr. Cruger) spring 2017 prereq. POL 313: Special Topics: The Politics of Identity and Multiculturalism in the US and Canada
  • Japan – Kansai Cuisines (Dr. Kingsbury and Mr. Musick) spring 2017 prereq. FST/HIS 234: Asian Foodways or two semesters of Japanese language
  • Portugal – Empire, Dictatorship and Identity in Modern Europe (Dr. Rossbach and Dr. Rubin) spring 2017 prereq. POL 217: European Identities
  • Spain – Global Health Perspectives (Dr. Appasamy and Dr. Williams-Hatala) Prerequisites for undergraduate biology/health science, BIO143 and BIO144; for undergraduate nursing students, BIO116 and BIO 117. For students in other majors, prerequisites will be approved on a case by case basis. Health science graduate students have no prerequisite course.

To be eligible, full-time undergraduate students – first year, sophomores, juniors and seniors – must have completed 30 or more undergraduate credits as of time of travel, including at least 15 credits completed at Chatham at the time of travel. Students must have a GPA of 2.0 or higher and good academic, judicial and financial standing.  Graduate students must have the approval of their academic advisor and the program leader of their chosen field experience.

Maymester 2016 field experience in Taiwan


Eligible undergraduate students may use their $1200 study abroad voucher toward a Maymester field experience, which reduces the program fee for these programs.

At the application website,, students create a user profile and then apply to the program of interest by completing the required forms.  The application deadline for the field experiences is October 14, 2016.  Acceptance decisions will be given to applicants by October 24, 2016. Registration for spring 2017/MM 2017 begins on November 1.

Once accepted to a program, students must submit a $100 deposit by November 9.  Students must read, initial each section, sign and return Contract for Participation in Maymester 2017 Field Experience by 4 PM on November 9, 2016.  In spring 2017, students must take (or must have already taken) the prerequisite course for the field experience and pass the course.  Students must attend and fulfill requirements of prerequisite course and attend all pre-departure meetings and orientations. Students must also have a passport with at least six months validity remaining after program return date.  Students who don’t have a passport or have a passport that is expiring this year should apply or renew now.

For more information on these programs, please review and contact the program leader or with any questions.

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

When will you study abroad? A study abroad checklist

OK, so you are interested and you’ve heard about some great programs overseas that you think might work for you. But just how do you make study abroad happen?

  • Talk to Chatham Study Abroad Ambassadors. Their photos are on the Study Abroad bulletin board outside the Copy Center (Falk lower level) and they are wearing the “I studied abroad t-shirts”  Study Abroad Ambassadors can provide tips for a smooth process and a first hand student account of the steps they took to study abroad.
I studied abroad
…Ask me where
study abroad board
Check out the Study Abroad Ambassador board in Falk lower level!
  • Come to the Study Abroad Fair. This year, the fair will be held on Tuesday, September 13 from 11 am – 2pm in Mellon Board Room. At the fair, you can find out more about Maymester programs, exchange programs, scholarships, provider programs and talk to returned study abroad students. Don’t miss it!
  • Visit the Study Abroad Library in Coolidge 025. This is a wonderful resource that you can use for inspiration in planning your study abroad experience.
  • Mention study abroad to your academic advisor and ask about the best timing for your major. There may be an ideal time for you study abroad. Don’t let it pass you by.
  • Schedule a meeting with the study abroad coordinator to discuss options and your next steps.  Once you’ve found the program that is right for you, submit your application.  You will also need to submit Chatham’s Study Abroad Application to make sure you are approved for the coursework you plan to take overseas.

Soon you’ll be on your way to an international experience that meets your academic needs

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


New Semester Welcome and a Snapshot of International Student Demographics

New Semester Welcome and a Snapshot of New International Student Demographics

During the orientation this fall, the Office of International Affairs welcomed 73 new international students from about 20 countries all over the world.

Chart 1: Percentage of students by program

Chart 3

*Note. This chart only shows the statistics for NEW international students and does not include returning international students.

Apart from students attending a degree program at Chatham, we have always had a large group of students who are enrolled in various international non-degree seeking programs, including the English Language Program, the Chatham Semester Program, the Chatham International Internship Program, and Exchange and Partner programs.

In terms of countries of origin, Table 1 shows the largest sending countries to Chatham.

Table 1: Countries of origin

Table 1

Other countries that our new international students represent include Albania, Canada, Dominican Republic, Germany, Iran, Mexico, Nigeria, Norway, Thailand, the UK, Venezuela, and Vietnam. We are delighted to see so much diversity among our international population.

One noticeable change this year is that we have fewer Saudi students due to the change in the Saudi scholarship program. This change has resulted in a sharp decline of Saudi students in programs all over the country, not only at Chatham. At its peak, the English Language Program had 78 Saudi students out of 110 students enrolled full-time and part-time in the program. We are making efforts to further diversify the international student population, promote international programs and Chatham to the local and international communities, and develop new programs as needed by new partners and students.

Welcome all new international students to Chatham! We wish everyone a great semester and academic year!

Fifth Anniversary at Chatham

By Linh Phung, English Language Program Director

August 22 was my fifth anniversary of working at Chatham full time. Today was my sixth Opening Convocation. How time flies! I found the speech that I gave at the Opening Convocation for the Global Focus Year of Vietnam and a picture of me wearing a “restyled” ao dai on that day. It has been five years full of challenges, opportunities, and accomplishments. Here’s to a successful academic year to all!

Vietnamese Ao Dai
Vietnamese Ao Dai

Xin Chào everyone, Distinguished president Barazzone, vice president Armesto, trustees,

Dear Chatham community,

My name is Linh Phung. I worked at Chatham as an ESL adjunct instructor for the two previous semesters and am now working full time in the English Language Program in the office of International Affairs.

First of all, I’d like to say how honored I am to be here at Chatham during the year of Vietnam and to be invited to talk to you today about my home country. It’s a wonderful opportunity for me to share my perspectives about my country as an insider. It’s also a wonderful opportunity for me to look at my country when I’m away from it – to look at it from your perspectives. I appreciate living between cultures, and Global Focus is a great intercultural space to promote understanding, compassion, and reflection.

If you look at Vietnam on the map, you will see an S shape bordered by China to the North, Laos and Cambodia to the West and the vast East Sea to the East. Writers describe the country as a beautiful girl with attractive curves. Yet, it also looks like a jagged lightning bolt. The fact is that this beautiful girl has attracted a lot of international attention throughout history. A Vietnamese girl can be gentle, but she can also be strong, or even fierce when necessary. She has been caught in the storms of wars many times throughout History. Our country’s fight to maintain our own identity as Vietnamese, our language, our culture has always been intense and sometimes ferocious.

Some other authors liken the country to a bamboo pole carrying a heavy basket of rice hanging from each end. It is still a common sight in Vietnam to see a farmer carrying this pole on their shoulders to transport their harvested produce from the field to their homes or to the market. This apt comparison refers to the fact that the expansive Red River delta in the north and vast Mekong River delta in the south are the biggest rice producing areas in the country. In fact, Vietnam is among the top three rice exporting countries in the world.

While agriculture still accounts for a big proportion of the Vietnamese economy, other economic sectors are developing fast. Vietnam has been one of the fastest growing economies for the past few decades with bustling cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, full of opportunities and excitement. Vietnamese students here in the U.S. tell me that they often hear this advice: “if you want to get rich, go back to Vietnam.” There is certainly a lot of economic and social advancement and rapid progress in Vietnam.

Interestingly enough, despite its status of being a developing country Vietnam has been rated as one of the happiest countries in the world. This probably stems from the fact that we often have a positive and calm outlook about the world. We smile all the time. We are always surrounded by family and friends. It’s also a country where people think they can move up the social and economic ladder through education.

It was a pity that last year I couldn’t go back to Vietnam to celebrate, Hanoi, our capital’s 1000th anniversary. I’m so glad to be a part of this wonderful celebration of my country during this academic year at Chatham. I feel like home away from home. Thank you very much and I’m looking forward to meeting many of you!

2015-2016 Achievements and 2016-2017 Opportunities: A Focus on International Education

Fall2014.jpgThe 2015-2016 academic year saw bustling international activities at Chatham University. In the past year, 200 international students have made Chatham their home. These include undergraduates, graduates, English Language Program (ELP) students, Chatham Semester students, Chatham International Internship students, and Exchange students. In particular, a third of the students attended the English Language Program, which has been the largest program in terms of international student enrollments in the past few years.

International End-of-Term Celebration
International End-of-Term Celebration

Coming from 30 different countries (Angola, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Finland, Germany, Guatemala, India, Iran, Japan, South Korea, Kuwait, Libya, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Nepal, Nigeria, Nicaragua, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, Uganda, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, and Vietnam), international students have brought so much richness and diversity to the University.

Students in their country's traditional clothes
Students in their country’s traditional clothes

Apart from international students, Chatham has welcomed over 60 visitors from overseas universities and organizations, including 14 international educational leaders participating in a leadership training program organized by the U.S. Department of State. Moreover, throughout the year, the award-winning Global Focus program offered numerous stimulating events on the theme of climate change to the Chatham and Pittsburgh communities. One of the highlights of the program was a series of speeches and lectures from Dr. Richard Alley, a co-Nobel prize winner, professor at the Pennsylvania State University, and author of Earth: The Operator’s Manual.

Professor Richard Alley's Lecture at Chatham
Professor Richard Alley’s Lecture at Chatham

Furthermore, in Maymester and summer 2016, about 100 Chatham undergraduate and graduate students participated in various study abroad programs to expand their knowledge and perspectives in their field of study. These programs included Maymester field experiences in Brazil, Greece, Indonesia, Sweden, Taiwan, Peru, and Chile and summer field experiences in Prague and London, Ecuador, and Germany. Summer study abroad students also studied and/or completed internships in Iceland, Cuba, Scotland, Morocco, Japan, Taiwan, India, and Korea.

Kayla Clem summer 2014 Costa Rica study abroad

The 2016-2017 academic year promises to be another exciting year in the international arena at the University. The Chatham community is excited to have Dr. David Finegold as the 19th president of the university, who cares deeply about global education and has a vision to develop Chatham into a world-class and world-known university. Although the number of Saudi students in the English Language Program has greatly declined due to the changes in the Saudi scholarship program, we are delighted to see more diversity among new international students. Albania, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, and Norway are a few more countries that our new students represent. We also welcomed the first students from new partner universities, including Baika Women’s University, Okayama University, and Hochschule Reutlingen University. Over seventy new international students arrived safe and sound on campus, and participated in an informative and engaging week-long orientation program that ended with the Opening Convocation and Global Focus Picnic on Sunday, August 28. All are excited and ready to start the new academic year.

Opening Convocation Fall 2016
Opening Convocation Fall 2016

Among internationally focused programs at Chatham, we are proud to witness the great success of the first two cohorts of 29 students enrolled in the International Master of Science in Nursing program and excited to welcome the third cohort of 11 students. As a collaboration between Chatham University and Shanghai University of Medical Health Sciences, the program has demonstrated the effectiveness of a well-orchestrated collaboration within the university and across borders to offer the best education and services possible to the students. The success of the first two cohorts has resulted in the establishment of Chatham’s first international alumni chapter in Shanghai.

MSN Students with Some Members of the International Team
MSN 2016 Students with Some Members of the International Team

On the study abroad front, Chatham field experiences to Canada, Ecuador, Japan, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom have been developed to engage more students in Maymester 2017 and summer 2017.

The Global Focus Year of Canada will bring programming around 4 themes: The First Nations of our northern neighbor, Multiculturalism, the Northwest Passage, and Canada-United States comparisons. A wonderful collection of short stories by Ojibway writer Richard Wagamese entitled One Native Life is readily available around campus for your reading pleasure.

Finally, the Office of International Affairs, the English Language Program, and the Modern Languages Program hope to bring more people together for intercultural exchange and discussion through the Conversation Partner Program, Conversation Hours, Global Mixer, International Karaoke Night, and International Education Symposium, to name a few programs and activities scheduled for fall 2016. Best wishes to a great year ahead!

A Summer Filled With Adventures for ELP Students

A Summer Filled With Adventures for ELP Students

Mount Washington

By Brigette Bernagozzi, ELP Lecturer

Our ELP students have enjoyed a busy summer filled with many new adventures! Our first summer session included a visit to the Heinz History Center exhibit called “Toys of the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s.” Students learned about dolls, games, and other sources of entertainment for children during the different decades of American history.  We were even encouraged to try our hand at the pinball machines and retro video games, including Ms. PacMan.

In May, we visited Chatham’s Eden Hall campus. Students and teachers spent the morning in the garden, watering crops and constructing planting beds. After our hard work in the sun, we gathered in the beautiful new student center for a warm meal cooked by Eden Hall staff just for us. Soon after, the ELP celebrated the term’s conclusion with a goodbye gathering, where students made their farewell presentations and received certificates of completion for their courses.

In June and July, writing teachers Sylvia and Brigette led a group of students on several off-campus forays into American culture. Weekly Friday field trips included jaunts to Squirrel Hill Library, the Warhol Museum, and Pittsburgh’s steep incline, which leads up to Mount Washington. After shooting impressive photographs of Pittsburgh’s stunning skyline, everyone celebrated with soft-serve ice cream before descending into Station Square for shopping and a hearty lunch at Houlihan’s.

Our next adventure led us into the heart of the Strip District, famous for its fresh fruits, mouth-watering meats, international chocolates, and gourmet cheeses. After stopping at an authentic Italian coffee bar, students embarked on a rainy scavenger hunt, winding their way through spice shops and fish markets. At first, the sudden thunderstorm soaked our clothing through and through, but then Sylvia pulled brightly colored ponchos out of her backpack for everyone to help ward off the rain. Then it was off to try new delicacies at Smallman Galley, a restaurant featuring several different styles of cooking, including barbecue chicken with baked beans, gourmet avocado toast, and a burger drenched in a top-notch umami aioli with smoked mushrooms. Decadent ice cream sundaes at Klavon’s 1920’s-style ice cream parlor topped off the afternoon.

How could our students not enjoy such a fantastic summer here at the ELP? We’ll miss those who are leaving us for new adventures, but our ELP staff will look back fondly on our shared journeys through the many museums, rainy cityscapes, and—of course—ice cream shops of Pittsburgh.

Visit the Study Abroad Library in Coolidge 025

Chatham has a new resource available – the Study Abroad Library in Coolidge 025 (located on the lower level of the Braun/ Falk/ Coolidge building).

Signs will direct you…

study abroad library 2

Step in and look around. There is a lot to see.   There are photos from returned Chatham students.

study abroad library 3

The shelves are packed with the colorful brochures of study abroad, internship and volunteer programs from all over the world.

study abroad library 1

The Study Abroad Library is a great resource to inspire you on your next education abroad adventure.  Once you peruse the shelves and find a program you are interested in knowing more about, visit its website for more information. Find out about the program’s costs and any scholarship opportunities offered by the provider organization.

Make sure that the program fits in with your academic plan by discussing your proposed coursework with your academic advisor. Meet with Education Abroad if you have any questions about your options and about the study abroad process once you have selected a study abroad program.

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

The World is Calling: Come to the Study Abroad Fair

On Tuesday, September 13, from 11 am to 2 pm Chatham University will hold its annual Study Abroad Fair in Mellon Board Room.  All students, staff and faculty are encouraged to attend and learn more about education abroad.

The world is calling!

This is a wonderful opportunity to talk to provider organizations about their study abroad programs including the locations, disciplines offered, coursework, costs, scholarship opportunities, excursions, and extracurricular activities.  There is literally a world of options available:  semester, summer, internships abroad and short term programs to meet a variety of interests and needs.

In addition, you can learn about Chatham exchange programs. Maymester and summer field experiences.

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


Fall 2016 Office of International Affairs Events, Opportunities and Deadlines


9/6/2016, Tuesday, 11:30 a.m. -12:30 p.m. Study Abroad information session, A general information session for students interested in study abroad. Returnees will be available to talk about their experiences. Coolidge 044

9/8/2016, Thursday, 4:00 p.m. -5:30 p.m. Global Mixer, Social event to welcome new students, welcome back study abroad students and make some new connections.  Mellon Board Room

9/12/2016, Monday, 12:00 p.m. -1:00 p.m. Vira I Heinz Leadership Program Information session, Sophomore and juniors – come learn about this leadership program and summer study abroad scholarship opportunity.  Coolidge 044

9/13/2016, Tuesday, 11:00 a.m. -2:00 p.m. Study Abroad Fair, It’s a big world. Learn more through study abroad. Come find out about study abroad opportunities including exchange, summer programs and field experiences. Mellon Board Room

9/14/2016, Thursday, 4:00 p.m. -5:00 p.m. Maymester Field Experience Information Session, Hear from the Maymester faculty leaders about field experiences offered for May 2016. Sanger Hall (Coolidge)

10/5/2016, Wednesday, 12:00 p.m.-1:00 p.m. Study Abroad information session, A general information session for students interested in study abroad. Returnees will be available to talk about their experiences.  Coolidge 044

11/1/2016, Tuesday, 4:00 p.m. Deadline to submit Vira I Heinz Scholarship applications. Falk 003

11/14 -11/18/2016, Monday-Friday, International Education Week, Chatham joins the US Department of State/US Department of Education’s celebration of the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide

11/14/2016, Monday, 7:00 p.m.- 9:00 p.m. International karaoke, Join students learning foreign languages and international students for a night of karaoke!  Café Rachel

11/15/2016, Tuesday, 3:30 p.m. -5:30 p.m. International Affairs Open House, Come learn about the Office of International Affairs and the services and program available. Falk Basement

11/17/2016, Thursday, 2:00 p.m.- 5:00 p.m. International Education Symposium, At the International Education Symposium, held in honor of International Education week, we plan to invite a speaker, student papers and a reception. Welker Room

12/8/2016, Thursday, 3:00 p.m.- 5:00 p.m. End of term party.

For more information, please contact the Office of International Affairs,

Chatham University