Category Archives: Education Abroad

International Certificates and up to $3000 in voucher funding

You may know that Chatham offers an undergraduate degree in International Studies through the Department of History, Political Science and International Studies.

Did you also know that students who are majoring in other subjects may earn an international regional certificate by taking the courses required for a regional concentration? The International Certificate is offered in five regions of the world: Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East.

In addition to demonstrating that a student has studied the history, language, culture, politics and language of a region, the certificate requires firsthand experience studying and or interning in the region for 6 to 12 credits.

Christin Cook completed a semester abroad in Thailand

The certificates consist of at least 18 credits and include language courses or proficiency, content courses including an introduction to the history of the region, and 6-12 credits of study abroad and/or internship abroad.

Students who complete 50% of the requirements are eligible for up to $3000 in study abroad vouchers toward their study or internship abroad. If students choose their study abroad program carefully, this voucher funding could go a long way toward covering study abroad tuition and expenses.

Bethany Bookout, summer 2016 in Taiwan

Students can add an International Certificate to any major. For example, one could be a Biology major with an Africa Certificate or a Communication major with a Latin America Certificate. These are just examples of the many combinations of major/certificate you could choose.

When will you study abroad?  For more information on the International Certificate, please contact Dr. Lou Martin,  For more information on study abroad options to fulfill your certificate requirements, please contact International Affairs, or visit us at the Office of International Affairs in Falk Hall, lower level.

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.


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.


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.