global experience timeline and checklist

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Our team does our best to make applying for and participating in a global experience as seamless as possible but you will need to be aware and stay on top of the tasks and actions you need to take. The timeline for each program will be a bit different - this will be communicated to you through: your program's webpage (deadlines and program dates); your Global Experiences profile and applications; emails from your program manager or advisor; and emails from our partners. 

The timeline below should give you an idea of what to expect at each stage of the process. Got questions? Good news - we've got answers and advisors across campus who are ready to help! Go to our advising page to find the right team member by school.

Remember this is just a general timeline. You should review the rest of the pages under the Resources tab to learn about matters relating to health, safety and security and your wellness while on the program. 

Getting Started - We're glad that you are interested in exploring global programs!  Learn what it takes to find a program and get started.

  Identify your goals You want to participate in a global experience - great!  But what do you want to accomplish? Fulfill requirements? Get an internship? Learn a new language? These, and others, are important questions to ask yourself as you begin exploring.
  Learn about program types We offer a few different types of programs and while the type of program that you choose will ultimately be driven by your goals, it is important to understand the differences between each.
  Talk to an advisor

Our team is here to help you find the right experience or program to help you reach your goals! It is best to schedule an advising appointment with a program manager / advisor so that we can talk to you about your goals, help you narrow down your options, and connect you with the right advisors and program managers on our team. 

And don't forget to talk to your academic advisor and let them know that you are interested in a program. They will be an important part of the process and in making sure that the courses you take on your program help you get closer to graduation.

  Search for programs Our Programs page allows you to narrow down our expansive list of programs to ones that make the most sense for you!
  Search for scholarships and discuss financial aid

Participating in a global program will likely be more expensive than similar courses on campus. We maintain a list of scholarships, including those administered by Pitt, that are specific to study abroad. Other resources include PittFund$Me (login through myPitt) and google! Don't be put off by small scholarships - most students won't get an award to cover their full program and every little bit helps!

You should also speak with financial aid on your campus to determine how your financial aid will apply to your program.

Scholarship deadlines vary greatly and may be before your program deadline. Start looking for funding soon, often, and keep up on deadlines!

  Last 30 Credits If you will participte in a global experience during any part of your last 30 credits prior to graduation, you should notify your program manager / advisor to understand any processes you must complete - according to your school or campus - in advance of your global experience.  Although it is an extra step, the last 30 credits check ensures that participating in a global program will not negatively impact your ability to graduate on time.

Applying to Your Program

You've identified which programs or experiences align with your goals and expectations - great! Now it's time to apply for your program!

  Understand program requirements You'll need to meet our minimum requirements to be eligible to apply for a program. Your program may have additional eligibility requirements, which you'll find on the program webpage. Remember: meeting the minimum eligibility requirements does not guarantee acceptance.
  Begin your program application

You can start your program application by clicking the "Apply Now" button on your program webpage.  We allow you to apply to a maximum of two programs per term.

If you do not meet the eligibility requirements for the program, a program manager or advisor will follow up via email to let you know.  We know it can be disappointing to not be able to participate in your top choice - if you are eligible to participate in other programs, we'll let you know and encourage you to find a different choice.

  Complete your application!

Everything that is listed in your program application is required - we only ask for the informaton we need when we need it.  As you work through the items listed in your application, they'll move to the "Completed Requirements" section. 

When writing your essays, be creative and truly reflect on why you want to participate in this program or experience. We know that global programs and experiences will expand your world view, help you immerse in new cultures, and give you the opportunity to travel.  We're looking for you to go beyond this! The application requirements page can help you understand what we are looking for.

Once you're done, don't forget to click the "Submit" button on your application!

Your program may also require that you submit an application with the program partner or provider. If this is required, it will be communicated to you in your Pitt application.

  Keep an eye on your email and provide additional details, if needed! As we're reviewing your application, we'll reach out to you via your Pitt email if we need any additional information to make a decision.  This may include information about your disciplinary record or academic background, your passport, or your application essays. 
  Watch for a decision! We'll email you after the program deadline with a decision on your application(s).  Timing of decisions can vary so you may hear back about some programs before others.  If you aren't accepted to the program, don't worry!  If you meet the eligibility requirements to study abroad, we will work with you to find another option.

Committing to Your Program

Congratulations on your acceptance!  Now find out what you need to do to secure your spot in your program.

  Review your acceptance email

If you were accepted to a Panther, Partner, or Exchange program, your program manager will send you an acceptance email that has important details about pricing, your program-specific timeline, and next steps.  Review it carefully!

If you were accepted to a Pitt-Recognized Program, you'll get two emails: one from your Pitt advisor and one from your Pitt-Recognized provider.  Review both carefully!

  Carefully review and sign the Program Participant Agreement

The Program Participant Agreement outlines the terms between Pitt and you that govern your participation in a global experience or program. This is a legally binding document that contains significant financial commitments and a release of rights.

After you pass the assessment, you will receive an email to complete an electronic version of the agreement. You are expected to carefully review the document and understand its terms before signing.  You should contact your program manager or advisor with any questions.

Note: if you are participating in a Pitt-Recognized Program, your provider will likely have an agreement of their own that you must sign in addition to the Pitt agreement. 

  Pay Your Deposit

Panther, Partner, and Exchange programs all require that you pay a $350 deposit to secure your place in the program.  You'll be able to complete this through your profile.

Pitt-Recognized programs may require a deposit directly with your provider - check with your provider. 

Before You Leave - On-Campus

There's a lot to think about before you leave campus - make sure you take care of everything so that you don't run into any issues.

  Academic Preparations

Prior to departure make sure that you understand how any courses completed will count toward Pitt graduation requirements. Your Academic Advisor, Program Manager and/or Advisor can help, but it is your responsibility to stay on top of your degree progress so that you choose courses wisely.

Your major, minor or certificate Advisor will approve courses to fulfill those requirements; general education course approvals are handled by each school.

The process of formalizing your courses is done using the Course Approval and Registration form.  This form is an agreement between you and your advisors as to how your credits from your program will count.  It will be provided to you by your program manager / advisor at the appropriate time in the process.

  Take care of housing at home

If you're participating on a semester program and currently live on-campus, you will need to get a letter from the Pitt Study Abroad to release your from your housing - email us at to get a copy. You can only request the form once you have been accepted and commit to your program (deposit and completed agreement).     If you are an Oakland campus student, you will need to work with Panther Central to terminate your housing contract and address any questions for future housing. For any question regarding Panther Central and on campus housing please contact them at 412-648-1100.  For regional campus students, please consult with your campus coordinator and housing office for specific processes.

If you are living off-campus, you can either sign a lease before you leave or find a sublet. The Office of Off-Campus Living ( maintains a list of available sublets in and around Oakland. This is also a good resource if you're currently in a lease and need to find a sublet.

  Attend Orientation

The goal of orientation is to get you ready to step off the plane and into a successful and enriching program. 

Questions specifically about your panther program will be answered at your program-specific orientation. Many programs will also include an orientation once you arrive in country and some programs might require multiple pre-departure orientations. 

Exchange Programs and Pitt Recognized Programs orientation will be handled by the provider and/or host university in the form of pre-arrival materials and an on-site orientation. 

  Check your passport and get a visa, if needed

First, make sure that your passport is valid for at least six months beyond the end of your program, if traveling outside of the United States.

Depending upon your nationality and any immigration regulations of the host country (if studying abroad), you might need to apply for a visa in order to enter the host country in the appropriate status. Please consult with your Program Manager (for Panther, Partner or Study Away programs) or with your Pitt-recognized Program Provider for guidance. Do not attempt to apply for a visa before receiving instructions from your program manager / advisor / provider.

  Booking your flight Most programs and experiences do not include transportation to your host city/country and you will be responsible for arranging your own travel.  We strongly recommend that you do not book any travel until your receive instructions from your program manager / advisor / provider. 
  Pay for your program

If you are participating on a Panther, Partner, or Exchange program, you'll pay for the cost of your program through PittPay like a normal semester (although the amount may vary).  If you are participating on a Pitt-Recognized Program, you will pay your provider directly.  The exception is the study abroad fee, which will appear on your student account in PittPay.  More information on billing and payments is available here.

  Make sure you have access to Pitt Passport The University now uses a multi-factor authentication system to access ANY University resources.  This means that you will need to have multi-factor authentication set up before you go.  You should also consider working with the Technology Help Desk to make sure the Duo Mobile will work in your host country or to obtain a FOB.
  Plan your packing! Most airlines have limits on how many bags you can take and how much each bag can weigh.  You should check with your airline about specifics, but the general standard for international travel is one personal item, one carry-on, and one checked bag up to 50 lbs. Don't overpack and leave space for souvenirs!  Remember that some programs may have luggage limits. Check out our packing list and tips for packing here.
  Pack for your destination Every country has different standards of dress and cultural expectations.  You want to make sure that you pack clothes that are both culturally and climate appropriate.  Do your research online and feel free to reach out to your program manager or advisor.
  Get some small toiletries We recommend that you pack some travel-size toiletries for the first few days of your program. We do not recommend packing large bottles of toiletries (shampoo, etc.) as they take up weight/space and are likely to leak in your bag.  Plus, it will give you the chance to explore your city when you first arrive.
  Make a personal health kit, and don't forget prescription medication!

Pack items like bandages, first aid ointment and over-the-counter medications such as: Pepto Bismol, pain relievers, allergy and cold medicine, and sexual health supplies.  See additional information related to health and wellness under the Your Health pages and Wellness pages.

Remember to take prescription medication to last you for the duration of your program. Carry these in the original, labeled containers and ALWAYS put medicine in your carry-on bag.

  Take care of YOUR health There's a lot to think about in terms of your health, including vaccines, creating a plan with your doctors for any ongoing treatment, and making sure that you have everything you need for a healthy experience.  Remember to read up the "Before You Go" section of the Your Health page and take care of what applies to you.
  Get in touch with International SOS If you are working with any medical challenges, International SOS can help set up and provide additional resources before you go (for programs abroad).  More information is available here.
  Call your banks and credit card companies

You'll need access to money on your program.  If your program is outside of the United States, you'll want to call your banks and credit card companies to put a "travel alert" on your accounts (some banks let you do this online).  Read more about how to prepare your finance for your program here.

  Set up communication services that work over cellular and WiFI connections  WhatsApp tends to be the most popular app for a students, faculty, and staff.  It works on just about every mobile platform, across WiFi and cell networks, and in just about every country where our students travel.  Text messaging is available, and voice and video calls are possible with a stronger connection.  Best of all, it’s free (except data charges)!  Just keep in mind that your friends and family back home will need to download the app.  Other options include Skype, Google Hangouts, Facebook Messenger, etc.  Talk to your program manager about which option would be the best for your host country. 
  Have multiple communication options available Always have a backup plan!  Your Pitt email might not work well on a slow connection, or Gmail might be blocked in a country that you are traveling to. WhatsApp servers can go down or Skype might be blocked.  Most importantly, you might not always have access to Wi-Fi. In an emergency, it will be most helpful to have the ability to make a call on your phone without needing to connect to Wi-Fi first. Make sure that you have more than one way to get in touch with home!  

While You're Away

Taking care of yourself while on your program is in integrative process.  Beyond what's listed below, be sure to visit our Wellness pages to learn how to care for your whole self while on your program.

  Find balance Throughout your entire program, but especially when you first arrive, you'll have a lot of competing priorities.  Your body may be adjusting to a new time zone, a more or less rigorous amount of physical activity, different academic demands, and more.  You'll also want to take advantage of all that your progam has to offer.  Work to find balance between all of these priorities to make sure that you stay healthy for the duration of your program.  Read more on our Wellness pages.
  Stay in touch Remember to check in with friends and family back home as your relationships warrant - and set expectations about how often you'll do so.  You'd be surprised about the number of calls and emails we get from worried parents and significant others because they haven't heard from students on program. Read more on our Wellness pages.
  Keep a blog You might not want to spend all your time on the phone with your friends and family telling them what’s going on, but a blog can be a great way to keep everyone updated at once.  There is more information about mindful blogging on the Social Wellness pages.
  Update your advisor on any academic changes If your program offers multiple course choices, you may end up making changes to your academics.  Be sure to keep in touch with your academic advisor - they can give you course approvals over email and keeping them up-to-date can make sure you don't lose any academic progress.
  Schedule for the upcoming term If your program is during the fall or spring semester, you'll be responsible for enrolling yourself in next semester's courses on campus.  Be sure to check your Student Center for your enrollment date and be in touch with your academic advisor about your schedule.
  Keep an eye on your Pitt transcript

If you are participating on a Panther or Partner program, your courses will appear on your transcript with a letter grade.

If you are participating on an Exchange or Pitt-Recognized program, your courses will appear on your transcript as a block of credit with S/NC credit. (Students from the Swanson School of Engineering will be registered for individual study abroad courses designated as S/NC.)  For all students on these types of programs, S (satisfactory) will be listed on your Pitt transcript for those courses in which you earned the equivalent of a C or better;  NC (no credit) will be noted on your Pitt transcript for those courses in which you earn a C- or lower.

Keep in mind that it can take weeks or even months for our team to receive your grades from abroad, process equivalencies, and enter them onto your transcript. Your program manager or advisor will let you know when this process is complete.

  Take advantage of alumni resources Our team has pulled together alumni resources that can help you make the most out of your experience - resume and interview guidance, ways to stay connected to your experience, and more. 
  Consider Joining the Study Abroad Young Alumni Council More details coming soon.