International Students Studying Away
International students interested in studying away might have different or additional considerations than Macalester students who are U.S. citizens. Often times, study abroad programs assume that participants are U.S. citizens, and have designed policies and procedures with that in mind. Considering how your experience might be both similar and different is important not only when choosing a study away location and program, but in preparation for study away as well as during the program.
This page includes information and questions that we suggest you ask yourself if you are an international student considering study away. CSA advisors are ready and willing to discuss these and other topics with you during your advising session.
- If study away is required for a formally declared major, which includes Anthropology, Asian Studies, Chinese, Classics, French and Francophone Studies, German Studies, Japanese, Latin American Studies, Russian Studies, and Spanish. However, studying at Macalester fulfills the study away requirement for international students majoring in International Studies. Consequently, international students may not apply financial aid to study away for that major.
- If studying on a Macalester approved study away program in Group A on the CSA website, which includes the following Exchanges: Ashesi University College; ISEP; NTU; and Sciences Po, and the following Macalester Programs: German Studies Program; Globalization, the Environment and Society in Cape Town; Perspectives on Globalization.
More details about this policy can be found on the CSA website. International students who are Davis Scholars are able to apply their Davis scholarship to study away.
Questions to Ask
- As an international student at Macalester, how will studying away change your financial situation? Will your cost of attendance during your study away semester be more than, less than, or equal to what you are paying currently at Macalester?
- Are there additional funding sources you can look into?
- If you are studying away in the spring, how will you file your taxes while away?
In addition to financial considerations, visa application timelines and required items can vary greatly by country and program (and the process might take longer than those required of U.S. citizens). Therefore, we recommend that you start planning and apply as soon possible for your visa(s) to study away, make plans for all countries you will travel to and through (sometimes transit visas are needed to pass through a country), and consult with CSA staff when you have questions. Additionally, international students should consult with International Student Programs to ask about keeping your SEVIS record active while abroad, the process and requirements for returning to the U.S., and ability to apply for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) immediately after your study away experience.
Questions to Ask
- What are the visa processes for your study away destination? Can you apply from the U.S.? What is the general timeline for a visa application(s)?
- Will you need a background security check or a U.S. government FBI check for the visa?
- What documents might you need from your home country for the visa application(s)?
- Are you traveling to or through other countries to get to your study away destination, or during your semester away? Do you need visas for those countries as well?
- Do you have all paperwork necessary for your return to the U.S. after study away? Do you need to renew your passport or F-1 student visa (or any other type of visa)?
- What should you do if your passport (or I-20) is lost or stolen while away?
- When does your study away program start and end, and what implications does that have for your plans next semester/summer? If your study away program ends during Macalester’s summer or winter break, will you be able to apply for CPT/do an internship if you would like to do so?
While the logistical, financial, and legal considerations are important for international students studying abroad, it is just as important to consider what your experience will be like in your host community and how that experience might be different from your peers. For example, depending on your racial and ethnic identity and the country in which you are studying, you could be perceived as a local, or you could be assumed to be a U.S. American if you’re studying with mostly U.S. American peers. Studying away for international students is a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in a third country, and it is important reflect on your intersecting identities and how those identities will impact your experience.
Questions to Ask
- Based on your identity factors such as race, ethnicity, gender, and citizenship status, how will you be perceived in your host community?
- What stereotypes or assumptions might you encounter? Is it likely you will experience discrimination?
- How might you react if you find something to be offensive or if you are the target of curiosity, prejudice, discrimination, or racism?
- Macalester Center for Study Away Staff
- Macalester International Student Programs
- Macalester Department of Multicultural Life
- Macalester Center for Study Away Information for International Students
- Article: Plan for Study Abroad as International Student in the U.S.
- Article: Steps for International Students to Take Before Studying Abroad
- Blog: From the Suitcase
- Traveling as a Woman of Color – Tedx Macalester Video, by Multiple Authors
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