Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: What is the Honors Abroad Program and how can I be a part of it?
The Honors Abroad Program (HON195) is a 3-credit short-term travel program designed for USM Honors Freshmen who meet the minimum qualifications*. As part of this program, you will learn similarities and differences between Maine and Iceland with respect to culture, economics, science, and law (as well as many other things!). Program participants are identified via an application process and will begin the class in Maine before traveling as a group to Iceland for 7-10 days.

What makes our program unique is our associated scholarship opportunities. Honors Abroad offers a two-part scholarship: 1) tuition, and 2) travel expenses. Students are responsible for paying the class fee(s), personal shopping expenses, and possibly up to one day of lunch expenses (during our “free” day in Iceland when students may spend the day exploring the area at-will). Honors Abroad scholarships cover tuition, travel (air, land, and sea), lodging, activity incidentals, and meal expenses.

  • *Minimum qualifications:
    • Student is a fulltime, USM Freshmen and has declared the Honors Minor
    • Student carries at least a 3.5 GPA
    • Student has completed or is on track to complete two HON classes by the end of the Spring 2018 semester. If you were unable to schedule a second HON, please contact us before applying: usmhonorsabroad@maine.edu


Q: So, is this basically a free vacation?
Absolutely not. We are sending classes to Iceland, not tour groups. Each class will have a syllabus, required reading, writing assignments, and other regular classwork to complete for a grade. Refusal to complete the classwork may result in dismissal from the Honors Program and/or loss of scholarship funds. Same goes for any student who violates the USM Student Conduct guidelines. Learn more about the student conduct code here. 

Q: If I’m part of Professor Mullane’s Icelandic Sagas and Skalds class, do I still have to submit an application?
Any student who wishes to participate in either Honors Abroad opportunity is required to submit an application. Students who do not submit an application will not be considered for the program.


Q: What are the application components and when does the application period open/close?
The application period opens in early January and it closes in mid-March. A completed application will contain a general application (contact info, etc), an essay response to a series of writing prompts (may be video or written), a current resume per USM guidelines, and a letter of recommendation from a faculty or professional staff member from USM. Applicants may be invited for an in-person interview.

Applications will be scored by the Honors Project Coordinator, the Coordinator of Education Abroad, and a USM faculty member. Applications with the highest scores will be invited to join the program for which they applied.

For resume help, we strongly advise that you connect with our career office on the first floor of Luther Bonney (at the back of the computer lab). Resume standards have changed quite a bit in the last few years, especially for current college students. If you still have an objective or high school information on your resume, your document is in need of review!

Letters of recommendation may not come from a professor who is teaching one of the Honors Abroad courses nor the Honors Program staff.

Additional details will be available in the application document.


Q: I’m under 18; can I still apply to the program?
Absolutely! Acceptance into the program may require some additional paperwork, but students who are under 18 and meet the minimum qualifications are invited to apply.


Q: Do I need a passport to travel to Iceland?
Yes, you need a passport to travel to Iceland. If you have a current passport, the expiration date must be at least 6 months after our departure date from abroad. Questions? Contact your local post office, our USM Office of International Programs, or the Honors Project Coordinator at usmhonorsabroad@maine.edu.


Q: What are the 2018 class topics?
This year we are sending two different classes and our two options are: 1) Histories of Justice, and 2) Climate Change Stories. Learn more about each class, travel dates, and the professors: usmhonorsabroad.wordpress.com


Q: How many scholarships are available?
We have thirty scholarships available: fifteen per class. Each class has a max enrollment of fifteen students.


Q: Do I have to know Icelandic?
Nope, however during our travel orientation we will teach you common greetings and “thank you” before you travel abroad!


Q: How can I learn more about the student experience?
In June 2017, we brought a class of fifteen students to Iceland for our inaugural HON195 section. Each student wrote a blog post about their experience for the day while abroad. We encourage you to read some of the posts to get an idea of the student experience!


Q: When will the application be posted?
A: We will post the application materials on Tuesday, January 2, 2018.


Q: What does being an Honors Abroad student entail?
A: If you successfully apply for the program, you will be expected to participate just like any other college-level class. In addition, each student will be required to attend a pre-departure travel orientation.

Each student will be expected to complete a pre- and post-travel survey and may be asked to complete a survey six months after we return home. Students may volunteer as Program Ambassadors and participate in promotional activities such as class visits or media interviews.


Q: How do I stay up to date with important information?
A: Follow us on our social media outlets:

Facebook: facebook.com/USMHonorsProgram
Blog: usmhonorsabroad.wordpress.com


Q: What other study abroad options exist?
There are many options for study abroad beyond the Honors Abroad Program! Check out the USM Office of International Programs for more information: usm.maine.edu/international


Still have questions? Please contact us!  (Please note: the Honors Program staff will have limited email from 12/21/17 – 1/2/18.)