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Choosing a Program
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Choosing a program can be one of the most challenging but exciting parts of the planning process of studying off-campus. Get started by talking with a Peer Mentor and gain helpful tools as you begin your journey (including a Get Started Guide and the comparison tools on the right). It is also recommended that you consult with your Academic Advisor to help you decide when to study abroad and outline your academic priorities. Consider the questions below as you pick your program.

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  •  Who am I and why do I want to do this?

    Why do I want to study abroad? Every person has their own reasons and goals for studying abroad. Some of the common reasons include: learning about the world, doing something exciting, getting away for a while, studying a particular topic in-depth, growing as a person, doing a specific internship or applied experience, practicing a language, or just to see what all the fuss is about. Think about what your hopes are for this experience so these goals can guide your decisions.
    Do I meet the requirements to study abroad right now? Am I prepared mentally, physically, and academically for this?  The general eligibility requirements cover most programs. A few programs have more specific requirements for year, GPA, or major, but most fall under these guidelines.

    If you aren't ready right now, think about how you can work on getting ready to study abroad in the future. Study Abroad Services is here to help with finding programs that will fit your needs.
    Do I have specific needs or requirements? Consider these questions:
    • Does my major have a requirement to study abroad? Or are there classes I can take to fulfill requirements for my major, minor, or general education requirements?
    • Do I have specific personal needs or interests that I want to look for a program?

    TIP! For more, see Diversity Resources.
  •  Where do I want to go?

    Where do I want to go? Sometimes a particular location is a must for an area of study, but often you find you have more flexibility than you expect in where you might choose to study. Consider all your options--wherever you chose to go, you'll have an amazing experience. 
    What are the most popular destinations for study abroad students at NDSU? Europe is by far the most popular region, with Ireland, the U.K. and Spain some of the most popular destinations. Other popular destinations have been Central America and the US, Asia, and Australia/New Zealand. 

    TIP! For all the NDSU statistics, see Data.
    Do I need to have studied a foreign language? Most students take their courses in English, regardless of where in the world they study. That means that if you don't have a chance to take a foreign language, you can still study almost anywhere in the world--you are not limited to countries where English is the official language. That said, we do encourage you to take advantage of any opportunities you have to start a new language. It's a great way to immerse yourself and learn more about the local culture.

    If you want to study or study in a foreign language, there are many opportunities to do so in all levels of experience. Your language skills will grow by leaps and bounds when you are using it every day.

    TIP! Use the the "Language of Instruction" options on the program search to find programs in your target language.
    Do I have to study abroad, or are there options in the US? The National Student Exchange offers over 150 options for studying in the US. You can also take part in a domestic and multiple international programs during your time at NDSU!
    Have I explored other countries/programs (even places I never thought about before)? There are some amazing opportunities around the world that you may not have considered before--take a look at all the options before making a final decision.

    TIP! Check out the Low-Cost Semester and Low-Cost Summer options for some ideas.
  •  When do I want to go?

    When can I go abroad? Students are eligible to go abroad when they are at least sophomores (including the summer after freshman year). Some faculty-led programs are open to freshmen as well.

    Programs are available for as long as a full academic year or semester, for a short experience during winter or spring break, or during the summer for a time ranging from 10 days to 2 months.
    When is the best time for me to study abroad? The answer to this question is personal to each student. Some may want to study away right away, some may wait until they are finishing their final requirements so they can take part in practical experiences like internships, student teaching, or practicums, and some decide to study abroad somewhere in between. Ask your department if they recommend particular times for students in your major/minor to go abroad, and then think about when you feel your experience will fit best with your plans at NDSU.
    What are the benefits of different program lengths?  Longer programs give you a chance to get to know a place in-depth--to make lifelong friends, come to understand the cultural and personal perspectives there, and grow as a person. Semester and yearlong programs also give you a chance to travel on your own on weekends and holidays, giving you the best of both worlds.

    Shorter programs are usually focused experiences, looking at a comparison and contrast between different locations within a specific academic framework. These programs are usually easy to fit in with requirements back on campus.

    TIP! It's common for students who study abroad on a short program to come back wishing that they could have stayed longer.
    Do I want to travel/work/volunteer before or after the program dates? If you are hoping to do personal travel, you may want to think about how the term you chose affects your options. A spring program usually means you have the chance to travel after the program is over, while a spring break program locks you into returning to campus for classes right away. The dates of classes at universities abroad may be different from the dates at NDSU, meaning you would have longer or shorter breaks than normal. Many programs offer specific volunteer or other opportunities built into the schedule as well.
  •  What are my options?

    There are 4 types of programs available through NDSU, giving you a wide variety of options. The program type has a significant effect on both your time abroad and the financial commitment later. Below is an overview of the types of programs available for NDSU students; a full breakdown of costs and payment logistics for each type is located on the Program Costs page.
     EXCHANGE PROGRAMS . . . low-cost, immersive, independent, university-based
    More than 300 options through partner universities, ISEP, and NSE offer the chance to immerse yourself as a student at a host university abroad or in the US while paying NDSU tuition and fees. Experience what it's like to be a student at a local university for a semester, year, or summer. For a list of these options, see Exchange Programs.
    • Partner Exchange
    NDSU works with partner exchange universities all over the world. When you study abroad at a partner exchange, it means a local student will be able to study at NDSU in the future. The application process for these programs is straight-forward, and for most programs if you meet the minimum requirements for GPA and are in good standing with NDSU you just need to complete the application to be approved to take part.

    Costs: Students on exchange pay their regular tuition and fees to NDSU, and are responsible for the costs of airfare, housing and other expenses while abroad. Housing is typically arranged through the host university abroad and students pay their room and board costs. This means that the cost of room and board on an NDSU exchange program varies by location.

    Pros: Authentic and immersive, affordable, a non-competitive application, most only require a 2.5 GPA
    Cons: Limited options, room and board vary by location (though some locations are less expensive than at NDSU)
    • ISEP Exchange
    NDSU is a member of the International Student Exchange Program (ISEP) network, which includes more than 150 universities abroad. Placement for an ISEP Exchange programs is a competitive process, with some programs offering high placement rates and others in popular locations (Australia and England especially) being very competitive for placement. On an ISEP application students have the opportunity to list multiple program options in order of preference. You can find detailed information on the chance of placement on the ISEP homepage for each program.

    Costs: Students pay their regular NDSU tuition and fees, as well as a Program Cost that covers room and board based on the NDSU housing and meal plan rate. This means that the cost of room and board for any ISEP exchange program is the same, regardless of location. Other costs, such as airfare and personal expenses are the responsibility of the student.

    Pros: Authentic and immersive, many options around the world, affordable, cost of room and board the same regardless of location
    Cons: Competitive application process, requires flexibility on location
    • NSE Exchange
    The National Student Exchange (NSE) is a premier network of 160 colleges and universities throughout the United States, Canada, and U.S. Territories of Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islands. NSE campuses range in enrollment from 600 to more than 50,000 students.

    Costs: Students on exchange pay their regular tuition and fees to NDSU, and housing is arranged through the host university at the local cost. This means that the cost of room and board on an NSE exchange program varies by location. Students on exchange are responsible for the costs of airfare/travel, housing and other expenses while taking part. 

    Pros: Locations in the US and Canada, ultra low-cost options
    Cons: Competitive application process, requires flexibility on location, no summer programs available
     DIRECT PROGRAMS . . . popular locations, immersive, independent, university-based
    Attend a local university in popular locations like Australia, New Zealand, or Ireland and pay their costs instead of NDSU tuition. For a list of these options, see Direct Programs.
      Students taking part in a Direct program typically are taking classes at the university as an international student and have an opportunity to get to know local students well in their day to day life. Direct programs are often located in popular English-speaking locations, but may offer the opportunity to learn or practice a language as well. The application process for these programs is straight-forward as long as you meet the minimum requirements.

    Costs: Students attending a Direct program will have NDSU tuition waived as they will be paying the host university's tuition. A small amount of NDSU fees will be charged for registration purposes. Students are responsible for room, meals, airfare and personal spending money.

    Pros: Popular locations, authentic and immersive, non-competitive application process
    Cons: Mid-cost programs due to the cost of living in popular locations
     AFFILIATE PROGRAMS . . . varied, supportive, center-based, pre-arranged excursions
    NDSU works with third party affiliate providers in order to offer students an even wider range of study abroad options. Choose from approximately 600 programs all over the world, including volunteering, internship, research, and student teaching options. For a list of these options, see Affiliate Programs.
      Affiliate providers offer approximately 600 programs options, making for a significant diversity of options. Many programs have courses designed specifically for international students, while other programs offer the opportunity to take courses with locals (similar to exchange and direct). Affiliate programs may also offer opportunities for local engagement with built-in excursions, internships, or volunteering.

    Costs: When taking part in an Affiliate Program, NDSU tuition is waived as students will pay the affiliate provider's program fee. A small amount of NDSU fees will be charged for registration purposes. Most providers include costs such as tuition, room, meals, health insurance, excursions, etc. in the program fee. Each provider is different, so please be sure to research exactly what your program fee includes.

    Pros: Popular locations, many options, most are non-competitive applications
    Cons: Mid- to high-costs especially in popular locations, some programs may have limited interaction with local students
     NDSU GLOBAL PROGRAMS . . . intense, directed, group, travel-based
    Travel with other NDSU students to explore a class topic together during one of these intense and directed faculty-led programs or participate in an NDSU internship abroad while paying NDSU tuition and your travel costs. With courses overseen and taught by NDSU faculty, these programs offer the chance to study a topic in context. For a list of these options, see NDSU Global Programs.
    • Faculty-led
    Faculty-led programs are led by an NDSU faculty member who is taking a group of NDSU students abroad for a timeframe that could be as short as a week or as long as a semester. While on the program, students take NDSU classes, making the process for planning how to use courses even easier. Although in some cases students may be less integrated in the local culture, the educational experience is cohesive and immersive.

    Costs: Students taking part in a Faculty-led program pay their regular NDSU tuition and fees. Students will also pay a program fee which often--but not always--includes costs such as room, board, in country travel, health insurance and airfare. Other costs, such as personal expenses, are the responsibility of the student. A budget is available for each program that outlines what is included.

    Pros: Popular locations, NDSU courses
    Cons: Often mid- to high-cost programs due to extensive travel, some programs may have more limited interactions with locals
    • Internship
    NDSU is offering a unique opportunity to earn NDSU internship credits in Ireland. Ireland is the gateway to Europe, recognized globally for its leadership and expertise in a number of industries, most of which are niche areas specific to Ireland. All placements are designed to adapt and meet the academic and institutional requirements of NDSU, in addition to the professional and academic goals of each participant. 

    Costs: NDSU Global Internship participants pay the same tuition and fees as the term at NDSU and a program cost that includes homestay accommodation, some meals, in-country travel, health insurance. Other costs, such as airfare and personal expenses, are the responsibility of the student.

    Pros: Popular locations, NDSU course
    Cons: Limited to internship option
  •  Are there other questions I should ask?

    Academic Questions
    • Are there classes offered in my major/minor?
    • Are there interesting classes outside my major/minor?
    • Is it an accredited university that issues transcripts?
    • Are classes primarily with foreign, native or other American students?
    • Is there an orientation session?
    Cost Questions
    • Application fees Are there additional application fees that would apply for your program?
    • Living expenses The cost of living can vary significantly from country to country. Even if the tuition cost is inexpensive, a high cost of living can make a particular program more expensive for participants. The Lloyds Expat Tool has some information about the most expensive cities in the world.
    • Travel expenses What are the costs for airline tickets to your particular country? If you want to travel on weekends and during breaks, how expensive will travel from this country be? Are excursions included?
    • Other program expenses Are there extra expenses for your program, such as housing deposits or course fees for certain classes?
    • Visa costs Consider also the cost of applying for the visa needed for your country. Some countries require that you travel to another city such as Chicago or New York in order to apply for a visa in person.
    • Scholarships/financial aid Are there additional scholarships available for your program, country, or subject of study? Does the type of program affect your financial aid eligibility because it is non-credit bearing or some other factor.
    Housing Questions
    • Do I prefer housing with a host families, dorms, apartments, or some other option?
    • How are meals arranged? Meal plan or self-catered - or a combination of the two options?
    • How close to my classes are the housing options? How would I commute (walking, biking, and public transportation are all common abroad)?
    • When do I need to apply for housing for this particular program?
    • Are things like bedding and laundry included?
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