Addie Patterson Wilson

Application & Eligibility

Which program is best for my personal, cultural and academic interests?

We have a wide variety of programs ranging from 2-5 weeks in destinations all over the world. Each program is uniquely designed to match students’ differing interests and schedules. We would love to hop on a quick call to make a personalized recommendation for you! Schedule a time here.

When do most people study abroad? Why should I go this year?

The short answer is to go now. Seriously, the number one regret we hear from students is “I wish I would have gone abroad sooner?” The earlier you’re able to study abroad, the more options you will have to take classes that fit your academic goals.  In addition, studying abroad sooner will help you land internships and leadership positions as well as have more time on campus to apply everything you learn abroad.

How do I talk to my parents about studying abroad?

We understand that studying abroad is a family decision and most parents and guardians have questions about safety, academics, flights and more. So, let us help. We have a team dedicated to speaking with parents, grandparents and even God parents. If someone you care about has questions, we’ve got answers. Let your parents know that you are looking into a LeadAbroad program and then encourage them to schedule a call here.

I’ve never traveled. Is this okay?

Absolutely. Many of our students have never been abroad before. That’s a great reason to choose LeadAbroad since we will support you and your family from the time you express interest until the moment you return home after your program. We also staff our programs in order to be sure you are able to navigate the complexities of travel and take advantage of every moment abroad.

I don’t know anyone going abroad. What should I do?

This is most students’ #1 concern before going abroad and then ends up being their favorite aspect about LeadAbroad. We are committed to creating community between the students who join us from universities across the states. You are going to meet so many amazing friends on our program. We plan a ton of activities to build community both on campus and abroad. Join the program Facebook group, post on Instagram that you are going and join us at events and you will have so many new friends before you know it.

How do I apply for a LeadAbroad program?

There are three steps to the application: the online form, deposit and transcript (on credit-bearing programs). Start with the online form here. At the end, you will be asked to ‘pay now’ or ‘pay later.’ Be sure to click one or the other and submit to ensure your application answers will save. If you click pay later, you will receive an invoice to pay the deposit when you’re ready which will link directly to your application. Your application is not complete until you submit the $500 deposit. Finally, if you are applying for a credit-bearing program, you will need to request an official transcript from your home university to be sent to Oglethorpe University. That’s it – you’re done!

How long will the application take?

About 15-20 minutes.

What is the deadline to apply for the program?

Like many universities, we have rolling admissions. This means that we accept students throughout the semester until a program fills up. The sooner you apply, the better your chances at getting accepted. Chatting with a team member directly will also help you better understand the application process and selection criteria.  Click here to schedule a chat!

Is a deposit required to apply? Is it refundable?

Applications will not be considered for acceptance until you complete your $500 deposit. This deposit goes towards the cost of your program. It is not an additional fee.  If you are not accepted to their program, the deposit is 100% refundable. If you choose to withdraw, the refund policy differs depending on the time of year. Please see the detailed policy here.

The application says I can “pay now” or “pay later”.  How does that work? If you choose pay now, your application will be complete, your spot will be reserved (if your program is not already sold out) and you will be considered for acceptance at the next acceptance date. If you choose to pay later, an invoice will be generated and emailed to you showing the $500 deposit balance.  You can use this invoice number to complete your deposit online at a later time. You will not be considered for acceptance until your deposit is paid.

How do I send an official transcript? Where do I send it?

To send an official transcript to Oglethorpe University from your home institution, visit your school’s registrar website and navigate to the transcript/records request section.  You can also call the registrar’s office for assistance. Official transcripts must be sent directly to the Office of Admission at Oglethorpe University. Most institutions send official transcripts electronically.  In this case, you will select Oglethorpe University as the recipient. If an email address and/or recipient is required, enter kgrady@oglethorpe.edu as the email and Kim Grady as the recipient. If your school only uses physical mail for official transcripts, enter the mailing address below:

Office of Admission
Oglethorpe University
4484 Peachtree Rd NE
Atlanta, GA  30319

Do I need a passport to apply?

No, you do not need a passport when applying for a LeadAbroad program. However, as soon as your application is submitted, you should begin the steps to obtain a passport or check that your passport is valid for at least six months after your planned travel.

Can I participate if I will have just completed high school?

If you just graduated high school and are accepted to a school in the fall semester after your summer with LeadAbroad, you are eligible to apply. You must also be 18 years old by the program start date. Depending on which LeadAbroad program you are applying for, additional application materials including high school transcript, SAT/ACT scores or letters of recommendation may be required.

Can I participate if I will have just completed college?

Yes, recent graduates are eligible to apply for a LeadAbroad program. Additional application materials may be required depending on the type of program.

What are the requirements for eligibility?

All LeadAbroad participants must:

  • Be 18 years old by the program start date
  • Be in good standing with your home institution
  • Meet official GPA requirements when applying to for-credit programs:
    • Above 2.5 – application will be reviewed and no additional documentation is necessary
    • Between 2.0-2.49 – application will be reviewed; however, an additional transcript will be required prior to departure to prove your cumulative GPA remained above 2.0 during the spring semester
    • Below a 2.0 (fall applicant) – application will be deferred; however, you can resubmit your fall transcript in December for consideration if above a 2.0
    • Below a 2.0 (spring applicant) – application will be denied and program deposit will be refunded.

How and when will you communicate if I am accepted?

Completed applications are generally reviewed for acceptance every two weeks. Acceptance decisions are typically released on Fridays.

Travel & Living Abroad

How do I apply for a passport?

Visit travel.state.gov to begin your passport application. All details and action items will be addressed on the U.S. State Department’s website.

Do I need a visa?

Currently, U.S. citizens do not need a visa for any LeadAbroad program location. If you are not a U.S. citizen, a visa may be required. You are responsible for doing the proper research and applying for the appropriate visa. If you need documentation from LeadAbroad, please email info@LeadAbroad.com for assistance.

I already have a passport. What potential issues may require me to obtain a new one?

Immediately check your passport’s expiration date. LeadAbroad recommends renewing your passport if it expires within the year of your planned travel. Generally, foreign countries require your passport to be valid for six months from the date you return home after your program. For example, if your program ends on August 10th, you must renew your passport ASAP if it expires before February 10th of the following year.

You must also ensure your passport has at least three consecutive blank pages. Many countries require this space for entry/exit stamps or visas.

Do I need any vaccinations to enter the country?

Our program countries do not require immunizations to enter the country. However, consistent with the requirements of the Georgia Board of Regents, the following vaccinations are required for all students enrolled in LeadAbroad:

  • Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) 2 doses
  • Tetanus or Diphtheria (Tdap or Td) must be up to date
  • Hepatitis B series
  • Varicella (Chicken Pox) 2 doses or date of disease

If a student has a religious or other personal objection to our immunization policy, or wishes to be exempt for another reason, you must indicate this on your health form. Students filing an exemption to the immunization policy will not be allowed to stay at the LeadAbroad accommodations or participate in program activities if an outbreak of any preventable disease occurs on or near our international campus/program accommodations. No academic or financial accommodations will be made in this situation.

What are my options for booking a flight?

LeadAbroad offers a pre-booked group flight for most programs. If your program includes a group flight, you can purchase a ticket directly from LeadAbroad in your online portal. Group flight tickets carry very specific policies and rules. Be sure to review these rules on your accepted student page before purchasing a ticket. Most group flights originate out of Atlanta, Washington DC or New York City. You are responsible for booking your connecting flights into the group flight origin city and back home.

If you decide not to purchase the group flight, you have the option to book your own flights. LeadAbroad will provide specific recommendations on arrival and departure times in order to line up your flights as close as possible to the group flight itinerary. This will allow you to take advantage of pre-arranged group transportation between the airport and program accommodations.

Will LeadAbroad pick me up when I arrive abroad?

If you arrive on the group flight or within the group arrival window, LeadAbroad will provide transportation to the accommodations. Arrivals outside of the group arrival window must coordinate transportation separately.

Can I arrive late? Early?

If you arrive into the program city early, we will not be able to accommodate early check-in. You must secure your own accommodations until the official check-in day. Early arrivals do not require special approval.

The logistical and/or academic consequences of a late arrival severely impact your experience on the program. Due to this, we generally do not allow late arrivals. If you have a special circumstance you can reach out to us to discuss further.

Will I be taken to the airport at the completion of the program?

If your flight departs within the group departure window, airport transportation will be provided. If your flight departs earlier than the group, you may have to secure your own transportation to the airport.

Can I leave the program a day early?

The logistical and/or academic consequences of an early departure severely impact your experience on the program. Due to this, we generally do not allow early departures. If you have a special circumstance you can reach out to us to discuss further.

What should I pack?

We know you are already dreaming of your packing list. Don’t worry, once you are accepted you will gain access to your program specific accepted student page which will have lots of details from our years of experience. Also, we’ll provide student tips and tricks to make packing easy.

Where will we be staying?

Every program is unique but generally speaking students stay in comfortable hotels, apartments or dorms while abroad. Once you are accepted, you will gain access to your specific program accepted student page which will include all accommodation information: name of hotel(s), addresses and website links. Our housing is not luxurious, but comfortable, safe and located in central neighborhoods where students want to live.

Is there a sample itinerary?

Yes, once you are accepted you will gain access to your specific program accepted student page which includes a link to a sample itinerary.

Can I select my roommate?

Yes, your LeadAbroad portal includes a roommate form where you will enter your specific request. Roommates will only be paired if it is a mutual request.

If you do not have or want to live with someone you know on the program then just let us know. Our team will use their magic skills to match you with your new best friend.

Will I have a curfew?

Each program location enforces specific housing policies and rules; however, you will not have an official curfew.

Should I bring my phone and computer?

All students are required to have a working cell phone abroad. Details on cell service and internet abroad can be found on your accepted student page.

If you are attending a for-credit program, you are required to bring a laptop as well. Non-credit programs do not require a laptop, and we recommend you leave it at home unless you absolutely need it while traveling.

Is Wi-Fi available in the accommodations?

Yes, all accommodations have WiFi.

Parents

Why should my child study abroad?

There are many benefits to studying abroad – personal growth and development, resume building, creating a global mindset and standing out in job interviews. We hear over and over again from parents that their student returned home from our program with a new sense of purpose, perspective and maturity. We would love to talk with you about the ways one of our programs can benefit your student specifically. Schedule a time here.

Why should my child study abroad with LeadAbroad?

There are thousands of study abroad programs. LeadAbroad is different due to our strong commitment to support, learning and community on every experience. Students and parents tell us that they value our commitment to communication throughout the process, our focus on safety during the program and our staff’s interest in connecting with each student and challenging them to discover the best version of themselves. Learn more about the LeadAbroad promise here and hear from past parents in this quick video.

How much experience does LeadAbroad have with sending students abroad?

LeadAbroad has been leading experiences since 2009 and has led more than 3,400 students abroad.

Is studying abroad safe? How do you keep students healthy and safe?

Safety is our number one priority.  Learn more about our commitment to health and safety here.

My child has never traveled. Is this an issue?

Not at all. Many of our students have never been abroad and this is why they choose LeadAbroad. Our team takes care of all of the details and is committed to supporting you and your family every step along the way.

How many students will be on each program?

Programs generally range in size from 30-100 depending on the location and program structure. Regardless of the size of your program, LeadAbroad values community and facilitates small group environments so students can connect and build authentic relationships.

What will the program cost?

Programs range is cost from $2,900-$5,000. Tuition is an additional $1,700 per class.

How will I communicate with my student while they are abroad?

Students are required to have a cell phone abroad for risk management purposes and communication. All accommodations are equipped with WiFi to make it easy for families to communicate via WhatsApp, FaceTime or Skype. We encourage families to make a communication plan prior to departure and have realistic expectations for the frequency of communication. Students can either get an international phone plan through their current carrier or a local SIM card upon arrival. Our team on the ground will be happy to help as well.

What is the best way to access money abroad?

All of our locations have easy access to ATMs. We encourage students to obtain money directly from an ATM abroad versus bringing US dollars to exchange. Typically, foreign ATMs will charge a flat fee of $5 and your bank will charge a fee of (generally) 2-3% of the withdrawal. We also encourage students to use credit cards whenever possible. Credit card companies can do more to help protect you against fraud if your card was lost or stolen.

What personal and emotional challenges will my student face abroad?

Almost every student experiences some degree of culture shock while traveling. As defined in the Education Abroad Glossary, published by The Forum on Education Abroad, culture shock is:

The anxiety and feelings (of surprise, disorientation, confusion, etc.) one feels coming into contact with an entirely different social environment, such as a different country. It often relates to the temporary inability to assimilate the new culture, causing difficulty in knowing what is appropriate and what is not.

Our team will discuss culture shock with students during orientation and help them process through some of the challenges of being away from home. However, it is likely that when students are experiencing some of the components of culture shock (anxiety, disorientation, frustrations, etc.) they will not name it as culture shock but rather speak about the new environment through the food, weather, classes, transportation and housing.

Learning that your student is discouraged is a heavy weight for parents, but please be mindful that students will typically mirror the same emotions that they hear from you at home. And, sometimes, these validating and affirming words can unintentionally escalate the problem.  We encourage parents to help their student identify their feelings as culture shock and not something more. If your student contacts you with anxiety about being abroad, we have found that the best way to support them is the following:

  • Direct your daughter/son to our on-site program staff.  Our team is always available to listen, support and mediate problems.
  • Remind her/him that they are experiencing culture shock and to revisit their notes from orientation regarding coping with challenges abroad.
  • Encourage your student to take this new experience one day at a time. Oftentimes students become overwhelmed during the first few days and think they will feel anxious the whole time. However, we have found that the feeling associated with culture shock actually come in waves.

Some students will face other kinds of challenges while traveling. Some examples include: losing a phone, having a debit card stop working, getting sick, missing a train/flight or struggling with a roommate.  Overcoming these obstacles helps the student gain a renewed sense of self-confidence and grow as an individual. Our on-site program team has experience helping students with these situations and can provide support in person. Always encourage your student to go directly to the program director in these types of situations.

Here are a few ways our on-site team will support your student abroad:

  • Providing comfort and company during a visit to the doctor
  • Locating a new/replacement phone
  • Solving money issues by connecting parents and students through a money transfer
  • Sharing safe and budget-friendly travel advice
  • Facilitating shared goals during a roommate mediation

At home, it is easy to feel helpless and anxious when your student calls and is noticeably upset. Again, the best thing to do is to direct your student to the program staff. Also, encourage your student to stay positive and help them gain perspective on the situation. So few students have the opportunity to go abroad at all and these small bumps are just part of the experience.

Where will my student live during their time abroad?

Every program is unique but generally speaking students stay in comfortable hotels, apartments or dorms while abroad. Once accepted, he/she will gain access to their specific program accepted student page which will include all accommodation information: name of hotel(s), addresses and website links. Our housing is not luxurious, but comfortable, safe and located in central neighborhoods where students want to live.

Will the course credit transfer back to my student’s home university?

Students attending for-credit programs through LeadAbroad will receive a transcript from our academic partner Oglethorpe University. This school of record relationship ensures the academic courses are high quality and meet the standards of the regional accrediting organization, SACS. SACS is recognized by the US Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.

LeadAbroad has worked with students from over 75 universities and we have learned that each school has slightly different processes. Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the student to identify how the credits will transfer back to their school. If your school has credit equivalency search function, students can start there, but then we also encourage them to talk to their advisors. At some of our larger schools, we have Campus Captains, who can help answer questions on how to navigate this process.

What does my student need to complete prior to departure? Where can I access this information?

Each student has a custom portal that has all forms and waivers required for the program. These forms include a program waiver, health, flight and roommate form. We also have some additional forms that are very simple and designed to make sure that students stay on track with the pre-departure process. Students can access their portal from the homepage of our website by selecting Log In.

Can I visit my student while they are abroad?

We completely understand that parents want to share in this experience with their child. We have found, however, that the best way to take part, while not creating tension for your student, is to join them before or after the program. This way students can spend all day with their family and not have to try to balance program activities and class with the visit. Though discouraged, parents can visit during the program. It is important to note that family and friends are not able to stay in the students’ accommodations nor participate in the LeadAbroad tours and activities.

Can I send my student packages while they are abroad?

We do not recommend sending care packages or valuable items (such as cell-phones) abroad. In the past, we have seen packages get stuck in immigration for weeks and subject to large fees and/or taxes.

Payments & Budgeting

What costs should I budget for while abroad?

The largest costs outside of program fees and tuition are flights and meals. LeadAbroad provides a general budget sheet for a student which can be found on your accepted student page.

What’s included and excluded from the fees?

Program fees include accommodations, tours and activities, in country transportation to program events and, depending on your program, some meals.

It is important to make a financial plan for costs not included in the program fees which may include flights, meals, personal shopping and expenses and cell phone usage.

What types of payments will LeadAbroad accept?

LeadAbroad accepts credit card payments from VISA, MasterCard and Discover. We do not accept American Express. In addition, we accept debit card payments from most U.S. based institutions and eCheck payments from U.S. banks. It should be noted that all credit and debit card payments have a 4% convenience fee added to your payment and eChecks are free. If you require an alternative method of payment, please contact our finance director, Marc, at marc@leadabroad.com.

When are payments due?

Payment due dates differ based on student acceptance dates and the time of year the student is accepted. For a detailed explanation, see the link here.

Do you offer payment plans?

In addition to our standard installment plan structure, we offer customized payment plans. If you’re interested in an alternative payment schedule, please contact marc@leadabroad.com.

Funding & Scholarships

Does LeadAbroad offer scholarships?

Yes, we offer scholarships. Learn more about LeadAbroad scholarships here.

When should I apply for a scholarship?

Immediately after you complete your application.

How competitive are the scholarships?

It varies every year. We review a variety of criteria including on campus leadership, past experience, recommendation letters and need in order to select winners.

What are the deadlines for scholarships?

See the scholarship page here for deadlines for each award.

When will the scholarship winners be communicated?

Scholarship winners will be notified in the spring.

How will the scholarship money be awarded?

All scholarships awarded will be sent by either check or wire to the recipient upon completed payment of all installments. If you require additional assistance or information, please contact marc@leadabroad.com for additional steps.

Does LeadAbroad offer federal financial aid?

LeadAbroad does not offer federal financial aid directly.

Do you accept financial aid?

Yes, we will require a guarantee letter from your lender or school stating that the funds will be available to you and when they will be available. If you plan to use financial aid to pay for the program, please contact marc@leadabroad.com for additional steps.

Do you accept 529 plans?

Yes. There are many different rules for 529 plans depending on your individual plan. We recommend you consult with your financial advisor to determine what types of expenses are eligible for reimbursement from 529 funds. We can accept funds from any 529 plan and for both program costs and tuition expenses, but it’s up to you, your family and your financial advisor to determine fund eligibility.

Academics & Transcripts

How many courses will I take abroad?

Depending on your GO or LEAD program, you will take one or two classes for three or six credit hours.

Will I receive course credit for my time abroad?

Yes, students attending for-credit programs through LeadAbroad will receive a transcript from our academic partner Oglethorpe University. This school of record relationship ensures the academic courses are high quality and meet the standards of the regional accrediting organization, SACS.  SACS is recognized by the US Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.

When will I receive my grades?

Final grades are usually made available by faculty within two weeks of your program ending.

Will my grades affect my GPA?

Your grades from the program will become part of your academic record. Whether your grades will affect your GPA is determined by the policies of your home university.

Do I have to pay for my transcript?

Oglethorpe University will send one copy of your official transcript to the registrar’s office of the school we have on file for you. If you prefer to send to another office on campus, let us know ahead of time and we will use a different address. Once your first copy is mailed, you will need to pay for any additional copies required.

Where will you send my transcript?

Oglethorpe University will send one copy of your official transcript to the registrar’s office of the school we have on file for you.  If you prefer to send to another office on campus, let us know ahead of time and we will use a different address.

When will I receive a transcript?

Your school should receive your transcript within two weeks of mailing (mid September). If you need a copy sooner, you can request online through Oglethorpe University’s website.

How can I request an additional transcript?

Transcripts will be sent automatically to a students registrars office in September. If a student needs an additional transcript they can request one at https://hub.oglethorpe.edu/registrar/transcripts/

Withdrawals & Refunds

What is the refund policy?

Please see the refund policy here.

How do I officially withdraw from the program?

To officially withdraw, please contact info@LeadAbroad.com for access to the withdrawal form.

When will I receive my refund after I withdraw?

Refunds will be processed within 15 business days to your original method of payment, unless otherwise requested. If your original method of payment is no longer available to receive a refund, a check will be written to the address provided in the withdrawal form made out to the recipient requested in the withdrawal form.