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Glossary of Terms

Academic Calendar – There is no standard academic calendar amongst SAF Host Member Universities.  Most SAF host universities operate on a semester system (12-17 weeks) with two semesters comprising the academic year.  A few SAF host universities operate on a quarter system (8-11 weeks) with three quarters comprising the academic year.  The academic year in the US, Canada and Europe runs Aug/Sept-May/June and in Australia and New Zealand Feb-Nov.  

Academic Credit – A defined measure of academic accomplishment that is used to determine a student’s progress toward a degree.  In the U.S., credit is most commonly counted as credit hours (or credits or units at some institutions) that are assigned to each course. Students must accumulate a designated number of credits to earn a degree.

Academic Internship – A work abroad placement in an apprenticeship capacity with professional supervision.  Essentially synonymous with the terms “practicum” and “practical training”.  An internship program may be offered for the experience in its own right, or it may be combined with course work and offered within the context of a study abroad program for academic credit.  Internship are not typically paid.

Apartment (or Flat) – A self-contained residential unit that occupies only part of a building. Apartments for education abroad participants are usually furnished, and students share cleaning and cooking responsibilities with their apartment mates. Apartment mates may be other study abroad students or may be host nationals.

Course – Typically this refers to an individual class.

Course Description – A brief description of the content of an academic course.

Course Load – The number of courses for which a student is registered during a specific period of time.

Degree-Seeking Student – A student who has been admitted to, and is enrolled at, a university/college in a status designed to lead a degree.  Non-degree Student – A student who is enrolled in regularly offered classes of the university but who has not been admitted to the university in a degree-seeking status.  SAF host universities typically choose to register SAF students in a non-degree status.

Concurrent Enrollment – A study abroad program type that allows students to enroll in intensive language courses and integrated university courses simultaneously.

Grade Point Average (GPA) – A value given to the average grade a student achieved over the semester or quarter. The most common system of calculating GPA in the U.S. uses a four-point scale in which 4, 2, 3, 1, and 0 points are assigned to each credit of A, B, C, D, and F, respectively.

Home University (or Home Institution) – The educational institution where the student is a continuing student, usually working toward the completion of a degree.

Host University (or Host Institution) – The institution that the student attends while abroad.

Hybrid Program
– A program that combines two or more program types. For example, part-time study in an intensive English language program and combined with part-time study in an integrated university courses.

Independent Housing
– Housing arranged independently by a participant outside of the accommodation provided by the study abroad program. When SAF students elect to live off campus, they must sign an Independent Housing Release, which can be provided by the SAF headquarters office. All independent housing arrangements must be approved by SAF to be considered for a housing deduction/refund from the program fee.

Integrated University Study – A study abroad program type in which participants join regularly offered academic courses of their host university alongside degree-seeking students.  Integrated University Study programs require a high level of proficiency in the local language.

Intensive Language – A study abroad program type in which participants study full-time in an intensive language program.  SAF currently offers intensive language programs in Chinese, English, French, German, Korean and Spanish.           

Intensive Language + Integrated University Study – A study abroad program type that begins with enrollment in an intensive language program followed by enrollment in regularly offered academic courses of the host university (Integrated University Study).  This program type offers flexibility in regards to start dates and program duration.  The most common program models are:  (1) Fall semester language + Spring semester integrated, (2) Spring semester language + Fall semester integrated; (3) March/April to August language + Fall semester integrated.

Language Institute
– A study abroad center whose primary mission is language instruction. Most language institutes are unaccredited.

Lease - A written contract granting use or occupation of a property during a specified period of time in exchange for rent. Typically, leases are binding contracts requiring full payment and once signed, they are difficult to break or modify (especially shorten).

Major – The field of study that compromises an undergraduate’s academic specialization while at university/college.

Minor – A field of study that reflects emphasis within a student’s academic career, but is not as comprehensive or encompassing as a major.

Non-credit – Course work or co-curricular activities for which students do not earn academic credit.

Non-profit (or not-for-profit)
– A legally-constituted organization whose objective is to support or engage in activities without commercial or monetary profit.  A non-profit does not issue stock or dividends. Many but not all U.S. non-profits are tax-exempt.  There are legal restrictions on how revenues generated by non-profit organizations may be used.

Pass-Fail Grading
– A grading scale that simply notes whether a student passed the course or failed it.  The way pass-fail grades are handled by the home university varies by institution. Some fully count the credit whereas others put limits on how pass-fail credit can be used for transfer credit award.

Prerequisites – Those classes that must be taken by a student before admission into advanced classes is permitted.

Private University/College – A university/college run by a non-profit organization or, with somewhat increasing frequency, a for-profit organization.  Although private institutions may receive government grants for specific purposes, they are not controlled or directly funded by government.

Public University/College – A university that is chartered, regulated, and at least partially funded by a unit of government, most often a state, and operated by publicly appointed or elected school officials.

Residence Hall (or Dormitory) – Used to describe an entire building that houses students on a university campus.  Residence halls may range in size from just a few rooms to hundreds and may offer single rooms or multiple occupancy rooms.  In the United States, many residence halls are paired with mandatory meal plans (catered-options); however self-catered options are often available upon request and based on availability. Outside the U.S. accommodations are more commonly self-catered.

Summer Study Abroad – A study abroad program type offered over the summer months (July-August).  Participants are able to begin their study abroad program with enrollment in summer school or enroll in summer school at the end of their study abroad experience.  SAF only offers summer school enrollment as an add-on to a longer study abroad experience. 

Third Party Billing – Third party billing allows a sponsoring organization (such as SAF) to be billed directly by the host university for tuition, housing and fees. SAF students who receive an invoice or a request for payment while studying abroad should notify SAF immediately and make no payment to the host university, as occasionally students mistakenly receive invoices from the host university that are meant to be sent to SAF through third party billing.

Transcript (or Grade Transcript) – Document produced by a university/college showing the courses, credits, grades, and degrees earned by a specific student at that institution. Most institutions issues both official transcripts (produced on special paper and/or with official seals, and often mailed directly to another institution) and unofficial transcripts (often issued direct to the student on ordinary paper).

Undergraduate Student
– A student enrolled in a baccalaureate or associate degree program.

Undergraduate Study
– Study toward a baccalaureate or associate degree.

Visiting Non-degree Students – Most SAF students are not formally admitted to a degree program at their host university and are most often considered Visiting Non-degree Students. Visiting Non-degree students enroll in regularly offered university courses; however there may be some restrictions to colleges, faculties, and/or departments based upon space available and host university regulations.
Last Updated: 1/9/19