Guide for GVSU Academic Advisers


Thank you for taking the time to learn more about study abroad for GVSU students. The Padnos International Center is pleased to provide you with this guide for academic advising and study abroad. The time that you take to meet with your students is invaluable; they would never be able to study abroad without your support, so thank you! Recognizing this important role that you play, we would like to provide you with additional resources to assist you in advising your students as they prepare to study or intern abroad. Each year we send over 800 GVSU students abroad for credit bearing opportunities. Please note, PIC works with students who are earning credit abroad. We do not facilitate volunteer abroad or any other non-credit bearing experiences.


Study Abroad Advising
The Padnos International Center welcomes drop-in advising during regular office hours (no appointment necessary)! We also offer virtual advising appointments during regular office hours. 
Advising Information

Study Abroad Team

Jaime Pleyte

Jamie Pleyte

Ehren is the Coordinator of Study Abroad and International Partnerships

  • Works with all students accepted to a partner or external program
  • Assists students with course equivalencies
  • Manages all pre-departure planning for partner and external programs
  • Facilitates transfer of study abroad coursework to GVSU



Kirsten Bartels

Kirsten is the coordinator of Faculty-led Programs and Internships

  • Coordinates all faculty-led study abroad programs
  • Develops orientation programs for faculty-led participants



Meaghann Myers-Smith

Meaghann is the Study Abroad Advisor

  • Coordinates pre-acceptance program selection 
  • Oversees pre-acceptance funding guidance




Alissa is the Coordinator of Marketing and Outreach

  • Coordinates classrooms presentations 
  • Oversees publicity and marketing for all PIC publications 
  • Manages website maintenance


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 4pm at 130 LOH.


  • 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

Academic planning is an important part of study abroad pre-departure preparations. With good planning, GVSU students can earn credit towards degree requirements including:

  • Major requirements
  • Minor requirements
  • General Education Requirements (Foundations, Issues, Global Perspectives)
  • University Requirements (SWS, B.A. Degree Cognate, B.S. Degree Cognate)

We help students access courses that will complement and enhance their academic interests without setting them behind for graduation. Students often have varying circumstances, so academic advising is best when coordinated with the academic advisor. Students are encouraged to document all approvals and identify contingency plans if changes occur during final registration at the host institution.

Academic Planning and Policies


Programs by Major

This resource will help students identify study abroad programs that are a good fit for their major/minor. The additional resources below may also include helpful information for first-year students, pre-professional students, etc.

IMPORTANT: Students can also fulfill General Education credits abroad. Most study abroad programs offer General Education credit. 

Programs by Major


Presentation for Study Abroad Advisers

This presentation gives an overview of study abroad for Academic Advisers

Presentation: Study Abroad for Academic Advisors

Page last modified June 4, 2024