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At some of the international schools ACA students will not have an extensive listing of courses from which to choose. Much of the choice available will be determined by results on a Language Placement Examination given at the international school just prior to registration in the Summer or Fall Term. However, prospective ACA students should consider different ways in which the year abroad can coordinate with the current year and the year(s) upon return. The following questions should serve as a guide in this planning:
It is compulsory for all ACA students to enroll in a minimum of 12 quarter/semester credits; maximum load is 18 hours (or 20 hours with the authorization of the Home campus Registrar). However, the ACA Consortium policy does not allow the students to take more than 20 credit hours per quarter.
All guided field trips, including tours, are a required part of the instructional program. Students must participate in these field trips and tours. They are not optional. No refunds will be given if students for any reason are not able to participate.
The home campus registrar’s office and the language department chair will be the best sources in answering most of these questions. Home campus departments of modern languages and students’ major departments (if they are not a language major) can also be of assistance. Neither ACA nor the overseas schools can act as advisors for home campus majors and minors.
The college from which ACA students will ultimately receive their degree has the right to determine how a given course satisfies a specific degree requirement. Neither the ACA office nor any individual in the international school can indicate with certainty how a given course will apply. Where any question exists, ACA students should obtain a definitive answer in writing from the registrar of their home university.
The personal account deposit is a part of the ACA charges paid through the home campus. It serves two purposes: a reserve fund for emergencies and as a contingency deposit for books, supplies, etc. ‘Emergencies’ are determined by international campus administrators. Personal spending money or money to go on trips is not considered an emergency. This safety money does not allow students to willfully excuse themselves from their work requirements. Any unused portion will be refunded directly to students before they leave the international campus at the end of the school year. Neither this money nor the regular ACA charges will cover:
Because of these extra costs, students will have to provide for additional funds, but they may not wish to keep large sums of cash. Here are three methods students can explore and perhaps use: (Travelers’ checks are no longer accepted in most European countries.)
Ordinarily the total cost of the year abroad will be less than that of a year at a consortium college in North America, unless students elect to do extensive traveling on their own. In planning their budgets for the year, students should consider all costs outlined above plus some contingency for the unexpected and, if possible, for limited additional travel. Although students are expected to attend strictly to their studies and school activities, carrying a full academic load of 12-18 hours per term, there are opportunities for occasional trips–especially during vacations–which can enrich the experience abroad.
Admission to the Adventist Colleges Abroad academic year programs may be obtained only through a college or university member of the North American Consortium. Although any of the international schools or the Director of ACA may deny admission to anyone, acceptances are initiated only by these consortium member institutions. This procedure assures validation of credits earned abroad and safeguards the integrity of the international schools, which can accept only a limited number of students into their language programs (first come, first served basis).
Acceptance by ACA involves the following steps, all of which are completed at a North American Consortium college or university:
The North American Consortium college or university Registrar completes and signs grade record information required on the application, then sends the original application (with all student photographs attached), and one photocopy of the application to the ACA office in Silver Spring, MD.
By the very nature of ACA, an individual in the program is first and foremost a student of the North American Consortium college or university through which they apply. As such, the student is subject to the academic, financial, and conduct requirements of the home campus. At the same time, the ACA student is also a part of the affiliated overseas school and as such is subject to all of its requirements as well. Failure to live up to any of these guidelines may be cause for removal from the program. In case of dismissal from the ACA program, students are required to authorize ACA to inform their parent(s)/guardian(s).
When applying to an ACA academic year program that requires a student visa, make sure you accommodate the time for the visa process into your summer plans. The ACA office will notify you and provide instructions/documents for the student visa. Some visas can take as long as 2 months (e.g. Spain). Apply as early as possible!
Note: Before applying for the academic year programs in Argentina or Spain, students must have completed either 2 years of Spanish language in high school or 1 year of Spanish in college. ALL other programs (first quarter of academic year + summer) accept students who are total beginners in the target language. There is NO language pre-requisite for the summer program in Spain.
These are some of the most commonly asked questions about applying to ACA:
At Seminar Schloss Bogenhofen, Austria, manual work is an obligatory part of the educational program. Each student is expected to work about four hours a week for no pay. This is true of all students on the campus. Students may not simply pay money to the school to avoid this work obligation. Work is considered an important part of the educational process. This is true of many overseas Seventh-day Adventist campuses.
At Bogenhofen, institutional costs and budgets are made on the plan that each student will be working to help pay for part of the program without receiving remuneration. Beyond that time if a student chooses to work, there may be employment that will be available at regular student wages. The wages earned by these jobs will only provide money for incidentals. It will not be large enough to cover student accounts or travel. However, one of the ‘privileges’ of studying abroad will be involvement in a new type of work ethic which calls for the positive contribution of each student to the well-being of the whole institution. These jobs may be very different from what ACA students have done in the past, and they will probably involve ‘menial’ manual labor—janitorial, custodial, gardening jobs—not often ‘sophisticated’ professional white-collar jobs. Sagunto college has cancelled compulsory manual work.
Once ACA students arrive at the international school, they assume a multiple allegiance. As individual students from a college or university in Canada or the United States, they are representatives of their home country. At the same time they are residents in another country and students in one of its schools.
By the very nature of ACA, individuals in the program are first of all students of the college or university in the ACA consortium through which they applied. As such, they are subject to the academic, financial and citizenship requirements of the home campus. At the same time, ACA students are part of the affiliated international college/university and as such are subject to all its requirements. Failure to meet requirements in any of these areas at both the home and international campus may be cause for removal from the program. Students whose financial accounts are not kept current will not be allowed to attend classes or write examinations and will have to un-enroll from the program until such time proper financial arrangements have been made.
Students abroad must always remember that they are there to learn by participation in the ways of a different culture—not to teach ‘foreigners’ how things are done ‘back home!’ The administrators, teachers, and students in the international schools do everything possible to make ACA students welcome and their year among them a truly delightful experience. Living and blending with the group within its society and its culture can contribute more toward the quality of students’ subsequent lives than even the learning of the language. ACA programs offer a learning opportunity which cannot be obtained any other way!
Students considering enrolling in the ACA program should consult with their student financial aid officers at their home campus. Most scholarship and loan programs are available to students in the ACA program especially those based on fund sources outside of each campus. aid applies to the programs: grants, loans and scholarships. However, each ACA member college or university has certain funds, particularly those that are generated by the institution itself, that are not available to students in ACA programs. Educational scholarship assistance for denominational employees’ dependents is available for all ACA programs.
It is impossible to anticipate all the circumstances that will cause confusion to a newcomer to a country. This section mentions only a few items that should help ACA students who are going abroad for the first time.
New ACA students are likely to experience three stages in their reactions to life abroad, namely EUPHORIA, FRUSTRATION and SATISFACTION. The euphoric state will generally start when you ask, “Can it really be me going to study abroad?” and may last into the first or perhaps the second week on the international campus. Frustration will usually settle in shortly thereafter, although for some, problems with airlines, taxis, buses, and the language may cause it to develop earlier. Those who are willing to look at life philosophically and stick it out happily reach the final level of satisfaction. A part of this experience may best be described by a Walla Walla College student who once wrote from Sagunto just after Christmas:
When I first drove up the long bumpy road to Colegio Adventista de Sagunto about midnight four months ago, I thought I had finally come to the end of the earth, and started considering plans for a quick return home. I had come all alone from London to Valencia where I caught a taxi to the college. Somebody in the United States had told me I spoke Spanish, and I had believed him, only to discover at the airport that I knew many Spanish words, but speak (or understand) the language I did not.
The first few days were scary, lonely and discouraging, but I got over it with the help from many new friends here. We just got back from Christmas vacation, during which I traveled around Spain, and when I drove up the road this time, I was coming “home.”
Four of the international schools are small. Excluding elementary students, Bogenhofen has a total of about 150 students, Sagunto, about 500; Villa Aurora about 100; and Collonges, approximately 350. Many ACA students have appreciated the personal and friendly atmosphere found in these smaller schools but too often absent on the larger campuses in the U.S. In these schools the larger portion of the student body is in high school, and may “act about how we did in high school,” to quote an ACA student again. The total operation, including some of the regulations, reflects the fact that the younger students are present in general school activities and reside in the residence halls. This is not true of Universidad Adventista del Plata, Friedensau Adventist University or Villa Aurora.
The rules and regulations of each international school have been carefully developed by Faculty and Administration of the College to create an atmosphere that best promotes Adventist lifestyle in their country. As guest students, ACA participants will probably find student life expectations anywhere from slightly to quite different from what they have most recently experienced at Adventist college campuses in North America. In adjusting to the differences it is important for ACA students to remember that they are international students while abroad. The purpose of ACA is not the “Americanization” of the international schools, but rather it is an opportunity for North Americans to learn the language and the culture of another country while studying in and conforming to its mores and environment. An Andrews University student at Sagunto put it this way:
“One important thing to keep in mind is that the people here can teach you many things. . . Like patience, understanding, and open-mindedness.” Another student counseled: “Above all, bring an attitude of adaptability and optimism and have a good year.”
If ACA students wish to have different student life regulations or wish exceptions to be made for them as older, more mature students, they would do well to remember that more can be gained by calm polite discussion and requests than by petulant demands for rights. Calmness and respectful observance of rules and regulations place one in a well deserved position for mature discussion and negotiation. Disregard of regulations and disrespect for those who enforce them are not effective means to bring about change, but tend rather to lock people into firmer positions and make them resistant to what may be seen as obviously immature, irresponsible conduct. Negotiations for change and requests for individual exceptions may take time in coming, but people who go about negotiating changes in a polite manner are much more likely to be treated and respected as adults worthy of new responsibilities. Students who take calm, objective rather than passionate, subjective positions find negotiations much more likely to succeed and gain the well deserved respect of host campus personnel.
There are some general guidelines that will help students in their adjustment. First of all, keep a sense of humor. There are many things that are funny five or ten minutes, an hour, or a day later. Try to not take yourself or those people who are around you that may be causing “difficulties” too seriously. Everything that happens is not a moral issue, and is not an issue of world-shattering importance. It may be minor, very minor, in its proper perspective. If it is addressed as such, it will not become an incident. However, if persons become volatile and defensive, things that are virtually minuscule will get blown all out of proportion. Another helpful guideline is that people who succeed are the ones who have persistence, and have kept on trying. Don’t give up.
No one is totally alone. There are other American and Canadian friends that can help sort out dilemmas. Discuss whether what is happening is important or not? Does it really need to be addressed? How can someone respond to it in a positive way? Generally, international people are not boisterous. One way to avoid becoming the object of undue criticism is to avoid being a boisterous, center-of-attention type person on the international campus and in any setting abroad. Being calm and cool is the international way. “Chill out” is a good motto for self-discipline.
If things aren’t going well, make good things happen. Make the most of every opportunity. Nine months goes by very fast. Don’t be one of the persons that says, “I wish I had started reaching out to other people sooner.” If things are not going well, find someone to talk to—a teacher, another ACA member, or the international campus director of the ACA program. Maintain a positive focus that will bring balance to other people who are also abroad.
Another rule of thumb is to assume the best about people unless repeated evidence points to the contrary. In a situation where communication is obstructed by people’s inabilities to express themselves well or understand what others are saying, misunderstandings can occur quite easily. Sometimes misunderstandings may occur because ACA students do not speak or comprehend well what is being spoken in the host language. Unfortunately, they get very inappropriate ideas about host campus personnel. As a result, they may see the hosts as severe and uncaring rather than as being matter of fact and professional. Assume that others have international students’ best interest in mind and are not “out to get foreigners.”
Expect that the food will be very different on international campuses. There may even be restrictions in the amount of certain food items that may be eaten in any one meal. The diet tends to be simple and nutritious, and initially American/ Canadian palates may not be attuned to its texture or taste. Some students even need antacids in their “adjustment periods”.
For some students these adjustments take longer. For others it is very simple.
Students on some international campuses may feel that they are not regarded as being as responsible or granted the same privileges and respect as they were in America or Canada. Student associations and student representatives on discipline or administrative councils are new or non-existent. Teachers and administrators are considered wise sages who have the best interest of students at heart and have vital long-term perspectives which have been developed over time. Their values and ways of doing things have been developed over many years. Change is slow and not considered as valuable as it is in North America. In fact, the fads and trends in North America are often considered signs of instability and of a lack of values. Tradition holds sway over the newest way or different ways of doing things. Because of this, it is not recommended that you try to “enlighten and inform” your hosts of the “better” way things are done in Canada or the United States. If there are some behaviors or ways of doing things that appear to violate personal conscience or destroy or attack people’s inner sense of personhood, frank, respectful discussion and proposals for changes should occur. However, expect some resistance and serious review of suggestions and do not expect immediate changes. They may be slow in coming, but if they have merit, they will occur even if it’s next year.
Adventist Colleges Abroad collects the information necessary to process your application, to communicate with you while we process your application and to facilitate your participation in the ACA program, if you participate.
Once you have been accepted as an ACA student, your information will also be shared with the Director of the ACA program that you have selected. It will be used to enroll you as an official student at the program abroad and to ensure that you are able to participate in the activities while part of the ACA program.
The information you are requested to provide on your ACA application is essential for your participation in an ACA program. Should you wish to revoke either permission to use your information, ACA will not be able to process your application.
If you wish to revoke either permission, you can do so by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note that you will be required to identify yourself by providing the same email, phone number, first name, and last name that you provided when you registered with us.
Material in this section was prepared by two former ACA students.
The school year will begin with students taking a placement exam to test their knowledge of the language. From the results of the test, they will be placed in a certain level of the foreign language programs. Class choices and schedules and course selections are determined predominantly by the level in which students are placed. Students may have the opportunity to decide between one or two elective classes, but the great majority of class placements will have been established by students’ placement examination performance. Students with previous advanced courses in the language who wish to challenge a higher level language course than the one indicated by their placement test may do so for a period of one week. Their performance during that time will determine whether they may continue at the higher level or be placed in their regular courses.
Right from the very first day, all classes will be taught in the target (host country) language. Students don’t need to be scared by this because teachers realize that student’s language skills are limited at this point, and besides, everyone else is in the same boat anyway. Students may feel like it’s a “sink or swim” situation and that they’re blubbing away to the bottom, but need to “hang in”. In a matter of days or weeks, students will notice that their comprehension is growing. To get over this awkward stage quickly, students can make vocabulary lists of words they use or hear in common situations and memorize them.
Soon understanding teachers in class will be easier, and students can start attacking the really difficult listening situations like church, radio and television. After all, students listen to their teachers four or five days a week, and they can more or less depend on the subject being discussed, but the possibilities for sermons, radio, and television talks or programs or chats with their roommates are limitless. Some Americans and Canadians are intimidated by this and limit themselves to always eating with other Americans and Canadians or attempt to skip worships, Sabbath School or church services or decide to drop their civilization class because it is really too difficult after all. By so doing they are denying themselves one of the key opportunities of studying abroad, the opportunity to listen to the language.
Students’ vocabulary will be broader, they’ll speak with ease sooner, and they’ll make more friends if they put themselves in a variety of situations where they can listen to the language. That’s why singing in the choir, joining a soccer team, going to the Saturday night activities and attending worship regularly are so important. If they don’t shy away from taking electives like civilization or literature or audit a course in the secondary or theology programs, they’ll enhance their understanding of the country and people and help make the most of their travels.
Students need to know the country they are living in. Traveling is definitely one of the exciting parts of language study and the year abroad. Growing knowledge of the language will give students an insider’s view of the country and a warmer reception from the people. Exploring not just the large cities, but the out-of-the-way towns and provinces is great. Biking through a forgotten corner of Austria with friends might just be a more memorable experience than listening to the Vienna Boys’ Choir. Traveling in small towns and villages also gives students the chance to use their language in new situations away from the English-speaking shop keepers of the tourist enclaves. Trips of this type will also make travel money go farther.
ACA expects students to consider their studies as top priority. International schools are not just base camps for weekend touring. Getting involved with campus life activities is a great way to learn the language. Being at class on time and keeping a study routine also helps greatly. Beware of getting too carried away with your travels. ACA participants are students first and tourists second.
By the end of the year ACA students will be reaping the result of intensive language study applied in their everyday life and travel. Students get out of the year what they put into it, both scholastically and socially. By having been adaptable and open to new ways, they have learned a lot about the culture of their host country. Classes climax with finals. In Europe students take an exam organized by an outside institution to test their level of competence in the language. There are written and oral parts to these exams. Those who pass them have an internationally recognized diploma in hand stating the level of competence they have achieved and the knowledge that, yes, they really have learned as much or more than they thought they had!
There is great enthusiasm among our students and the American Universities about this new ACA orientation, therefore, the ACA Board of Directors voted that all ACA programs should continue to offer internships which will enhance the programs and better prepare them for life. All internships will function in this manner:
In many ways ACA students must be able, in a way, to accept being children again because at the beginning of their year abroad their language ability will not be much more advanced than that of children in elementary school. This can be a very frustrating experience. Timid people will have a very difficult time. Students must expect that they will make embarrassing mistakes in class and on and off campus. To be successful, however, students must take the risk of embarrassment and grasp the moment. The other alternative is to withdraw into an American enclave, speak English and be full of regrets at the end of the year because “I still can’t speak the language well.”
During the first three months of international study, students often believe they are understanding less rather than more of what they hear. The reason this happens is that they are changing their language learning and processing. Instead of translating material which they may have done when they learned language basics in North America, they are beginning to think and process information completely in the new language. This new process builds a whole set of new synapses in the brain and develops a new part of the brain. This allows students to think completely in the new language.
When this takes a while to happen, students should not be discouraged and think it was a mistake to join Adventist Colleges Abroad. Instead they should recognize what is happening and determine to persevere and try, try again. Strong perseverance will make the difference. By the end of the first three months students will be able to understand almost everything that is said to them by people in the host country if they take advantage of every opportunity to hear, read, write and speak the language. By the time the second three-months cycle abroad is past, students should be very fluent and able to say almost anything they could possibly want to say. As a result, the last three months in the program will be very positive and the highlight of the year—so much so that students wish that the time would extend itself and that it would not be necessary to go home.
Students should be aware that a “blues” period may occur, particularly during the first three months abroad. The low point usually comes about six weeks to two months into the program (early November to Thanksgiving). If it occurs, students should take heart and try to shake the blues by thinking positively and recognizing they are making progress and become assimilated into the new culture of their host campus and country. A reason for true celebration that will soon occur and signal advancement and movement beyond causes for “depression” will be the first dream in the new language.
As the year progresses, spoken English will be less and less tolerated on each campus. Teachers and school administrators will increase efforts to ensure that the host country language is the language of communication. (No English may be spoken between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.) This goal, of course, can only be realized if students individually take the initiative, place restrictions on themselves, and read, speak, and write only in the host language. There will be times, of course, when it is absolutely necessary to communicate in English, particularly with persons from abroad, but those students who make the most progress will be very circumspect in the use of their native language.
For students on language immersion programs one of the major adjustments will be the adjustment to an “adolescent” type life. It’s very frustrating to discover that children on the street can speak the language better than you can, and it does make people feel dumb or stupid to not be able to say what they want when they want to, and have people laugh at them when they try to talk. But by and large, students will find that people will be positive and try to help them out. It is difficult for people who have weak self images to feel good in an international study experience. Students are infantilized by their lack of language skills and may get what they consider “negative” messages. It is important to find a “support group” for encouragement—a group of people or a person specifically who will bring messages of encouragement. Such help along with good self messages can promote positive feelings and a sense of still being in charge of one’s self.
In the past, some students have had difficulties with the delivery or sending of packages from their home to the schools abroad. The following suggestions from our colleges abroad may help make the process easier.
The customs offices of most countries charge customs fees for every package entering the country according to the value mentioned on the attached shipping documents. In most cases, such fees are not justified as many packages contain private, used items such as clothing sent from parents to the students abroad. The schools advise that parents and friends who attempt to ship such items abroad declare only a minimal amount of value and that they list such contents as used, private clothes, etc. on the shipping documents, making sure that any original packaging materials be taken off the items in order to demonstrate that the package contains used items and not new ones that could be used for resale abroad (as the customs officers will assume). This may help avoid any unnecessary charges. Of course, it is necessary to comply with any instructions given by postal authorities when items are shipped abroad.
Another shipping problem concerns the shipment of medications and pharmaceutical items. Most governments require an import license for all medication and this requirement may even concern non-prescription medications that can be purchased over the counter at US pharmacies. The typical procedure to obtain this license usually takes some weeks and is very complicated.
The schools advise that students take any necessary prescription medications with them in a quantity to last the academic year along with the written prescription from their doctor. Non-prescription or over-the-counter items or their equivalent can usually be found in pharmacies abroad. Students should purchase such items after they arrive, or a supply should be brought from home. If medicines are shipped, it is important not to package them with the above mentioned items of personal clothing as this may cause the entire package to be delayed. In past cases, such packages have not been allowed to proceed to the students until the medicines have been removed and destroyed, which is a waste of money and time.
Married student housing at the international schools is primarily for local theology students. ACA couples planning to attend as married students should ascertain that the international school can accommodate them. Married ACA students will pay the standard ACA tuition and fees. Any other financial arrangements must be made directly with the international school.
The ACA package includes accident and hospital insurance for up to 26 weeks following an accident or illness up to a maximum amount of $50,000 or for $7,500 accidental death or dismemberment. It is primarily intended to cover students while enrolled at the international school and for a reasonable length of time in traveling to and from the international campus. This allows for about two to three weeks before and following the school year. It does NOT cover normal dental work, eye examinations, glasses or prescriptions, mental illness, pre-existing conditions, or over the counter medications. It does, however, cover these if they are part of an accident or hospitalization. The ACA coverage will begin about two weeks before the arrival abroad and terminate about two weeks after departure from abroad. Students planning trips outside of these time limits should arrange for other coverage. If an early return home is necessary, the coverage will extend for the time required for a reasonably direct trip home, but not to exceed three weeks. Upon arrival home, students should notify the ACA office immediately.
ACA insurance policies are secondary insurance designed to supplement primary insurance policies. They only care for immediate expenses abroad within the time and financial limits noted and do not allow for subsequent claims and coverage after a student’s return from the international campus. Please note that medical treatment for pre-existing illness or conditions, psychological counseling or treatment or self-inflicted injuries including, but not limited to, attempted suicide are not covered either by the medical insurance policy or by ACA.
Medical expenses that are not the result of an accident or which do not require hospitalization are not covered by the ACA insurance policy. However, some of these charges (except those noted above) may be paid by ACA from tuition fees.
In general, the international school will assume the responsibility for any medical services required while on the campus. The school will pay the bills and be reimbursed by the ACA office. Should students desire services at another facility or from another physician, students may need to pay the bill and be reimbursed by the ACA office within the limits of coverage. This will be true when students are on any personal trip and if the school has problems in paying for the service selected by students. Students will need to keep and submit receipts and medical care documents in order to be reimbursed.
In the event of any serious problem with the above procedure, CONTACT THE ACA OFFICE in the USA.
ACA students qualify for the International Student Exchange Card – ISE Card – an internationally recognized student ID for student discounts to cultural attractions, Eurail discounts, and more. For more information, please visit, www.isecard.com This applies to Europe only.
In planning for an ACA experience, it is very important that students budget money for personal travel. Although the program will provide quite a number of guided tours (ACA cultural tours incuded in the tuition), depending on the international campus. Students still need pockety money for laundry, food, personal articles, and travel during a year abroad. Students should budget according to their own plans. Personal travel is an important part of most ACA students’ life, and so is personal hygiene.
One way of getting additional travel is to join campus music organizations, sports teams, or witnessing groups. Students in these groups will be given free travel because they will be doing public relations work for their international schools.
During scheduled vacations and breaks there is an additional charge for food for students who stay in their residence hall rooms on the campuses and who eat at the food services. This is the same as policies in North American colleges. Students need to take money to cover expenses for traveling away from the campus or for staying on campus during the holidays (except for Universidad Adventista del Plata).
ACA students are strongly advised not to travel alone. This is particularly important for students who have not had previous international solo travel experience. Furthermore, Americans and Canadians are not always admired by local citizens. It is wise to keep a quiet, low profile and blend with area travelers as much as possible. Problems in traveling in an unfamiliar city increase markedly after dark. Because of this, plan on arriving during daylight hours if at all possible. Luggage and travel items should be carefully guarded at all times. Do not rely on strangers to watch your belongings. Guard your carry-on bags and luggage in buses and trains, and in airports, train stations and bus depots even when you sleep.
WARNING: While on host campus, traveling abroad, taking private or ACA tours, please protect your personal belongings like luggage, electronic devices, passport, cash or any valuables. If these are lost or stolen, ACA will not be responsible and such loss is not covered under insurance.
The parents or guardians of ACA students under 18 years of age (21 in Argentina) should write a letter to the President of the international school granting permission for students to leave campus during times when the school allows these personal trips. This letter should list any exclusions or reservations that parents or guardians may wish to include. In addition it should specifically release ACA and the affiliated College from responsibility while students travel on these personal trips. One letter giving travel permission for the entire year may suffice.
Students are placed in language and other courses on the basis of language placement examinations that are given at the overseas campus the day before classes begin in the Fall term. It is imperative that students arrive on their host campus in time to take the placement examinations and that they perform as well as possible on these exams in order to get the most out of their year abroad.
This is a serious examination, the results of which point to the level in which the students should be placed. However, if the student has already completed the same level in their home college or university they can advance to the next level by taking total responsibility for achieving passing grades in the higher level and by not holding back the entire class.
French and Spanish students need to have completed at least one year of college level or two years of high school level language study in order to be accepted into the French or Spanish programs. Total beginners are welcome at Bogenhofen, Friedensau and Villa Aurora.
International campus learning experiences are very carefully planned. Early departures and early examinations are very difficult if not impossible to arrange. Please look carefully at the calendars for each campus. Do not plan to arrive after the beginning dates or leave before the ending dates of terms and before the date of the year closing service, or to leave before or return after printed vacation dates. Students who have excessive unexcused absence days will have their grades penalized. Personal travel is not considered a legitimate excuse for a class absence. Teachers’ heavier teaching loads do not make it easy for them to make special examinations and make special arrangements for their students. Please don’t plan on asking for such privileges.
This material has been included to prepare students in advance for the realities of ACA campus life abroad. It should be studied carefully as students decide whether to participate in the program and reviewed carefully during the first and second months of the year abroad experience.
Students enrolling in the ACA program will find that there are many adjustments to make in studying on an international campus in a language other than their own. An important rule in international living is to expect to change and to do things differently than you do at home. That is the norm. Students who cannot adjust well and make changes in their diet and daily routines especially with things that may initially appear distasteful or demeaning will find international living experience very difficult.
Reducing jet lag will go far toward making frustrations bearable. For three or four days before flying abroad, go to bed early. If possible, break up long trips with stopovers and avoid “red-eye” flights. If you must fly at night, get comfortable—take off shoes, loosen tight-fitting clothes, use pillows, blankets, ear plugs and eye masks. Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration, one of the factors leading to jet lag. If awake, walk about or flex your legs and feet every hour.
As soon as possible after arrival at the international school, students should register with the consulate of the country of their passport. In the event of an international emergency the consulate will then be able to quickly locate students and assist them with emergency travel or other arrangements. The international school will assist students with this process.
ACA students are expected to abide by the rules and regulations in effect on the international campus. Students will be given a copy of the handbook for the international school which they plan to attend. In most cases the handbook is given to the students upon arrival abroad.
Please note that any unacceptable behavior/immoral activities, breaking campus rules, or poor academic performance will result in immediate expulsion from the program.
Want to get ahead of the game? When you register to start your application, you’ll be quizzed over the following:
Students contemplating enrollment in the ACA program should seek to acquaint themselves with the international campus as much as possible by talking to ACA students who have previously studied there. Their names can be obtained from Modern Language Departments and from the Offices of Admissions and Records of ACA member colleges and universities or from the ACA executive office in Maryland.
In addition, prospective ACA students are expected to attend student orientation meetings for ACA students at each North American campus. These sessions are designed to reduce the culture shock students experience and to make sure they understand the ins and outs of campus life and international living abroad.
When students from each of the affiliated international schools have prepared lists of ‘must items’ for an ACA student to take, the lists have been very similar. Separate booklets would be unnecessarily repetitious. A brief description of each campus and its surroundings can assist a prospective student at a given school to determine which items from a ‘must’ list are most important.
Should students, parents, or friends need to telephone the international schools, the numbers given are generally adequate for calling from the US or Canada. Local operators can readily obtain the necessary routing codes. Remember that Western Europe is six hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time and nine hours ahead of Pacific Standard Time. From March through October, most, if not all, countries on the continent are on Daylight Saving Time. Argentina is one hour ahead of Eastern time. If callers must communicate in English, they may experience a delay while the person answering the phone finds someone reasonably fluent in English. A further discussion of phoning the international schools is included in the following description of each campus.
Most international campuses have more than one educational institution on site – schools within the ‘school’. They might better be called a collection of small institutes. In no case are they organized like a North American college campus, except for the Universidad Adventista del Plata in Argentina. The language institute on each campus has anywhere from 25 to 75 students in it. Most activities will involve these groups of students. Language students need to make an effort to get acquainted with the other students on campus. The best way is during meals, social and religious activities on campus and in the residence halls.
International bus, plane and rail timetables usually incorporate the twenty-four-hour clock. P.M. times are 12 hours greater. Thus 3:27 becomes 1527, usually without the colon.
The class work taken during the ACA summer term or year is treated as credit from the home campus in North America. The affiliated school will send official records of the class work (provided the personal account with the school is not overdrawn) to the ACA office in Maryland. The ACA office in turn will pass the records on immediately to the Registrar of the member college or university through which students enrolled. All official transcripts to other schools or entities must originate from the home campus, not from international campuses.
Students who have been enrolled in ACA programs should neither send transcript requests to international campuses nor list those institutions as school or colleges attended on applications to new institutions of higher education. Only home campuses in North American can issue transcripts and only they should be listed as institutions attended.
ACA students must have valid passports and visas to study in any academic year program. Passport applications are available in federal post offices and in many local government record offices. Depending on a student’s circumstances, it may take up to two months for students to receive a passport and another two to four months to receive a student visa from the international country. Apply early to ensure documents are ready when needed. This is particularly true of students with other than Canadian or U. S. citizenship. Student visas are stamped on existing passports, so it is necessary to have a passport before applying for the visa. Protect your legal documents. Please do not lose them.
IMPORTANT: typically, foreign consulates will require students to have a return ticket on hand before a student visa can be issued. Also, your passport should be valid up to 6 months longer than your stay abroad.
Getting to Airports, Bus and Train Stations
Portions of students’ trips may involve air, bus or train travel. Getting to the right airport, bus or train station—in cities with more than one—can become a problem. If there is a subway going to the airport or station, take it, especially during rush hours. Taxis can be expensive and slow. Beware of pickpockets and thieves in airports and even inside planes. Keep your belongings with you at all times.
Lost or Stolen Property
ACA Insurance does NOT cover lost or stolen property. Neither ACA nor the International Schools are responsible for lost or stolen belongings even on campus. Please keep your rooms and personal belongings secured and locked at all times.
Some Tips on Bus, Train or Subway Travel
Over and over again students who have been in the ACA program advise other students who are coming to forget that they came from North America and how good things were there, and try to understand and adapt themselves to the campus and country culture. Avoiding references to how good it is back home and how things are done in Canada or the United States will go a long way in helping to develop positive friendships abroad.
Students who force themselves and others who wish to speak to them to speak in the host language, not English, succeed rapidly. Of course, if one is outgoing, that is easier, but even students who are more timid must push themselves to seek host country friends, to speak the host country language, and to insist that others do likewise. Whenever possible, in social types of occasions—when eating in the cafeteria, going to worship, playing athletic games, or attending other kinds of social occasions—ACA students need to seek out host country persons for fellowship. Nothing sounds better to host country people than their “mother” tongue, and they are delighted to help students learn it by speaking to them.
There may be some criticism of Americans and Canadians by host country students. They are the hosts. It is their country, and they are proud of their country and the way they do things. If someone is less flexible and adaptable and does not seem to wish to be a part of their culture, it will bring separation and, perhaps, strong criticism. In the past there have been students from the United States and Canada who have not been positive in their behavior, and often current ACA students will need to undo the negative impressions that have been left by insensitive students from the past.
The ACA office is NOT an immigration office and does not have direct connections/access to foreign consulates. If a visa is needed to attend an ACA program, the ACA office will notify you with instructions and the necessary documents for obtaining a student visa in the United States. Before the end of July you need to be actively working on your student visa. Some visas can take as long as 2 months (e.g. Spain). Apply for your visa as early as possible!
Attention I-20 students – If you are studying in the United States with a student visa (I-20), all related documentation to your status in America needs to be provided by your American university. We strongly advise you to plan on obtaining your student visa for the ACA program in the United States, and to start the process at least two months prior to departure for the ACA program.
Any questions regarding student visas for ACA programs need to be emailed to ACA.
Please read carefully the following important information:
One way to increase the opportunity for developing host country language skills is to seek a non-paying volunteer-type job with a family or at a community service organization in the international campus village or city. It is very difficult for students to obtain on-campus and particularly off-campus employment because of international labor regulations. (International students in Canada and the United States have the same difficulties.) Students may do “volunteer”, “go-for” work in offices or community service organizations, or tutor students studying English in a school setting. Contact the language program director about such job opportunities. Of course, such off-campus work is meant to complement classroom learning and campus activities, not substitute for or interfere with them.
Another way to become involved is to participate in outreach activities on Sabbaths or weekends. Students who plan some Sabbath School or church service programs to present at nearby Adventist churches will probably be very welcome to spend the Sabbath or the weekend and stay with the families who attend that church.
PLEASE READ ALL THE WAY THROUGH:
In planning what to take, remember that closet and other storage space at international schools is often limited so pack only essentials. Check with your airline as to what limits apply to both checked baggage and carry-ons.
Other items, such as bulky clothing for winter, may be sent by mail . Please email ACA for recommendations on mailing. Regular mail can take up to 6-8 weeks for delivery (three months in Spain), but it can also take as little as 1-2 weeks depending on the mail service purchased (air/air freight). All packages will be charged customs fees when they arrive at international countries. For customs information be sure that USED CLOTHING is clearly indicated, and even then, there may still be a customs charge. It may be worth paying airline surcharges to take these items as extra baggage.
Have a copy of any prescribed medications you may be currently taking (signed by your doctor). If border control officials find you in possession of certain prescribed medications, it can lead to serious problems. Outside of the US, there is a list of controlled substances that are considered illegal in other countries (you may want to research this list). To prevent complications, carry required medication in clearly labeled containers and copies of any applicable prescriptions. Students taking regular prescription medications are advised to take at least a three month supply. Such students typically must purchase additional medication in their host country- which is not a problem as long as they are able to supply a pharmacist with the generic name of the medication, as well as the ingredients. But be aware that the medication may not contain the exact ingredients as the original prescription (due to certain ingredients being considered illegal).
In packing your carry-on bag, be sure to include personal toiletry items, a change of clothing, and any prescribed medication. Students have been occasionally separated from their luggage. However, be sure to stay within size and weight limits for carry-on bags to avoid paying an extra fee. It is wise to take an inventory of what you packed in your luggage for insurance purposes- in case your bags are lost or stolen.
Sometimes, you may unknowingly make evident that you are a stranger in a foreign land, making yourself a target for con artists or thieves. DO NOT TRUST YOUR BAGGAGE OR PERSONAL ITEMS WITH ANYONE other than an agent authorized to do so. Guard your carry-on baggage and other luggage whenever you travel, especially on trains, buses, and airports.
General Packing Suggestions:
Please note that very revealing or immodest clothing, and piercings, are discouraged.
Because needs and priorities differ so markedly among individuals, it is impossible to produce a list of “must take” items for a year abroad. It is only possible to indicate some of the items that previous students have indicated as having a high priority.
Throughout the school year ACA will attempt in various ways to answer specific questions regarding procedures preparatory to going overseas and what the affiliated schools are like.
At least once during the school year the Director of ACA will be visiting each of the North American colleges and universities of the consortium to meet with persons interested in the program. Questions concerning the program are welcomed by campus modern language departments of ACA consortium member colleges and universities and by the ACA headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland.
Also, direct correspondence with students currently attending international schools is encouraged. The teachers in those schools have been urged to correspond with language teachers in North American institutions.
Once students are accepted into the ACA program, more detailed information will be furnished that should assist students in completing plans to go abroad. Each North American campus will provide an orientation program to prepare students for their international study experience. A part of the orientation program are videos about ACA, program information and advising sheets, travel-related information and information about building international friendships. Especially important will be materials necessary to obtain a student visa. ACA students must not leave their home country without obtaining student visas. Further information about the visa process is sent to each student with their letter of acceptance by the ACA main office in Maryland.
ACA programs are designed for more than those pursuing a major or minor in a modern language. Students majoring in other areas may find the year abroad personally and professionally rewarding.
Second-language skills are becoming more and more necessary for successful participation in an ever-shrinking global village. For persons concentrating in an area of the humanities that allows for considerable amounts of electives, the year abroad need not extend the time for completion of a degree program at the ‘home campus’. Although three of the seven international schools offer little or no course work in the natural or behavioral sciences, students may, by care in planning with their advisers at the beginning of their freshman year, satisfy requirements even in these areas within the normal time frame.
Students who require some time extension generally indicate that they would not trade the international experience for anything. In addition to new cultural perspectives and language skills, students who plan well will have have completed requirements for foreign language minors and most requirements towards a major in foreign language, if offered at their home university. For professional programs such as business, nursing, medical technology, and other allied health professions, a year abroad may extend the time necessary for graduation. However, by prudent use of the allowed electives the added time may be limited to one or two summers’ work. Students who cannot spend a full academic year abroad may achieve a portion of these benefits by enrolling in one of the ACA Summer Language Programs. They can also enroll for one quarter or two. Information about these programs appears under summer Programs.
Important notice on language pre-requisites: Before applying for the academic year programs in Argentina or Spain, students must have completed either 2 years of Spanish language in High school or 1 year of Spanish in college.
ALL other programs (academic year + summer) accept students who are total beginners in the target language. There is NO language pre-requisite for the summer program in Spain.
However, for all academic year programs, students who have completed one year or more of college-level language study will have a much easier adjustment and will probably be enrolled in higher level courses right on their first quarter/semester abroad. In addition, please be advised that intermediate and upper level students are eligible for internships at the study abroad program.
The general prerequisites for admission to the program are:
Circumstances may change, unfortunately, prompting students to withdraw from an ACA program. If this occurs, before going abroad, students should immediately notify the ACA office and the following entities at their home campus:
(a) the Student Finance and Financial Aid Office,
(b) the ACA Coordinator, and
(c) the Admissions Office.
These notifications are the responsibility of the student. If any of the aforementioned offices are not properly notified, students will have to bear any resulting consequences.
To expedite the determination of any refund, before students departure from the host campus, the ACA office must receive the following information:
DEADLINES and REFUNDS
If the student requests cancellation of her/his ACA application before the start of the program, and before arriving at the host campus, there is a 100% refund of the ACA package price.
A student who withdraws from ACA after checking in at the host campus will receive a tuition/fees refund based on the date the completed withdrawal form is submitted to the ACA Program-Director. Each host campus will then calculate the charges for dormitory, cafeteria, books purchased and any cultural tour pre-paid reservations. These charges are NON-REFUNDABLE and will be automatically deducted from any eligible refund portion.
The deadlines for withdrawal and refunds during the SUMMER SESSION are the following:
Withdrawal during the first three days of summer classes = 100% refund of tuition cost
Withdrawal during the first six days of summer session = 75% refund of tuition cost
Withdrawal during the first ten days of summer session = 50% refund of tuition cost
Withdrawal after the first ten days of summer session = no refund
NON-REFUNDABLE – $25 ACA application fee + ACA insurance
The deadlines for withdrawal and refunds during the ACADEMIC YEAR SESSION are the following:
Withdrawal during the first four days of the term = 100% refund of tuition cost
Withdrawal during the second week of the term = 75% refund of tuition cost
Withdrawal during the fourth week of the term = 50% refund of tuition cost
Withdrawal after the fourth week of the term = no refund
NON-REFUNDABLE – $100 ACA application fee + ACA insurance
ALL REFUNDS (including tuition, room & board, unused tour fees and any remaining portion of the personal account deposit) are made by the international school directly to the student and must be received before the student’s departure. ACA is NOT responsible for refunds left uncollected by the student.