Step-By-Step Guide to Finding a Semester Program that Works for You

Exchange Program

Exchange programs may take place during the summer, during a semester, or for an academic year.  Students pay the same ISU tuition and fees as they normally would and study abroad at an exchange partner university.  There are exchange programs available through the CALS study abroad office and also a few exchange programs offered by the Study Abroad Center in 6563 MU.  Generally a 3.0 or higher GPA is required for CALS exchange programs.

Semester-Long Program

A non-exchange program that is also typically one semester long.  The cost of the program is specific to the program fees - every program has a different cost.  Some programs are cheaper than exchange programs (ISU tuition and fees), some are more expensive.  In CALS there are a few semester/non-exchange programs in Greece and the US Virgin Islands.  There are several more programs available via the Study Abroad Center in 6563 MU, often called “A semester in ________ “.  GPA requirements vary by program.

Steps to take if you are interested in studying abroad for a semester

  1. Search ISUAbroadLook for programs in the country/area of the world you are interested in living in for a semester or more.  To some students it is important to go to a university where they can take courses in their major, for other students that is not a priority.  Each student must decide what is most important for them.
  2. Narrow down your search.  Look at the courses available for the semester you plan to study abroad at the host institution, and start a Word doc for each university you are considering; copy and paste the names and descriptions of at least 10-15 courses you would like to take (this is important to do before visiting with your academic advisor, and something that you should look at together with your advisor). If you can’t decide which university you would like to go to, make a pros and cons list for each program (What do you like about a location/what don’t you like? Are there things that interest you to do and see in the town/city or nearby? Which university has the most interesting/useful courses available? etc.). It would also be a good idea to talk with someone who has been there before to find out what their experience was like.
  3. Set up an appointment to discuss opportunities and possibilities and some logistics with Jodi Cornell  or Jessica Boertje in 0018 Curtiss Hall (can happen simultaneously with 2 above).
  4. Apply for a program(s) in ISUAbroad.  The ISUAbroad application is important for the selection process, as well as used in many departments on campus once you commit to a program (for registration, financial aid, Chubb insurance, etc.).
  5. Complete host institution application.  Each international university will require you to complete their application as well, this will take place after you have been nominated by ISU.
  6. Commit to the program.  Once you have been officially accepted by the host institution and your application in ISUAbroad has been changed to Accepted, go in and click on the Commit button.


  • All CALS students are eligible to apply for the CALS Study Abroad Scholarship, which is embedded in all CALS students’ program applications under Learning Content.
  • You should check with your department to find out if there are departmental study abroad scholarships available.
  • Generally if you have a FAFSA on file, and are studying abroad for at least one semester, you can apply for a scholarship available via the Study Abroad Center in 6563 MU.  Contact that office for more info.

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.