Academic Advice & Regulations
Will TCU academic policies apply to my host program?
- Add / drop processes and policies
- Attendance / absence policies
- Grading structure
- Grade disputes
- Dates, times, and locations of exams
Are the classes hard?
Will I get grades for my courses?
Can I audit or take courses pass/no credit?
How do I get exceptions to policies and regulations?
- Attendance / Absence policies
- Add / Drop process
- Grade Appeals
- Final Exam schedule
How do I register for the semester I return?
When will I get my grades?
What will it be like when I arrive?
It may take a little time to adjust. For many travelers, the first 48 hours abroad can be particularly unsettling. Lack of sleep, dehydration, and change in time zones can exacerbate reactions to cultural differences and inhibit adaptation to your new environment. Generally, you can expect to find your footing within a few days.
Remember that initial disappointment or anxiety may be due jet lag and lack of sleep. Give yourself a chance to adjust before becoming too upset about the differences or unmet expectations.
You may have variations of this arrival shock and culture shock throughout your time abroad. For advice, see our Homesickness Tip Sheet.
What is it like to live abroad?
- Different amenities (no central heating or AC, no dryers, limited hot water)
- Smaller sizes (smaller rooms, smaller closets, smaller refrigerators)
- Different availability of products and fresher foods that don’t last as long
- Limited WiFi and bandwidth
- Living with non-TCU students (either in the apartment or in the building)
- More street and neighbor noise, increased security, and keyed front entries
- Restrictions regarding guests and noise in your apartment
- Different (often shorter) store hours
- More walking
How long will it take to adapt?
A new culture is intriguing and exciting, but may also be frustrating, confusing, and tiring. Your emotional resilience and ability to embrace differences are key to adaptation.
Overall, your experience will likely be amazing, exciting, and transformative – but some days will be challenging.
If you experience reactions like anxiety, anger, helplessness, and frustration, remember this is a normal reaction to a new culture.
Comparisons are welcome but negative judgments should be avoided. Practice flexibility, resourcefulness, self-reliance, and respect for others.
How can I make the most of my time abroad?
- Walking tours
- People watching in public spaces
- Museum visits
- Food classes
- Dance lessons
- Music lessons
- Concerts and musical events
- Sporting events
- Religious ceremonies
- Local clubs through your university or study abroad provider
- Field trips and cultural activities coordinated by your program
- Find a language partner and practice the local language
- Keep a journal or blog and reflect on your experiences
What does it mean to represent TCU abroad?
- Learn a few words of the language, such as "please" and "thank you"
- Assume good intentions from the people you meet. What you assume to be rudeness may simply be different norms
- Limit use of natural resources (water, electricity, etc.)
- Treat subjects with respect and dignity
- Get the consent of people you photograph, especially children
- Respect the culture and privacy of others
- Share photos responsibly
- Seek to understand, rather than judge
- Ask questions
- Laugh at your mistakes
Tips from former students
Can I travel in my free time?
How can I learn more about the culture?
What does it mean to learn more about another culture? We often think it means seeing new sites, trying new foods, and experiencing new lifestyles. That’s a big part of it! But we also have to be open to many other things that are new to us – things that are harder to pinpoint and harder to understand, like new ways of interacting and new habits. And above all, it involves trying to see things from new perspectives.
Sometimes doing these new things will feel strange or silly; sometimes you’ll make mistakes. But if you keep trying, you’ll grow personally and connect cross-culturally!
For some specific tips and ideas, see our Cultural Learning guide!
How do I cope with culture shock and homesickness?
This is all normal, and signals that you are having a deep experience which can be transformative.
For more information, including tips on coping with culture shock, see our Homesickness Flyer.
Alcohol and Drug Concerns
What are the dangers of drinking abroad?
Alcohol use is the primary cause of student accident, injury, victimization, and arrest abroad.American students who have been drinking are not only seen as disrespectful, they are often targeted by both criminals and police alike, potentially leading to:
- being a victim of crimes such as theft and assault.
- Students may become lost and disoriented, becoming vulnerable to crimes of opportunity.
- being arrested for public intoxication, among other crimes.
- Students are expected to comply with all federal, state, and local laws while abroad. If students are arrested for breaking the law in a foreign country, neither TCU, the program leaders, program providers, nor the U.S. Department of State can help. The laws of the host country prevail, without exception, in all situations.
- being dismissed from the program.
- Students must adhere to any rules set by the program leaders, program providers, or housing facilities.
What are the dangers of drug possession or use?
The use or possession of narcotics or any other illegal substance on the program is expressly prohibited. Student use or possession of controlled substances abroad may be punishable by severe penalties (including arrest, prosecution, and dismissal from the program).
According to the US Department of State, several hundred US citizens are arrested abroad on drug charges every year.
Students are expected to comply with all federal, state, and local laws while abroad. If students are arrested for breaking the law in a foreign country, neither TCU, the program leaders, program providers, nor the U.S. Department of State can help. The laws of the host country prevail, without exception, in all situations.
What are the legal consequences of misusing alcohol or drugs?
Many other countries have much harsher laws against public intoxication, alcohol abuse, and use or possession of drugs. Legal sanctions pertaining to the use and possession of even the smallest amounts of illegal substances tend to be extremely severe.
U.S. authorities have no control or ability to assist a U.S. citizen found to be in violation of local law. In many countries, no distinction is made between personal use or possession and distribution or sale; in many developing countries, penalties can be life imprisonment or execution. Even associating with drug users can be very dangerous. U.S. laws and due process do not protect you abroad.
Who do I call for help?
- Your on-site leaders and staff
- On Call International (TCU's Global Assistance Provider): 1-603-952-2062 . For more information, see the On Call Resource Hub.
- TCU: 1-817-257-0000 or firstname.lastname@example.org for serious emergencies
What do I do if I have been harassed or assaulted?
- TCU Confidential CARE Advocate care.tcu.edu 817-257-5225
- TCU Police (24 hours): 817-257-7777
- TCU Office of Institutional Equity, email@example.com or oie.tcu.edu
What do I do if my passport is lost or stolen?
What if I become sick while abroad?
Contact On Call at +1 603-952-2062 and also contact your local on-site staff. On Call provides emergency services, medical referrals, and insurance while abroad.If you need minor medical care, be prepared to pay up front. After receiving care, you can submit a claim to On Call for reimbursement. If you prefer and have time to wait, you can contact On Call to schedule an appointment and prepay for your medical services.