UCLA Travel Study Student Guide
Courses and Grading
Each Travel Study program has a required course curriculum. Travel Study students are automatically enrolled in this curriculum by the Travel Study Office. These courses are mandatory and cannot be dropped without terminating your participation in the program. You can review your course enrollments beginning in March on URSA .
If an optional course is available for your program, you may add or drop the optional course as follows:
- Add - anytime before or during the first 2 weeks of the program, submit an Optional Course Registration Form.
- Drop - anytime before August 22 without penalty. After August 22 and prior to the final project due date, optional courses may be dropped but no refunds will be issued. Submit an Optional Course Registration Form.
There may be an additional fee for optional courses. For more information about required and optional courses for your program, please visit the section of the program Web site marked “Curriculum".
UCLA Travel Study programs are of a serious academic nature. Grades transfer automatically to other UCs and they become part of your permanent academic record.
All Travel Study courses must be taken for a letter grade. Auditing and pass/no pass are not allowed for Travel Study programs.
Grades and Transcripts
Grades should be available via URSA after October 1.
- UCLA Students: Summer grades are usually posted to your regular transcript when fall grades are processed.
- Other UC Students: Transcripts are available after October 15.
- Non-UC Students: Official hard copy transcripts are usually available after October 1.
To request an official transcript, visit URSA.
URSA is UCLA’s online student records system. As a Travel Study student, you now have access to URSA. For first-time users of URSA, you will need your UCLA ID number to create a logon ID and password. Your UCLA ID number is included in your confirmation e-mail.
Beginning in March, you can view your course enrollments and any outstanding balance for your program on URSA. Use URSA to pay your balance by the final payment deadline. After October 1, you can use URSA to view your grades and order transcripts.
Lost ID or Password
If you forget your URSA logon ID or password, you can look up your logon ID and reset your password at the URSA Web site.
As a registered Travel Study program participant, you can retrieve your online application for important program details and update some of your personal information.
You will need to enter your name, program and date of birth. Your Travel Study registration number, which was sent to you in your confirmation e-mail, is also required. For assistance with a lost registration number please e-mail our office.
You can do the following via the retrieve function:
- Read the Faculty Director’s Welcome Letter
- Learn the date, time, and location of your predeparture orientation
- Upload a digital photo and copy of your passport
- Switch from one Travel Study program to another
- Add or drop optional courses
- Select a roommate
- Update your passport information
- Update your health history
- Cancel your participation
Final payment for your Travel Study program is due April 4, 2014. You will not receive a paper billing statement in the mail. E-mail reminders will be sent to you.
You may review your balance on URSA beginning in March. You will need your UCLA ID Number to access URSA for the first time (please see the section on URSA above).
The final payment deadline is deferred for eligible Financial Aid students (who have completed all of the financial aid requirements, documentation, processes, etc.).
UCLA financial aid will disburse directly to the student's billing account. Visiting financial aid recipients must pay their program balance in full at least ten days prior to the program start date.
Cancellations and Refunds
See Cancellation Policy.
Withdrawals after a program has begun
UCLA discourages students from withdrawing after a program has begun. Successful programs require the full participation of all students, and we hope students are prepared to complete the program. However, we recognize that, due to unforeseen circumstances, some students may need to leave a program early. In these rare instances, students must meet with their program director and complete a withdrawal form obtained from the UCLA Travel Study Office. If a petition to withdraw is approved, students must vacate the program housing within 72 hours.
All students on international Travel Study programs are required to have a valid passport. Your passport should be valid for at least six months beyond the date you expect to return to the United States. Allow approximately three to six weeks for your passport application to be processed if you do not currently have a valid passport.
For information on obtaining a passport, visit the State Department Web site.
In general, U.S. citizens will not need a visa to participate in a Travel Study program.
Participants in certain programs will receive information about obtaining their visas.
If you are not a U.S. citizen, a tourist visa may be required. Please visit the consular Web sites for the countries you will be visiting for instructions on obtaining your tourist visa. Do not apply for a student visa.
You are responsible for making your own travel arrangements to and from your program destination. Some programs may require you to arrange transportation during the program. Be sure to follow flight instructions for your program carefully.
We recommend shopping around for airfares as soon as possible. If you need assistance with air travel, STA Travel can assist you. They have locations around the U.S. including Westwood.
An traveler's health insurance policy is provided by HTH Worldwide for international programs. Coverage is for the dates of the program only.
HTH Worldwide may have pre-approved facilities and physicians in your location. You can contact HTH Worldwide to schedule an appointment at these facilities to have medical care pre-paid upon arrival. The HTH Worldwide phone number when outside the U.S. is: +1-610-254-8771 (collect).
If you do not use HTH Worldwide pre-approved facilities, you will responsible for all fees incurred as a result of any accident or medical emergency which may occur while on the program. Be sure to keep all receipts for medical treatment in order to file a claim upon your return to the U.S.
If you are traveling before or after the UCLA program, we recommend that you arrange for independent health insurance coverage as a precaution.
An traveler's health insurance policy is provided by ACE for domestic programs. Coverage is for the dates of the program only.
You are responsible for all fees incurred as a result of any accident or medical emergency which may occur while participating in a UCLA Study Abroad program. Be sure to keep all receipts for medical treatment in order to file a claim upon your return to the U.S. Click here to access a copy of the claim form.
If you are traveling before or after the UCLA program, we recommend that you arrange for independent health insurance coverage as a precaution.
Accommodations and Meals
Travel Study housing is required for all participants and is restricted to enrolled participants only. Guests (includes spouses, children, other family members and friends) are not allowed in Travel Study housing or on any Travel Study related activity. The International Education Office does not assist with housing arrangements for family, friends, or other guests of Travel Study participants. The International Education Office does not make housing arrangements for students arriving prior to the program start date or after the program concludes. Participants must make their own housing arrangements for early arrivals and late departures.
Program accommodations are typically based on double or triple occupancy. You may request another program participant as your roommate anytime before April 25. Otherwise, a roommate will be selected for you. Please note that UCLA cannot accommodate requests for roommates of the opposite sex. If you did not indicate a roommate request at the time of registration, you may retrieve your application to make your request up until April 25. Both participants must request each other.
Vegetarian and Other Diets
When possible, we will try to provide vegetarian options at group meals. Please keep in mind that in many countries vegetarianism will not always be understood. Also note that the diversity of food options available at home may not exist abroad. If vegetarian options exist in the country you are visiting, they may be quite limited. If you have other dietary restrictions, please be aware that the program may not be able to accommodate your needs. Be sure to notify the Travel Study office of any dietary requirements you may have. We will do our best to accommodate you.
Safety in Housing
- Keep your door locked at all times. Meet visitors in the lobby.
- Do not leave money and other valuables in your room while you are out.
- If you are staying in a hotel, use the hotel safe.
- Let someone know when you expect to return if you are out late at night or leave town.
- If you are alone, do not get on an elevator if there is a suspicious-looking person inside.
- Know how to report a fire. Be sure you know where the nearest fire exits and alternate exits are located.
Careful planning of your finances is important. Adjusting to a new currency and to the prices in a new country can produce some anxiety.
As you prepare for your trip:
- Remember that how much you spend on your Travel Study program ultimately depends on the choices you make about travel, food, shopping, entertainment, etc.
- With regard to spending money, make it last the duration of you trip. Always over estimate your spending. Budget your extra food money first. When buying gifts or souvenirs think about how you will transport them home.
- The exchange rates between the U.S. dollar and foreign currencies are not fixed. The rates change daily. Visit www.oanda.com to get a sense of how rates change.
- Exchange about $100 before you depart. You will need some cash in local currency when you arrive at your destination. This will also give you an opportunity to become familiar with the currency.
- It is best to take a combination of ATM cards, credit cards, and traveler’s checks. Keep an accurate record of credit card, ATM card, and traveler’s check numbers separate from the cards and checks themselves. Make a list of phone numbers to report lost or stolen cards and checks. Remember, 1-800 numbers do not work overseas.
- Keep in mind that your bank may charge an ATM transaction fee for each withdrawal. Check with your bank before you go and include those fees in your budget.
Handling Money and Documents Safely
- Visit ATMs or change your traveler’s checks only as you need currency. Countersign traveler’s checks only in front of the person who will cash them.
- Do not flash large amounts of money when paying a bill. Make sure your credit card is returned to you after each transaction.
- Deal only with authorized agents when you exchange money, buy airline tickets, or purchase souvenirs. Do not change money on the black market.
- If your possessions are lost or stolen, report the loss immediately to the local
police. Keep a copy of the police report for insurance claims. Ask the police to provide you with an English translation of the police report (if necessary).
- After reporting missing items to the police, report the loss or theft of:
- traveler’s checks to the nearest agent of the issuing company;
- credit cards to the issuing company;
- airline tickets to the airline or travel agent;
- passport to the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.
Your participation in a UCLA Travel Study Program makes you a representative of UCLA. Therefore, you must adhere to the UCLA Student Code of Conduct. Students are subject to disciplinary action for several types of misconduct or attempted misconduct, including but not limited to:
- Dishonesty, such as cheating, multiple submission, plagiarism, or knowingly furnishing false information to the University;
- Forgery, alteration, or misuse of University documents, keys, or identification;
- Theft of, damage to, or destruction of any property of the University or property of others while on University premises, as well as on the premises of all property provided by the UCLA Travel Study Program;
- Failure to pay bills for extra services or incidentals associated with the Travel Study program;
- Unauthorized entry to or use of University properties, equipment, or resources, including those abroad;
- Disruption of teaching, research, administration, or other University activities;
- Physical abuse, threats of violence, rape, or other forms of sexual assault, or conduct that threatens the health or safety of any person on University property or in connection with official University functions, including those activities taking place abroad;
- Disorderly conduct, disturbing the peace, or failure to comply with the directions of a University employee acting in his/her official capacity;
- Use, possession, sale, distribution, or manufacture of alcohol on University properties or at official University functions;
- Unlawful use, possession, sale, distribution, or manufacture of controlled substances, identified in federal and state laws or regulations, on University properties or at official University functions.
Students in violation of the code of conduct will be expelled from the program at the instructor’s discretion. In the event a student is expelled, the student is not eligible to receive a refund of any of the fees paid to UCLA.
Expelled students will not be permitted to participate in any program activity or be entitled to any program benefits including, but not limited to, travel, meals, and housing. Furthermore, the student will be responsible for any additional costs incurred for lodging and transportation once expelled.
Drinking alcohol while socializing is common in many parts of the world. The attitude in some countries toward alcohol may be much different than in the United States. Drinking in some countries is part of the social experience, but not the focus of it. Excessive drinking or drunken behavior is not acceptable. Public drunkenness is illegal in many countries. If your consumption of alcohol becomes disruptive to your program, it is cause for immediate expulsion. If you choose to drink, please be responsible.
Avoiding Legal Difficulties
When you are in a foreign country, you are subject to its laws and are under its jurisdiction NOT the protection of the U.S. Constitution. You can be arrested overseas for actions that may be either legal or considered minor infractions in the United States. Be aware of what is considered criminal in the country where you are.
If you are arrested on a drug or criminal charge, it is important that you know what can and cannot be done. Always use your one phone call to contact the nearest United States embassy or consulate.
The U.S. Consular Officer CAN:
- visit you in jail after being notified of your arrest;
- give you a list of local attorneys;
- intercede with local authorities to make sure your rights under local law are fully observed and that you are treated humanely;
- protest mistreatment or abuse to the appropriate authorities.
The U.S. Consular Officer CANNOT:
- demand your immediate release or get you out of jail;
- represent you at trial or give legal counsel;
- pay legal fees or fines with U.S. government funds.
Please remember that no place on earth is perfectly safe. Any travel carries with it certain inherent risks. In most instances, many of the trials and tribulations of travel abroad can be avoided by taking certain precautions. Please read the following safety tips before you depart for your Travel Study program.
We hope you will have a safe and healthy stay abroad.
Do your Research
Take the time to research the countries you will be visiting. Buy an up-to-date travel guide and use the Web. A few Web sites worth visiting are:
For information about health and safety abroad, we recommend that you visit the following sites:
Stay in Contact
Make arrangements to contact your family periodically. Check in when you arrive to let your family know you have arrived safely. If you leave town to sightsee during free time and weekends, please let the Program Director or Teaching Assistant (TA) know where you are going. If you go out with people who are not part of the program, please let the Program Director or TA know the names of those people.
Safety on the Street
Use the same common sense traveling overseas that you would at home. Be especially cautious in crowded subways, train stations, elevators, tourist sites, marketplaces, festivals, and avoid peripheral areas of cities.
- Always remain aware of your surroundings;
- Don’t use shortcuts, narrow alleys, or poorly-lit streets;
- Avoid traveling alone;
- Avoid public demonstrations and other civil disturbances;
- Keep a low profile and avoid loud conversations or arguments. Do not discuss travel plans or other personal matters with strangers;
- Avoid scam artists. Beware of strangers who approach you offering bargains or offering to be your guide;
- Beware of pickpockets. They often have an accomplice who will:
- jostle you;
- ask you for directions or the time;
- point to something spilled on your clothing;
- or distract you by creating a disturbance;
- Wear the shoulder strap of your bag across your chest and walk with the bag away from the curb to avoid drive-by purse snatchers;
- Try to seem purposeful when you move about. Even if you are lost, act as if you know where you are going. When possible, ask directions only from individuals in authority;
- Know how to use a pay telephone and have the proper change or token on hand;
- Learn a few phrases in the local language so you can signal your need for help, the police, or a doctor. Make a note of emergency telephone numbers you may need: police, fire, your hotel, and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate;
- If you are confronted, don’t fight back. Give up your valuables.
Safety on Public Transportation
Taxis: Only take taxis clearly identified with official markings. Beware of unmarked cabs. Make sure the meter is running.
Buses/Trains: Be vigilant when taking public transit.
- If you see your way being blocked by a stranger and another person is very close to you from behind, move away. This can happen in the corridor of the train or on the platform or station.
- Do not accept food or drinks from strangers.
- When taking overnight trains, lock your compartment. If it cannot be locked securely, or if you are sharing a compartment with other travelers, tie down your luggage, strap your valuables to you, and sleep on top of them as much as possible.
- Do not be afraid to alert authorities if you feel threatened in any way.
Maintaining good health is imperative when traveling and studying overseas. It is important that students actively maintain a healthy lifestyle in order to maximize their experience abroad. Below are some tips on how to remain healthy while traveling.
Information about local health services will be provided after arrival at your study site. Please keep the Director of your program aware of any and all medical issues that arise during your Travel Study program.
Prescriptions, Vitamins, and Other Medicines
Students who regularly take any medication should take an adequate supply of it to last for the entire period abroad. If medications are perishable and your accommodations do not include a refrigerator, let your Program Director know. Students should label all medications and keep them in their original containers that clearly show the prescription.
Students with Special Needs
If students have any disability or other chronic systemic condition for which they will be seeking accommodation abroad, they must advise the International Education Office immediately so staff can advise students whether necessary resources are reasonably available on their program.
Mental Health-Related Issues while on Travel Study Programs
Traveling and studying in another country are demanding activities that often compound or exacerbate both physical and emotional issues. In particular, if students are concerned about their use of alcohol and other controlled drugs or if they have an emotional or physical health concern, they should address it honestly before making plans to travel and study abroad.
Student Participation Agreement
As part of the registration process, you agreed to stipulations in a comprehensive participation agreement and waiver of liability.
Always travel light: Limit yourself to one checked bag and one carry-on.You can move more quickly and will be more likely to have a free hand. You will also be less tired and less likely to set your luggage down, leaving it unattended.
Prescription medications: Remember to bring any prescription medication with you in your carry-on bag. Bring enough to last the duration of your trip. Keep medicines in their original, labeled containers. Bring copies of your prescriptions and the generic names for the drugs. If a medication is unusual or contains narcotics, carry a letter from your doctor attesting to your need to take the drug. If you have any doubt about the legality of carrying a certain drug into a country, consult the embassy or consulate of that country first.
Money: Bring ATM cards, one or two major credit cards, and $100 in the local currency. You may want to bring a few traveler’s checks for emergency back-up.
Passport: Pack an extra set of passport photos along with a photocopy of your passport information page to make replacement of your passport easier in the event it is lost or stolen. Leave extra copies of these items with someone at home.
Airline tickets and travel itinerary: Make sure your itinerary is in order and the name on your airline ticket matches the name on your passport. Leave a copy of your itinerary with family or friends at home in case they need to contact you in an emergency.
Calling cards: Consider getting a telephone calling card. It is a convenient way of keeping in touch. If you have one, verify that you can use it from overseas locations (you may need to sign up for an international plan in order to get the lowest rates possible). 1-800 numbers do not work overseas, so find out the local toll-free access number for your calling card before you go.
Cell phones: If you have a dual or triband GSM (global system for mobile communications) cell phone, you may be able to use your phone internationally. To do this, have your cell service provider “unlock” your phone before you leave the U.S. Contact your cell phone provider for details on using your U.S. SIM card while abroad. In Europe and Asia, it is fairly easy and cheap to buy a local prepaid SIM card for your unlocked phone (this gives you a local telephone number while using the SIM card). If you do not have a GSM phone, many companies have world phones available for rent. Rental services are becoming more common in international airports, and it is usually less expensive to rent a phone in-country.
Security: Put your name, address and telephone numbers inside and outside each piece of luggage. If possible, lock your luggage (consult the airline about their locked luggage policy). Don’t bring anything you would hate to lose. Leave at home:
- valuable or expensive-looking jewelry; irreplaceable family objects;
- all unnecessary credit cards;
- Social Security card, library cards, and similar items you may routinely carry in your wallet.
If you lose your passport while traveling abroad, contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate for assistance. Please guard your passport well!
URSA (University Records System Access)
Final Payment, Enrollment Status, Grades and Transcripts
Financial Aid Office
A129 Murphy Hall
(UCLA Students Only) 310-206-0400
Bookstore Ackerman Student Union
Textbook Information: 310-206-0791
UC Health Insurance: 1-800-336-0627 (inside U.S.)
Global Health and Safety Resources: 1-302-476-6194 (outside U.S.)
(International programs only) Diane.Basa@ace-ina.com