Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
The answer is highly individual and depends on each student’s priorities and preferences. Examine the Program Types document closely to understand the differences. We encourage you not to only consider destination (city or country) and to be open-minded about the experience. Speaking with a Global Education Advisor can be very helpful to narrow your search.
Generally, SDSU recommends that undergraduate students participate in an international experience sometime during their sophomore or junior years, although all students including graduates should speak with their academic advisors and global education advisors for additional input.
See our Advising webpage. All undergraduate students have a designated Global Education Advisor for their primary academic college; you can see your advising support team in your SDSU Navigate account.
Visit the SDSU Passport Office on campus!
The SDSU Exchange programs, CSUIP, ISEP and approved independent programs require a Global Education Advisor to initiate the application for you in the Aztecs Abroad database. However, students may begin an application at any time for any of the other program types.
SDSU staff will review your application and respond providing more instructions.
Generally, students have a very good chance of being accepted into a study abroad program; most opportunities are not impacted and open to all qualified students. However, there are some impacted programs that may be more competitive, but students can often be nominated to an alternative if not selected for their first choice.
You should review your academic program’s published information and speak with your major or minor advisor. Some programs have specific instructions such as minimum duration and/or minimum number of units while others are more flexible.
Students must examine the course list for each program in the Aztecs Abroad database or on the host university’s website. Each program brochure in Aztecs Abroad has a link to the course list and other academic notes.
With careful planning, you will be able to study abroad and take the necessary courses to graduate on time...or even earlier!
You must take the equivalent of at least 12 SDSU units at your host university; this may be between roughly 3 and 6 total classes per semester depending on the host university's credit system. For graduate students, you must take a minimum of 9 units.
The number of classes vary based on the duration and structure of the short-term program, and there is no minimum enrollment.
The cost varies depending on a variety of factors including duration, number of courses, cost of living in the host country and travel expenses. In general however, all students can afford an international experience, even a longer experience, with financial planning and applying for any available scholarships. Studying abroad can actually be very affordable, or even cheaper than staying at SDSU! We recommend submitting your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application early, even if you do not think you are eligible and begin researching what scholarships may fit your situation. See our Get Funding section for more information. The Aztecs Abroad database has a great list of scholarships and the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships office.
If you are eligible for federal, state, university, and/or departmental financial aid awards, then in many cases you can use the same awards when you study abroad. See our Get Funding section for more information.
Yes, there are many scholarships to support students studying abroad. All current SDSU students should apply for the Associated Students Study Abroad Scholarship for one. Review the full list of scholarships in Aztecs Abroad because there are SDSU department awards, financial-need based awards, region or destination specific awards and others.
Housing varies by each locality and host institution, such as university residence hall/dormitory, host family/homestay or apartment. Short-term experiences may also be in a hotel or hostel.
If you are living in university housing, then speak with the SDSU housing office to determine if you can be released from your lease for the semester you plan to be away. If you are living off-campus, then you may need to search for a student to sub-lease from you.
Not all programs and experiences require an entry or study visa, however for those students that must apply for one they must do so through the host country’s consulate or embassy. Non-US citizens may have different requirements than US citizens. International students should meet with as SDSU international student advisor prior to departure.
Studying abroad is a great opportunity to meet new people and expand your social circle. Other students will also be arriving alone and just as eager to meet new friends. Most study abroad programs run orientation activities to encourage everyone to meet one another. The shared experience of studying abroad often cements life-long friendships. If you are more interested in remaining in an SDSU cultural context, then you may search for faculty-led programs which are programs led by an SDSU faculty member and mostly have SDSU students.
Yes, students can each apply for the same program and if accepted participate together. However, some programs can be impacted with limited space. Students can also identify a prepferance for roommate, but that cannot always be guaranteed.
The health, safety and security of students traveling internaitonally is of paramount importance to SDSU, and programs are only operated in countries deemed safe by the US Departmment of State and SDSU Risk Managemment review.
Yes, all SDSU students are required to either enroll in SDSU Foreign Travel Insurance for the entirety of their program or enroll in insurance included in their approved program. See our International Insurance page for more information.
All students must book their airfare independently, but SDSU and program partners provide key arrival and departure dates and details.
Yes, all international degree seeking students can study abroad. The process is the same except internnational students must meet with an international student advuisor to ensure they are approved to leave and renter the country based on US immigration rules.
Yes, all transfer students can study abroad, however they must start planning as soon as possible due to only attending SDSU for less than 4 years.
Yes, student athletes can definitely study abroad, but they must consider the best time to travel based not only on academic map but also training and competition schedules.
Undocumented students may be able to study abroad, but it is important to speak to the SDSU Undocumented Resource Center and personal legal counsel as early as possible. Students who have an internnational experience requirement in order to graduate should also speak with their academic advisors to determine what alternatives are approved if leaving the United States is not advisable.
Veteran students receiving educational benefits may be allowed to use those benefits to cover costs of an international program, but it highly depends on program types and SDSU academic requirements. Students should speak with the SDSU Veterans Center to make an appointment to discuss their study abroad eligibility.
Yes, Cal Vet tuition waivers can be used for participation in semester exchange programs such as SDSU Exchanges, CSU International Programs (CSUIP) and ISEP Exchanges. These program types normally require students to pay regular SDSU tuition and fees.
No, students are not allowed to "opt-out" of included housing. SDSU’s approved programs offer comprehensive services to SDSU students. This includes their academic rigor, cultural support and immersion opportunities, health and safety policies, and alignment with SDSU’s strategic priorities. Student housing that is included in SDSU approved programs is part of this comprehensive review, and SDSU students are not permitted to opt-out of housing that is included in SDSU programs.
Students are only able to have one application per application cycle, but can identify alternates within that one application. In most cases, students are accepted to their first choice or placed on an alternate program.