Group Study Program FAQs
This page addresses some common questions about Group Study Programs.
If you're planning to apply for a Group Study Program, please read this page carefully and make sure you are well-informed!
Is there anything I should be thinking about before I apply?
One of the key issues that arises is students asking "Am I suited for a group study program?". This type of travel requires that you will have to put the needs of the group before your own. It may mean sharing a room, being with people all of the time, being patient and accepting of different ideas and values, being prompt and flexible, and accepting the direction of your program leadership - all for the good of your program and your fellow participants. You are key in the success of your program.
Can I apply for multiple programs?
You are welcome to apply for multiple programs! Please consult each program's itinerary to make sure that they do not overlap. If you are applying for programs with conflicting travel dates, our online application system will prompt you to rank your programs by priority.
Are Open Studies/Visiting students eligible to apply?
Yes, nearly all Group Study Programs are able to accept Open Studies students for participation. Many programs are also able to accept non-UCalgary students as Visiting Students. Please scroll to the bottom of this FAQ to read more detailed information about Open Studies/Visiting students.
What is the Priority Deadline?
For the best chance of getting into your desired program, we strongly recommend applying by the Priority Deadline! After this deadline, all applications are sent to the instructor for approval. Processing applications for approval typically takes 1-2 weeks. If enough students apply to fill all of the available spaces, the program will be officially closed.
However, if there are any spaces left over after the Priority Deadline, applications will re-open on a first-come, first-considered basis. Students who apply during this time usually receive their application results fairly quickly, although it may take up to 2 weeks.
What happens if my application is accepted?
Congratulations! If your application is approved, you will receive an acceptance email with details on how to complete your registration. Within one week of acceptance, you will need to book an appointment with the group study team, at which time you will pay your program deposit and sign your registration forms.
Please note: It is only when you have both paid your program deposit and signed your registration forms that your spot in the program will be confirmed.
What is the Program Deposit?
The program deposit is a method of reserving a place on a Group Study program. It indicates your commitment to the program so that bookings can be initiated. Upon payment, you will sign a contract which states that if you withdraw from the program, your deposit will be kept to cover cancellation fees and administrative work done on your behalf, and will not be refunded. This contract is signed and witnessed indicating that you have read and understood the terms and conditions. For more information, contact email@example.com.
What happens if my application is not accepted?
In some cases, applications may be outright declined - for example, if the applicant does not meet the eligibility requirements; the Group Study team will be happy to talk with you and suggest alternate programs. In other cases, applicants may be offered a spot on the program's waitlist - for example, if the program has filled all of its spots; should a space become available after recruitment is complete, waitlisted applicants may be offered a chance to take that space.
You must provide a copy of
- your passport;
- travel medical insurance coverage; and
- trip cancellation/interruption insurance coverage
to the Group Study team by the set deadline (typically 6-8 weeks before your program departs Canada). These details are provided to UCalgary's International Travel and Risk Management department, as well as to the relevant Canadian embassies/consulates abroad, in order to ensure your safety and protection while travelling on your program.
As per current regulations by the Canadian government, your passport must be valid for minimum of six months after the date of your return to Canada. If your passport will expire within that time (or if you don't have a passport), please apply for one as soon as possible.
Please note: Visas may be needed for some destinations, and some visa application processes will ask you to submit your passport. Before making any pre-program travel plans, please speak with a Group Study Program advisor to confirm that your plans will not interfere with visa application timelines.
You are required to have a minimum of $500,000 in emergency travel medical coverage. This can be proved in the form of a letter from your insurance agent, or a benefits card/booklet - any documents that include your name, the insurance policy number, the insurance company name, and the details of your coverage.
Funding opportunities are specified on each program page. In addition, Group Study Programs are eligible to be covered by student loans. The Group Study team can provide you with a letter upon request to support your loan application by confirming your participation in the program. You should still be prepared to pay the majority of your expenses upfront, as loans may not be available in time to meet payment deadlines. If you are unable to make a deadline, please contact the Group Study team.
We accept Debit, Visa, MasterCard, American Express, cash (exact change), and cheques made payable to the University of Calgary.
If someone else is providing you with a credit card to make your payment, they will need to complete a credit card authorization form (click link to download the form as a PDF). Please ensure the form is either emailed to our office in advance or brought with you when you come to make the payment.
Another note on funding: Contingency Fee Refunds
A Contingency Fee is built into every program's budget - you will see this listed under "Program Fees" on the Student Cost Summary for your program. This fee produces a small surplus in the program budget, allowing the Group Study team to negotiate any unexpected costs for the group. If the contingency is not used, a refund will be issued to the group participants. Refunds cannot be released until after all budgets/expenses have been processed; for Spring/Summer programs, any refunds will usually be released in late Fall semester. Refunds are typically released via direct deposit.
Due to program logistics, flights are always arranged as a group. Many programs will have an option for participants to deviate on their return flight (for instance, if you wish to stay longer in-country, or do additional travelling after your program ends) however it is required that all participants and the program instructor(s) depart together from Calgary to your initial destination. You will be given instructions to connect with a designated travel agent in order to pay for your flights. It is not permitted to book your flight independently; all participants must book through the designated agent. This is for safety reasons as it allows the agent to make any necessary changes to group bookings if an emergency situation occurred.
Once course registration has opened for your program's semester (e.g. late February or early March for Spring/Summer programs), you will be sent instructions for how to enroll in the courses associated with your program. In some cases, students will be enrolled as a group by the academic department teaching the courses; in other cases, you will be directed to enroll yourself through your MyUofC Student Centre.
In the event that you must withdraw from your program, please note that your initial deposit payment is non-refundable, with no exceptions. Subsequent payments made to the Study Abroad office are refundable up to 9 weeks before your program's scheduled departure date. (This cut-off deadline is set so that the Group Study team is able to complete logistical arrangements on behalf of program participants.)
Can I sell my place in a program to a student on the waitlist?
If you have paid your deposit & registered for a Group Study program, you cannot sell that reserved place to a student on the waiting list to get your deposit back. By signing the deposit contract, you have agreed that if you withdraw from the program, your deposit will be kept to cover cancellation fees and reservations made on your behalf. When an individual from the waiting list is accepted into the program, they must pay their own non-refundable registration deposit.
When reading the eligibility requirements for your desired Group Study Program, you may see the program webpage says it is "open to students in all faculties". This means the program is also flexible to receive applications from students who are in Open Studies programs at UCalgary or students from other universities/institutions who are interested in joining the program as a Visiting Student.
If you are interested in applying for a program that does not say it is "open to students in all faculties", please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to check whether you are eligible before applying.
Open Studies students
If you are currently registered at UCalgary as an Open Studies student, you are welcome to apply following the advertised application timeline. We encourage you to apply before the Priority Deadline for the best chance at getting into the program! However, if space is still available and the program re-opens for rolling applications (first come, first considered), you may apply then.
If you are a student from a different university/institution, it is required that you apply for your desired program by the Priority Deadline. It will not be possible to apply later on.
This is because of the time needed for your application to be reviewed (the instructor may contact you for more information or a short interview to better understand your interest in the program). After you are accepted, you will be sent instructions to apply as a visiting student and be set up with a UCalgary ID number. The Group Study team will guide you through this process.