- When is the best time to study abroad?
- Do I need to know a foreign language to study abroad?
- Will it take me longer to graduate if I study abroad?
- How do I decide how long to study abroad?
- What if I want to study abroad only for a short time?
- How much does it cost to study abroad?
- What scholarships or financial aid is available to study abroad?
- How do I apply for a Fulbright scholarship? NSEP scholarship?
- What about health and safety while studying abroad?
- How can I find out more about studying abroad and what programs are offered?
Q: When is the best time to study abroad?
A: Students must complete their freshman year, but it is never too early to start planning. Most students study abroad during their sophomore or junior years depending on their major. Students who are planning on studying abroad at some time during their undergraduate career should consult with their academic advisor for more information from their departments.
Q: Do I need to know a foreign language to study abroad?
A: No. MSU has many English-speaking programs - including some in non-English-speaking countries - as well as programs designed to help you learn a foreign language at any level.
While there are many English language study abroad programs, some of the most valuable opportunities are those which enable you to develop proficiency in another language. We encourage students to consider programs that offer this opportunity. Studying in another language is certainly the best way to achieve true fluency, so we urge students with sufficient foreign language proficiency to study at an institution with instruction in the host country language. Normally this requires successful completion of two years of college level courses in this language (or its equivalent). Entering MSU students are urged to plan their course of studies so as to have completed two years of foreign language instruction by the time they want to study abroad.
Q: Will it take me longer to graduate if I study abroad?
A: In most cases students do not need to delay their graduation in order to participate. MSU students can get full credit and maintain regular progress toward their degrees while studying abroad. Full academic credit for work successfully completed on MSU-sponsored programs is guaranteed. In addition, study on an MSU-sponsored or an MSU-approved study abroad program satisfies MSU's multicultural/global core curriculum requirement. However, careful planning is essential to ensure that you receive the most academic credit for your studies abroad. All students wanting to receive credit for study abroad should begin by meeting with their academic advisor and MSU's Study Abroad Advisor. Note that many departments have departmental study abroad advisors who also can be extremely helpful. All students must complete the Preliminary Study Schedule and obtain the required signatures prior to their departure for study abroad.
Q: How do I decide how long to study abroad?
A: Figuring out how long to study abroad is a difficult matter. Many factors push students to shorter programs. The most important benefits of studying abroad come from integrating into another culture, developing life-long friendships overseas, and building foreign language skills. These are generally best attained through an academic year program. However, semester, summer, or short-term programs are available, and are certainly encouraged if it is only possible to study abroad for a shorter period of time.
Q: What if I want to study abroad only for a short time?
A: MSU offers short-term study programs led by faculty during the summer. Options and study sites change each year. Stop by the resource center for information on these programs or for information on programs offered by universities around the world.
Q: How much does it cost to study abroad?
A: Cost depends on the program you choose, however, MSU-sponsored programs strive to provide students with affordable international opportunities. The cost of a semester or year abroad need not be much more expensive than staying at MSU and in some cases your living costs may be lower. In most cases, MSU programs are based on actually exchanging students, so students pay their normal MSU tuition and pay nothing for the course of study at the host institution. Programs vary regarding whether room and board is included in the exchange. Other details vary from program to program so be sure to carefully research what is included and what additional costs you will have. This is particularly the case for non-MSU programs which vary greatly in cost.
Q: What scholarships or financial aid is available to study abroad?
A: Financial aid and most scholarships are generally applicable especially to MSU-approved study abroad programs. There may be additional scholarships available to qualified students.
Students eligible for financial aid usually may apply this aid to study abroad as long as MSU agrees that credit will be given for the studies. For MSU-sponsored programs, most aid is guaranteed. If study abroad costs will be higher than costs to continue at MSU, it is frequently possible to take this into account in determining the financial aid package for the study abroad period. Students wanting to apply financial aid to non-MSU programs must be very careful that arrangements are in place before departure. All students on financial aid should see both the Study Abroad Advisor and their Financial Aid Officer to make necessary arrangements.
Several scholarships are available for MSU students to study abroad. These include the William Fulbright Scholarship Program, the National Security Education Program, Rotary International Scholarships, and the Rhodes Scholarships. MSU students who will study abroad and are interested in doing research or creative projects while abroad have an opportunity for scholarships offered by the Undergraduate Scholars Program at MSU. In addition, some individual study abroad programs offer scholarship assistance. For additional information on opportunities, contact the Study Abroad Advisor in the International Opportunities Resource Center.
Q: How do I apply for a Fulbright scholarship? NSEP scholarship?
A: International Programs offers advising services for MSU students applying for these scholarships. Call our office at 994-4031 for more information or to make an appointment.
Q: What about health and safety while studying abroad?
A: Health and safety are important considerations during any sojourn abroad. Be sure to investigate whether there are any current travel advisories associated with your country of destination. Information about travel insurance is available from the University of Michigan International Center. The study abroad advisor can also help you prepare for health and safety issues you may encounter while traveling.
Q: How can I find out more about studying abroad and what programs are offered?
A: The Office of International Programs provides full advising services from start to finish for students participating in study abroad programs. This includes academic advising, applications, pre-departure orientation, support while abroad and credit transfer upon return.