The International Student Exchange Program (ISEP) is a network of more than 300 U.S. and international universities that engage in reciprocal student exchanges. ISEP provides Northwestern students opportunities for study at more than 300 institutions in more than 50 countries through two options:
- Exchange placements (competitive placement) allow qualified Northwestern students to pay their usual tuition and fees before they go abroad, creating a “place” and a set of benefits for an incoming student. The students within the network then “switch” places. For example, a Northwestern student could go take someone’s place in Germany, while the German student takes someone’s place in Finland, while the Finnish student takes someone’s place in China, and so on.
- ISEP-Direct fee-paid programs (non-competitive) offer access to over 30 universities in 20 countries and are marked with a D in the Directory descriptions. Often, if ISEP-Exchange space isn’t available, you will find ISEP-Direct as an option at that university. For ISEP-Direct, you pay a fee to ISEP based on the actual cost of operating the program at the host university.
Exchange programs are generally considered to be a full cultural and academic immersion. Since you are taking someone’s place, you may be the only Northwestern student at your host institution. You will be doing just as the locals do: taking their courses and living just as they do, much like the international students who study at Northwestern. The cultural experience usually begins before you even leave Northwestern as you learn about a different system of higher education in your host country.
Student who choose to pursue study abroad through an ISEP placement should be independent, self-motivated, and flexible. Due to the volume of pages that must be submitted for an ISEP application, students should begin preparing the application at least two months prior to the application deadlines.
An ISEP exchange placement includes a competitive application process, and applicants may list up to 10 ISEP host institutions by order of preference. Use the ISEP Web site to search for programs that fit your interests. In many cases ISEP receives more applicants than there are slots available for a particular site. The student’s faculty advisor and the University’s ISEP coordinator assists students in identifying appropriate ISEP sites that would enable the student to meet and academic and personal objectives while abroad. Country placement specialists at the ISEP Central Office in Washington, D.C. use the student’s priority list to determine the best placement. The student’s GPA, purpose statement essays, and academic preparation for the proposed site and proposed courses are important factors determining if a student will be placed at a particular site.
Once a placement has been made by the ISEP Central Office, the application is forwarded to Northwestern for final approval.
Multilateral exchange study sites are available in Asia, the British Isles, Canada, Europe and Latin America. Applicants must be mature, have a minimum 2.75 cumulative GPA, and possess the appropriate foreign language skills (for sites where English is not the native language, the minimum language requirement is at least 4-5 semesters of university level language study.) Applications are due January 20 for the fall semester and August 20 for placements beginning the following Spring. All application materials need to be turned into the University’s ISEP coordinator at least one month prior to those dates. For more information about ISEP and available study sites, visit ISEP’s Web site at http://www.isep.org.
One-semester, two-semester, and limited summer programs are offered by ISEP, but not all options are available at each university.
Northwestern students must have completed one academic year of study. A minimum 2.75 cumulative GPA is required. Students must maintain the equivalent of a full-time course load during the exchange and may not stay more than one academic year.
Do you know the famous expression, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do?” This holds true for your accommodations. Accommodations may be in dormitories, student apartments, or with host families, depending on what is typical at each university.
While quite competitive, ISEP exchange placements provide one of the most economical means for academically strong student to study abroad.
For exchange placements:
- When submitting their application, students will pay a non-refundable $100 application fee.
- At the time of acceptance, students will pay an additional $325 placement fee.
- The $325 is not refundable after accepting their placement unless there are extenuating circumstances.
For direct placements:
- When submitting their application, students will pay a non-refundable $100 application fee.
- Upon acceptance, ISEP Direct students will pay $325 which is a deposit towards the program fee.
- The $325 is not refundable after acceptance unless there are extenuating circumstances.
Your financial aid package at Northwestern (including scholarships) may be applicable to an ISEP Exchange or Direct placement. Check with your financial aid counselor. Additionally, scholarship programs are available to you through ISEP. A student’s enrollment in a program of study abroad approved by the home institution may be considered enrollment at the home institution for the purpose of applying for federal assistance.
It is your responsibility to make your own travel arrangements. Travel costs (including a passport and visa), personal spending money, personal travel, and textbook costs are also your responsibility.
At your host institution abroad, you will be attending classes and living the life of a typical local student. You will receive equivalent benefits to those that local students receive, and not identical benefits to those you leave behind at Northwestern, though you are paying Northwestern tuition and fees as usual. Moreover, because higher education is funded differently throughout the world, your exchange benefits will almost certainly not be of an exact monetary equivalent to the benefits you pay for at Northwestern. Please keep in mind that the students coming to Northwestern through ISEP are paying tuition and fees at their own institutions as well under this same arrangement.
See the ISEP Web site for more information regarding specific costs.
Foreign language requirements vary. In most cases, if you study in a non-English speaking country, your coursework will be in the native language. In some cases, however, you will have the opportunity to study in English in a non-English speaking country (the Netherlands or Sweden, for example).
If you will be taking courses in a foreign language, you will need to have completed a least one 2000-level language course or have the equivalent proficiency before you go. Some programs, which require study in a foreign language during the academic year, offer intensive language programs prior to the start of the semester.
One of your best resources will be the ISEP Web site (www.isep.org): The site affords you an opportunity to research all of the ISEP universities.
The online application can be accessed here. Components of the application include official transcripts, the appropriate application/placement fee, Participant Profile, Host Site Request List, Language Proficiency Report, Educational History Form, Personal Statement, one academic reference, Course Request Lists for each institution selected, and a scanned copy of your passport or the application.
BE SURE TO APPLY FOR YOUR PASSPORT QUICKLY and request EXPEDITED.
MOST IMPORTANT: Check the ISEP Web site to assure that your selected sites are available before applying!
- Deadlines for Spring Semester Placements: Priority placement will be given to applications which are submitted by August 20. Applications will still be considered on a rolling basis for universities that were not full after the August placement round.
- Deadlines for Fall Semester Placements: Priority placement will be given to applications which are submitted by January 20. Applications will still be considered on a rolling basis for universities that were not full after the January placement round.
For More Information
For more information about ISEP, contact Dr. Keith Dromm, Associate Professor and Director of Study Away Programs, at (318) 357-5179. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also request information from ISEP by clicking here.
Minor in Global Studies
The minor in global studies is an interdisciplinary course of study that provides students with an understanding of contemporary global issues, cross-cultural experiences, and the skills to work and live in an increasingly interdependent and multicultural world. The minor responds to the needs of businesses and other organizations for employees with a knowledge of and experience with the global environment, including the ability to interact successfully with global partners. The minor can also enhance a student’s application to various graduate and professional programs.
- Global Studies Seminar
- 6 hours of a foreign language
- Study abroad experience (or 15 hours of a foreign language)
- Core Course: one of International Business (BUAD 3270), Globalization and International Communication (COMM 4310), International Finance (FIN 4050), Cultural Geography (GEOG 2020), Introduction to Global Politics (PSCI 2090), International Relations (PSCI 4090), or Globalization (PSCI 4390)
- 9 hours of electives (see catalog entry for list of courses).
Catalog entry for minor:
Global Studies Minor Requirements: GLST 3000 or GLST 4000; 6 hours in a foreign language (1); one of BUAD 3270, COMM 4310, FIN 4050, GEOG 2020, PSCI 2090, PSCI 4090, or PSCI 4390; and 9 hours of approved academic electives. (2) (19 hours)
(1) The 6 hourse must be in the same language and from courses with the following prefixes: FORL, FREN, SFRE, SRUS, SSPN, and SPAN
(2) Approved electives to be chosen from ANTH 2020; ANTH 3110; ANTH 4400; ART 3540; BUAD 3270; BUAD 4160; COMM 4310; EDUC 3390; ENGL 3850 (Subtitle 07); ENGL 3910; ENGL 4340; FIN 4050; GEOG 2020; GEOG 3030; GEOG 3080; GEOG 3100; GLST 2999; GLST 3999; GLST 4999; HIST 3220; HIST 3300; HIST 4010; HIST 4110; HIST 4120; HIST 4430; HIST 4440; HIST 4470; HMT 3130; HMT 3140; HMT 3150; HMT 4260; MGT 4350; MUS 3040; MUS 4060; PHIL 1020; PSCI 2090; PSCI 4060; PSCI 4070; PSCI 4090; PSCI 4390; SART 3820; SENG 3860 (Subtitles 01 and 02); SHIS 3710; SHIS 3840; SHIS 4820; SLSC 3810; SPHI 2850; SPHI 3820; THEA 4330; THEA 4370; THEA 4960