- COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS
- 1. General
- 3. Airfare/Travel (packing, money, etc.)
- 4. Passports, Visas, etc.
- 5. The Academic Program Site
- 6. Living Abroad: Accommodations (your host family, dorms, etc.)
- 7. Social Life/Extra Curricular (excursions, food)
- When am I ready to study abroad?
- Full enjoyment and appreciation of the study
aboard experience requires a certain level of emotional maturity and language skill.
- Students must meet their program prerequisites
or submit a waiver for approval by PATA.
- How many PATA participants go on each
- All programs have a minimum of 10 and a
maximum of 30 participants. They are not necessarily from the same school or state.
- If a group from the same school or district
fills a program, PATA may increase the maximum enrollment
- at the request of the participating teachers.
Transferring Credits to a
- Will the credits I earn transfer to my
- YES! When you attend a PATA program at
an accredited university, you receive a university transcript which your American
- university will receive and assess as it would
a transcript from any American university. The decision to grant credit is based
- on their university guidelines and your degree
plan. The acceptance of transfer credits is at the discretion of the receiving
- PATA cannot guarantee that all credit hours
will be accepted at all universities.
- How many credits will I earn?
- At universities using the semester system, you
will receive one hour of credit for every fifteen hours of class contact.
- Ultimately, the acceptance of transfer credits
is at the discretion of your university.
- Will my grades transfer?
- NO. Your grade will appear on your foreign
transcript, but only the credits will transfer. However, your grade may influence
- the amount of credit granted.
- Is there any way I can get credit with
- YES. But not through your
transcript. After you have studied abroad, your increased skills will improve your
- on college credit placement tests like the AP
exam. Making a high score on these tests can result in a letter grade
- as well as credit. Check with your
prospective university about their policy.
- How will study abroad help my college
- First, competitive colleges are impressed with
students who have a foreign language background and experience abroad.
- Your summer study may help you get into the
university of your choice. Second, study abroad is a financial investment. It can
raise your AP, IB and college placement exam scores which earn credit hours which can
represent significant savings.
- Airfare & Travel
- May I make my own flight arrangements?
- As a PATA participant, you will be part of a
group. We strongly recommend that your accompany your group to and
- from the program site. However, if you
wish to fly on your own, please check the appropriate box on your PATA
- application. Parents will be required to
sign a flight responsibility release form. If you purchase your own airfare, you will
- receive a discount off the PATA program price.
- How much luggage should I take?
- Excess baggage is a traveler's nightmare! In
fact, there is a limit on the number of bags you can bring.
- You may check ONE bag aboard the plane with
one carry-on. Your checked bag should not weight more than 60 pounds.
- Pack light! You will be handling your OWN
bag! Remember to leave space for your overseas purchases!
- What will be my departure city?
- Airfare costs are based on departure from
Houston, Texas. However, as departure time approaches and the group fills,
- alternate departure gates MAY be
announced. For example, if a program fills with students from the Dallas area,
- the departure city MAY be changed to Dallas.
Your round-trip transportation to and from the city of departure is NOT
- included in the PATA program price.
- Should I bring book in English to
- Reading, speaking, listening, or even thinking
in English is detrimental to your growing language skills. In addition to bringing
books from home, we suggest that you visit a bookstore in your home stay city and purchase
books or magazines in the language that you wish to learn. Reading authentic
materials in your language of study will greatly enhance your progress.
- What should I bring with me?
- You will find a list of what to bring and how
to pack in the orientation information you receive about 4-6 weeks before
- your departure date. If you want to
start shopping now, purchase a few mix and match items that you can layer for
- Look for wrinkle-free fabrics, but avoid any
"dry clean only". If you buy luggage with wheels, make certain that the
- heavy duty! Those cobblestoned streets
are a challenge to most suitcases with wheels.
- How much personal spending money will
- Each traveler's personal expenses vary. If you
plan to purchase many souvenirs or enjoy shopping for clothing,
- plan accordingly. Because it is expensive to
wire money overseas, it is always best to bring more than you think you need.
- Passports & Visas
- Do I have to have a passport?
- YES. If you are traveling to Europe it
is essential that you have a valid passport in your name (not a family passport).
- Travel in Mexico and Canada does not require a
passport, but it will simplify your travel and money exchange.
- PATA strongly encourages you to apply for a
passport as soon as you sign-up.
- Do I need a travel visa?
- NO. No visa is necessary if your stay is
limited to three months or less.
- How do I get a passport?
- You can download passport applications
from the web.
- Applications are also available in most post
offices, not all of them provide processing services,
- so call ahead for verification. To process the
application, your will need to personally submit a certified copy of your
- birth certificate, two passport photographs,
and the required fee (check for current prices) to the passport office at your
- central post office. Allow 4-6 weeks for
delivery. You may also personally process the paperwork at the nearest
- US Passport Agency (in Texas--Houston).
- The Academic Program Site
- Why does PATA use language institutes
on some programs?
- The goal of PATA programs is to provide the
best environment for students to quickly increase their fluency
- in another language. The language institutes
with which PATA works offer small class instruction in a culturally
- rich environment. All participating
institutes are recognized for their outstanding language programs and design their
- curriculum to meet university standards.
- What about my course work at a
- If you attend a language institute, you will
receive a detailed transcript describing your program. When you enroll in
- an American university, take your transcript
and a portfolio of your course work to your admissions office and petition
- credit.Your university will grant credit based
on their review of your documents. Again, the acceptance of transfer
- credits is always at the discretion of the
receiving university. PATA cannot guarantee that all credit hours will be
- accepted at all universities.
- Do the professors speak English?
- NO. That is exactly why you are studying
abroad. All classes are conducted in the language of your host country.
- Are the classes difficult?
- You may experience culture shock on the first
day of class and think, "This is impossible!" Don't panic!
- The university and institute staff are
accustomed to working with foreign students. After two or three days,
- you will feel much more comfortable. If
you attend class, are attentive and participate, you will discover that the
- classes may be challenging, but not too
difficult for your level. If you run into problems, tutoring is available on a daily
- How are the families chosen?
- PATA families have been selected from a pool
of families used by university students, some for generations.
- The first screening comes from the university
or institute itself. Names of families with an interest in receiving
- foreign guests is given to PATA for a second
screening process.You will fill out a personality questionnaire before
- your departure that will help us find an
appropriate, compatible family for your home stay. Because families are financially
- compensated, you can rest assured that your
meals, daily shower, and laundry are not a burden,
- but an expected part of your stay.
- Should I live alone, or with a
- All program participants live with a roommate.
However, if a program has an odd number of male or female
- particpants, a student may be placed alone
with a family. Students who prefer to live alone with a family
- may request to do so at and additional charge,
- What if I don't like my family?
- Although it is unlikely, if a concern about
your family arises, let your director know immediately! Your full-time
- on-site director will look into any concerns
and make the appropriate changes.
- Do the families speak English?
- We hope not! But don't worry. The
families have requested foreign students and know how to communicate
- with new language learners. In fact, many
families see themselves as teachers, and will enjoy helping you learn.
- Your Free Time
- Will I have the opportunity to meet
local residents my age?
- Establishing a friendship depends on you. How
is this done? First and foremost, explore your host town
- in small groups. Large groups appear to be
"tourists" rather than students, and REPEL rather than attract
- the interest of local residents. Second,
always use your language of study. People will be more willing to talk to you
- if they know that you want to communicate in
their language. Your host family also provides a source of interaction
- with local residents. In addition to
communication with them on a daily basis, they serve as a conduit to meeting
- new friends of all ages.
- How can I trust the new people I meet?
- Because your safety is our principal concern,
we ask that all participants remain in groups of four when they go out,
- especially at night. The four do not have to
be four PATA students, after you make local friends, they can be a part
- of your group. Going out in a group is the
best security there is!
- What is the food like?
Each country offers different culinary treats.You'll have the opportunity to try
new dishes, some of which you will
- like more than others The important thing is
that you try everything once. You may be surprised at your reaction!
- If you are a vegetarian or have other dietary
needs, please let us know on your housing questionnaire.
- Your host family will provide meals to
accommodate your diet.
- Is the drinking water safe?
- With the exception of Mexico, Costa Rica and
Russia, the tap water available in all PATA program site countries is safe to drink.
- However, bottled water is readily available.
Families provide unlimited filtered water in their homes for
- drinking and for brushing your
teeth. Outside of the home, we recommend that you always drink bottled water.
- What are the excursions like?
- You will enjoy day trips and overnight
excursions. On most programs, the excursions take place on the weekends.
- Check your itinerary for specific excursion
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