The Study Abroad Process

Enrolling in a study abroad program can be a very rewarding educational experience; but, it also involves a significant amount of planning and preparation, especially regarding timeline, eligibility and a candidate plan of study.

The first step is to plan a visit to the Office of International Admissions and Programs at the University of Houston-Clear Lake. Simply contact us via e-mail at  indicating your interest in a study abroad program. We will then schedule a meeting with you to discuss your options for the destination, budget, and academic credits.

Studying abroad can be time consuming and complex. Therefore, it takes more time and advanced planning than simply online registering for the next semester of courses. Depending on your desired study abroad program, it could take up to a year to appropriately coordinate all the steps. Because the length of preparation depends upon your unique situation, we recommend that you begin your planning process two semesters before the onset of your trip. For example, if you are planning to study abroad during the summer semester, you should start planning the fall semester of the previous year.

Choosing a Study Abroad Program

Meet with the study abroad adviser in the Office of International Admissions and Programs. They can guide you based on the area of study, cost, and location. They can also help you contact one of the third-party vendors. It is not required that you decide in advance where you want to go.

The following is a list of approved, third-party vendors:

  • American Institute For Foreign Study: AIFS
  • CEA
  • CIEE
  • CISabroad
  • International Studies Abroad: ISA
  • Knowledge Exchange Institute: KEI
  • Semester At Sea
  • Sol Education Abroad: Sol

Know Your Programs and Destination

After contacting a third-party vendor, or the study abroad adviser, you can then select the program and the destination that most fits your interests and career goals. You must have a course syllabus for all the courses that you plan to take abroad.

BEFORE committing to a study abroad program, the courses must be evaluated by your academic adviser to assure all your credits can be transferred to UHCL. You must seek and receive approval from your college and department for your degree program to participate in a study abroad program. The approved courses should match your current degree plan. A copy of the transfer evaluation/current degree plan should be forwarded and on file in the Study Abroad Office before embarking on a study abroad semester.


All students who travel abroad must have a passport to prove their citizenship. Passport application information may be obtained at the U.S. Department of State's passport website. Applications are also available at the local passport office (usually in the federal or county building), or the U.S. Post Office.


Any third-party study abroad provider will have set deadlines to apply for its programs. Students must comply with their deadlines. Applications are reviewed and sent to host institutions when required. Once students are accepted into the study abroad program, they are notified of their acceptance status by the selected provider.

  Study Abroad Scholarships

The merit-based financial support offered through the International Education Fee Award Scholarship is available for graduate and undergraduate students wishing to internationalize their education experience at UHCL. The award is designed to be used by students wishing to study abroad, for international exchange students, or as an emergency fund for students participating in study abroad or international exchange. Selection for the award primarily focuses on the merit of the international experience, and the quality of the student’s application.

International Education Fee Award

Application Deadlines Semester For
November 1 (priority) Spring 2018 - Summer 2018
March 1 (priority) Summer 2018 - Fall 2019
April 1 (final deadline dependent on remaining funds) Summer 2018 - Fall 2019

Required Documents for Scholarship Application

  • Submit confirmation of acceptance from the host institution.
  • Submit one-page minimum/two-page maximum personal essay describing interest in this education abroad program, and how it relates to your current degree program and professional goals.
  • Letter of recommendation from a UHCL faculty.
  • Budget sheet - complete online, print and upload when applying for a scholarship.

External Scholarships

Visit for information on external scholarships. 



A visa is permission from a foreign government to enter their country. A number of foreign governments require that students who study in their country apply for a study visa. When a visa is required, students may obtain application information from the website of the embassy or consulate of that country. The consulate has visa officers on staff to answer questions. Many study abroad agencies will also process student visas as part of the cost of a package.

  Airline Reservation

Students typically make their own airline reservations. Airline reservations may be made online, or through a travel agent— the student can choose which option to select. Many study abroad agencies will also process airline tickets as part of the cost of a package. If group travel is offered, students will be notified in advance.


Filing Forms and Orientation with OIAP

Semester Going Abroad Forms Filed By Pre-Departure Orientation
Fall June July
Spring November November
Summer April April

Meet with your study abroad adviser in the Office of International Admissions and Programs and sign all the required forms.


  Travel Insurance Card

UHCL students traveling to foreign countries are eligible and encouraged to purchase an International Student Identity Card (ISIC).  These internationally-recognized picture ID cards can be purchased from the Travel Office for $25 and include travel insurance.

  Know Before You Go

The health and safety of any UHCL student on a study abroad program is a primary concern for the Office of International Admissions and Programs. Knowing the answers to the key questions below will be critical to your pre-departure planning, as well as the base to having a pleasant and productive time abroad.

  • What does the U.S. State Department recommend regarding travel to this country?
  • What shots or immunizations do you need to gain entry into the host country?
  • What is the number one health risk in the country?
  • What is the most common safety risk in the country?
  • Does your program include a special insurance policy that will cover you while abroad?
  • Who are you going to contact in an emergency?

You are ultimately responsible for the choices you make regarding your safety. Many study abroad programs occur in very safe locations, but your lack of familiarity with the culture, language, and people could put you at a higher risk.

  After You Arrive

When students arrive at the study abroad site, they are required to notify parents and the study abroad adviser immediately. Students are encouraged to remain in contact with the study abroad adviser during the term abroad.

  In an Emergency

Risk Assessment and Emergency Response
If a situation poses a genuine or immediate risk to the safety and well‐being of study abroad participants, as well as to the execution of the program as planned, it will be treated as an emergency. A situation may involve single participant, or all program participants.

Minor Emergency Situations

  • Minor accident/ injury (small cuts, pulled a muscle, sprained ankle)
    Contact local health services organization or agency, if required.
  • Pick‐pocketing, petty theft
    Contact the local emergency response agencies – police. The applicable phone numbers should be on your cell phone before you leave. The third party vendors should also provide those important phone numbers.
  • Lost passport, wallet
    Contact the local police first, request an official theft/loss report, then contact the nearest U.S. Consular office to process an expedient issuance of a temporary travel document. Contact for the local police and the U.S. Consular Office/Embassy should be provided by the third party vendors.
  • Missed flight, train
    Contact the airline carrier for immediate assistance. If the tickets were booked through a travel agent/third party vendor, contact them next for assistance, especially if the entire group may need to re-book.
  • Discipline issue(s) such as peer or sexual or other harassment, repeated student or faculty alcohol/ drug abuse/tardiness, etc.
    If a student needs to be sent back to the U.S. – contact the study abroad adviser immediately for further steps.
  • Temporarily lost participant
    Each student/participant must be carefully advised during pre-departure instructions on how and who to contact should they find themselves lost and on their own.

Major Emergency Situations

  • Death of one or more program participants
  • Life‐threatening injury or other medical emergency
  • Physical/sexual assault
  • Natural or human disasters
  • Political/civil unrest
  • Terrorist threat/attack
  • Arrest, criminal charges
  • Entire group delayed/stranded outside of the program location for one or more days (includes arrival/return days).

Serious Illness (Medical or Psychological), Injury, or Death

  • On-site personnel (faculty, student, program provider) contact the appropriate local authorities (police, embassy, medical personnel) to begin the local action necessary to address the situation.
  • Necessary action will be taken, such as provision for medical care in the country, medical evacuation, etc.

Victim of a Crime/Assault

  • On-site personnel/individual should contact the local authorities (police, U.S. Embassy, medical personnel) to begin the local action needed.

Accused of a Crime

  • On-site personnel should contact the local authorities (police, U.S. Embassy, medical personnel) to begin the local action needed.

Contact for On-site Personnel Illnesses, Injury, Death, Crime/Assault or Accusual of Crimes

  • UHCL Police (281-283-2222)
  • Dean of Students (281-283-2616)
  • Office of International Admissions and Programs (281-283-2740)
  Important Phone Numbers
Important Phone Numbers
UHCL Police 281-283-2222
Dean Of Students 281-283-2616
Office of International Admissions and Programs 281-283-2740

Refer to Department of State’s PREP Guide to prepare for crisis, react in emergencies, and begin recovery.

  U.S. Department of State Resources and Information

Travel alerts and warnings-- up-to-date alerts and warnings for U.S. travelers who are, or will be traveling abroad. 

Emergency Resources
On the U.S. Department of State Emergency Resources page you can find useful information about:

  • Lost & Stolen Passports
  • Medical Emergencies
  • Victims of Crime
  • Arrest & Detention
  • Missing Persons & Contacting Loved Ones
  • Parental Child Abductions
  • Death Abroad
  • Natural Disasters
  • The State Department's Role in a Crisis

Overseas U.S. Citizen Services / Report a Lost or Stolen Passport
From the U.S. & Canada

From Overseas

More Information