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 must prepare all the administrative procedures for this process, you will also have to prepare yourself before entering your host culture. Take some time and before letting yourself in for this overseas adventure, keep in mind the few tips below to avoid any upsetting experience.

Differences between cultures may cause adaptation issues, especially when moving out of your comfort zone and into totally new surroundings. Homesickness is perfectly understandable, and you may feel insecure as a result of being disconnected from family and friends, of having your own cultural values brought into question, or feeling that you are not completely aware of the new rules. If you feel this way, it is perfectly normal, as many students face similar feelings when studying abroad. This phenomenon is a “culture shock”, but if follow the IAO tips, you will soon learn to handle your new situation and make your stay abroad an unforgettable one.

PLAN AHEAD

Create Your Own Cultural Awareness of Lebanon as a Host Country
Know as much as possible in advance about Lebanon as your new host country. You can learn about its history, political and educational systems, economy, cultural habits, holidays, ways of life, and so much more. Do not hesitate to ask questions about anything you do not understand, like local customs, events, and holidays. Remember that you are not only going to study or on an internship: you are also going to live for a while in a new country so you might as well make your stay a pleasant one. Try to gather practical information, such as about public transportation, accommodation, food, etc. Travel guides can also be helpful: you may want to check up on important tourist sites worth visiting and potential leisure activities.

Improve Your Language Skills
While planning your stay, you can start developing your skills in the language spoken in your host country. Language proficiency might not be one of the main selection criteria for your mobility, yet it remains a key communication tool in your everyday life, in addition to being a valuable plus on your CV.


Identify Your Intercultural Skills

Each society is home to various cultures, backgrounds, and groups, and such discrepancies are obviously 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. After all, it all depends on your attitude towards these differences. Remember that you will meet people who are coming from a different culture than your own so that you can understand the cultural and logical reasons underlying their behavior. You can also underline your own cultural background, identify the similarities and differences, and try to find a common ground to help you adapt to the new culture. Based on your previous travels, if you have had any, you can always assess your encounters with the new cultures and individuals you meet.

Get in Touch with Former Exchange Students
Before you leave, ask the IAO for the contact details of former exchange students and get in touch with them. This can help you learn from their experience and share any concerns or questions that come to mind.

NOW THAT YOU HAVE REACHED YOUR DESTINATION

Give Yourself Time: Things Will Get Better
Give yourself at least a few days to settle in and overcome the culture shock. Have faith that you will cope with your new environment and enjoy a positive experience. This will boost your efforts to learn about a new culture and will undoubtedly result in a memorable experience.

Control Your Emotions
Your first days abroad might be a daunting experience, but you should not let your emotions control you. Avoid making comparisons of how things are better in your home country; rather, focus on benefitting from every second of this experience and reflecting a positive image as an ambassador for your country and your home university abroad. Your initial confusion will soon fade away as long as you adopt a positive attitude and make efforts to adapt to this new culture.

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 and do not let the distance between you and your loved ones affect your relationships.

Ask Your Host University About Special Programs for Exchange Students
Your host institution will be welcoming many students. Therefore, you may be the only USEK student there, but you will not be alone. The international affairs office at your host institution will tell you more about international students and help you get in touch with them. This office will also have special support programs for international students, such us buddy programs, clubs for foreign students, or integration activities. As your first reference point, it will help you deal with any issues that might arise during your stay.

Stay Active
Participate in excursions and other recreational activities to meet new people and get busy to ward off the loneliness. Tourism and physical activities also act as good stress relievers.

Bear in mind that the IAO is at your service and is always here to answer all your questions/concerns and help you overcome any potential challenges. We will walk you through this whole process to help you make the best of your experience abroad.
Guide for Outgoing Students

Getting started

If you are planning on enrolling in an exchange program abroad, 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 greater the chance to be accepted at the host university.

Choosing a partner university

It all starts with choosing a country and the ideal university for you. Check out the lists of cooperation agreements available on the IAO page in order to find out which universities have signed partnerships with USEK. Before making a decision, check if the partner university offers courses related to your field of study or program and thoroughly research your host university before making up your mind.

Who is eligible to apply?

Eligible students are those who:
  • are enrolled at USEK in a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree program.
  • are in good academic standing.
  • choose a university that has signed a formal agreement with USEK.

How to proceed

Students who wish to study abroad must submit an outgoing mobility request. This request is processed through a workflow, which is also used to inform applicants of whether they are qualified for an exchange program.

If you are qualified for a mobility program, the IAO will directly contact the host university and nominate you. After that, you will be provided with the necessary information for your exchange.

If you are getting an Erasmus scholarship, you must settle a mobility confirmation fee of 300 USD at the Student Accounting Section.

Please note that this fee is fully refundable after the completion of your exchange abroad and after receiving your official transcript certifying your mobility. No refund is granted, however, to students who cancel their mobility to the host university before the end of the semester.

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. Please go over the list of courses with your Head of Department to ensure the 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 upon 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.

N.B.:
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 with the usual online registration even if you are abroad.

Other costs

During your stay abroad, you will be responsible for 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 to make sure 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 officials concerned.

Visa requirements

Lebanese students must obtain a student visa to study abroad. Therefore, as soon as you are accepted into an exchange program, you must start the procedure to secure a 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 abroad in case of emergency. Before leaving, check what the insurance requirements are at your host university and arrange your insurance coverage accordingly.

Useful tips before you leave

Academic calendar
Every university has its own academic calendar which may be different from USEK’s. If you have not received the academic calendar of the host university, visit its website, and take note of important dates, such as the semester start, registration period, holidays, and exams.

Guide for incoming students
We advise you to read the guide for incoming students at your host university. This helps you get all the information ready for your stay abroad.

Upon Your Arrival

Arriving in a new country and a new environment may be a bit overwhelming. Once you reach your host university, visit their international affairs office where you will be provided with useful and practical information for your stay. This office will be 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. You can learn and benefit from so much more just by spending time in another environment. Try to participate in events, conferences, gatherings, and make new friends. This is a great opportunity for you to develop new skills and learn to adapt to your new environment.

If you encounter any problems or need advice or assistance, do not hesitate to contact the USEK IAO and share any concerns or difficulties you are facing.

Let’s keep in touch

During your stay abroad, you are likely to take pictures and have funny stories to share. We encourage you to share your photos, experiences, and special moments on our social media pages. Tell us about your experiences and encourage other students to seize this amazing overseas opportunity.

End of your stay abroad

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

Feedback report
Following your exchange period, you will be asked to send a feedback report on your stay, detailing your major successes, your difficulties, and any other comments you would like to draw our attention to regarding 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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