International Student Exchange Program (ISEP)

Q&A for Studying Abroad through ISEP

Q: Why should I study overseas?
A: Study abroad gives you the opportunity to learn about another culture, to improve foreign language skills, to experience self-reliance abroad, and to develop new intellectual pursuits and skills. Whatever the reasons, the experience will change your life and allow for a new perspective on society and life to be created.

Brianna and Catherine standing in the middle of a quaint cobblestone street

WCSU student Brianna Durante, right, with Catherine McConkey at Cathedral Quarter, Belfast. Brianna is studying abroad in Northern Ireland this semester and Catherine was an ISEP exchange student at Western throughout 2017-18.

Q: When may I participate in Study Abroad?
A: You must have second semester sophomore standing or greater to participate in the program. Transfer students may qualify if they have completed one full semester at the University prior to studying abroad.

Q: Where may I study abroad?
A: Western participates in ISEP (International Student Exchange Program),that offers programs in more than 50 countries. We also have various short courses abroad led by Western faculty.

Q: Can only certain majors study abroad?
A: No, the programs are not major specific and are open to all fields of study. It is important, however, that you plan ahead so that you can fit study abroad into your program and major.

Q: Do I need to know a foreign language to study abroad?
A: Several of the programs are English based. There are few that do require language proficiency.

Q: Is there a minimum Grade Point Average I must have?
A: Yes, the minimum GPA to study abroad with ISEP is 2.75. Some programs require a higher GPA.

Q: May I use financial aid for study abroad?
A: Yes, almost all financial aid including loans, grants, and scholarships are applicable to students studying abroad on ISEP- sponsored overseas studies programs. The component of financial aid that does not apply are WCSU work study awards. At times it is possible to work with your work study supervisor to complete your hours within one semester to ensure that you maintain that money. Financial aid packages are re-evaluated in light of the cost of a specific study abroad program and can be adjusted.

Q: May I pay for study abroad in installments?
A: Yes, just as you can pay your usual tuition in installments.

Q: How much does it cost?
A: The costs are equal to the cost of Western undergraduate tuition plus room and board, living in the WCSU residence halls. In addition, there is the cost of transportation to the study abroad site, ISEP health insurance, student visa costs (if any), and any additional travel and gift purchases that you may do or make.

Q: What credits can I earn in a study abroad program?
A: You can earn a variety of credits, depending on your program – free electives transfer the easiest.

Q: Will all the courses that I take transfer as WCSU credit?
A: Yes, all courses above a “C” will transfer as WCSU credit. To ensure this, we recommend that you save your syllabi of courses taken. A grade of “P” (Pass) will not be accepted.

Q: Can I earn major or minor credit?
A: Yes, this is often possible. However, credit toward major or minor requirements depends on prior approval from your major or minor department. You should work closely with your advisor and the specific department chair to determine what is possible.

Q: What about my housing at Western if I live in the residence halls?
A: If you are accepted into an ISEP study abroad program, you will be released from your housing contract. While there is no guarantee that you will be able to re-enter housing upon return from your overseas program, we recommend working with Housing and Residential life to reserve places for the semester following your return.

Q: What are the overseas living arrangements?
A: They vary among programs. Possible options include dormitories (with dining hall or cooking facilities), apartments, home stays with host families, and group houses.

Q: Does my WCSU insurance policy cover me when I travel through a study abroad program?
A: Although most students are on their parents’ health insurance, ISEP does require that students purchase their health insurance for the time they are abroad. The cost is approximately $80 per month.

Q: When is the application deadline?
A: Fall Semester: February 15th; Spring Semester: September 15th. Summer program deadlines vary from February 15 through May 1st, depending on the program

Q: How do I apply?
A: Make an appointment with International Services (Midtown Student Center 207), and check out the ISEP website at for more information.

Q: What is meant by a valid passport?
A: For a passport to be valid, it must have an expiration date that is at least 6 months beyond the end of your program.