» Information for Students While Abroad

Hope Refuge, Ghana

What do you want to accomplish while abroad? How will you register for courses at Chapman while abroad or request your overseas transcript? Read below for ideas on how to maximize your experience, get involved with the local culture, and tips to ensure a smooth transition back to Chapman.

If you need to obtain course approvals from Chapman while abroad, please see the instructions on Additional Course Approvals.

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Maximize Your Experience

Get Involved and Learn about the Culture
  • “When in Rome”! Get involved - join language clubs, student groups, and other special interest clubs. 
  • Take a class about the local culture and history.
  • Take advantage of excursions provided by your overseas university to get out and learn more about the country.
  • Acknowledge big and small differences between your host culture and back home such as interpersonal communication, eating habits, transportation, and other customs.
  • Many local city guides and magazines are available with information about activities, street fairs, concerts, art exhibits, restaurants, and other local events at a low cost or even free! See travel information for ideas.
  • Use the language by interacting with locals. If English is the predominant language, learn the slang they use.
  • Explore! Explore! Explore!

Dealing with Culture Shock

  • Be aware that culture shock will happen and prepare for it by learning and accepting the new culture
  • Deal with it like any other stress: get out and about, listen to music, talk with friends
  • Interpret the new culture: Ask yourself “Based on what I know, I think it means this. But my thinking is based on my assumptions. What else could it mean? Are my assumptions valid?”
  • Consider altering your point of view or at least consider another view
  • Be as patient, flexible and cooperative as possible. Use courtesy expressions often.
  • Stay involved by engaging yourself in local activities
  • Form and maintain friendships in the community
  • Keep a cultural diary (gain a fresh perspective and learn more about yourself)

           Read more about culture shock

Keeping in Touch While Abroad

There are several ways to maintain contact with friends and family back home.

  • Internet Access:  In most locations, you will have access to the Internet at your campus and in some cases, at your residence.  There will be Internet Cafés located throughout your host city.  Internet access and speed is not the same abroad as it is in the U.S.!
  • Use Skype or Facetime for free internet calls and low-cost phone calls.
  • MagicJack for a $20 flat rate gives you a year of unlimited calls. 
  • Blog about your experiences with MyTripJournal, TravelPod, Blogger, or many other free sites so friends and family can read about your trip.
  • Cell Phones: You can purchase a cell phone once you arrive in your host country.  Your U.S. cell phone might be equipped with the SIM chip necessary to make calls to the U.S. from your host country, but you will want to check with your service provider about the rates before your departure.
  • Landlines: Students may have access to landline phones in their apartments or dorms.  Homestay students should check with their host families if they are allowed to use the landline for local and/or international phone calls.
  • Calling Cards: International calling cards are also provided through national telecommunications companies. The ISIC card has a calling card option as well.
  • Postcards/Letters: Communicate via snail mail! Friends and family back home will enjoy receiving postcards from all over the world.
  • Keep a journal to remember your experience and reflect when you go back home.  Make the effort to write in your journal a few times a week to capture your impressions and feelings as they happen.

Contacting Chapman University While Abroad

Keep a list of email addresses and phone numbers for Chapman University personnel such as the Center for Global Education, your Academic Advisor, Registrar, Business Office, and Financial Aid. You should contact your program provider with anything related to your studies abroad such as housing, academics, excursions, student life, and adjustment issues.  You may contact Chapman University for other issues related to your student status, course approvals, and Chapman-related business.

If you need to contact Chapman University in an emergency while abroad, please contact Public Safety at 001-714-997-6763.

A Note about Social Networking While Abroad

  • You are going abroad to experience a different way of living, one of which may be a separation from high-tech equipment and items, the constant ability to Twitter, IM or update your Facebook page and/or free internet service.
  • Be appropriate when posting information about your study abroad experience.
  • Be aware of caching, or posting something on Facebook for a short time and then deleting it.  It will remain accessible to the rest of the world on the Internet.

Requesting Transcripts from the Host Institution

While you are abroad, you may be asked by the host institution to complete a Transcript Request Form to have your grades transferred back to Chapman.  All courses taken abroad will be transferred back to Chapman University. You may not withhold a transcript or the transfer of a course.

 It is VERY IMPORTANT that you request your transcript from abroad be sent to


 Center for Global Education

Chapman University

One University Drive, Orange, CA  92866 USA

*If you are on an ISEP program, ISEP will receive your transcript from your host institution and forward it to the CGE for you.

Be sure you have submitted your transcript request BEFORE leaving your host country, as your transcript cannot be released without your written permission.

PLEASE NOTE: It may take 2-4 months following the conclusion of your term abroad for Chapman to receive the foreign transcript. Please do not contact our office during this period inquiring about the status of your transcript.

How to Register for Next Semester While Abroad

Toward the latter half of your semester abroad, the Center for Global Education will e-mail your Chapman account the information required to register for the following semester. You will also receive instructions on how to waive a pre-requisite if a course you are taking abroad is a pre-requisite for a course you want to take at Chapman the following semester.

Please note: Take the time-zone differences into consideration when registering for the following semester.  Chapman University cannot amend your time of registration. If you would like, you can assign a “proxy” to register for you during Pacific Standard Time. You can also ask someone you trust to log onto my.chapman.edu and enroll you!

Students who have (or are very close to) senior standing at the end of the current semester are also requested to log on to my.chapman.edu to complete your “Application for Degree Conferral” prior to departure.

Preparing to Return Home

Transitioning home can be a big challenge for students.  There are a few things you can do to prepare:

  • Retain all of your coursework and syllabi until Chapman has received your transcripts and your grades have been posted on my.chapman.edu.
  • Make sure you are registered for Chapman courses the following semester and take care of other matters through the Business Office. 
  • Look for courses at Chapman related to new interests and global issues you may have picked up.
  • Arrange your housing for next semester
  • Think about how you have changed and what lessons and skills you want to retain back home and deciding about your career.
  • Plan how you will keep in touch with new friends you have made through email, Facebook, phone calls, etc.
  • Say your goodbyes and take lots of pictures!
  • Give yourself time to readjust when you return home and visit with those you missed; do not come back the day before classes begin.


Keep in mind that things will be different when you return home; you have changed and so have your family and friends back home!  You may have picked up new habits, have new political views, speak differently, or think about your life back home in a different way.