International

Study Abroad

Getting prepared for your mobility
Studying abroad or participating in an exchange program is one of the most enriching experiences for students. Just as you have to prepare all the administrative procedures for this process, you will also have to prepare yourself before entering your host culture. So take some time and before letting yourself in for this overseas adventure, bear in mind the few tips below in order for you to be well prepared and avoid any upsetting surprises!

Differences between cultures can be really difficult to adapt to, especially when you will be moving out of your comfort zone to totally new surroundings. Homesickness is perfectly understandable. Being disconnected from family and friends, having your own cultural values brought into question, feeling that you are not completely aware of the new rules; all these would make you feel insecure and may push you to decide to give up your stay. Well, if it happens to you, don’t panic; that is exactly what many students face once abroad. Culture shock! However, if you bear it and follow the tips we are going to give you, you will soon be ready to cope with your new situation and make your stay abroad an unforgettable one!

Before going, prepare for it

Create your own cultural awareness about the host country
Know as much as possible in advance about your host country. You can learn about its history, its political system, its economy, its educational system, its cultural habits and holidays, ways of life…. Ask questions about anything you do not understand like local customs, events, holidays, etc. Remember, you are not only going to study or be on an internship; you are also going to live for a while in a new country so you must make your stay a pleasant one. You may also gather practical information for your stay such as about public transportation, accommodation, food, etc. Travel guides can also be helpful for you: you may want to check up on important tourist sites to visit and activities you may like to try during your free time.

Improve your language skills
While planning your stay, you can start developing your language skills according to your host country. Language proficiency might not be one of the main selection criteria for your mobility, but your main communication tool during your stay. It would facilitate your stay and would be a valuable plus to your CV.


Identify your intercultural skills

There are different culures, different backgrounds and different groups within the same society. Obviously, these differences are emphasized when you are in your host country . Developing your intercultural skills will help you understand, adapt and be open to others. These intercultural skills can be improved before your departure by your daily encounters and your experience with people from different backgrounds. Afterall, it all depends on your attitude towards these differences! First, bear in mind that you will meet people who are coming from a culture different from your own; this way you can understand their behaviour, their acts according to their culture and find logical reasons for these differences. You can also underline your own cultural background and find out what are the different aspects and the common ones and try to find common ground that would make you feel more secure and help you adapt to the new culture. Based on your previous travels, if you have any, you can always assess how your encounter was with new people you met and new cultures.

Get in touch with former exchange students
Before going abroad, ask the International Affairs Office (IAO) about the contact details of exchange students who are already abroad and try to get in touch with them. This can help you learn from their experience and you could share with them any concerns or questions that cross your mind.

Once you’re there

Give yourself time and understand that things will get better
Give yourself at least a few days to get acclimated and to overcome the differences between the two cultures. Have faith in yourself that you will cope with your new environment and have a positive experience. This faith will boost your efforts to learn about a new culture and will undoubtedly lead you to remarkable times.

Control your emotions
Your first days abroad might be really confusing. So don’t let them control you even if you feel really down, sad or completely exhausted. Avoid making comparisons of how things are better in your home country. Remember you are the ambassador of your country and your home university abroad, so try to reflect this image and benefit from every second of your experience. Remember to always wear a smile and know that your confusing thoughts will soon fade away. The more you see things positively and make efforts to adapt to your new culture, the better your stay abroad will be.

Stay connected
Staying connected while abroad will help you a lot. Stay in touch with your family and friends, share with them your stories, your new adventures…Talk to them about your concerns, your fears, and your funny stories. Don’t let the distance between you affect your relationship; keep it alive!

Ask your host university about special programs for exchange students
Remember, you are not the only exchange student at your host institution. Although it is possible that you will be the only USEK student there, you are not alone. Check at the host international affairs office about international students and try to get in touch with them. This office can also have special support programs for international students such us buddy programs, clubs for foreign students or integration activities. It is your first reference point and will help you deal with any issues that might arise during your stay.

Stay active
Engage in activities that help you meet people, participate in excursions and other recreational activities, and get busy so you do not surrender to your loneliness. Do some tourism or some physical activities to help your body release the stress that you might have.

And what is more important, always bear in mind that the IAO is always at your service and is always there to answer all your questions, address your concerns, and help you overcome any challenge you might face! The IAO is there for YOU and will accompany you throughout your whole process to help you make the best of your experience abroad!
Guide for Outgoing Students

Getting started

If you are planning to go abroad on an exchange program, make sure to start planning early.

Outgoing students’ application deadline:
- April 15 for the Fall Semester:
- October 15 for the Spring Semester

The sooner you submit your application, the better the chances you have to be accepted by the host university.

Choosing a partner university

You first need to decide on a country and choose the ideal university for you. In order to find out which universities USEK has partnerships with, check our list of agreements of cooperation available in the International Affairs Office (IAO) section on the USEK website. Before making your selection, make sure that the partner university offers courses related to your field of study or program. Try to do thorough research about your host university before making up your mind.

Who is eligible to apply?

Students who:
Are enrolled at USEK in a bachelor or master degree program;
Have a good academic standing;
Choose a university that has a formal agreement with USEK.

How to proceed?


If you wish to study abroad, you must fill in an “outgoing mobility request” . This request may be directly downloaded from the IAO section on the USEK website. Once completed, send it back by e-mail to iao@usek.edu.lb before the set deadlines .

After all applications have been processed, applicants are informed by mail whether or not they are qualified for an exchange period.

Upon your selection, the IAO will directly contact the host university and nominate you. Then, you will be directly contacted by the host university, or by the IAO, and be given all the information about submitting your file to the host university.

Will mobility courses be recognized at USEK?

The course offering is usually available on the host university website. If this is not the case, the IAO will request it from the host institution. You must consult the list of courses with the Head of Department to ensure recognition of these courses upon your return. All academic matters are to be discussed with the concerned Head of Department.

Once you select your courses, you must fill in your learning agreement and have it signed by the Head of Department to confirm that the courses taken at the host university can be recognized after your return to USEK.

Tuition fees

All exchange students pay the usual tuition fees to their home university only. Therefore, you should pay your tuition fees as usual to USEK before the registration period.

Important- Don’t forget!
During your stay abroad, you must remain a registered student at USEK. It is mandatory to register at the beginning of the academic year within the set deadlines. This will ensure that your student status at USEK will remain “active” throughout the year. You may proceed to usual online registration even if you are abroad.

Other costs

During your stay abroad, you will be responsible of your living expenses, travel arrangements, accommodation, food and most importantly your health insurance.

Accommodation

Once accepted, nominated students will be assisted by the host university in their search for accommodation. Bear in mind that you should arrive at the host institution prior to the beginning of the semester in order to ensure that everything is ready for the semester start. Do not hesitate to seek advice from the IAO if you are unsure about finding accommodation. We will put you in contact with the concerned officials.

Visa requirements

Lebanese students must obtain a student visa in order to study abroad. Therefore, as soon as you are accepted to go on an exchange, you must start your visa procedures to ensure acquiring your visa before your departure. When you receive your acceptance letter from the host university, you may apply for the visa at the appropriate embassy. Be sure to contact the consulate in advance to check what the required documents are.

Insurance

Before traveling, all exchange students must apply for health insurance that will cover their medical expenses during their stay abroad in case of emergencies. Before leaving, check what the insurance requirements are at your host university and arrange your insurance coverage accordingly.

Some useful tips before you leave

Academic calendar
Every university has its own academic calendar that may vary from that of USEK. If you have not received the academic calendar of the host university, visit its website and make a note of important dates such as semester start, registration period, holidays, and exams.

Guide for incoming students
It would be good for you to read the guide for incoming students of your host university. This way, you can ensure having all the information ready for your stay abroad.

Once you get there

Arriving in a new country and a new environment can be a bit overwhelming. Therefore, when you reach your host university, visit the international affairs office there where you will be provided with useful and practical information for your stay. It is also your contact point for any academic matters during your exchange.

During your stay

As an exchange student, it is important for you to know that your stay abroad is not only focused on your courses and academic matters. There are loads of new things that you can learn and benefit from just by spending time in another environment. Try to participate in events, conferences, gatherings, and make new friends; this will be a great opportunity for you to develop new skills and to better adapt to your new environment.

If you encounter problems during your stay or you need advice or help, do not hesitate to contact the USEK IAO and share any concerns or difficulties you are facing. Our team will be there for you!

Let’s keep in touch

During your stay abroad, you are likely to take pictures and have funny stories to share. USEK IAO encourages you to share your photos, your experience, and your special moments on its social media. Share your experiences with us and encourage other students to try this amazing overseas opportunity.

End of stay abroad

Academic transcript
We will make sure to contact the host university and request your official transcript. A copy of the transcript will be sent to you.

Feedback report
After your exchange period, you will be asked to send a feedback report on your stay in which you can state your major successes, your difficulties and any other comments you would like to draw our attention to as to your experience.

Good luck and have a safe trip!
Holy Spirit University of Kaslik
Tel.: (+961) 9 600 000
Fax : (+961) 9 600 100
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