Program Policies

The program policies below are summarized. For more detailed information on the policies and terms of American Councils programs, please contact Outbound staff at outbound@americancouncils.org.

Student Conduct Policy

American Councils for International Education requires that participants comply with a Personal Conduct Code. Participants risk immediate dismissal from the program, loss of academic credit, revocation of visa and early return to the United States should they:

  • behave in a way that endangers or impairs the abilities of other students to participate in the program and/or American Councils staff to meet their responsibilities to the group;
  • violate host-country law, university rules, visa regulations or travel policies;
  • possess, manufacture or distribute drugs;
  • consume a level of alcohol that might cause physical injury, arrest or detainment;
  • and/or fail to abide by academic policies outlined below.
  • Participants should understand that they are subject to the laws of the country they are visiting. In many cases laws in Eurasia are much stricter and the penalties for violating them are much stronger. All participants are expected to comply with the host country’s laws as well as the policies of American Councils for International Education.

Academic Program Policy

All aspects of the academic program are monitored by American Councils-appointed staff. All American Councils program participants are registered for academic credit at Bryn Mawr College.

Graduate students receive the equivalent of 15 academic hours for one semester of study, 30 hours for the academic year, and 10 hours for the summer program.

Undergraduates receive the equivalent of 16 academic hours for one semester of study, 32 hours for the academic year, and 8 hours for the summer program.

It should be noted that although participants are studying on an American Councils program, they will be enrolling as students at a local university. Therefore, participants should be prepared for classroom conditions that may be very different from of those of U.S. universities and teaching methods that differ considerably from those of many American faculty. Participants should remain open and receptive to the reality of Eastern Europe and Central Asia. In many ways, the quality of each participant’s academic experience will depend on his/her ability to accept cultural differences gracefully, his/her willingness to participate earnestly in classes, and his/her desire to form productive friendly relations with instructors.

Admissions Policy

Admission to all American Councils Programs is competitive and is based on language ability (if applicable), academic record, personal essays, and references. An outside panel of language professionals reviews applications and selects the finalists. American Councils Outbound staff may interview applicants as part of the admissions process. Selected applicants will be contacted by telephone to schedule interviews.

Acceptance into the program is conditional on the applicant’s continued ability to meet eligibility requirements. These requirements include mandatory attendance at the pre-departure orientation in Washington, DC, timely submission of all forms to the American Councils Washington office, and compliance with American Councils visa regulations. American Councils reserves the right to withdraw acceptance to the program if an applicant suffers a severe drop in GPA, is the subject of legal or disciplinary action, or fails to maintain American Councils confidence that she/he will be successful on the program.

Host Country Language Policy

American Councils requires students to speak the target language of study in classes, on the grounds of the educational institution, when speaking with staff, officials and teachers, and on group excursions. Violation of this policy will result in grade reduction.

Pre-Departure Orientation

All participants must attend the pre-departure orientation in Washington, DC. Housing and meals are provided during the orientation. Attendance at pre-departure orientation is required for all program participants, regardless of time previously spent in Russia.

Travel Policies

International travel: Students must arrive in the host country the day before classes begin and they must leave the host country by the last day of the program period. Participants are not allowed to travel outside of the host country during their program and cannot travel to areas that are deemed unsafe by the U.S. Embassy or host country government. Participants studying in Eurasia for longer than one period (i.e. fall and spring, spring and summer, or summer and fall) can leave the country during the official program breaks when class is no longer in session.

Independent travel within the host country: Participants must alert the program's designated contact person of his/her intention to travel independently in the host country at least one week before any planned trip. Participants are also required to provide necessary contact information before leaving on any trip.

Host Family Policy

Host families provide participants with private rooms and keys to the home, as well as two meals per day. American Councils requires that participants treat their host family with respect and courtesy. Each participant must be understanding of the family's customs, diets and schedules; have realistic expectations of what the family can do for the participant; keep his/her room tidy; inform the family when he/she expects to miss a meal or return home late; refrain from rude/offensive behavior; and must not invite guests over without the host family's permission. Under no circumstance will students be allowed to have overnight guests. Failure to comply with American Councils' rules could result in expulsion from the host family and other disciplinary actions.

Withdrawal and Deferral Policy

Please note that all programs are considered to start on the first day of pre-departure orientation.

Withdrawal before the program starting date:

A non-refundable deposit of $500 and non-refundable visa fee of $250 are required to hold your place on the program. If written notification is received before the program starting date, American Councils will refund all program fees except for the following:

Days before starting dateFee
More than 30 days$750 (program deposit and visa fee)
Less than 30 days$750 (program deposit and visa fee) PLUS 25% of the program cost

In cases where the program deposit, visa fee or 25% of the program cost has not yet been received by American Councils, these fees will be due.

In the case of withdrawal by an American Councils financial aid recipient, all financial aid received must be returned to American Councils within 14 days of the withdrawal notification.

Withdrawal on and up to 30 days after the program starting date:

A non-refundable deposit of $500 and non-refundable visa fee of $250 are required to hold your place on the program. If written notification of withdrawal is received on or up to 30 days after the program starting date or if a confirmed participant does not notify American Councils in writing of his/her withdrawal and does not attend the pre-departure orientation, American Councils will refund all program fees except for the following:

Days after starting dateFee
On starting date $750 (program deposit and visa fee) PLUS 50% of the program cost
Less than 14 days$750 (program deposit and visa fee) PLUS 50% of the program cost
Between 14 and 28 days$750 (program deposit and visa fee) PLUS 75% of the program cost
More than 28 daysNo refund

Students will also be charged a ticket change fee, if applicable.

In cases where the program deposit, visa fee or appropriate percentage of the program cost has not yet been received by American Councils, these fees will be due.

In the case of withdrawal by an American Councils financial aid recipient, all financial aid received must be returned to American Councils within 14 days of the withdrawal notification.

However, in the case of students who must withdraw due to a medical or other emergency American Councils will attempt to return any recoverable costs.

Deferral before the program starting date:

A non-refundable deposit of $500 and non-refundable visa fee of $250 are required to hold your place on the program. If written notification of deferral is received before the program start date, American Councils will refund all program fees except for the following:

Days before starting dateFee
More than 30 days$750 (program deposit and visa fee)
Less than 30 days$750 (program deposit and visa fee) PLUS 25% of the program cost

The non-refundable deposit of $500 and 25% of program cost may be applied towards any future participation on an American Councils’ study abroad program within the next 11 months. Participants who defer acceptance to a program will be sent an American Councils Deferral Credit Form. This form outlines the amount paid by the participant toward his/her initial program and must be returned to American Councils when the participant is ready to confirm participation in a program for a new term. The Deferral Credit Form must be returned along with a written request for reactivation of the application by the appropriate application deadline.

In the case of withdrawal by an American Councils financial aid recipient, all financial aid received must be returned to American Councils within 14 days of the withdrawal notification.

Attendance Policy

American Councils for International Education and Bryn Mawr College require that participants be present for all classes and group meetings, as well as excursions (for certain programs). Excused absences include those due to observance of religious holidays and illness, but it is the participant’s responsibility to alert the American Councils designated contact person as soon as it becomes evident that a class, meeting or excursion will be missed. Habitual tardiness and unexcused absences will result in grade reductions or other disciplinary actions.

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