Guide to Study Abroad

The VSU Center for International Programs offers many inexpensive and hassle-free opportunities for students to travel and study overseas. You may want to spend a summer abroad on a VSU or University System of Georgia program. Or, you may wish to participate in our semester or year-long exchange programs. You can find information in our library on study abroad programs, financial aid, university descriptions, work abroad, international internships, volunteering abroad, teaching abroad, international careers, and more.

Whatever you choose, our office is here to help you research your options and then coordinate your overseas experience. If you choose a VSU summer program, the program director will assist you with pre-departure preparations and coordinate your experience. If you choose an CIP exchange program, we will handle registration, housing and meal plan arrangements. Before you depart, there will be an orientation workshop in which you will learn about international travel, culture shock, cross-cultural communication, academic differences, and other bits of information that will help prepare you for an experience abroad.

Step by Step to Study Abroad

1. Define your objectives. The program you ultimately choose will be determined by your own, individual objectives for study abroad. The following questions are designed to help you define your goals (There are no "right" or "wrong" answers):

    • Why do you want to go abroad?
    • Where do you want to go? Why?
    • How will study abroad fit with your academic program?
    • Have you completed your core curriculum?
    • Do you want to study in a foreign language?
    • Are you proficient enough in a second language to take coursework taught in that language?
    • Do you need further instruction in the foreign language?
    • What degree of cultural immersion are you ready for?
    • Do you want to attend classes with students from the host country, or with other Americans?
    • Do you want the classes to be on the American model, or another model which may involve much more independent work?
    • When do you want to go?
    • How long would you like to stay?
    • Are your parents supportive?

2. Meet with the Assistant Director of the Center for International Programs (CIP). During this conversation, you will share a little bit about yourself: your background, interests, goals, work experience, etc. You will learn about various study abroad options and start making decisions about where you want to study, how long you want to be abroad, and in what language(s) you want to study. Based upon these decisions, you will narrow your options down. After the interview, fill out a Student Information Sheet and return it to the secretary. You may want to pick up our Letter to Parents.

3. Meet with your academic advisor. Selecting a study abroad program is an important academic decision. Consult with your academic advisor and department head about your interest in studying abroad. Be aware that your department must approve your study abroad program in order for you to receive credit. Discuss with your adviser how overseas study will fit in your curriculum and how it may benefit you after you graduate.

4. Return to CIP with a study abroad choice in mind. Discuss this decision with the Assistant Director.

  • If you want to apply to a non-VSU program, consult with the Assistant Director.
  • If you desire to participate in a VSU exchange, go to the next step.
  • If you are a non-VSU student and wish to participate in one of VSU's study abroad programs (summer or exchange), you must become a transient student at VSU. Click here for more detailed instructions.

5. Apply to the program you choose. Complete Exchange Application and submit it to CIP before the deadline. Deadline for Spring Semester: October 1st. Deadline for Fall Semester: April 1st.

6. Get Academic Approval. If accepted, pick up a Course Approval Form. Review course offerings of host institution, consult with Assistant Director, then take Course Approval Form to department head and dean for review and approval. You will need a copy of course descriptions to show to your department.

7. Prepare for departure. The Assistant Director will work with you to make preparations for the exchange experience. There will be an orientation session before you depart that will cover issues such as international travel, culture shock, cross-cultural communication, and academic differences.

8. Pay the mandatory CISI Study Abroad Insurance and Application Fee by clicking on the button below:

Pay your mandatory CISI Study Abroad Insurance and Application Fee by clicking this button

Academic Considerations

Summer and non-VSU programs each have distinct requirements. Please refer to program information. You should be at least in your junior year when you travel abroad on an EXCHANGE. You should have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5 for Belize, Palacky, Roehampton, Sunderland, Syktyvkar, Yangzhou, Yucatan, or Newcastle; 2.75 for ISEP; or 3.0 for Kansai Gaidai. The GPA is a requirement but not a guarantee of acceptance. Faculty references and personal essays will be weighed along with transcripts when evaluating applicants. The most competitive applications will include a convincing argument for the academic merits of the program you have chosen, a clear indication of how the program will complement or add a new dimension to your academic experience, a strong GPA, and supporting faculty evaluations.

Costs

For VSU summer programs, check with the appropriate director for details on program costs. If you participate in a semester or year-long VSU exchange, you will be charged VSU tuition (full-time), dormitory fees, and meal plan fees; this will cover instruction, room, and board at the overseas institution. There are some exceptions; for example, at Roehampton and Sunderland you will pay room and board at the host university.. You will be responsible for airfare and personal expenses for all programs.. For ISEP programs, there is a $350 application fee and you must purchase an insurance policy for about $45 per month.

If you find a non-VSU program that interests you, call or write the listed contact person to receive more information about costs and then meet with Assistant Director.

Financial aid can be applied to approved study abroad programs (see Instructions for Students with Financial Aid). Check with the Financial Aid Office to find out how your aid package will help pay for program costs. If you will be receiving financial aid, fill out a Consortium Agreement Form (available at the CIP and the Financial Aid Office) and submit it to the Financial Aid Office. Be sure to inform the Assistant Director that you are receiving financial aid.

Credit

If you participate in VSU summer or exchange programs, you will be registered for VSU courses. For the exchange program, you will fill out a course approval form in which your department(s) will designate VSU equivalents for the courses you take abroad. After this form has been signed by the department head(s), dean(s) and the CIP Assistant Director, you will be able to get credit for your work abroad. CIP will register you during your exchange.

If you wish to participate in a program offered by another accredited institution in the U.S. (or a program affiliated with an accredited institution), you will have to register there as a transient or transfer student, then transfer your credits to VSU. Consult with your academic department(s) and the CIP to find out if you will be able to get full credit for your work.

If you find a program that is not affiliated with an accredited institution, consult with the CIP to find out if you will be able to transfer your credits