Study Abroad 101

What is study abroad?

Study abroad is an opportunity for GVSU students to take courses towards their degree in another country. There are program options for every major and minor at GVSU in every region of the world!

To start planning your journey abroad, attend a First Step Meeting or visit the Padnos International Center in 130 Lake Ontario Hall during Office Hours.    

Study Abroad 101

Quick Facts

  • Program length ranges from 2 weeks to an academic year
  • You are not required to speak a second language to study abroad
  • Students can participate in different Types of Programs: Faculty-Led, Partnership, Non-GVSU, Internship, or Independent Study
  • Students can go abroad as early as the summer after their freshman year
  • Typically, financial aid can be applied to a program abroad
  • There are Scholarships and Grants specifically to help students study abroad
  • There are about 15 programs that cost less than a semester at GVSU
  • GPA requirements vary depending on program. Please refer to specific GPA requirements for your program of interest (Undergraduates) and 3.0 GPA (Graduates) required 
  • Students are able to meet major, minor and General Education requirements while abroad

Study Abroad FAQs

WHERE can I study abroad? 
GVSU students have the option to study in almost every region of the world. In addition to 60+ GVSU programs, students are also able to study on Non-GVSU programs which are sponsored by other universities or study abroad providers. About 50% of GVSU students who go abroad participate in Non-GVSU options. 

WHO is a good candidate to go abroad?
Anyone! There are program options for every major and minor at GVSU in every region of the world. The Padnos International Center believes Study Abroad is a profound educational experience that should be accessible to all. PIC works to support students from a variety of backgrounds, encompassing ethnicity, gender orientation and expression, socioeconomic circumstances, non-traditional students and persons with disabilities. GPA requirements vary depending on program. Please refer to specific GPA requirements for your program of interest (Undergraduates) and 3.0 GPA (graduates) required. Students who are not from GVSU are welcome to apply to GVSU faculty-led programs and should view information for Non-GVSU Students
WHAT type of program is the best for me? 
While our advising team is always there to help, picking the right program is a personal decision that should be based on what will help you fulfill your academic, personal and professional goals. Visit the How to Choose a Program page for details.
WHEN can I go abroad?  
Students can apply for study abroad after spending at least one semester at GVSU. There may be exceptions for transfer students, please contact the Padnos International Center to learn more. 

HOW can I afford study abroad? 
Study abroad costs vary depending on the program a student selects. While some programs are more expensive, the majority of programs are similar to what you would spend at GVSU and some may even be less. There are 15 GVSU programs that may save a student money when compared to the cost of a semester at GVSU. Any financial aid a student receives at GVSU can be applied to their study abroad program. There are many scholarships and grants to help students study abroad. Study Abroad advisers are happy to work with students to make a budget plan.  

WHY go abroad? 
GVSU encourages students to study internationally because of the professional and personal skills students develop during a program abroad. Employers are increasingly looking for people with cross-cultural communication skills, the ability to work in diverse teams, language proficiency, experience in a global work environment, maturity and flexibility developed during a study abroad program. GVSU knows that having these skills will help students be more competitive in an increasingly global economy. 

WHEN is the earliest that I can study abroad if I am a transfer student?

Transfer students must attend one semester, full-time, at GVSU to establish a GPA before studying abroad. Students will not be approved to study abroad their first semester at GVSU. Students are welcome to submit a study abroad application during their first semester with the goal of studying abroad during their second semester. Visit Transfer Students FAQ's to study abroad for more information on studying abroad as a transfer student.

Study Abroad 101

A Message to Parents & Family Members

Thank you for lending support to your student as they embark on the life changing experience of studying abroad!
The staff at the Barbara H. Padnos International Center facilitates meaningful international experiences for Grand Valley students. More than 700 Grand Valley students complete some kind of study abroad program each year — with most students identifying their experience overseas as not only the best thing they’ve done at Grand Valley, but also the best thing they’ve done in their entire lives.

If you have questions, please feel free to contact the Padnos International Center.

For more information, please view the Parent Guide to Study Abroad.

Page last modified June 13, 2017