|Office of Learning Abroad:
|Lydia Westbrook, Masters in Hospitality Management from the University of Houston
The Office of Learning Abroad (OLA) is responsible for the development and implementation of learning abroad programs for the University of Houston (UH). It is located in Suite 105 of the Ezekiel W. Cullen Building. The OLA is responsible for designing the policies and procedures for all learning abroad programs and in assisting the colleges, departments, faculty and students in fulfilling academic requirements.
Undergraduate and graduate students interested in learning abroad have a wide variety of resource available. Students are given the facility to enroll (register) in any one of the following programs:
- Faculty-Led Programs.
Faculty-led programs are designed by UH faculty and approved by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board through UH and facilitated by OLA. Students who wish to learn abroad under a faculty-led program must obtain permission from the department or college hosting the program. Students pay regular UH tuition and any additional fees associated with participating in the program. Tuition and fees are paid directly to UH and students are required to purchase the UH provided international travel insurance. UH manages faculty-led programs to Brazil, P.R. China, Costa Rica, Hong Kong, India, Italy France, Germany, Ghana, Mexico, Peru, and Spain, among others.
- Exchange Programs.
UH, through its various colleges and departments, has agreements with several universities throughout the world. Students who wish to apply to be an exchange student must initiate the process with OLA. An advisor will guide and assist students through the admission procedures and the payment of fees.
- Reciprocal Exchange Programs
Through its various colleges and department, UH has agreements with several universities throughout the world. Students who wish to apply to be a reciprocal exchange program must initiate the process with OLA and meet the major requirement specified in the agreement they will participate under. The student will pay tuition and fees at UH and will not pay tuition at the host institution according to the reciprocal exchange agreement. An advisor will guide and assist students through the admission procedures and the payment of fees.
- Affiliated Programs
UH manages affiliated agreements with the University Study Abroad Consortium (USAC), Council of International Education Exchange (CIEE), American Institute of Foreign Study, Cultural Experiences Abroad (CEA), Inter Study Abroad, among others. OLA will provide the necessary assistance to students who wish to participate in an affiliated learning abroad program. Students will be charged an affiliated fee by OLA and are required to purchase the UH provided international travel insurance. All program tuition and fees will be paid directly to the affiliated provider. An advisor will guide and assist students throughout the process and the payment fees.
- Special Programs
The OLA conducts special programs for various colleges and departments and assists faculty, staff, and students to participate in learning abroad programs during the Winter, Spring, and Summer breaks. At present there are two Spanish language immersion programs facilitated through affiliated providers Kukulcan and Sol Education Abroad. Students will be charged an affiliated fee by OLA and are required to purchase the university provided international travel insurance. All program tuition and costs will be paid directly to the affiliated provider. An advisor will guide and assist students throughout the process and the payment of fees. Students have the option to study Spanish language and culture in Argentina, Costa Rica, Mexico, or Spain.
- Visiting International Studies Program
The OLA allows students currently enrolled in other U.S. universities to participate in UH learning abroad affiliated provider programs. VISP participants will pay UH general application fee. Program tuition and costs will be paid directly to the affiliated provider. An advisor will guide and assist students throughout the process and the payment of fees.
- Research Collaboratives
The OLA will assist students with resources to complete their research projects at a foreign university of higher education. Students seeking research collaboratives should contact their department for recommendations and contacts. Students who wish to undertake a research collaborative must obtain permission from the faculty member leading the program and the department or college supervising their research.
The OLA will assist students with resources to complete an internship at a foreign university, company, firm or laboratory, among others. Students seeking internships should contact their department for recommendations and contacts. Students who wish to undertake an internship must receive acceptance into such a program prior to requesting assistance from OLA.
- Experiential Learning
OLA will assist students with resources to complete an experiential learning program or independent study program abroad. Experiential learning programs are available for UH students who are not seeking academic credit but who wish to participate in a learning abroad program for purposes of obtaining additional experience in a particular area or professional development.
- Volunteerism Programs
Volunteerism programs can apply to a number of scenarios wherein students participate in a learning abroad program or overseas experience as part of a volunteer effort such as with an NGO, international organizations, missionary or student organization work, and the Peace Corps, among others. OLA will make a determination regarding the fit and purpose for which the student will be participating. A volunteerism program is typically for purposes of obtaining additional experience in a particular area or professional development. In some instances volunteerism programs could be approved by UH departments as course credit which would be determined prior to participation and approved by the department and college hosting the course intended for credit.
Learning Abroad advisors and support staff are available at the OLA to assist students in finding the right programs, equating foreign coursework to UH courses, evaluation foreign transcripts, and assuring students’ health and safety abroad.
- Resource Center
The OLA maintains a resource library with information on countries and catalogues of programs. The Resource Center has computers available to assist students researching foreign universities and countries of interest. The learning abroad general application is available on the OLA website and OLA staff members are available to assist students throughout the application, and the exit and re-entry processes.
- U.S. Passport Acceptance Center
OLA maintains a U.S. Passport Acceptance Center where students can obtain a U.S. passport required for all international travel. The U.S. Passport Acceptance Center is staffed by state trained agents to meet all guidelines set forth by the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
- Internet Services
The OLA web site provides students, faculty, and staff with detailed information on programs, health insurance, procedures, forms, contacts, and other important information. It also provides faculty with information on how to design, request approval for and implement a faculty-led program. http://www.uh.edu/learningabroad/
- Learning Abroad Scholarships
Scholarship opportunities are available for students learning abroad. There are two scholarships administered by OLA: The International Education Fee Scholarship (IEFS) and the Houston Junior Chamber of Commerce Scholarship (HHCC).
- Competition for IEFS is an on-going competitive scholarship program and forms are available at all times.
- Competition for HJCC is only held in the spring and March 1st is the deadline for all semesters. The HJCC scholarship forms are available forms are available online two months prior to the deadline date.
- Information on both scholarships may be obtained from the OLA website at http://www.uh.edu/learningabroad.