Campuses:

International Experience - Frequently Asked Questions

Below you will find many of the answers to commonly asked questions about fulfilling our International Experience (IE) requirement, unique considerations, timing, academic planning, financing, and more. First though, you should know why the Carlson School implemented the IE requirement.

The IE requirement was implemented at the Carlson School to prepare our undergraduate students to be business leaders in an increasingly competitive international economy. It signals our commitment to students' personal development in this area, leverages our existing strengths in international scholarship and programming, and provides a specific and important differentiating characteristic for the Carlson Undergraduate Program.

The primary goals of this requirement are:

  1. To motivate students to become more globally competent
  2. To encourage mutual understanding, communication, and collaboration of Carlson School students, staff, and faculty with colleagues abroad
  3. To support the development of students as authentic global business leaders

As you consider the following questions or have additional questions, we encourage you to see an Education Abroad Adviser in the Carlson Global Institute. We have walk-in advising hours and advising by appointment and look forward to helping you explore your study abroad goals and options.

Why is there an International Experience?

The international experience was implemented at the Carlson School to prepare you to be business leaders in an increasingly competitive global economy. It signals our commitment to your personal development in this area, and provides a specific and important differentiating experience to help set you apart.

Who is held to the International Experience?

All freshmen and transfer students entering the Carlson School in Fall 2008 and later are expected to complete an international experience.

If you are studying at the University of Minnesota on an F1, J1, or H4 visa you are essentially studying abroad already. Your experience as a student here meets the IE, so you are not required to participate in another international experience. You are free to explore additional international education opportunities through the University of Minnesota if you choose.

If you enter the Carlson School on an F1 visa status, but later change to resident status you will not be held to the international experience. Degree requirements will be determined based on your status at the time of admission to the Carlson School.

What type of program fulfills the International Experience?

All University of Minnesota credit-bearing programs fulfill the international experience. The Carlson Global Institute and the Learning Abroad Center offer short-term, summer, semester, and year-long study abroad programs. Programs may focus on business, liberal arts, or language curriculum and some may include an internship component.

Visit Carlson School Education Abroad and the Learning Abroad Center for more information on specific programs.

How do I design my own experience?

With careful planning and advance approval from the Carlson Global Institute and Undergraduate Program offices you can develop a self-directed study to complement an overseas experience. To learn about the proposal process and expectations, schedule a meeting with Deirdre Opp in the Carlson Global Institute at least two months in advance to discuss the IBUS 3999: Proposal for Self-Designed International Experience.

The experience must involve a significant time abroad and the development of a substantive learning experience. You will write a research paper and reflection essay to earn credit for IBUS 3999 (1-3 credits, S/N). Students may enroll in IBUS 3999 immediately before, during, or immediately after their experience abroad. Previous experiences must be proposed within six months of the end of the experience.

Experiences that often work well with IBUS 3999 are:

  • Internships
  • Work abroad
  • Volunteering
  • Past experiences
  • Military service
  • Research
  • Gap year
Will previous work or military service abroad fulfill the IE?

Students who have either considerable professional work experience in a country other than their country of citizenship, a previous internship abroad experience, or military experience abroad should first speak with their academic adviser if they wish to have their experience reviewed for meeting the IE requirement. If appropriate, the student will be asked to file a petition documenting their experience, including duration, country or countries of experience, and ways in which they interacted with local people/culture. If the petition is approved, it will be approved under the condition that the student completes Self-Designed International Experience (1-3 cr, S/N).

Does participation in a study abroad program prior to attending the Carlson School count?

If you previously participated in a Learning Abroad Center program, a Carlson Global Institute education abroad experience, or a University of Minnesota coordinate campus study abroad program, you may use this to meet the IE. In addition, short-term, semester, and quarter-length study abroad programs offered through another 2- or 4-year institution may be reviewed for acceptance to meet the IE. Documentation may be required. Transfer students with a previous post-secondary credit-bearing international experience should file an academic petition in the Undergraduate Program office within their first semester at the Carlson School.

Does previous attendance at a university abroad fulfill the International Experience?

If you attended a university in another country for a minimum of one semester prior to transferring to the Carlson School, you may file a petition, including transcripts or TRAC report showing the coursework earned. The experience and credits earned must be college level.

Does a gap year abroad fulfill the International Experience?

Students who spent a year abroad following high school may have it considered for the IE requirement if the experience earned college credit or was a substantive academic experience. Students should speak with their adviser and then fill out the academic petition form with documentation. Students who did not earn college credit for the gap year may have it considered but will be required to complete the IBUS 3999 Self-Designed International Experience within their first year at the Carlson School.

What does not fulfill the International Experience?

While a wide variety of options fulfill the IE, there are specific experiences that will not fulfill it, even with the addition of IBUS 3999. The IE is intended to be academic in nature and at the college level. On that basis the following options are ineligible to fulfill the IE:

  • Personal travel, family vacations, or tours that have no academic component.
  • National Student Exchange to a U.S. university. (However, NSE to Canada or a U.S. territory such as Guam, Puerto Rico, or the Virgin Islands is acceptable).
  • Any experience completed during high school.
  • Attending elementary, middle school, or high school overseas.
  • Living overseas for a period of time, including being born and raised overseas if you are now a U.S. citizen or a U.S. permanent resident (i.e., a green card holder).
Can the International Experience be waived?

No. However, if you have extenuating circumstances please talk with your academic adviser as early as possible so that he or she may help you determine your next steps. You will most likely be asked to complete an alternative experience.

My GPA is low - how can I fulfill the International Experience?

While there is a posted minimum GPA for most education abroad programs, some have a flexible GPA requirement. Applicants will be considered on a case-by-case basis to ensure you have the best chances for academic success. Speak with an Education Abroad Adviser before applying for a program to discuss your situation.

Who can I talk to about accommodating a disability while abroad?

Education Abroad Advisers in the Carlson Global Institute and disability specialists in the University's Disability Resource Center are available to assist you with your planning. 

If you are already registered with the Disability Resource Center and are eligible for on-campus accommodations you are also eligible for overseas accommodations when it can be arranged.

Review the Access Abroad website for additional information and resources.

Who can I contact if I have further questions about accommodating disabilities, or physical or mental health conditions abroad?

Education Abroad Advisors in the Carlson Global Institute and disability specialists in the University's Disability Services Office are available to assist you with your planning.

Carlson Global Institute
E-mail:cgi@umn.edu
Phone: 612-625-9361

University of Minnesota Disability Services
E-mail: ds@umn.edu
Phone: 612-626-1333 (V/TTY)

When should I study abroad?

You may study abroad at any time. When you go depends on what you are hoping to study and how long you wish to be abroad. To help you narrow down the choices, here is a guide:

Freshman and Sophomore Years:

  • Short-term or summer programs in business or areas outside of business
  • Semester programs to work on language skills or liberal education
  • Summer internship abroad after sophomore year

Junior and Senior Years:

  • Short-term or summer programs in business or areas outside of business
  • Semester programs to work on language skills or liberal education
  • Semester programs for business (you need to complete the immersion core to be prepared for a semester abroad in business)
How far in advance do I need to begin planning for study abroad?

First year students are encouraged to begin exploring right away as all options remain open to you. It is never too early to start planning, but you should begin at least six months to a year in advance. The process of selecting a study abroad program is similar to selecting your major or minor. You will want to consider your long-term academic and professional goals, as well as your on-campus degree requirements and any personal factors.

Give yourself time to research and talk to advisers and students who have studied abroad. Allow plenty of time to prepare a strong application for your preferred study abroad programs and any scholarships that may be available as well as financial aid forms.

What classes will I take while abroad?

Students should strategically plan which classes to take abroad with their academic adviser. Electives can easily be filled abroad and with advance planning Carlson School business courses and liberal education credits can also be fulfilled. Some programs will require that you have prerequisite courses completed in advance. Many short term programs will fulfill both your IE and a business requirement or a liberal education requirement.

What are the program fees related to studying abroad?

Program fees include tuition and course fee. Please consult the specific program pages of Carlson Global Institute's' and the University's Learning Abroad Center's program for actual amounts. International experiences vary widely in cost. Cost differences are attributed to a variety of factors, such as program type, academic credit, room and board, excursions, level of on-site support, and geographic location. When planning a budget, it's important to consider additional expenses, such as airfare, extra travel, and spending money. Choose your program carefully, and when comparing prices, be sure you are comparing all equivalent cost components.

How can I pay for my international experience?

Most types of financial aid apply toward study abroad costs, including expenses such as airfare, room and board, and travel documents. The Carlson Global Institute and Learning Abroad Center will provide you with a Study Abroad Cost Estimate (SACE) form, which is used by the Office of Student Finance to adjust your cost of attendance. A SACE may increase or decrease your cost of attendance, depending on the program.

Scholarships are available through the Carlson Global Institute, the Learning Abroad Center and also through outside resources.

Are there additional scholarships available?

Scholarships are available through Carlson Global Institute and the Learning Abroad Center, and also through outside resources.

You can apply for Carlson Global Institute scholarships at the time of application. See their websites for detailed information about eligibility, award criteria, and application.