Cadets are initially advised of the internal procedures required to study abroad. Afterwards, they meet with a study abroad advisor to discuss their program and course selections. A pre-departure orientation focusing on logistics, safety, and cultural issues is provided near the end of the semester.
While cadets are abroad, our office fields questions and concerns. When the cadet returns, our office makes sure that transcripts are appropriately processed for credit transfer and that the transition back to VMI and living in the United States is a smooth one.
Cadets must register with the U.S. Embassy before departing. It is essential to check VMI email regularly so that they receive timely information about important matters, including pre-registration for the following semester.
- Cadets must have at least a 2.5 CUM GPA to study abroad during a semester. (This does not apply to summer or short-term programs.)
- Cadets may study abroad only one semester during their cadetship. (Summer programs do not count.)
- Cadets cannot be on ACPRO or CONPRO to be approved for study abroad.
- VMI does not authorize study abroad or visits to countries that are under a State Department warning. The current warning list at travel.state.gov.
The average cost of a semester abroad is $12,000 and varies significantly by location. There are several ways to help offset these costs:
- Military Exchanges - VMI has direct exchanges with St. Cyr, the French Military Academy; the Bundeswehr University in Hamburg, Germany; L'Ecole Polytechnique; the Military Academy of Lithuania; Zrinyi Miklos National Defense University in Hungary; and Salford University in the United Kingdom. When cadets participate in one of these programs, they pay approximately what they would pay to attend VMI, plus airfare.
- Scholarships - VMI has many scholarships available. Additionally, all cadets studying through third party providers are strongly encouraged to apply for a scholarship from the provider. A large percentage of applicants receive awards.
- Spending money - Before your son or daughter leaves the United States, discuss with them how they are going to access money. In most cases, an ATM or credit card is the most efficient way to get funds in the local currency at the best rate. It is important that cadets ask their banks in advance what fees there are for overseas transactions and if those can be waived while abroad. Also, notify the bank before going overseas to prevent ATM or credit card accounts from being "frozen."
- Health Insurance - All cadets studying abroad must certify that their health insurance will cover them while abroad or purchase a student policy that will provide coverage. Ask your cadet or call our office for more information.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's website has country-specific health information.
Discuss in advance how you plan to communicate with your son or daughter while he or she is abroad.
Checklist for action by you and/or your cadet:
- Apply for a passport or passport renewal well in advance. Passports can take 6-8 weeks to process.
- Check with the consulate of the host country and be aware of visa requirements.
- Make flight arrangements as soon as your cadet has been accepted and has the dates of the program.
- Be sure that at least one parent holds a valid passport in case of emergency.
- Keep photocopies of your son or daughter's documents and contact information, including Social Security card, passport, and foreign address.
- Be sure that your cadet has signed a Release of Information Form so that our office can give you information while he or she is abroad.
- Make sure your cadet has completed all relevant financial aid paperwork.