What do you need to know about the academic side of your study abroad experience with SRAS? Below is all the information you need, from application prerequisites to how to obtain your official program transcript.
Eligibility and Prerequisites
If you are over 18 years of age and have earned a high school diploma, you are eligible for most of our programs (some list specific additional requirements). We generally expect that you will have had a minimum GPA of 2.5 overall and 3.0 in major courses, but GPA is not the only factor we consider when reviewing your application.
You do NOT need to be a current student at a university or college to apply. You do not need to be a US citizen or resident. Previous study of a foreign language is only required for some advanced programs and certain internship placements. SRAS does not discriminate based on age, sex, race, or any other factor.
All SRAS programs are designed to allow you to receive academic credit from your home institution. However, it is ultimately your home institution’s decision whether and how to award that credit. SRAS will do everything possible to help facilitate credit transfer by providing any information your home institution requires.
We have a US School of Record for the following:
- For all programs in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, the transcript is issued by the University of Montana.
- For all programs in Ukraine and Georgia, the transcript is issued by Stetson University.
- A Stetson University transcript is available on request for programs hosted in St. Petersburg, Russia.
A US School of Record means that your program is supported by and documented by an accredited US university. The School of Record will issue an American transcript, making credit transfer relatively routine.
The majority of our programs have transcripts issued by the host university: Moscow State University, Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO), St. Petersburg State University of Economics (UNECON), Irkutsk State University, Vladivostok State University of Economics and Service, or Collegium Civitas (Warsaw, Poland).
The process of transferring credits directly from foreign institutions can be more complicated. However, SRAS has decades of experience in helping to facilitate this.
For instance, for many universities abroad, course numbers and even syllabi are not common. SRAS, however, has assisted our hosts in developing syllabi and can provide you with one in advance in most cases. Transcripts, however, are issued in a format used by the host university and will not include course numbers. They will indicate course name, level (where applicable), hours completed (or ECTS credits), and grade. You should ask your study abroad office how best to handle this on your credit transfer form.
Transcripts are typically in English, and in some cases in both Russian and English. Hours indicated are academic hours (one academic hour equals 40-45 minutes unless otherwise specified). Grades may be indicated in any of the following formats:
- Word: Excellent, Good, Satisfactory, Unsatisfactory, Fail
- Number: 5, 4, 3, 2, 1
- Letter: A, B, C, D, F
You will find additional information about transcripts on each individual program page, under “Host Institution / School of Record.”
Language level assessments and class placements are made upon arrival. You will give us a self-assessment in your application and we may ask you to complete some pre-departure tests for certain programs. However, your definitive language assessment will be done in person at your host institution. If you need syllabi prior to the program start, we can provide an approximate course syllabus based on your previous language study. However, the syllabi are subject to change.
So, let’s say you have completed one year of language study in the US (100 level) and then you take a year abroad. You would cover 200 and 300 level in that time. If you have taken the initiative to get out and speak to locals, your measured conversation skills should be well beyond most 300-level students in the US when you return. Your language learning ability will of course affect your progress as well.
Our Russian as a Second Language program includes 20 intensive hours per week of language instruction. Thus, you earn 15-18 credits each semester. Your home university will determine how these credits will apply to your major.
The Classroom Experience
Your schedule. Scheduling is completed after your arrival. Most of our host universities post schedules even for local students only at the beginning of the term. This is normal. Courses usually begin on the second or third business day after you arrive. This allows for testing, orientation, and for you to sleep off some jet-lag. Courses tend to be held M-F, between 9am and 3pm. However, it is not uncommon, particularly if you are joining some non-language, mainstream courses, for there to even be an occasional class session on a weekend.
Different teaching style, classroom ambience. You are not in Kansas anymore, so-to-speak! You should prepare mentally for some differences. While the US has developed a tradition of class discussions, many locations abroad focus traditionally on lecture and memorization. Teachers expect to be greeted and addressed with formal respect unless they give you permission to do otherwise. Classrooms are more formal places abroad. Local students often dress for class like you might dress for the office or church. At minimum, hats and clothes usually reserved for sleeping or sport will not be worn to class. Eating is not typically allowed during class, nor is texting/checking your phone. Since many classes are quite small, behavior is likely to be noticed. While some of these differences may be initially surprising to you or even frustrating, keep in mind they are why you are going abroad in the first place – to experience a new culture!