Study Abroad FAQs

Coronavirus & Study Abroad


After careful review, planning, and assessment by the Pomona College Travel Risk Advisory Committee, Study Abroad Committee, and Office of Study Abroad, the College is proceeding only with programs in South Korea for the fall 2021 semester. All other programs remain suspended through fall 2021.

Currently, the College is allowing students to apply for study abroad programs for spring 2022. Study abroad programs are beginning to reopen, and many countries are making significant progress with vaccinations and reducing community transmission of COVID-19. It is important to keep in mind that it will take sustained improvement in traveling and public health conditions in order to move ahead with study abroad in the spring 2022 semester. Pomona College will make a final determination for spring 2022 study abroad in fall 2021.

As we continue to monitor and evaluate the viability of study abroad, the Office of Study Abroad will remain in close communication with study abroad applicants regarding timelines, decisions and situational updates.

Interested applicants should be aware that the College does not sponsor travel to countries designated with a U.S. Department of State (DOS) Travel Advisory at Level 4 (Do Not Travel) and is unlikely to sponsor travel to countries at Level 3 (Reconsider Travel). In addition, the College will not support study abroad in any countries with a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Warning Level 3 (Avoid Nonessential Travel) and/or COVID-19 Travel Health Notice Level 4 (Very High). The Travel Risk Advisory Committee will assess and consider study abroad in countries with a DOS Level 3 Travel Advisory on a case-by-case basis. Any students approved to participate in programs in a country with a Level 3 Travel Advisory will be required (along with their parent/guardian) to sign a supplemental waiver to acknowledge and indicate acceptance of the risk involved.

Due to the fluid and uncertain nature of the pandemic and international travel, a change in circumstances and/or a change in Travel Advisory level may result in Pomona College withdrawing approval for study abroad at any time.


Pomona College will continue to offer a selection of Global Partnership Courses in the 2021-2022 academic year to eligible juniors and seniors. The Hindi language courses are also open to sophomores.

These innovative remote courses and internships offer unique opportunities to engage with critical global issues, languages, and experiential learning across continents and borders. Pomona College will cover the course fees for enrolled students.


At this time, students will be allowed to proceed with applications, except to programs in countries with a U.S. Department of State Level 4 (Do Not Travel) Travel Advisory. While applications will be allowed to proceed for programs in countries with a U.S. Department of State Travel Advisory or a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Travel Health Notice at Level 3 or lower, final approval is contingent on sufficient and sustained improvement in health, safety, and travel conditions by the program’s decision date.

Students interested in applying for study abroad must attend an information session and schedule a meeting with a study abroad advisor to discuss their goals and interests for study abroad along with current risks; health, safety and travel considerations; and program operations.

As ever, students with health or disability accommodation needs should plan in advance with a study abroad advisor and their program provider to learn about what current resources are and are not available at the programs and locations they are considering.


Pomona’s Office of Study Abroad, Travel Risk Advisory Committee, Study Abroad Committee, and our program partners abroad continue to follow U.S. government advisories, local in-country advisories abroad, and other indicators to determine when to resume travel and international programming.

It is important to keep in mind that it will take sustained improvement in traveling and public health conditions in order to move ahead with study abroad in the 2021-2022 academic year. Below is a list of some of the primary factors the College is considering along with resources to guide your own research.

  • U.S. Department of State Country-Specific Travel Advisories
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Country-Specific Travel Health Notices and COVID-19 Travel Recommendations
  • Ability to obtain a visa or study permit for the program (if required). Refer to information provided by the host country Embassy in the U.S.
  • Availability of sufficient and predictable flight operations.
  • Travel restrictions on entry (border closures, quarantine, proof of negative COVID-19 test, etc.). The U.S. Embassy sites have country-specific COVID-19 information pages with key information about local restrictions, travel information, quarantines, border status, and more. See also IATA and Kayak maps.
  • Ability and capacity for the local health infrastructure to support current or potential demands due to COVID-19, in addition to regular health care, as well as accessibility for study abroad students.

Local conditions in the study abroad country (lockdowns, restrictions on movement, availability of vaccines and progress of local vaccination efforts, prevalence and trajectory of local cases of COVID-19, access to COVID-19 testing, etc.) See Oxford’s Our World in Data for more information.


As announced in the April 14, 2021, community update, all Pomona College students will need to be vaccinated (with exemptions for documented medical reasons or sincerely held religious beliefs). This includes study abroad students. It is important to be aware that in addition to Pomona’s requirement, certain programs, countries, and airlines may require vaccination for participation, entry, or travel, respectively. Students who are granted an exemption from Pomona College and students who have concerns about their ability to complete vaccination prior to study abroad should meet with an advisor to discuss these factors in the context of their study abroad program and host country.


Routine processing has resumed for U.S. passports, however current processing is significantly delayed. International students should check passport processing timelines with their passport-issuing country. If you do not currently have a passport or if your passport is expiring within six months after the end of your intended program, you should begin the application/renewal process as soon as possible. Keep in mind that in most cases, you would need a valid passport in order to apply for a student visa and to book a flight.


Students on leave are not eligible to apply for study abroad. Students who have been on leave status must successfully complete one academic semester (fall or spring) of full-time coursework at Pomona before participating in a study abroad program. Due to the unusual circumstances of the pandemic, the Study Abroad Committee will consider requests for exceptions on a case-by-case basis. Petitioners must meet with a study abroad advisor to discuss their plans and must demonstrate to the Committee that the semester following the leave is the only feasible semester for study abroad in their case. Requests for exceptions must be submitted by the application deadline for the study abroad semester.

Study Abroad Eligibility

When am I eligible to study abroad?

Students are eligible to study abroad during the second semester of their sophomore year through the first semester of senior year. Participation by sophomores and seniors is rare, and interested students should consult with their faculty advisor to confirm that their preferred semester will work with their academic plan.  Students must be on-campus during the semester preceding graduation.

I am a science major or on the pre-health track – can I study abroad?

Absolutely. There are a variety of programs that offer science courses abroad, both in English and in other languages. If you are a science major or pre-health student interested in studying abroad, please discuss your plan with your faculty advisor as early as possible.

Application Process

What is the “two-step application process”?

Approval for study abroad is a two-step process. All study abroad programs require a Pomona application; most also require a secondary application in addition to the Pomona application. All applicants are reviewed by the Study Abroad Committee and, if approved by Pomona, nominated to the respective study abroad program. Each program abroad then has its own selection criteria which may differ from the criteria used by Pomona. The number of applications program providers receive from other colleges nationally may also affect the selection process and some programs may become competitive.

Can I submit an application to more than one program?

No. Students are expected to have chosen their study abroad program at the time of application. We encourage students to speak with program returnees, peer mentors, faculty liaisons, and a study abroad advisor for more information regarding programs. Students who are accepted to study abroad by Pomona and who are not accepted by their program provider may, at that time, file a second-choice application.  Students in internally competitive pools such as the Pomona College Cambridge Program may file a second-choice application after they receive notification of their application result.

May I use the same essays I write for my Pomona application for my secondary application?

Possibly. The Pomona study abroad essays may be similar to the essay required by your program provider. If so, by all means, use the same essay. If the essay question on your secondary application differs, you may need to adapt your Pomona essay or write another essay that answers the prompt.

I need to submit the foreign language evaluation for the Pomona application for study abroad. Can the same faculty member who completes this form also write a letter of recommendation for me?

Yes! You should have faculty who can best comment on your preparation for your study abroad program write your recommendations. This may be the same person who also evaluates your language level. Please note that some secondary applications also require a language evaluation that may, or may not, be completed by the same person who write your recommendation. Be sure to read the secondary application instructions carefully before asking your language evaluator/recommender. In addition, please make sure the recommendation is from a faculty member with whom you have taken a course.

My program requires me to have completed “four semesters college-level Spanish, French, etc. – what does this mean?

Four semesters of college-level language is equivalent to having completed Spanish 44, French 44, German 44, Russian 44, Arabic 44, Chinese 51b, or Japanese 51b. You may fulfill this requirement if you are a native speaker of the language or if you studied the previously and place into 101/111a or higher on the relevant language placement exam at Pomona. Be aware that most programs, however, require a recent language course to have been taken within one year of anticipated study abroad. Native speakers of the language who have never taken formal classes in the language may find an advanced level course involving significant academic writing helpful to prepare for university-level academic coursework in the language.

Some programs require three years of language, etc. – this is the equivalent of six college semesters, or the equivalent (i.e. two 100-level college language courses).

My program/university does not provide a list of available courses until I arrive onsite – how should I complete my curriculum proposal?

Many universities publish their course listings on their website. If you are not able to easily locate them, your program provider (e.g., Middlebury, IES, IFSA, CIEE, etc.) can help you find them or may be able to provide you with last year’s listings as a guide. Students may also access program feedback forms from program returnees which include course evaluations. It is most important that you identify the academic departments in which you want to study since students at most universities overseas take classes only in one department for their entire college career.  You should also look carefully at the level, e.g. 2nd year, 3rd year etc. of courses in a given department since many courses require you to have completed particular prerequisites.   So, if you do not have a complete course list you can write "3rd year English class" etc., or write the title of the course that you hope to take.

Finally, the courses that you list on your Pomona Application Curriculum Proposal are only preliminary selections in most cases.  Investigate your choices as carefully as you can, but remain flexible. Once onsite, you should email your course listings to the Director of Study Abroad for approval.

My secondary application asks for a billing address – what should I write?

Send bills to the attention of: Assistant Director of Study Abroad, Pomona College, 265 E. Bonita Ave., Claremont, CA 91711, tel. (909) 621-8154, fax. (909) 621-8591, email:

My secondary application asks me where my transcript should be sent – what should I write?

The Registrar for Study Abroad is the Director of Study Abroad. All transcripts should be directed to our office. Please have your program sponsor mail transcripts to: Director of Study Abroad, Pomona College, 265 E. Bonita Ave., Claremont, CA 91711, tel. (909) 621-8154, fax. (909) 621-8591, email:

Where can I get photos taken for my passport application?

The TCCS Connection, at the south entrance of Honnold Mudd library, can take official passport photos. Most drugstores, such as CVS and Walgreens, also offer an official passport photo service. In the village, Claremont Photo & Video also offers this service. The Office of Housing & Residential Life can take photos for your study abroad application or ID cards, however these do not meet official requirements for U.S. passport photos.

I am ready to submit my application to the OSA … what should I remember?

  • Your application must be complete by the deadline to be considered.
  • If you are still in the process of applying for your passport, indicate the date that you expect to receive it in your application. Then, send us a copy when you receive it.
  • You are responsible for submitting your secondary application directly to the program sponsor, unless otherwise noted in your secondary application instructions.
  • Do NOT pay application fees!

General Questions

How do I get credit for my major?

Credit for your major is awarded by the department chair of your major.

You should meet with the chair of your major department during the study abroad application process to preliminarily determine if an anticipated course may count toward major credit. You should bring the department chair a copy of the course description and obtain their signature on your Pomona Application. You may also wish to complete a Preliminary Request for Major/Minor Credit form to document approval obtained ahead of time. Final approval may be granted only after you have returned from study abroad and presented course syllabi, reading lists, papers, exams etc.

Can I fulfill GE requirements abroad?

No, GE requirements may not be fulfilled abroad.

The one exception is for students wishing to meet the College’s foreign language GE requirement. Upon return from study abroad, you would need to complete the relevant foreign language placement exam to determine whether you meet the requirement.

What does Study Abroad cost?

Study abroad students are charged Pomona College tuition and the standard room & board fees for the semester abroad. The Associated Students Fee is not charged. Students on financial aid continue receiving aid for the semester abroad. In addition, Pomona provides a meal allowance for students participating on programs which do not include meals, local transportation allowance if required to commute to class, and an allowance toward the cost of overseas travel.

Students are responsible for commuting costs not included in the program fee and incidental expenses such as books, laundry, entertainment, postage and telephone calls. These costs may vary by location and students should read past student feedback forms for recommendations on a local budget.

Can I study abroad for more than one semester?

Applications for year-long study abroad or two different semester programs abroad will be considered by the SAC only if there are exceptional academic reasons for a second semester of overseas study. If you are interested in either a year-long program or two different programs you should discuss this with your academic advisor and with a study abroad advisor.

In addition, please review the Selection Process page.

Can I do an internship abroad?

There may be credit or non-credit internships available to students abroad. If you are interested in this option you should refer to your program description and discuss internship guidelines with a study abroad advisor.

Can I volunteer abroad?

Most study abroad programs will help you investigate opportunities for volunteering with a local organization or school during your semester overseas.  Students often find this experience helps them to engage with local community members and offers more flexibility and free time than internships.

Can I work abroad?

Whether you can work abroad depends on the national regulations of the country in which you study. In most cases, information about whether you can legally work while you are studying abroad is available from the Embassy of the country in which you are studying. Your program provider may be able to provide additional guidance on regulations and opportunities in the local community.