More CALS students are choosing to study abroad, and as the numbers climb, we anticipate more will be seeking semester/year-long opportunities. Advisors and professors are a key part of making sure the process is a valuable academic experience for students so we strive to provide you the information and resources to facilitate the process.
The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences currently partners with 10 different universities in 8 different countries to offer exchange opportunities to students. Students that participate in exchange programs typically spend one semester, one summer or one year abroad. During the program, students enroll in courses at a university abroad and transfer those credits back to Iowa State University. Studying abroad through an exchange or semester long program allows students to step out of their comfort zone and immerse themselves in another culture and place.
How We Advise Students on Exchange/Semester Long Programs
- Encourage students to talk to their advisor
- We want to make sure students understand how a semester or year abroad will impact their academic program and try to help them have all the information they need to make the right decision for themselves.
- We try to be very careful in helping students understand that while we know the international side of study abroad, we are not academic advisors and therefore they should run all their “academic plans” by you.
- If students are planning far enough ahead, we encourage them to “save back” some of their electives.
- We have picked specific partners because of the kinds of CALS-like courses they offer, so we anticipate that they will be able to take classes that will transfer easily back to their academic program, however, we also know that sometimes the best part of going abroad is taking classes that they absolutely can’t take here and anticipate that those will transfer as electives.
If a student picks a program where a lot of students have gone previously, the admissions office will have a record of the courses previous students have taken and how they have transferred back.
There are more and more resources available to students now than ever before – many universities have online catalogs or resources for international students that will help our students know about courses and credits before they go. Additionally, technology has made communication between a student abroad and their advisor much easier during their exchange.
Students go abroad for a lot of reasons. If they need the credits they earn abroad for graduation or are picking a program because of the academic content, we encourage them to use their degree audit and “work backwards” into a program that will give them the credits they need. We would then send them to their advisor to confirm their plan so they lower their risk of being surprised when they return.
We are dedicated to helping students study abroad. Because of the unique nature of semester/year abroad programs, we see academic advisors as a crucial part of the team in making sure the opportunity is a good academic investment for them. Please don’t hesitate to let us know what information we can provide for you to help advising students easier. Please let us know what suggestions or questions you have.
How courses from a semester/exchange program abroad come back to ISU:
- Transcripts from international institutions are sent to the CALS Study Abroad office if the student was on a CALS program; or to the Study Abroad Center in 6563 MU if they were on a non-CALS program.
- The CALS Study Abroad office sends a certified copy of the original transcript to the Registrar’s office and the Records Analyst determines how the courses will transfer to ISU. In some cases, the course will come in as a specific ISU course (e.g., HIST 201); in other cases, the course will come in as a more generic course (e.g., HIST 2T**).
- This course information is sent to the student’s academic adviser, who will also be able to see it in both AccessPlus and the degree audit system (uAchieve).
- The adviser will then review these courses to see how they might be used in the student’s degree program. If the course isn’t falling where they want it to in uAchieve, they will need to submit a degree audit adjustment request. Departmental approval is required for all adjustment requests; additional approvals are required for requests involving college or university requirements.
- Students are greatly encouraged to save all their coursework and syllabi while they are abroad in case these materials are needed to secure the required approvals.
- The student picks up their original transcript in 0018 Curtiss Hall if they were on a CALS program; if they were on a Study Abroad Center program, they need to go to 6563 MU to pick up their original transcript.