Most students leave for the year abroad in August and return a full twelve months later. Students studying at the Tec de Monterrey in Mexico or at TECNUN in Spain must leave this early in order to arrive in time for classes to begin. Students studying at the Universities of Cantabria or Zaragoza begin their normal semester later on, but usually go over earlier in order to take intensive Spanish language and culture courses before the semester begins.
Preparing for the year abroad in a stress-free way takes approximately nine-months of planning.
Nine months and counting: December
1. Spanish 321
If you have not yet taken Spanish 321, make certain that you are registered to take it during the Spring semester.
2. Passport application or renewal
If you do not yet have a valid passport, you need to apply for one (travel.state.gov). If you already have a passport, you need to ensure that it will not expire within six months of your planned RETURN date: e.g. if you will be abroad until August 2012, your passport should be valid until February 2013.)
3. Research SIEP Partner UniversitIes
Research all four of our partner universities (explore their websites and curricular offerings, talk with students who have been abroad and with students from those universities who have been to URI) and decide which university is your top choice and why.
- Tec de Monterrey (various campuses, Mexico): www.itesm.edu
- TECNUN (San Sebastian, Spain): www.tecnun.es
- Universidad de Cantabria (Santander, Spain): www.unican.es
Complete and submit via e-mail to Dr. Pérez-Ibañez by December 15th:
a) your motivation letter (a letter in Spanish indicating why you would like to go to that university and how you plan to take advantage of the learning opportunities provided on their campus), and
b) a list of the courses that you would like to take while studying there (this is just the list of courses that you would like to take, at this point you do not need to seek any formal advice or official approvals for them). Please note that you must include at least one engineering or advanced math course in order to obtain credit for Spanish 412, a requirement for your B.A. in Spanish.
4. Demers Scholarship
Complete your application for the Demers Scholarship before leaving for the winter break. Deadline January 31, 2012
5. Office of International Education Step 1
By December 31st, complete the General Information Session available at the following site: http://www.uri.edu/international/study_abroad_1.html
Eight months and counting: January-February
1. Financial Aid Questions
If you have questions about financial aid during the year abroad, you should contact or make an appointment to see Victor Gaspar in the Office of Enrollment Services: email@example.com.
2. URI application to study abroad due to Office of International Education-February 15
By February 15, complete your URI application for IEP study abroad and submit it to the Office of International Education. You may contact Tom Hospod from OIE for questions on the application. Student Ambassador Caity Maleck (firstname.lastname@example.org) is also available for clerical help or to proofread applications.
3. Planning Ahead for Your Visa Application (Spain only)
If you plan to study and/or intern in Spain, as part of your visa application, you will need to present quite a few supporting documents, some of which require time and/or travel to obtain. You should take advantage of the fact that you will be at home and have some free time during the winter break to obtain (or at least to begin to obtain) the following:
a) FBI Criminal Background Check with the Hague Apostille (end of January into February)
It can take up to twelve weeks for them to process your request, so it's a good idea to apply for one early: www.fbi.gov/hq/cjisd/fprequest.htm. Once you obtain the certificate, you will need to have it certified by the Office of Authentications of the United States Department of State: http://www.state.gov/m/a/auth/index.htm. You must do this upon receipt of the Background Check from the FBI because it can take over six weeks for the State Department to process your request and return the documents to you. You will also need to pay a legal translator to translate the FBI Background Check into Spanish. In order to save time, you should have the translator work from a photocopy.
b) Certificate(s) of Absence of Police Records with the Hague Apostille
The certificate should be available through your state's Bureau of Criminal Identification and the Hague Apostille should be available from your Secretary of State (see your Secretary of State's website for specific instructions about when and how to obtain the Apostille). You will need to present one certificate for each of the states or cities where you have resided over the past five years. If you are an out-of-state student, you will have to obtain one for Rhode Island and one for your home state. For the Rhode Island Bureau of Criminal Identification, go here: http://www.riag.ri.gov/civilcriminal/criminalid.php. For information on obtaining the Hague Apostille from the Rhode Island Secretary of State, see the following sites: http://sos.ri.gov/business/apostilles/ and http://apostille.us/services/state/rhode island.shtml
c) Proof of sufficient funds for subsistence
You will need to demonstrate that you have at least 1000 USD per month of your planned stay in order to support yourself. One of the following will suffice:
1) Proof of scholarship or aid in the amount of at least 1000 USD per month for room, board and personal expenses during your stay.
2) A notarized letter from your parent(s) or guardian(s) assuming full financial responsibility for your room, board and personal expenses in the amount of at least 1000 USD per month of your stay. The recommended text for such a letter is "Certifico por la presente que yo
(el padre, la madre, otro, etc.) de (tu nombre) cubriré su estancia en España con 1000 dólares mensuales y que soy responsable de los gastos que ocasione cualquier emergencia."
3) Proof of personal savings account balance with at least 1000 USD per month of your stay.
d) Proof of medical insurance
Proof of international health insurance coverage for the duration of your stay in the amount of the equivalent of at least 30,000€ and which includes repatriation coverage.
Medex insurance is required by the University of Rhode Island to study abroad.
e) Proof of immigration status (if you are not a U.S. citizen)
If you have a green card, you need to contact the Office of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services of the Department of Homeland Security in order to verify whether or not you will need to apply for a re-entry permit (due to the length of your stay abroad).
For full details on the visa application process for Spain, see the information below (under "Four months and counting" or go to the Spanish Consulate's website (www.maec.es/subwebs/Consulados/Boston) and click on one of the two links on the right side of the page: "visados" for information in Spanish and "visas" for information in English.
Six months and counting: March
1. FBI Background Check and Timing Your Visa Appointment (Spain only)
Once you obtain your FBI Background Check you need to plan for your visa appointment so that it will take place before your background check expires. It must be within three months after the issue date and but not more than four months before your departure date. (for the Boston Consulate, other Consulates may have different requirements). All URI students may apply for the visa in Boston, regardless of the state where your permanant residence is located.
Once you obtain the Background Check, it is urgent that you send it immediately to be certified by the Office of Authentications of the United States Department of State: http://www.state.gov/m/a/auth/index.htm because it can take over six weeks for them to process your request and return the documents to you (even if you use express mail). You will also need to pay a legal translator to translate the Background Check into Spanish; in order to save time, you should have the translator work from a photocopy. In order to request an appointment at the Spanish Consulate in Boston, you must use their online appointment system. If you have trouble with this link, go to the main website (www.maec.es/subwebs/Consulados/Boston) and click on "visados" or "visas". The link to the online scheduling system is centered at the top of the page.
3. Prior Approval Forms
Complete Prior Approval Forms for all of the courses you would like to take while abroad and submit electronic copies via e-mail of the complete forms with all appropriate signatures to Dr. Echevarría by March 31st. Make one photocopy for your own records. You must submit the final original copy with all appropriate signatures to Donna Figueroa in the Study Abroad Office along with your Off-Campus Study Fee ($402 per semester) by May 1st. Please note that you should complete one form with all courses from departments in the College of Arts and Sciences (and that Dr. Echevarría y Assistant Dean Smith will need to sign) and another form with courses from the College of Engineering (that your engineering advisor and Associate Dean Veyera will need to sign). You should also be sure to include "IEP Internship" as one of the courses on your Arts and Sciences form; this comes back as six credits of SPA 316-317. All SIEP students must take at least one engineering or math course in order to obtain credit for Spanish 412 (a requirement for graduation).
4. Partner University Application
Complete your partner university application and submit it to Dr. Echevarría by March 31st:
- CPS de la Universidad de Zaragoza (Zaragoza, Spain): General information (please note that you are "Exchange" students, not "Erasmus" students), Zaragoza online application, learning agreement and instructions (please note that the "credential" of your command of Spanish is a document that you must obtain from Dr. Echevarría).
- Tec de Monterrey (various campuses, Mexico): To be determined
- Universidad de Cantabria (Santander, Spain): Online application, learning agreement, and instructions
5. Intensive Spanish Language and Culture Program Application
If you plan to arrive early to complete intensive Spanish language and culture classes, complete the application process by March 31st.
6. Medical certificate (Spain only)
If you are going to Spain, as part of your visa application you will need a letter on your physician's official letterhead certifying s/he has examined you and that you are mentally and physically capable of traveling and studying abroad, that you do not have any contagious or mental illnesses and that you are not a drug addict. The letter must be issued at most three months prior to your visa appointment; if your letter is over three months old, it will not be considered valid.
Four months and counting: May
1. Office of International Education Step 3
If you have not already done so, you must submit the final original copies of your Prior Approval Forms (that you completed in March) with all appropriate signatures to Donna Figueroa in the Study Abroad Office along with your Off-Campus Study Fee ($402 per semester) by May 1st.
2. SIEP Internship Application
Complete your internship application (CV in Spanish, cover letter in Spanish, official transcript, and letter of recommendation from an engineering professor addressing your preparedness for a professional engineering internship abroad) and submit to Dr. Perez-Ibanez by May 15th. In addition to two (2) hard copies, you must submit electronic copies via e-mail of both your CV and cover letter by May 15th as well. If your recommender prefers, it is also fine for that person to submit the recommendation directly to Dr. Pérez-Ibañez via e-mail.
3. Visa Application Appointment
If you have not already done so, contact the Mexican or Spanish Consulate to request your visa application interview date by May 15th. In order to request an appointment for the Spanish Consulate in Boston (all URI students may apply for the visa in Boston, regardless of the state where your permanant residence is located).), you must use their online appointment system. If you have trouble with this link, go to the main website (www.maec.es/subwebs/Consulados/Boston) and click on "visados" or "visas". The link to the online scheduling system is centerred at the top of the page.
Explore housing options and secure your housing arrangements by May 31st. Before deciding which housing option is best for you, you should speak with SIEP students who have studied at the university where you will be going and to exchange students from that university.
- CPS de la Universidad de Zaragoza (Zaragoza, Spain): General information and housing reservation forms; Family stays lasting for the entire semester are usually available to students who participate in the University of Zaragoza intensive Spanish language and culture program in September: "Curso especial de septiembre."
- Tec de Monterrey: To be determined
- TECNUN (San Sebastian, Spain): For assistance, contact Eire Iradi at email@example.com.
5. Travel arrangements
Make travel arrangements by May 31st.
6. Visa application
You must go in person to the Consulate in Boston to fill out your application and submit it. Hours: Monday to Friday, 9:00 to 12:30.
Checklist of items to bring with you:
_____ Valid passport
_____ Photocopy of the page of your passport with your personal data, picture and signature
_____ Original letter of acceptance from the Tec de Monterrey. The letter should be recent and state the semester or academic year of study and the name of the program that you are going to enroll in. Important Notice: in the majority of cases the school you are to enroll in should process the student visa directly at the closest National Immigration Institute.
_____ A bank statement from the last 3 months and/or letters of scholarship award or letter of financial support from parents or guardian (living expenses and tuition)
_____ Two (2) color passport sized pictures (no computer print outs)
Please note that you will have to leave your passport at the Consulate and then return the next business day between the hours of 4:00 and 5:00 pm to pick up your visa. For full details, see the Mexican Consulate website. For questions, call the Consulate or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Complete application forms and gather any supporting documentation that you have yet to obtain and make three (3) copies of your complete application (you will need to submit the originals and one (1) photocopy to the Consulate, you will need to submit one (1) copy to the Spanish police or Oficina de Extranjeros upon your arrival, and you should keep one (1) for your own records). Please note that you will have to surrender your passport at your appointment in order for the Spanish government to process your visa and it can take well over a month (and close to two months) for them to return your passport to you. For details, see the Consulate's website, www.maec.es/subwebs/Consulados/Boston and click on "visados" or "visas."
Full Spanish visa application checklist:
_____ Solicitud de visado (“Formulario 1” on the Consulate’s website - (www.maec.es/subwebs/Consulados/Boston and click on "visados" or "visas")
_____ Solicitud complementaria / Hoja adicional (“Forumulario 2” on the Consulate’s website - (www.maec.es/subwebs/Consulados/Boston and click on "visados" or "visas")
_____ Additional ID (Driver’s license, Student ID)
_____ 2 passport-size photos, with white background
_____ Acceptance letter from Spanish partner university (from Dr. Echevarría)
_____ Letter from Dr. Echevarría indicating that you will have a SIEP internship in the spring
_____ Proof of health insurance
_____ Proof of sufficient funds for subsistence
_____ Application fee of $100 (money order or cash)
_____ If you are not a US citizen, proof of immigration status
_____ Certificate of Absence of Police Records with the Hague Apostille (available at the State House) for all cities where you have resided over the past five years
_____ FBI Criminal Background Check with the Hague Apostille
_____ Medical certificate (letter on your physician's official letterhead certifying s/he has examined you and that you are mentally and physically capable of traveling and studying abroad and that you do not have any contagious or mental illnesses and that you are not a drug addict)
_____ Three extra copies of all of the above (one for the Consulate, one for you to submit to the Spanish police or to the Oficina de Extranjeros upon your arrival to Spain, and one for yourself).
Megan Echevarría, Director
Tom Hospod, Office of Int'l Education
IEP main office p: 401.874.4283
On Sabbatical 2011-2012
Dr. Megan Mercedes Echevarría
Professor & Director
Spanish International Engineering Program