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Frequently Asked Questions

General Global Projects Program Questions
Starting Your Application
After Placement
Before You Go 
Upon Return


General Global Projects Program Questions

1. Do I have to do my project off-campus?

No. While the IQP and MQP are required projects, all students have the option to complete both projects on campus, typically over three terms. 

2. What are the benefits of doing an off-campus project?

Academically, completing a project off campus allows students to complete the IQP or MQP in one term, as opposed to three terms.  Non-academically, completing an off-campus project also offers many diverse project opportunities and Project Center locations and is a great talking point on your resume!

3. What are the challenges of completing an off-campus project?

Completing an off-campus project requires a lot of work. Students are expected to work forty hours a week, just like they are full-time employed. It combines challenges pertaining to both a “real-world” professional setting and an academic setting. Students completing projects in residential settings may also experience culture shock and face these challenges in a new and unfamiliar environment. 

4. What is the difference between a residential and non-residential site?

Non-residential sites are Project Centers where students remain in WPI housing for their off-campus project. Residential sites are Project Centers where housing is provided in a location further from campus. 

5. What are the benefits of completing an IQP at a non-residential site within the GPP?

Students completing their project at a non-residential GPP site are able to complete their IQP or MQP in one term, while also maintaining many of their on-campus commitments such as sports, clubs, or Greek life. Non-residential sites are also a lower-cost option and allow students to get more involved in their local community. 

6. Can I continue to play on a WPI sports team or other extra-curricular activities while I participate in an off-campus project?

Students going to a residential project center are unable to participate in sports or extra-curricular activities during their project term. Students going to non-residential project centers are able to participate in sports or extra-curricular activities as timing permits, however your project work will be time-consuming and will be the priority. 

7. What are WPI's safety practices?

A safe and successful off-campus experience does not just occur—it requires careful planning and preparation. WPI is committed to the health, safety, and security of all students who participate in our programs. The best way to prepare for a safe off-campus experience is to become familiar with the Project Center and GPP Policies in advance. Students are required to read through the Going Global Handbook, which they will receive before the start of the prep term. In addition, please review the following resources:

Global Portal Health and Safety Page
U.S. Department of State
Centers for Disease Control

The IGSD monitors these sources and more to assess the health and safety at each Project Center. In addition, the IGSD holds orientations with both advisors and students to prepare them for potential health and safety emergencies that arise on-site, as well as maintains a 24/7 emergency phone number for students and advisors. 

8. I have a Global Scholars Scholarship/Foisie Scholarship. How do I get this applied to my WPI account?

You can find more information about using your scholarships and financial aid under the Finance tab of the Global Portal. 

9. When will I know my specific project assignment?

Center Directors will reach out to students for their project preferences before the start of the prep term and will let everyone know their project placement at the start of the prep term.

10. Can I use a 539 plan to pay for my project experience? 

529s can be used to pay for some qualified expenses for education abroad, but you will need to check with your plan directly to understand what expenses will qualify. For most sites on the Global Projects Program, WPI bills a portion of the costs (housing and program fees) to the student’s WPI account, these costs will be seen on the WPI bill for the semester of the student’s travel. Other expenses will be paid for you/your student out of pocket (airfare, food, local transportation, etc.). All costs for our programs can be viewed on the Program Page for your project. 


Starting Your Application

1. I cannot log in to the Global Portal, what do I do?

You must start an application before they can log in to this site. If you are trying to log into the Global Portal Website prior to having started an application you will get an error message.

To start an application:

Choose "Browse Programs".  Then search for your program of interest.  Once you have decided on your first choice site, start your application by clicking "Apply Now" on the Program Brochure. Then select "I have a WPI username and password" to prompt the WPI login screen. Login with your WPI credentials and be sure to follow the instructions on the application page. Please note: You will create only one application, for your first choice program. 

Once you have started an application you will thereafter be able to log into the Global Portal Website and your application will become your home page. Your application can be saved at the end of each session and will only be submitted once you mark it as complete.

2. Where is the application and how do I fill it out?

To start an application:

Choose "Browse Programs".  Then search for your program of interest.  Once you have decided on your first choice site, start your application by clicking "Apply Now" on the Program Brochure. Then select "I have a WPI username and password" to prompt the WPI login screen. Login with your WPI credentials and be sure to follow the instructions on the application page. Please note: You will create only one application, for your first choice program. 

Once you have started an application you will thereafter be able to log into the Global Portal Website and your application will become your home page. Your application can be saved at the end of each session and will only be submitted once you mark it as complete.

3. What is required for the application?

The online application consists of some biographical data, a resume, an essay, and two references with their contact information.  

4. Who can I list as my references?

Ideally, both references should be an academic reference from a WPI faculty member. If this is not possible, your second reference can be from the WPI community (a staff member or coach, not a fellow student) or from outside WPI and should be able to speak to your ability to fulfill responsibilities, perform under pressure, meet deadlines, and function in a team.

5. When will my references be contacted?

Your references will be contacted if the Center Director who reviews your application needs more information to make a decision on your application. They may be contacted by phone or email any time after your application is submitted.

6. When do I indicate my alternative choices?

IQPs: The site preference form will be open after site information sessions are completed. You may list as many choices as you like. It is advisable to have at least 3 choices. 

MQPs: The MQP rankings form will be part of the application.  Please make sure your major is offered at each site you rank.

7. Why is the check box that says "Site Session Attended" not checked?

IQPs ONLY: IGSD staff will check attendance rosters for site sessions and all boxes will be checked off by the close of the application period. We will contact you directly if we do not have evidence that you signed into a site session.

8. I'm on Academic Warning. Am I still eligible to apply to the GPP?

We have removed the eligibility requirement for students to be in good academic standing in order to apply to the GPP. Now, a student can apply for a global project while on academic warning but they must improve their academic standing at the next review in order to be eligible to participate in the program.   Students who are currently on academic warning may apply to the GPP and may be granted provisional placement in the program. Students who receive provisional placement  will undergo a review of their academic record at the next academic review period. Students who are back in good academic standing will be permitted placement in the GPP, and students who are on academic probation will no longer be eligible to participate.
 
It is important to note that the application process for the GPP is competitive and that the strength of a student’s academic record is an important consideration when reviewing applicants for any site. The GPP application requires 2 academic references, and students on warning are advised to submit the name of a reference who can speak to how they have responded to the academic difficulties they have encountered  and what steps they have taken to better support their studies at WPI. 

Students on academic probation remain ineligible to apply to the GPP.

9. I have a judicial record at WPI. Am I still eligible to apply to the GPP?

You are still eligible to apply. You will need to consent to a review of your judicial history when you apply to the program. This information is used exclusively for the determination of admission and continued eligibility to participate in the GPP. The IGSD will be notified by the Dean of Students office if you have a judicial record. Then, we will place a flag in your application notifying the application reviewer of this record.  If there is a concern, you may be asked to attend a supplemental meeting to discuss the incident(s) and how it relates to your project experience. Most judicial records do not hold students back from participation in the program. 

10. I'm a First Year student, but a Sophomore in credit status.  Am I eligible to apply for an IQP?

First Year students with Sophomore status on their transcript are eligible apply to the IQP program for C and D Terms ONLY. If you do not have Sophomore status, you are not eligible to apply. 

11. Should I apply to the same place as my girlfriend/boyfriend/best friend?

Deciding where to apply is a personal decision, based on many factors. You should consider the term of the project, and the term of the prep-term to determine feasibility within your own schedule.  It is also important to consider cost, location, and personal health concerns when deciding where to apply. There is no guarantee that your girlfriend/boyfriend/best friend will be placed at the same project center as you, so trying to coordinate placements will be a difficult task. Consider your options for you, and you can hope for the best for your friends. 

12. I'm concerned about cost for an off-campus project. Are there any low or no cost sites?

Yes, there are low and no cost sites! You will find a detailed breakdown of estimated costs for each center in the "Estimated Expenses" section of each program page.  Directions to this page can be found here: Finances


After Placement

1. I didn’t get placed at my first choice site – why?

The application process for the Global Projects Program is competitive and placement at your first choice site is not guaranteed. If you were not placed in your first choice site, you were then considered for other sites in the order you indicated on your Site Preference Survey. No student is placed in a site that was not indicated your survey.  

2. Can I switch with someone else?

No. Placement decisions were made with the balance of selected students, projects and locations in mind.

3. I was placed at a site that I am not very excited about – can I move to a waitlist for my first choice?

You cannot be moved to the waitlist. You were placed at a site that you indicated you were interested in. Some students were not placed at a site at all. All qualified applicants who could not be placed were offered a spot on the general waitlist. When openings occur at a site we will go to the general waitlist to fill that spot.

6. How do I submit my deposit payment?

You have two options for paying your deposit:

1. Preferred Method: Pay online through Banner Self Service with check or credit card (credit cards will be charged an additional 2.75%)  Please follow these instructions:

  • Login to Banner Self Service
  • Click Student Services & Financial Aid
  • Click Student Accounts
  • Click e-Bills and e-Payments
  • Account Balance & Make Payment - Click Make a payment
  • Click the correct term you will be participating in
  • Enter your payment information
  • Submit


2. Bring cash to the Bursar's Office and then bring your receipt to IGSD.

We will be notified of your deposit and it will be updated on the Global Portal within 5 business days.  There is no need to confirm with our office unless you do not see a check mark after 5 business days.

Withdrawal Deadlines
Please note that this deposit is refundable up to the stated withdrawal deadlines.  Withdrawal deadlines are posted here: Withdrawal Deadlines

7. Can I view my decision letter again?

Yes.  When you log in to your Global Portal site, click on “My Applications”.  A link to your Decision Letter will be located to the right of your program’s name. 

8. Can I hold a place in the project center I was placed at until something better comes along?

No. By committing to your placement you are making a commitment to that project center. You are also taking a place at that center that cannot be offered to someone else, as all centers have finite enrollments. Students who hold a place at one center and then try to apply to another will not be considered – either at an established project center or for an Individually Sponsored Residential Project (ISRP).

9. What are my options?

Commit to your placement and make a commitment to having an excellent off-campus project experience OR decline the opportunity. After the waitlist is exhausted we will announce any openings to the student body at large and ask for applications. You will have the option to withdraw from your placement at that time and reapply to the program.  Keep in mind that you are forfeiting your original placement though.

10. Historically have students who have committed to a project center that was not their first choice had good experiences?

Absolutely! In fact, we have had students report back that they were very happy that they went to the center that they did and that they can’t imagine having gone anywhere else. Remember, it is the experience of completing a pre-professional project that is so rewarding and valuable, not where that project happens to take place.

11. If I was not placed on a project through the Global Projects Program, what are my options?

You will need to find an on-campus IQP or MQP. The best opportunity to do that is at the on-campus IQP fair, held in March each year. We encourage you to attend in order to review the many on-campus IQP options available to you. After the waitlist is exhausted we will announce any openings on the off-campus program to the student body at large and ask for applications. You are welcome to reapply at this time as well. 

12. What if my academic standing changes after I am accepted to the program?

Students who go on academic probation are no longer eligible to participate in the program. Students on academic warning will be required to meet with their project advisors and the director of global operations to determine if they are able to remain in the program and if their participation will be subject to an academic contract for the duration of the preparatory term. Students are encouraged to proactively reach out to project center director/advisors if they are aware that there has been a change in their academic status.

13. I have decided not to participate on an off-campus program - how and by when can I withdraw?

The IGSD strives to make off-campus opportunities available for as many students as possible.  In an effort to fill all available spaces, we have set the following withdrawal deadlines for our programs.  Please notify the IGSD in writing by emailing global@wpi.edu to confirm your withdrawal.

14. How I register for ID2050 and PQP?

The IGSD will register students for ID2050. ID2050 instructors will walk students through enrolling for their PQP and IQP at the start of the prep term. 

15. What are WPI's safety practices?

A safe and successful off-campus experience does not just occur—it requires careful planning and preparation. WPI is committed to the health, safety, and security of all students who participate in our programs. The best way to prepare for a safe off-campus experience is to become familiar with the Project Center and GPP Policies in advance. Students are required to read through the Going Global Handbook, which they will receive before the start of the prep term. In addition, please review the following resources:

Global Portal Health and Safety Page
U.S. Department of State
Centers for Disease Control

The IGSD monitors these sources and more to assess the health and safety at each Project Center. In addition, the IGSD holds orientations with both advisors and students to prepare them for potential health and safety emergencies that arise on-site, as well as maintains a 24/7 emergency phone number for students and advisors. 

16. I have a Global Scholars Scholarship/Foisie Scholarship. How do I get this applied to my WPI account?

You can find more information about using your scholarships and financial aid under the Finance tab of the Global Portal. 

17. When will I know my specific project assignment?

Center Directors will reach out to students for their project preferences before the start of the prep term and will let everyone know their project placement at the start of the prep term.

18. How will on-campus housing work when I am off-campus? 

If you have contracted for WPI on-campus housing for when you are away, and are not in Term Housing, you are still financially responsible for fulfilling that contract. In other words, you may have to pay for housing in both places if you have already signed a contract with WPI Residential Services. However, WPI is piloting a limited number of Term Housing options. Term Housing will be in WPI’s Residential Houses. Students will reside in the house during terms not on project, completely move out of the house during the term away (including all belongings), and not be charged for housing for the term they are not at WPI.  Please refer to the Housing Selection Timeline on the Residential Services website for deadlines and contact Residential Services if you are interested in applying for a space in Term Housing. 


Before You Go

1. Where can I confirm the expected costs and Program Fee for my project?

The Finances tab of the Global Portal includes instructions to locate the Budget Sheet for each Project Center.

2. When will I be charged for my project?

The Program Fee will be added to your regular WPI tuition bill. WPI tuition is paid by semester, so the Program Fee will be added to the correct bill for the semester that includes your off-campus project. Additional estimated expenses are listed on the Budget Sheet for your Project Center in order to help you budget for these costs.  

3. Can I use a 539 plan to pay for my project experience? 

529s can be used to pay for some qualified expenses for education abroad, but you will need to check with your plan directly to understand what expenses will qualify. For most sites on the Global Projects Program, WPI bills a portion of the costs (housing and program fees) to the student’s WPI account, these costs will be seen on the WPI bill for the semester of the student’s travel. Other expenses will be paid for you/your student out of pocket (airfare, food, local transportation, etc.). All costs for our programs can be viewed on the Program Page for your project. 

4. I have specific housing accommodations on campus at WPI.  How do I make sure I get these accommodations while away?

Students who may need accommodations to participate in the Global Projects Program (including but not limited to housing and transportation needs) are encouraged to contact either IGSD and/or the Office of Disability Services as soon as possible after placement and no later than the Welcome Orientation (two terms prior to travel).  After this date, we will do our best to meet individual accommodation needs, but cannot guarantee availability of requested accommodations.

Students with disabilities are encouraged to disclose them to ID2050 instructors and/or project advisors. We have found that many issues that arise for students with disabilities during off-campus projects could have been avoided with a simple conversation at the start of the preparatory term. Students who do disclose disabilities, even when their approved accommodations don’t directly apply, are able to connect with their instructors and advisors in meaningful ways that often benefit the whole project team.

Students with disclosed disabilities are encouraged to utilize the WPI accommodation letter process to inform their ID2050 instructors and/or project advisors of their disability in order to initiate a conversation regarding any support or accommodations that may be necessary.

Students with disabilities who have not yet disclosed their disability to the WPI Office of Disability Services are encouraged to utilize the WPI disclosure process.

If you have any questions about the disclosure process, please contact the Office of Disability Services.

5. When does preparation start for my program?

During the pre-prep term (i.e., A-Term for C-Term projects), all students must attend an IGSD Welcome Orientation. Certain international Project Centers may also have a language and culture course during the pre-prep term, as noted in the Program Preparation section of the Brochure Page.

During the prep term (i.e., B-Term for C-Term projects), students will take an ID2050 course and PQP course. In addition, students going to residential project centers must attend a one-night Pre-Departure Orientation.

6. How can I best prepare for a safe off-campus experience?

A safe and successful off-campus experience does not just occur—it requires careful planning and preparation. WPI is committed to the health, safety, and security of all students who participate in our programs. The best way to prepare for a safe off-campus experience is to become familiar with the Project Center and GPP Policies in advance. Students are required to read through the Going Global Handbook, which they will receive before the start of the prep term. In addition, please review the following resources:

Global Portal Health and Safety Page
U.S. Department of State
Centers for Disease Control

7. What are the dates of my program?

Program Dates can be found on the brochure page for each Project Center. Once on the Program List, click on the correct Project Center, and the Program Dates section will be between the Estimated Expenses and Fact Sheet sections of the page. Dates can also be found in the Going Global Handbook, which students will receive prior to the prep term.

8. How do I book my flights?

Once your program dates are confirmed, please review the Booking Your Flight page of the Global Portal. 

9. Can my family/friends come visit me?  Can they stay in my room?

Friends and family can certainly visit, however it is encouraged for them to visit towards the end of the program. That way, you will be more familiar with the area to show them around, they can attend your final presentations, and you can arrange to travel together after the program! Visiting at the start of the program may hinder project work, group cohesion, and adjusting to your new location. Overnight guests, however, are not allowed in WPI off-campus housing, per the Overnight Guest Policy

10. I need to arrive late/leave early from my project. Who do I talk to?

Per the Travel Dates Policy, students are required to arrive on or before the program start date and stay on-site until the program end date and final presentations are completed. If there are any extenuating circumstances, you may reach out to the Center Director for special considerations.

11. When should I get my passport?

If you are going to an international project center, you are encouraged to begin the passport application process as soon as you have confirmed your placement. You must have your passport in hand before the end of the pre-prep term, and even earlier for certain sites, to ensure a smooth visa process. 

12. What is a Visa?

A visa is an endorsement on a passport indicating that the holder is allowed to enter, leave, or stay for a specified period of time in a country. It is your responsibility to determine whether you will require a visa and to obtain your visa prior to traveling. The IGSD will support the visa application process for students traveling on programs where U.S. citizens are required to have a visa. Students who are non-U.S. citizens participating in a program where U.S. citizens are not required to obtain a visa will want to contact the IGSD for help facilitating the visa process. Students who require a visa to enter a country are encouraged to begin this process prior to the prep term; it can take up to 2 months to have a visa processed and a delay will mean a late arrival that can impact the success of your project and overall experience.

13. Do I need specific immunizations in order to travel? Can I get these at WPI Health Services?

Some Project Centers may require or encourage specific immunizations in order to travel. Students should visit the Centers for Disease Control Website, WPI Health Services, or a local travel clinic with any questions. Some, but not all, travel immunizations may be obtained at WPI Health Services.

14. Are there local travel clinics in Worcester?

Yes! The UMass Travel Clinic and Fallon Travel Health Clinic are both located in Worcester, however they both may book out well in advance.

15. What does the WPI travel insurance cover?

WPI students traveling internationally are automatically enrolled in UHC Global. The description of coverage will be available in the Going Global Handbook, which you will receive before the start of the prep term, as well as in the Learning Content on the Global Portal.

16. What is the housing like at my project site?

The type of housing and a short description can be found on the brochure page for each Project Center. More detailed information will be available in the Going Global Handbook.

17. How should I plan to communicate with family/friends while away on my project?

While some students may choose to purchase an international phone plan to their U.S. phone while away, all students are required to have a local cell phone with a local number on site. Please visit the Communicating With Your Student Abroad page on the Global Portal for more details.

18. What is the best way to manage money while I'm away? Do I need a foreign bank account?

While housing will be included in the Program Fee, there will be many additional costs you should expect to pay out of pocket once on site, such as food, travel expenses, souvenirs, and project incidentals. Students are not required to open a foreign bank account, but should carry at least one debit and one credit card with them when going abroad. It is very important to contact your bank to inform them of your travel plans to avoid the possibility of your card being locked and declined while you are away. Most students use an ATM to withdraw local currency on-site. As foreign ATM fees are usually a flat fee, it is suggested to withdraw larger sums of money, to allow for fewer transactions, and to immediately ensure any excess cash is locked away in your housing. More details and suggestions will be discussed in the Pre-Departure Orientation and Going Global Handbook.  

Upon Return

1. I am unhappy with my final project grade.  Who should I talk to?

Academic concerns, including contesting your final grade, are handled by the Dean of the IGSD.