Frequently Asked Questions for Students

Why should I study abroad?

Students who study abroad will gain a new perspective on the world and develop skills that cannot be acquired while at home in one’s comfort zone. Also, students learn more about themselves in the short time spent abroad than in many years at home. While abroad, new strengths will be found from overcoming the challenges of living in a new culture and speaking a new language.

Studying abroad provides an opportunity to break out of a routine, find excitement, and gain new skills. As a result, employment prospects are enhanced and more developed. Finally, the value of one’s degree increases and becomes more meaningful to those who travel abroad.

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Who do I talk to about finding a study abroad program?

Speak with a Study Abroad Coordinator in the Office of Study Abroad to discuss the best options. We also recommend that you keep your academic advisor informed of your progress at all times.

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When should I start planning to study abroad?

The Office of Study Abroad (OSA) recommends that students meet with a study abroad coordinator approximately six to nine months before studying abroad. However, OSA can work with students individually to develop a time frame that works best for each student.

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How do I know if I am eligible to study abroad?

All MSU students are invited to join a study abroad program.  There are many programs designed for specific majors or concentrations; however, some programs are general and open to everyone. While there are more programs for undergraduate students, graduate students are also encouraged to contact the Office of Study Abroad to explore their options. Also most programs have minimum GPA requirements.

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How long will I be abroad?

The Office of Study Abroad offers a wide variety of program choices to students. Programs range from a few weeks during the summer or winter break to a full academic semester or year abroad. Students usually receive 3-6 hours of credit for shorter programs and 12-18 hours of credit for semester programs.

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If I do not speak a foreign language, must I study in an English-speaking country?

While speaking the native language is very important in the adapting process, it is not required to participate in many programs. We recommend programs throughout the world that offer classes in English and students need not speak the native language. If you are staying for an extended period of time, we suggest that you take language classes in addition to the normal course load in order to better adjust.

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How much does study abroad cost?

The cost of studying abroad depends on a number of variables, such as the program length, destination, exchange rates, host university, credit hours, and program choice. Prices may include tuition, flights, and housing, or may include only the minimal accommodations.

The Office of Study Abroad offers faculty-led programs, provider programs, and tuition-exchange partners. Students studying abroad with tuition-exchange partners pay their MSU tuition as usual, and they pay room and board while abroad. To get a better idea of the cost, visit the programs page or set up an appointment with the Office of Study Abroad.

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Are there scholarships or financial aid available?

An MSU degree-seeking student who participates in an MSU sponsored or affiliated Study Abroad program is eligible to apply for Financial Aid to help cover the required costs. Each program is handled on an individual program and student basis, and most costs associated with the Study Abroad program can typically be taken into consideration when determining Financial Aid eligibility. The amount of aid received for Study Abroad is dependent upon the individual student’s eligibility at the time of application. Students who wish to receive Financial Aid to help pay for an MSU Study Abroad program should contact the Office of Study Abroad and the Department of Student Financial Aid to discuss Financial Aid options and availability.

A student planning to participate in a Study Abroad program through an organization or school that has no affiliation or consortium agreement in place with MSU is not eligible to receive Financial Aid through MSU for the program.  For additional information, please visit the MSU Department of Student Financial Aid.

The MSU Office of Study Abroad (OSA) offers partial scholarships to select MSU students to attend study abroad programs.  Generally, scholarships range from $250- $2,000 per student, but award amounts vary based on the number of applicants and funds received by the OSA each year. National and program-specific scholarship may also be available.

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Can I receive academic credit for studying abroad?

Arranged course credit from a Study Abroad program can be transferred and applied to degree programs.  The Office of Study Abroad (OSA) provides guidance and materials for students to talk to their Academic Advisor about this process in order to know what will transfer as credit.  Study Abroad is also a great way to build your resume!

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What is included in the program cost?

Be sure you understand what is and is not included in your program before committing.  All programs are different, so it is very important to know what is included before starting the program. Costs to include: flight, visa fees, housing, insurance, tuition, meals, etc.

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How do I apply?

The application process begins with scheduling an appointment with the Office of Study Abroad.  From there we will assist you with completing the appropriate forms and steps for applying. Each program is different, but we can help you to navigate the application process.

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What if I am an undeclared major student, can I still study abroad?

Yes, many Study Abroad programs offer classes that can be counted as general electives.

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Why am I required to purchase additional health insurance?

Mississippi State University requires that ALL students studying abroad purchase sufficient health insurance for their stay abroad. This inexpensive insurance is designed to assist with specific needs that can develop while in another country. Even if you already have health insurance, additional coverage is important to cover situations that may not be covered by a domestic carrier.

In order to study abroad with Mississippi State University, students’ policies must cover (at a minimum) the following three services:

  1. Medical Evacuation
  2. Bedside Visit (by parent or family member)
  3. Repatriation of Remains

All faculty-led programs include this cost in the program fee or provide students with the option to purchase a plan as a group. Provider programs, such as AIFS, API, CCSA, CEA, GLOBALINKS, GSE, ISA, Semester at Sea and SIT, provide sufficient coverage, and students need not buy additional insurance.

Other affiliated programs, including exchange and direct-enroll programs, do not include sufficient health insurance in their program fee. Students studying abroad with these programs MUST purchase additional coverage.

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Do I need a visa?

Although the Office of Study Abroad will guide students in this process, it is ultimately the responsibility of the student to research visa requirements and obtain a visa. Visa requirements vary greatly from country to country and often change without warning. Make sure you have looked into this process and can confirm with certainty the visa requirements for your host country. Remember that visa requirements differ depending on the length of stay and purpose of travel.

A visa is a privilege and should not be thought of as an automatic right. Students need to be patient with the consulate staff. They are often understaffed and overworked and do not have much patience for students who have waited until the last moment.

Students who are traveling abroad with a provider program often receive a great deal of assistance with this process from the provider company.

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If I am an international student at MSU, may I study abroad? In my home country?

Yes. International students have the same access to study abroad programs and resources as American students. Some international students may wish to return home to “study abroad” for a summer or semester. All credit must be approved before you go abroad.

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What future opportunities may be available if I study abroad?

Mississippi State University is proud to offer a Minor in International Studies program to all undergraduate students in good standing. The Minor in International Studies is designed to enhance students’ understanding of the global environment in which they are living. Students completing this program will develop knowledge of a foreign language, have experience living in another country, and acquire a general background of different cultures and societies, which can be vital toward being successful in today’s world.