Home > International Programs > Study Abroad > Preparing to Go Checklists

Preparing to Go Checklists


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.

Once you have committed to a study abroad program, the following paperwork should be reviewed and completed pre-departure, the semester before you leave for your abroad experience. 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.

  • 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

  • Use the Education Abroad Planning Worksheet to start planning your course selections and how they fit in your overall academic plan.
  • Make an appointment with your Academic Adviser to discuss your preliminary course selections.
  • Download and complete the Smeal Education Abroad Pre-Departure Agreement (PDA) and submit to 202 Business, reception desk. This form is a PDF that works best if opened in Acrobat Adobe. Students should complete this form the semester before studying abroad to determine how courses abroad may or may not satisfy Smeal degree requirements. ***Complete only after committing to a study abroad program and meeting with your academic adviser. *** 
  • 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.

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.
  • After you are sure of your scheduled courses abroad, typically in 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.