2021 Fall Academics Korea Rebekah Harding Temple Exchange Temple Semester

Planning for the worst: what happens if you can’t get into classes abroad?

From the countless applications, forms, digital orientations and debriefs, Temple does its best to prepare outgoing students for a semester abroad at a partner university. We spend hours pouring over past class rosters at our host universities, scanning syllabi and getting credit transfer approval from department heads and advisors. 

Like all other outgoing Temple exchange students, I thought I had smoothed out every detail of my enrollment. I received course approval for twice the amount of credits I could take in a semester to give myself some options for when classes filled up and planned several model schedules that would allow me to stay on track to graduate in the spring. 

But on course registration day, Ewha Womans University had a plot twist in store.

Due to the high visiting student enrollment rate as a result of several semesters of backed up demand, tens of exchange students were left baffled as not a single one of their classes had an open space to enroll. Despite being assured ahead of time that there would be plenty of classes to go around, those on track to graduate in the next semester or so were up a creek. And I was one of them. 

Looking at my completely empty course roster, I went into full on panic mode. Was I going to graduate? If I couldn’t find a single class would I be deported? Even if I find a class will my credits still transfer?

After a teary-eyed phone call to my parents, I only felt more defeated as the registration office told me that I would just have to wait and see if I could get my classes during the add/drop period at the beginning of the semester. 

With nothing more I could do, I stepped away from the computer and took a walk with some friends in the same predicament. And boy, did commiserating cheer me up! 

Luckily, my exchange program manager, Maddy Sullivan, gave me a call after reading the frantic email I wrote her earlier expressing my concern about graduating on time. She assured me that no matter what it was going to work out and guided me through my options so that I could rest easy knowing that I would still graduate on time. 

If you’re running into issues or are concerned about your graduation, reach out to study abroad and/or your academic advisor to discuss your options. You may find they have creative solutions for your situation that will allow you to stay on track for graduation and also make the most of your semester abroad.

With my anxiety at bay, things finally started to fall into place. Right before registration closed, I was able to secure a spot in the two classes that were most essential during my time here— and I’ve never felt more relieved. Although I would like to take more classes, I can relax knowing that I have other options if I can’t secure two more during Ewha’s add/drop period. 

Course registration can be extremely competitive, but if you don’t get your classes right away don’t jump straight to looking up flights back home. Talk with your program coordinator to discuss your options.

Learn more about how to prepare for the course approval and credit transfer process.

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