Exploring U-M’s Opportunities Around the World


International Students Abroad

Student Experiences Abroad

Even though you are studying abroad in the United States, there are numerous reasons to pursue an international experience outside of the U.S. In fact, about 15% of U-M international students pursue additional international experiences. These experiences allow you to seek new opportunities, meet new people, broaden your perspective, and further build your global competence.

    1. Being a volunteer in the media operations crew, my journey in Switzerland gave me the opportunity to experience the Olympics from a different angle. As an international student, let’s be proactive in exploring the world!"

    2. "Life for me is all about experiences and reactions to different circumstances, and studying abroad offered me such a great chance to better know who I am. It had good and bad, ups and downs, but going through that experience made a more valiant wolverine, both inside and out."

    Planning your Experience Abroad

    Use this page to explore the considerations, opportunities, and challenges of traveling abroad as an international student.

    How do I start preparing for my experience abroad as an international student?

    As you consider and prepare for an international experience, use the following questions as a guide. Keep in mind that this is not an exhaustive list and you may relate to multiple identities. You are encouraged to discuss these topics in person with an education abroad advisor in your school or college and an international student advisor. The International Center’s Education Abroad Team can also provide guidance and resources as you prepare for your experience.

    • Understand the options
      • What U-M options are available for travel abroad?
      • If there are no U-M options that fit my interest, budget, or schedule, how will I investigate other education abroad options?
      • What type of experiences (study, internship, volunteer, etc.)
      • What type of experience (study, intern, volunteer) might fit best with my goals?
      • What length of time should I go abroad (summer, semester, academic year)?
    • Understand the process
      • What is involved in the application process for international experiences?
      • How do I ensure that I will get credit for my international experience? What if I want that credit to count towards my major or minor?
      • What scholarships are international students eligible for?
      • Examine the timing
      • When can I fit an international experience into my academic schedule?
      • What are the application deadlines for international experiences?
      • When should I start planning for my international experience?
    • Ask about your U.S. visa status
      • How can I make sure I am maintaining my U.S. visa status while pursuing an international experience?
      • After my international experience, what documents do I need to re-enter the U.S.?
      • How might an international experience affect my ability to apply for OPT, CPT, or Academic Training?
    • Examine travel logistics
      • What effect will my citizenship status have on my ability to travel?
      • Will I need to apply for a visa? How do I do so?
      • Consider the cultural attitudes of your host country
        How does my host country perceive and treat individuals from my home country? How might that be different than how I am perceived/treated in the U.S.?

    What resources are available to me as an international student?

    Although you are studying abroad in the U.S., many international students decide to study outside the U.S. while at U-M.

    Explore the following resources regarding international students engaging in experiences abroad:

    For questions about U-M international study, internship, research, or volunteer program options, meet with an advisor from your school or college’s education abroad office.

    For programs not affiliated with U-M or how to obtain a visa for your desired country, meet with an education abroad advisor at the International Center (ic-abroad@umich.edu).

    For questions about how this could affect your immigration status in the U.S., meet with an international student advisor at the International Center (icenter@umich.edu).

    For questions about earning credit for your international experience and/or how this experience will fit into your academic plan, meet with your academic advisor.

    Download the International Students Abroad flyer for additional questions and considerations for traveling abroad. Bring this resource with you when meeting with an academic advisor, education abroad advisor, or other U-M office.

    Will international experiences keep me on track for graduation?

    U-M offers many for-academic-credit global experiences that will keep you on track for graduation. You should meet with an education abroad advisor, your academic advisor, and an international student advisor before you commit to a program to ensure that studying outside of the U.S. will allow you to graduate on time. Many U-M programs allow you to earn in-resident credit as if you were taking classes on campus in Ann Arbor. Non-UM programs also allow you to earn credit, but you will need to work with your academic advisor to ensure the credit will transfer to your U-M transcript.
    Will this affect my U.S. visa status?

    Possibly. Meet with an international student advisor before you solidify any travel plans. In order to maintain your visa status while on semester-long programs, undergraduate students must take at least 12 U-M credits and graduate students must take at least 8 U-M credits. Generally, there are no enrollment requirements for spring/summer term programs. Exceptions exist, however, so please speak with an international student advisor. An advisor will also be able to inform you which documents you require to re-enter back into the U.S. after your program.

    How do I obtain a visa to visit another country?

    As an international student, you may require a visa for countries that your U.S. peers can enter without a visa. Additional visa documentation may be required for international students studying outside the U.S., so make sure you allocate enough time for scheduling a visa appointment and preparing the necessary documents. For the most accurate and up-to-date visa information, we recommend that you first contact the embassy or nearest visa-issuing consulate of the country where you will be going. Also, some U-M education abroad offices or an education abroad advisor at the International Center may be able to assist you with processing your visa or provide guidance throughout this process.

    Can graduate international students pursue international experiences outside the U.S.?

    Yes! Graduate international students may not always have the option or flexibility to study abroad, but many decide to intern or research abroad. Meet with your department advisor to see if this is possible, and then meet with your department’s education abroad office or staff member (if available). The International Center can also help you find international opportunities not affiliated with U-M.

    Are there scholarships available for international students?

    Although some funding opportunities are reserved for U.S. citizens, there are many funding opportunities open to students of all citizenships. There are both financial-need and merit-based scholarships. You can find these opportunities by searching M-Compass (mcompass.umich.edu), talking to your academic department, and talking with an education abroad advisor at the International Center.

    What resources are available to me while outside of the U.S.?

    Many of the resources available to you on campus are also available during your time abroad. These include, but are not limited to, the following: U-M advising support, U-M Counseling and Psychological Services (www.caps.umich.edu), as well as resources offered by your international host institution, your education abroad provider (if applicable), and your health care provider. The International Center (www.internationalcenter.umich.edu) can also provide guidance and resources as you prepare for your experience.

    What else should I consider when planning my experience abroad as an international student?

    • Reflecting on your Identities
      • Although you are studying abroad in the U.S., many international students decide to study outside the U.S. while at U-M. Attitudes and perceptions around nationality vary widely around the world, and it’s key that you have an understanding of how you may be perceived and/or treated in your host country due to your identities (which could be much different than in the U.S.). Be sure to look through the other identities on this website — they might also apply to you!
    • Increased Global Competence
      • International experiences can play an important role in your job search after graduation. Employers are increasingly looking for candidates with the ability to communicate across cultures and work effectively with diverse teams—skills that can both be developed and strengthened abroad.

    • 115

      U-M hosted students from 115 countries in Fall 2020

    • 17

      U-M’s International Institute houses 17 centers and programs focused on world regions and global themes