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Working with Students Considering Study Abroad

The goal of the International Learning Opportunities (ILO) Office is to help students find a study abroad program that is right for them. Programs are available all over the globe, for students with all levels of language skills, and for reasonable costs.  The ILO staff closely with academic advisors to make sure students who intend to study abroad receive approval from their academic departments. Ultimately, students are responsible for obtaining approval for their courses but the ILO Office is always available for assistance.

Basic Advising Suggestions

  • Encouragement: Let the students know what a great opportunity they have to spend a summer, semester, or year in another country. Tell the student that an international experience is becoming an essential ingredient for a competitive resume. Although sometimes the process may seem overwhelming, their efforts will be well rewarded. Students who study abroad discover that it provides them with the best learning experience they will ever have – academically, culturally, and professionally.
  • Cost: One great misconception is that study abroad is expensive. This is not true. We have exchange opportunities where the program cost is the same as Boise State’s fees. We also have a number of study abroad scholarships available.
  • GPA: Students must have a 2.5 GPA. Some programs have higher GPA requirements. Study abroad is not just for those who rank highest in their class. Indeed, it may even be a more worthwhile experience for students with lower GPAs. Some programs will admit students with GPAs below 2.5; these students may need to submit additional documentation to facilitate admission to the program.
  • Language: Another great misconception is that a student must be fluent in a language in order to study in the country where that language is spoken. There are programs in every country for students who are beginners in the language. Students typically take a beginning course in the language and the other courses would be taught in English. However, since part of the value of international study is to live in a different culture, it is worth emphasizing that studying a language offers valuable cultural insight.
  • Credits: Students typically earn 15-16 credits during their time abroad. Grades and credits are posted on the Boise State transcript and all grades are calculated into the student’s Boise State GPA.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the options?

Boise State University has a variety of programs through which students can study “away” from the university and still graduate with a Boise State degree. The opportunities offered by ILO add depth and breadth to majors enhance students’ personal and academic development and broaden students’ perspectives of our world. Detailed program listings are located at

How far ahead should students apply?

Program deadlines vary. Typically, students apply the semester before they wish to study abroad. However, they should begin to research options as early as possible even if they are not sure where they wish to study. Proper planning allows their study abroad program to integrate into their academic coursework and fulfill requirements for their major(s).

What is the process to apply for study abroad?

Students must submit an application, essay, and application fees. Students need at least a 2.5 GPA for most programs, although some sites may require a higher GPA for participation.

Which academic year is the best time to go?

Students typically choose to study abroad during their junior year. However, sophomores and seniors with a 2.5 are also qualified. Students receiving financial aid may wish to wait until their junior year because they are eligible for more student loans at this grade level.

How do students ensure that their credits will count for their degree requirements?

All study abroad students must obtain department chair approval for course work to be taken abroad. All students are given a “Course Approval Form” and a list of the department chairs, including their office locations.

The Course Approval Form ensures that study abroad students will receive appropriate credit for their work completed on exchange. This form must be submitted prior to departure for their program. It allows students to understand how their courses will count toward their degree requirements. They will then know which courses they should take when they return to Boise.

Do the grades count at Boise State?

Yes, grades and credits for all courses taken abroad will be posted to the students’ Boise State record.

How do students register while abroad?

Students are enrolled in a placeholder course, which maintains their enrollment at Boise State. Their Boise State registration date and time will be posted to their BroncoWeb account. Students can register on-line from around the world.

When are grades posted upon students’ return?

If students have done the necessary paperwork (the Course Approval Form) then grades are posted almost immediately upon receipt. There can be delays in receiving grades from certain English-speaking sites and students must plan accordingly.

Can seniors study abroad?

Seniors may study abroad, however, there are some special considerations. Study abroad grades are posted as residency credits. However, with some programs it is difficult to receive the grades prior to graduation. Seniors should speak to the study abroad coordinator about restrictions, planning for graduation, etc.

How does financial aid apply?

Federal financial aid is available for all qualified students on all Boise State approved study abroad programs. Most departmental scholarships can be used for study abroad, but students must check with the department issuing the scholarship. Work-study cannot be used during a study abroad program. The Financial Aid Office calculates the total program costs (i.e. living expenses and airfare) to calculate additional loan eligibility for study abroad students. In addition, scholarship assistance is available through the International Programs Office.

How do students apply for federal aid for study abroad?

Students should submit the FAFSA by the February 15th priority deadline. After the student submits the Course Approval form, the study abroad coordinator will notify the Financial Aid Office. Financial Aid will then adjust the students’ cost of attendance to match the program costs.

Is there scholarship money available?

Yes, ILO has approximately $30,000 in scholarship funding available and there are many external scholarships available.

How do students apply for scholarships?

To apply for Boise State study abroad scholarships, students must submit an application, essays, unofficial transcript and letters of recommendation.

Where do students live?

The most common living arrangements while studying abroad are off-campus apartments, campus dorms, and home stays.

Is living with a host family always an option?

Usually, although home stays are not available in most of the English-speaking countries (Australia, New Zealand, etc).

Can students change living arrangements if they do not like it?

Yes. Most programs have on-site directors who assist students with issues (e.g. housing issues) while they are abroad.

For More Information

For more information about study abroad or direct exchange, please have students contact the International Learning Opportunities Office. The office is located in the Simplot Micron Technology Center (SMTC), Room 101. The office phone number is 426-3620.