FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Below are answers to commonly asked questions about academics, travel, accommodations, communication, KEI services and money matters. Contact KEI if you do not find answers to your questions. We will be glad to assist.

ACADEMICS

When is he best term to study abroad?
We suggest sooner rather than later since it will be easier to find courses abroad that will transfer to the home university. Most students study abroad during their second and third year of university/college. We also recommend semester and academic year programs since they offer more course options and allow for deeper cultural integration than summer and faculty-led programs. Students should consult with the academic and study abroad advisors at their home university to determine which term of study best fits into their academic plan.

What is a host university? Home university?
Host university refers to KEI’s partner institution abroad that hosts the program. All host universities are accredited in their country/region. Home university refers to the student’s university or college in their home country.

Do students earn credit for courses taken abroad?
Transfer credit is academic credit earned during the KEI program. Transfer credit is usually pre-approved by the student’s home university prior to the program. We strongly recommend that students start the credit approval process by meeting with the academic and study abroad advisors at their home university. Program participants who are not enrolled at a college or university will still earn program credit that may be transferred at a later date. Since KEI programs offer a wide selection of courses in specific majors, minors and general education concentrations, students should be able to study abroad and graduate without any delays.

Academic credit is awarded by the host university or a co-sponsoring university in the USA. Students also have the option of receiving credit from KEI’s university of record (accredited in the USA). Visit the Credit & Transcripts page for more information.

How much academic credit will students earn abroad?
Students must take a full course load in order to be considered full-time. For semester, trimester and quarter programs full-time is a minimum of 12 credits, although students may enroll in more than 12 credits per term at most KEI programs. For summer programs full-time is a minimum of 6 credits, although students may enroll in 9 to 12 credits at some KEI programs.

All references to academic credit on this page are based on a typical university in the USA using a semester academic calendar. Students who attend institutions utilizing a non-semester academic calendar (i.e. quarter calendar, etc.) should consult with an academic and study abroad advisor at their home university.

Do students earn credit for internships and experiential learning?
Yes. Academic credit is awarded for internships, research and independent study. Students must complete all hands-on and academic requirements to earn credit. Visit individual program pages for more information about internships and experiential learning.

TRAVEL

Do students need previous travel experience to study abroad?
No. The majority of students who study abroad have never traveled outside of their home country. For many students, study abroad will be the first time they fly on an airplane. KEI guides students through every step of the process, from submitting the application to applying for a visa to airport welcome in the host country.

What travel documents are needed for study abroad?
A valid passport is required to travel abroad. The passport cannot expire for at least 12 months after the last day of the program abroad. Most countries also require a student visa (entry permit). KEI will assist with the visa application process.

When should students arrive in the host country?
Arrival and departure dates for each program are published on the Prices & Dates page.

ROOM & BOARD

Where and with whom will students live?
Housing options depend on the program location. Most locations offer multiple options, including residence hall, shared apartment and/or homestay with host family. In most locations, program participants live with other KEI, international and host university students.

Is there a housing curfew?
Participants are adults and treated as such. Most programs and housing options do not have a curfew. However, residence halls in Pune, India have a curfew between 10 to 11 PM. Some host families may also require a curfew.

How is the housing and host family selected?
All housing is screened by KEI and/or the host university. Most host families have been with KEI for many years. New families are usually recommended by the host university staff or existing families, and screened by KEI.

Are meals included with the program?
Some KEI programs include meals with certain housing options, while other locations do not include meals. Visit individual program pages for information about meals and other program inclusions.

How do students deal with dietary restrictions?
Students should indicate all dietary restrictions on the appropriate KEI enrollment forms during the enrollment process. KEI will provide guidance and advice about the cuisine in the host country and meal options at the chosen program location. Whenever possible, we will make arrangements to accommodate a student’s dietary needs.

KEI SERVICES

What service does KEI provide before the program?
KEI provides personalized advising and a comprehensive Pre-departure Guides to help students and parents prepare for the program abroad. KEI Program Managers maintain regular communication (via email, phone, Skype, etc.) with students to address personal needs, interests and preferences. Students are also required to participate in KEI’s pre-departure orientation sessions. Our Pre-departure Guides are updated on a regular basis and provide useful information about the host country and university, packing suggestions, visa and passport, and much much more. Pre-departure Guides can be accessed through the Student Portal on this website (login required).

What services does KEI provide during the program?
The KEI Onsite Director provides support during the program abroad. Visit Meet Our Staff page for information about our Onsite Directors and US-based staff.

  • Airport welcome
  • Comprehensive 3-day orientation
  • 24/7 emergency assistance
  • General advising on host culture and society
  • Assistance with host university (course, scheduling, etc.) and administrative issues (visa extensions, etc.)
  • Regular group meetings and activities
  • Field trips and cultural activities
  • Use of mobile phone with local number

What services does KEI provide after the program?
Our commitment to students does not end with the program. We realize that returning home can be as difficult as going away. Support for alumni includes:

  • Re-entry advising
  • Program transcripts
  • Internship and employment opportunities
  • Go Again grants
  • Alumni networking
  • Ambassador internship
  • Communication
MONEY MATTERS

Can financial aid be used to study abroad?
Students can use their financial aid to pay the program fee. Please refer to financing study abroad and KEI policies for information about various types of financial aid available for study abroad and payment policies.

Are scholarships available?
Yes. KEI offers grants, scholarships, promotional discounts and interest-free payment plans to qualified students. For more information visit the financial aid page.

How much money should students budget for books and personal expenses?
Budgeting is very personal and depends on personal factors and choices. In general, we recommend students budget $500 to $800 per month for programs in Europe, Australia and Japan; and $200 to $500 per month for programs outside of Europe, Australia and Japan. Contact KEI to request a program budget for the purposes of calculating financial aid.

What is the best method to access money abroad?
ATMs are the most convenient method of accessing money abroad. We suggest using a Visa or MasterCard debit card. Visa and MasterCard credit cards are also useful in most countries. Make sure to notify your bank that the Debit and Credit cards will be used overseas. This will prevent the bank from blocking the cards. Contact KEI to request a Pre-departure Guide with detailed information about each program location.

Does KEI provide a 1098-T form for tax purposes?
KEI does not provide 1098-T and other IRS and state tax forms. Parents should contact their child’s home university in the USA.

COMMUNICATION

How do students communicate with with their family and friends while abroad?
The easiest and most cost-effective way to communicate internationally is through an internet-based conferencing service such as Skype. Most such services are free. All KEI partner universities abroad have internet access. Most housing options also have internet. Phone is also a convenient mode of communication. There are many VOIP (voice over internet protocol) services that cost 1 cent or less per minute.

Will students need a cell phone abroad?
KEI provides every student with a mobile phone handset. The phone will come with approximately $10 in minutes. Additional minutes can be purchased as needed. the KEI Onsite Director will explain how to use and top-up the phone during the onsite orientation. Students can also use their US mobile phone abroad if international roaming is activated, but the cost or use may be very high. Check rates with the mobile service provider.

Can students receive packages abroad?
Every country is different; some have reliable mail service while others do not. The KEI Pre-departure Guide explains the best method for sending mail. Note that prescription medication should not be mailed abroad as it is often held up by customs. Make sure to bring enough medication to last for the entire program.