Office of International Programs (OIP)

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why should I study abroad?

  • Increased earning potential and resume building material!

What could possibly look better on a resume than to boast that you interned with a German fashion designer, or studied marine biology on the coast of Australia? In today's global economy, study abroad can be a defining element to every student's undergraduate degree. Many companies increasingly desire leaders with the ability to live successfully in a variety of countries and work with co-workers of varying cultural backgrounds.

  • Studying abroad is a life-altering experience!

Studying and living in a different culture will help you see the world from a completely different perspective. It is an amazing experience that will change your life.

  • You won't have to read the subtitles at foreign films!

  • It's a chance to gain perspective on your own culture and become a more well-rounded world citizen!

Studying abroad is a chance to step outside of the ordinary and look at life from a completely new perspective. Many students return amazed that while studying abroad they learned just as much about the United States and its culture as they did about life in their host country.

  • Make friends, connections and memories that can last a lifetime!

2. How many units will I be taking?

You will be a full time student, 12 units on Bilateral Programs and 15 units for CSU Programs. ALL of the grades and units you earn while on study abroad will appear on your SFSU transcript as RESIDENT CREDIT!

3. Can I study abroad for just one semester?

Yes, there are semester and options for many programs, altough we always encourage students to GO FOR THE YEAR! There are also a LIMITED number of summer prorgrams. Staying for a year is the ONLY way to really understand the host culture and aclimate yourself the the surroundings. If you are studying in a non-English speaking country it is imperative for language competency to stay for a year.

4. What are the GPA requirements?

Program requirements range from 2.75 to 3.00. If your GPA is below the minimum requirment please see a study abroad advisor to discuss your options.

5. What if SFSU does not offer the country I want?

We offer 19 counties that cover EVERY major at SFSU. Please attend the Information Meeting to find out about participating on outside programs.

6.Can I study abroad on a program not affiliated with SFSU?

Yes, but please attend the Information Meeting to find out about participating on outside programs.

7. Will I fall behind with graduation if I study abroad?

NO! All units taken on the certified SFSU programs is PRE-APPROVED resident credit! These units can be applied towards your major, double major, minor, GE requirements (Segment III counts too!). On these programs you get REGISTRATION PRIORITY and in many cases it may be easier on study abroad to get the courses you need to graduate!

8. What if I can't afford to study abroad?

These programs are very AFFORDABLE - you can't afford NOT to go!  Pay regular tuition! There is no application fee and you pay NO tuition to the host institution! Many students report actually having SAVED money on these programs due to the high cost of living here in San Francisco and the Bay Area. We even have one program with free housing for Business majors in the Netherlands!

9. Can I apply my financial aid towards this program?

YES! Regular SFSU Financial Aid Applies to the cost of program.This means your grants, loans, scholarships, fee waiver and Veteran's Benefits. Contact the Financial Aid Office for more details.

10. Can I study abroad with a friend?

YES! Bilateral Programs are open only to SFSU students and CSU Programs are open to anyone at any CSU campus. Please attend the Information Meeting to find out more!

11. Can I study abroad as an incoming transfer student on my first semester?

YES! Please attend the Information Meeting to find out more!

12. I am a freshman. Can you give me some tips for preparing myself to study abroad?

Great! Planning ahead is a great way to stay on track with graduation! Please attend the Information Meeting to find out more! Many students focus on major core requirments and save the elective units for Study Abroad. Also keep in mind that General Education (including Segment III) requirements can be fullfilled while on Study Abroad

13. I am a freshman. Is it too soon to apply?

NO! There are programs that you can go on as a Sophomore as long as you have 30 units completed before departure! These programs are learn language programs in China, France, Germany and Mexico. Please attend the Information Meeting to find out more!

14. Do the grades I earn on this program count on my transcript and towards my GPA?

YES! The grades and units earned on study abroad will count on your SFSU transcript. You may meet other students on outside programs who are taking their courses just for credit. This does NOT apply to you. These programs are ACADEMIC in nature, not party or travel abroad programs.

15. What will the housing be like on my program?

Good question. Read about housing and other aspects of the student experience in the STUDENT EXPERIENCE REPORTS.

16. How can I know what courses I take on study abroad will count towards my major?

Attend the Information Meeting and find out what to do to plan your program. You will work together with your major or minor academic advisor to plan your course of study. You will need to find out which courses will be offered at the host university and compare that to your degree requirements here at SFSU. Underwater Basketweaving 101 will not count towards a Biology requirement so you will need to identify appropriate substitutions or equivalencies with your academic advisor. Also keep in mind that General Education (including Segment III) requirements can be fullfilled on Study Abroad!

17. Do I have to speak the language of the country I am going to?

NO! You don't have to speak a foreign language to do it! Many of our programs don't require any foreign language! This doesn't limit students to the United Kingdom, Australia New Zealand and Canada ! Many non-English speaking countries offer coursework in English! You could study in Belgium, China, Denmark, France, Italy, Japan, Korea, Germany, Mexico, the Netherlands, Sweden and Taiwan with little (one semester) to no prior language experience!

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