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3 Transfer Problems International Students Should Look Out For

Posted on June 17th, 2016 by Bryanna Davis

young student thinking with arrows over headFor many people, the chance to study abroad is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Although it has clear advantages and will certainly give you memories you’ll never forget, there are a few things to be aware of whether you are already in the United States to study or thinking about going there soon. Specifically, they relate to the credit hours earned here or elsewhere.

Here are three common problems you may run into:

1.Material About Past Coursework May Not Be Available in English

Regardless of where they’re located, most universities require incoming students to participate in a core curriculum or else be able to demonstrate they’ve already gone through the coursework in another way, such as testing out of certain classes or perhaps just showing proof through your transcript.

However, things can get trickier for international students who are trying to transfer credits that were earned in their home country. That’s especially true if the syllabuses for those courses are in a foreign language and translation assistance isn’t readily available. If your school does not already have a company that they work with for instances like these, ask your international student office if they have a certain company they recommend.

2.Community College Credits May Not Be Recognized Back Home

If you plan to study abroad in the United States for a few semesters, or years and not complete a degree, keep in mind that you might run into the same problem you had when transferring to the US: your credits might not be recognized.

It’s important to remember that although community colleges are extremely popular in the United States, the same is not necessarily true globally, especially since some countries, such as those in Europe, already offer relatively affordable — or even free — tuition.

With that in mind, consider that your home country might not be familiar with the community college concept. Administrators who oversee transfer credits could raise their eyebrows when looking over your transcript of community college classes taken in the United States.

That doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have wasted your time or your home country won’t ever see those credits as valid. However, it’s essential to research and see how your native country generally views credits earned at community colleges. Fortunately, some community colleges have teams of advisors to aid students in figuring out how credits earned there that will transfer back to their country of origin.

3.English Courses May Need to Be Repeated in the United States

There are many important steps that must be taken before you arrive as an international student in the United States and being able to demonstrate your English language proficiency is one.

International students who wish to study abroad in the US often run into an unexpected challenge when realizing even though they took and passed an English course in their home country, that effort doesn’t always satisfy the English-language requirements they need to meet to study in the US.

These are just a few of the possible problems you may encounter when trying to transfer credits between universities in the United States and your home country. Although they’re not meant to discourage you from pursuing a dream of being a Stateside student, hopefully these examples will emphasize how important it is to plan ahead as much as possible and take care to understand all academic requirements of the respective countries.

Written by Bryanna Davis

Bryanna joined EIC in 2011 after returning to the United States from teaching English in China. Her interest in international education, sparked initially by her own study abroad experience in Wales, led her to the company. Bryanna is originally from Missouri and is a graduate from the University of Central Missouri.

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2 Responses to “3 Transfer Problems International Students Should Look Out For”

  1. Alexis Marchena Says:

    I’m an American citizen, living in Peru with wife and 2 kids. I am mulling a job offer back in the US, however, in Peru schools are currently in winter season with their winter break coming up end of July (still can’t get used to the concept of winter in July lol). My kid’s school are a big concern for me.

    How would it work if i transfer? Would they have to do an extra semester, of 3rd grade for my 8 yr old, which essentially means would lose a school year with her current peers. Or is it better to wait till end of December when their regular school year ends in Peru.

    I just don’t see how, say, my daughter would be allowed to start 4th grade in August/Sept in USA after only having done 1 semester of 3rd grade. Thanks in advance for any help!

    ps- Both my kids (4 and 8 yrs old) are bilingual, so no issue there.

  2. Bryanna Davis Says:

    Hi Alexis,

    Thanks for visiting! Unfortunately we wouldn’t be able to give you specific advice on your children transferring back to the US as it will depend on their personal situation and those of the school. The school will more than likely review transcripts and perhaps even have them take tests to establish the outcome. What we do recommend is contacting the school that they would be attending when you relocate back to the US. They will be able to provide you with better insight on this topic. Good luck!

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