International Studies & Programs

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Do you have questions about studying abroad? Are you having problems with your application?  Be sure to come to the Education Abroad Advising Center in room 108 of the International Center to talk with a Peer Adviser.  The Center is open from 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. for walk-in advising Monday through Friday.

What is education abroad?

Through education abroad, Spartans are engaging in cultures different from their own and adding value to their degree. They are studying, researching, interning and partnering with local communities around the world.

Education abroad programs are academically focused with credit that counts toward graduation. Coursework is available in every college, including opportunities in the professional colleges and students in the Honors College.

How much does it cost to study abroad?

The cost of education abroad differs from program to program. Check out the Education Abroad Costs page for more information.

What can I study?

MSU education abroad programs are applicable to all majors. You can earn credit for your major or minor, while also earning credit for general education requirements (such as ISS, IAH, ISB, ISP classes), or elective credit, through MSU programs.

Our Program Search can be sorted by major, course or subject area. Each program offering will detail the academics and number of credits available to you.

Where can I study?

MSU offers 275 education abroad programs in over 60 countries on all seven continents. MSU students are earning credit all over the world!

Our program search highlights program offerings by location.

When should I go?

MSU offers education abroad programs that run during a full semester (fall or spring), over breaks (winter break or spring break), for an entire academic year (fall and spring semester), or over the summer for varying lengths (3-weeks to 12-weeks from May to August).

In terms of the "best time" to go abroad, it depends on each student's own academic program, and personal preference. If you are concerned about when to go abroad, we suggest you consult your academic adviser for your major as they can help plan most effectively.

You can also schedule an appointment to meet with an Education Abroad Program Coordinator or speak with a student Peer Adviser in the Advising Center, room 108 in the International Center.

Where would I live?

Accommodations vary from program to program. Types of housing can include home stays, hotels, university dorms, or off-campus housing such as an apartment. Each housing opportunity has its own advantages. For example, home stays provide students with the opportunity to further their foreign language skills, while foreign university dorms may provide a great chance for MSU students to meet other students from around the world.

For each program, the type of housing available for students will be specified on the online program description.

Do I need to know a foreign language?

No. Education abroad is a great opportunity for students who would like to develop their foreign language skills; however, knowing a foreign language is not a requirement for all education abroad programs.

Some programs do require a certain level of proficiency in a different language, but this is not the norm. While some programs may have a foreign language component, others may not. The contact language (the language within the classroom) may also be in English, even while being in a foreign-speaking country.

Information regarding language requirements can be found within each program’s description through the program search.

Do I have to take courses within my major?

No. While some students prefer to participate in programs specific to their major, it is not a requirement. Students can complete credit that goes towards a minor or a specialization or they can earn credit that accounts for Integrative Studies requirements (such as ISS, IAH, ISB, ISP classes) or elective credit.

As long as you meet the specific requirements for the individual program (for example, you have completed prerequisite classes or have the required GPA), you can apply.

Some programs will give preference to students who are in the college that is sponsoring the program, but we encourage you to apply to a program that interests you.


How far in advance should I plan?

Planning at least one year prior to departure is ideal.  That gives you time to research the best program to fit your needs, get course approvals if necessary, apply for scholarships, make flight arrangements, get your passport (and visa if applicable), and more!

Be sure to consult with your academic adviser to plan effectively.

What if I'm not an MSU student?

Most programs will accept students from other universities; however, it is important to use the Program Search appropriately to get an accurate list as there are a few programs only open to MSU students.

When searching, be sure to use the "Non-MSU student" option on the search criteria. This will ensure your results only lists programs "open to all students." As long as you meet the other listed requirements you are welcome to apply.

It should be noted that unfortunately, non-MSU students are not eligible to apply for the Office for Education Abroad sponsored scholarships.

Can international students study abroad?

Yes!  Many non-U.S. students study abroad.  However, it's important to understand the visa requirements for the country(s) you plan to visit abroad.  International students attending MSU should contact the Office for International Students and Scholars for more information as it can be a difficult step for many students choosing participate in an education abroad program.

Also see Information for Non-US Citizens.

What if I'm interested in a specific program?

If you're interested in a specific education abroad program, check our events calendar for Information Meetings. Further questions regarding your specific education abroad program may best answered by the program leader in charge. Their contact information can be found on the program description.

You can also reach out to the student organization SAGA (Spartans Abroad Global Ambassadors) to see if any of their ambassadors have participated in the program you are interested in and ask questions.

What if I can't find a program?

Even with almost 300 programs, some students may not find exactly what they are looking for among the MSU options.  In those cases we recommend two additional ways to earn credit abroad.

1. Independent Study

An individual learning experience abroad for which an MSU faculty member agrees to sponsor academic credit and serve as the professor of record.

2. Programs not sponsored by MSU

Students may have the option to participate in non-MSU programs administered by other institutions or organizations. Students have to proactively make arrangements with a host program and work closely with the Office for Education Abroad and their academic advisers to ensure approval and credit transfer. Students pay the host institution or organization directly, plus some MSU fees.

What happens if I withdraw from a program?

You can withdraw from a program at any time, but it’s important you understand your responsibilities for notifying the Office for Education Abroad as well as any refund policies that will apply depending on the time that you withdraw. Withdrawing close to departure will have significant financial implications. 

If you're unable to participate in your program of choice, remember the Office for Education Abroad is here to help.  Please come into the EA Advising Center and our staff will help you consider alternative options!

Have a question that's not answered above? Contact our office.