Advising Students: Your Role

It is normal for a student to need to 'ping pong' between their academic adviser(s) and Padnos International Center adviser(s) at least once, in some cases a few times. For matters relating directly to the selection of a program, a programs features, or the financing of a program the student should be referred to Padnos International Center. For matters relating to how coursework abroad will fit into degree structure a student should work with her/his academic adviser(s).

Initial Conversations

  • Encourage students to come to PIC during their first semester at GVSU! The earlier we plan, the better.
  • We encourage all GVSU academic advisors to ask advisees if they've considered study abroad before.
  • Help students identify the best semester/year for study abroad based on their degree plans and/or academic goals.
  • Identify specific courses and/or degree requirements students can fulfill while abroad (major elective courses, General Education Issues)
  • Spread the word: GVSU financial aid packages can be used to help fund study abroad costs, regardless of program type (GVSU programs and external programs). Additional scholarship opportunties are available. Please encourage students to talk to us early in their planning process about funding!



Discussing Program Options

  • Be familiar with a few GVSU programs that are good for the students you advise.
  • Check out the Major Advice Pages (MAPS) for the majors you advise.
  • Encourage students to attend our First Step Meetings, offered every Wednesday at 5pm at 130 LOH.



Course Equivalencies

  • Study Abroad Transfer of Credit has a different set of guidelines than the standard credit transfers that students bring in from other institutions. The primary distinction between the two is that study abroad students are registered at GVSU during the semester they are abroad. If students are studying abroad on a faculty-led program, independent study or internship where the credit is issued by GVSU, they will register for a specific GVSU course and will receive a grade from the GVSU faculty director. If students are participating in a study abroad program where the credit is transferred to GVSU from a host institution, the student will register ahead of time for a placeholder course called International Studies 380 (IS 380), which allows the student to maintain his/her status at GVSU, access financial aid, and access all other services offered by GVSU.
  • Each department can determine who has the authority to assign GVSU course equivalencies for study abroad courses. There are several different models for how this is handled. In most cases, the Department Chair takes the responsibility for reviewing study abroad course descriptions. Some departments allow all faculty to review study abroad course descriptions in order to assign a GVSU equivalency. 
    Course Equivalency Contact by department

SUPPLEMENTAL WRITING SKILLS (SWS) CREDIT For SWS credit, students should be directed to contact the Director of the SWS Program. Unlike most other reviews, students interested in securing approval for SWS credit will not be given approval until after they return from study abroad. Students will be required to show evidence of the work they completed overseas for a specific course they believe meets the SWS requirements. The student should return with all completed coursework, and the course syllabus.

GENERAL EDUCATION ISSUES CREDIT For Issues credit, students should be directed to the PIC International Center website,, for instructions on how to earn credit for the Study Abroad Issues. The General Education Director is the only person with the authority to approve study abroad courses to meet the Issues requirements. The student must submit a Study Abroad Issues Reflection Essay in order to secure approval.

Did You Know?

students can take their last 30 credits abroad

CR/NC for partnerships and externals. Faculty-led participants will receive a grade.

Global Perspectives is automatically fulfilled if students take at least 3 credits.

Issues is easily fulfilled abroad. Students do not have to be Junior standing in order to fulfill Issues abroad.

About 15% of graduating GVSU students have studied abroad.


Academic Policies for Study Abroad

Page last modified August 30, 2021