Student tips & FAQs
Following are some general tips and frequently asked questions assembled to assist in preparations for your upcoming study abroad experience.
- Confirm that your passport is valid for at least 6 months after the end of your program.
- Research visa requirements for your planned dates of travel.
- Make a budget for your time abroad and stick to it.
- Enroll in online banking for all of your debit and credit cards.
- Confirm with your bank and credit card(s) that your pin numbers will allow you to access your U.S. checking accounts overseas.
- Know the exchange rate before you go and try to practice converting dollars into Euros or Pounds.
- Take $50-$100 in local currency (€ or £) with you abroad for cab fare or pocket money for the first few days of your program.
- Write down important financial information like credit card numbers and customer service numbers. Leave a copy with family and have the information available in a secure online location for easy reference.
- When in Europe withdraw local currency directly from ATM’s and avoid exchanging dollars as it is more costly and inconvenient.
- Look over your student medical insurance policy brochure before you leave to better understand what is covered under your plan.
- Acquire trip cancellation and personal property insurance to protect your investments.
- Include €/£100-200 in your budget for medical appointments, as even if your student insurance covers these, you will need to pay for any medical visits up front and be reimbursed afterwards.
- Have a plan to call home as soon as possible upon arrival so you can let family know you’ve arrived safe and sound.
- Research options and know how you plan to stay in contact – local SIM card with data for texting and calls, email, blog, etc.
- Consider unlocking your U.S. smartphone before leaving, then purchasing a local SIM card to use in your phone while abroad. It is not advised to purchase a local SIM card upon arrival at the airport. You will receive more information on purchasing SIM cards at your onsite orientation.
- Give the Accent Study Center address to family and friends. See your pre-departure information for the appropriate Study Center address and instructions for receiving mail.
- Pack 50% less than you think you need. Consider a mix-and-match wardrobe with a few basic dark solids which helps lessen your load. Airports require long walks and transport may not be able to drop you at the front door of your housing or the Study Center — you will be responsible for carrying your own bags for quite some distance. Additionally, elevators in program housing are not guaranteed, it will be up to you to get your luggage to your room.
- Make sure to pack at least one pair of comfortable shoes, there will be a lot of walking during your study abroad experience.
- Take a sufficient amount of prescription medications to last at least the length of your program. Keep all medications, prescription or over-the-counter, in their original containers and in your carry-on bag to ease your transit through customs.
- Do not pack electrical items such as hairdryers, straighteners or razors. Plan to purchase these items overseas as voltage converters do not work well and can cause electrical outages.
- Bring a change of clothes and a few essentials in your carry-on in case your checked bag gets lost.
- Drink lots of water on the plane and avoid caffeine or alcohol, which will only exacerbate jetlag.
- Upon arrival in Europe you should try to do whatever the locals are doing at that time of day no matter how tired you feel. This will help your body acclimate to the new time zone.
- Know that cultural adjustment is a part of travel even for seasoned travelers. Try not to see cultural differences as negatives and ask questions when you don’t understand a custom or behavior. Expect ups and downs. Ask for support when you need it.
- Make a list of reasons you chose to go abroad and goals for the program (personal objectives, sites to see, etc.). Be reasonable about your goals – you can’t do it all!
- Read about your host culture and brush up on your U.S. history and politics. Europeans are generally well-informed about the U.S. and may ask your opinion on a variety of topics.
- Study abroad students are at high risk of doubling their alcohol intake while abroad. This is strongly linked to the fact that many students overestimate the drinking in their host culture. Inform yourself about local drinking norms and seek opportunities to socialize with locals.
We partner with your college or university to develop and operate academic programs in Europe for motivated and career-driven students. Programs are hosted in our Study Centers and we act as an extension of your home campus for all matters from academics to cultural adjustment, housing to health services. Our U.S. Office staff in California makes sure you are 100% ready to embark on your international experience, assisting with all necessary program and travel preparations ahead of departure. Accent has more than 30 years’ experience developing programs and supporting U.S. students in Europe.
Safety is Accent’s highest priority. Students are given 24-hour emergency contact information. Extensive contingency plans are in place in each city and Study Centers are in regular contact with the local U.S. Embassy. Please see the Health & Security section of the Student homepage for more information.
As a program participant, it is your responsibility to be aware of safety at all times and to act in a mature and adult manner in order to avoid unsafe situations. Students should be sensitive and adaptable to cultural differences. Study Center staff is available to discuss personal concerns regarding safety and wellness.
Yes, Accent does recommend that you purchase travel and personal property insurance for your travel overseas. Trip cancellation insurance is to protect your airfare investment and program fees and personal property insurance is to protect your belongings while abroad. Please see the Resources page for suggestions.
Most programs offered in partnership with Accent hold their courses in classrooms at the centrally-located Accent Study Centers. Courses are taught by visiting U.S. professors and/or local faculty, who are residents of the host-city and are experienced teaching in an education abroad setting. Classes often meet on-site at locations within or outside of the host city to take advantage of the wealth of opportunities available while studying abroad. Some U.S. colleges and universities may also choose to design programs that include enrollment at local universities and language schools.
You will register for language classes based on your previous language experience before you depart for your program. A placement exam will take place prior to departure or upon arrival.
Most Accent programs are developed for specific U.S. colleges and universities and only open to students from those schools. However, some schools decide to open their program — you can reference these Open-Enrollment programs on the Open-Enrollment Programs page. You must be at least 18 years of age to participate on programs through Accent; other eligibility requirements vary by program.
Program information is available from the Open-Enrollment Programs page of the website. Students submit completed applications with a non-refundable first payment as directed on the application page. Students will then receive notice of acceptance from Accent and/or the sponsoring school.
You should always check with your home institution before enrolling in a program to ensure that courses will transfer. For Open-Enrollment programs, you will enroll as a student of the sponsoring school for the length of the program, and at the end of the program you will receive a transcript for the credits you complete overseas. You will need to request that a transcript be sent directly to your registrar at your home institution.
Certain programs do require that participants obtain a visa from one of the host country consulates in the U.S. Please review individual program information.
Housing options vary depending on the destination city and are determined by Accent and the sponsoring U.S. college or university. Housing options include apartments, student residences, and homestays. Hotels or short-stay residences are often used for programs with a duration under two weeks.
Accommodations in Europe are very different than in the U.S. Space is at a premium in major European cities; as a result, housing is more compact. Student accommodations can be hundreds of years old, will be much smaller than what you are used to, and services such as the internet are often slower than at home. It is important to keep an open mind and welcome the cultural rewards of living like a local.
Homestays offer the opportunity to be fully immersed in the local culture, to hone language skills and to develop life-long relationships. It is important to keep in mind when choosing a homestay that it is very uncommon to have a traditional, nuclear host family.
Homestays are often couples or single parents whose children no longer live with them. The level of interaction with your host family will depend in part on the effort you make to socialize and to understand its members’ culture and points of view.
Depending on the program, housing with Accent may not be mandatory. Please contact the sponsoring college or university’s education abroad office or Accent for more information.
Accent is not able to accommodate early arrivals or late departures. If you will be arriving early, you must coordinate your own accommodations prior to the program start date and must check in at the designated spot on the first day of the program. Please consult Local Recommendations for hotel suggestions in each city.
Depending on your program, there may be an airport transfer included. With or without a transfer, students will need to arrive in time to check-in at the designated check-in location within business hours. Check-in details will be communicated to students approximately two weeks prior to the start date of the program. Check-in is most often at the Accent Study Center, or may be directly at housing, depending on the city, the program and the housing included. Students who are unable to check-in at the designated location within the hours given will need to find their own accommodations for the first night and check in to the ACCENT Center the following morning.
Financial Aid is managed differently at each institution. Please contact your Study Abroad and Financial Aid offices for more information. If you are on an Open-Enrollment program and paying your program fees directly to Accent, you can apply for the Accent Deferred Payment Plan. Once you are accepted, the Deferred Payment Plan allows you to defer up to 40% of your program payment until a later date, allowing more time for your financial aid disbursements to arrive. To be eligible for the Deferred Payment Plan, you must apply for and receive Financial Aid through your home institution or the school sponsoring the program.
Accent offers scholarships for programs hosted by Community Colleges, please visit the Open Enrollment Programs page for more information.
See individual program information for a detailed list of what is included in the program price. If you are on an Open-Enrollment program and it includes an optional group flight, the flight price will be quoted separately.
Payments can be made via credit card here. If paying by check, please make checks payable to Accent and mail to: Accent Global Learning, 870 Market Street, Suite 1026, San Francisco, CA 94102.
It is important to create a budget for the duration of your program. Accent recommends students have several ways to obtain money, so that options are available in the event of an emergency. Debit cards are encouraged as they also provide a way for someone in the U.S. to deposit money into the linked checking or savings account. Credit cards are good to have as back-up. Make sure you contact your bank and credit card companies to tell them you will be abroad and for what period of time. This can help avoid a bank putting a hold on the account due to “suspicious” international activity.
In most cases, you will be able to receive letters and packages at the Accent Study Center. However, receiving packages can be very costly. They may be held in customs for a long period of time and could result in high customs fees, charged to you upon receipt. Under no circumstances should laptop computers or medication be shipped overseas.
All programs allow for some free time. Exact schedules are confirmed during the on-site orientation in Europe. Excursions outside of the city often take place on Fridays or weekends. You should not make plans for personal travel or non-academic activities until you receive the program calendar and syllabi. Each Accent Study Center organizes optional, free or low cost cultural activities that allow students to discover the city and meet local residents. Activities may include cooking classes, concerts, dinners, neighborhood tours, and other activities that you may not discover on your own.
Family and friends are welcome to visit while you are studying overseas, but it is recommended that your guests plan their visit after you have received your program calendar, in order to avoid any scheduling conflicts. It is against Accent policy and the law in Europe to have overnight guests in program housing, so please visit our list of recommended hotels on our Local Recommendations page for visitor accommodations. Keep in mind that your program is an academic program and any classes or required program activities will require 100% attendance. Guests are not permitted to attend program related classes or visits.
Before you know it, you will be back at home, missing your host-city and the friends made during the program. It is normal to require a period of adjustment upon returning to the U.S., similar to what you experience upon arrival in the host country. Education abroad is characterized by new experiences, heightened emotions, and new freedoms. After the initial excitement of seeing family and friends or visiting a favorite restaurant, you may find yourself feeling overwhelmed or sad. Be patient with yourself while you adapt back to life in the U.S. You may find it helpful to stay in touch with peers from your program or keep a journal. Make sure to ask for support if you need it.