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Preparing to Go Checklists

Select the appropriate checklist, Penn State Programs or Non-Penn State Programs, and complete the necessary paperwork the semester before departure abroad.

PENN STATE EDUCATION ABROAD CHECKLIST

The Smeal Office of International Programs supports students’ efforts in planning their time abroad. Schedule an appointment with us to talk about program course selection and scheduling as well as general timelines and next steps to take as you prepare to go abroad.

Please note that Education Abroad planning is a complex and sometimes confusing process that typically requires you to meet with individual offices more than once before you leave.

Planning Courses Abroad

  • Overall Academic Plan and Study Abroad: Use the Education Abroad Planning Worksheet to start planning which degree requirements you need to satisfy abroad and how they will fit in your overall academic plan. It may be helpful to refer to the recommended semester-by-semester plan for your major https://ugstudents.smeal.psu.edu/academics-advising/degree-requirements/majors.
  • Academic Adviser Appointment: Make an appointment with your Academic Adviser to review your study abroad academic plan.
  • Study Abroad Courses: Go to the Penn State Program page for your study abroad program and click on Host Program Website to find courses offered on your study abroad program. Choose courses of interest and fit your goals. The Smeal Office of International Programs can help you with this!
  • Smeal Forms: Once you have committed to a study abroad program and have planned which courses you will take abroad, complete the Smeal Pre-departure Agreement and IB Minor Academic Plan (if applicable) below the semester before you plan to study abroad
  • If interested in the IB minor, be sure you have applied to an approved program listed on this web site under Choosing a Program.
  • Meet with an International Programs Coordinator to discuss the IB Minor at any time in the process and submit your IB Minor Academic Plan form after you have committed to an approved program. This must be done in person with the Smeal Office of International Programs. Please use the schedule an appointment link to view our walk-in times or to schedule online via Starfish or by phone.

Smeal Education Abroad Pre-Departure Agreement (PDA)

  • Students should complete this online form the semester before studying abroad to determine how courses abroad may or may not satisfy Smeal degree requirements. (i.e. US; IL; GN; GA; GH; GS, or elective). ***Complete only after committing to a study abroad program and meeting with your academic adviser about what courses you can satisfy abroad. *** 
  • Start a NEW! Smeal Pre-departure Agreement Online here: https://php.smeal.psu.edu/uge/edabroad/ 
  • The Smeal PDA is a planning tool specifically for Smeal or Smeal-bound DUS students. It is not connected to course registration with your program provider. Therefore, if your schedule changes, even after you have begun classes abroad, please revise and resubmit the form. This will help to get your degree audit (academic requirements) adjusted quickly and as intended once you return to Penn State.
  • Some of you may have previously completed the paper PDF version of the Smeal Pre-departure Agreement, which you may here for reference: Previous Smeal PDA-paper-version (PDF). This PDF form works best if opened in Acrobat Adobe. It is NOT necessary to complete this if you complete an online PDA.

Global Programs Course Equivalency Process

  • The Smeal PDA process above tells you how abroad courses can be used in Smeal for gen ed or elective requirements whereas the Penn State Course Equivalency process assigns a course number so that a course/grade can be posted in Lion Path. Therefore, this is a two step process!
  • After you are sure of your scheduled courses abroad, typically in the first week or two of classes abroad, submit a Course Equivalency Request for each course you are taking, if it is not already on the Historical Course List for your program. Taking time to do this before returning from abroad, can save you months of delay for processing grades onto your record upon return!
  • Refer questions about this process to the Ellie Labrin (elf103@psu.edu) in the Smeal Office of International Programs.

Beginning fall 2016 and thereafter, credits earned abroad during fall or spring semester at a non-PSU program will NOT be accepted toward any Smeal degree requirements including general education and electives. Credits toward Smeal majors will be accepted from programs on the full list of Penn State Education Abroad Office programs. Candidates for the International Business Minor must attend a Penn State program on the Choosing a Program list.

WORLD CAMPUS is NOT a Study Abroad Program

Penn State World Campus is NOT a Penn State Study Abroad program. Please read this brochure for a better understanding of the differences.