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Education Abroad

International Student Exchange Program

ISEP is a network of over 300 universities in 50 countries. Students may study at their host institution for a semester or a year, while some universities offer summer programs.

The ISEP program is designed as a full-immersion experience. You will most likely be the only student from VCU, and one of the few from the U.S. at the host university.

ISEP offers two types of programs:

  1. ISEP-Exchange: The program fee is based on VCU’s tuition and fees, room, and board for an in-state student. Placement depends on space availability at the host university. ISEP has rolling admissions, but preference is given to students who apply by the priority application deadline. The ISEP priority application deadline for the VCU campus is August 15 for spring programs and Februray1 for fall/academic year programs.
  2. ISEP-Direct: The program fee is based on the host university’s fees and is typically inclusive of tuition and fees, room, and board. Placement is not dependent upon space available; therefore, most universities accept applications until mid-November and April. Please consult the ISEP website for site-specific ISEP-Direct deadlines.

For more information about ISEP program options and university members, please visit the ISEP website. We also encourage you to make an appointment with an education abroad advisor to discuss options further.

Frequently asked questions

Who is eligible to participate?
Students who have completed at least two semesters of study at VCU are eligible for an ISEP placement. ISEP requires applicants have at least a 2.75 GPA to apply (although some member universities require a higher GPA).

Do I need to know a foreign language?
Not necessarily.

ISEP offers programs taught in English as well as programs in a foreign language. In some cases, if a student studies in a non-English speaking country, the coursework will be conducted in that country’s native language; however, many universities in non-English speaking countries also offer programs in English.

If a student wishes to enroll in classes taught in a foreign language, it is generally advised that they have at least completed their 200-level language coursework before applying to their program. Some universities require a higher level of foreign language proficiency before being eligible for their programs. Others offer pre-session intensive language programs prior to the program’s start date and academic language support during the semester.

How long can I study abroad?
Students can choose to study abroad through ISEP for one or two semesters, depending on the university. Further, students can elect to study abroad for two consecutive semesters at different host universities on a single ISEP application.

When choosing which term to study abroad, it is important that you consult the academic calendar. In some countries the host university's academic calendar might overlap or conflict with VCU’s.

Where will I live?
Students will be housed as typical students in their host country. Specific accommodations vary from university to university, but students may live in dormitories (single or shared), student apartments or with host families.

For university-specific housing information, please consult the ISEP website. 

How much does it cost?
The cost to participate in an ISEP placement is dependent upon the type of program for which you apply:

  1. ISEP-Exchange: This program’s cost is based on VCU in-state tuition and fees, room and board and is set in accordance with the annual figures for each. In paying this fee, students have the cost of their tuition, housing and meals covered at their host university.
  2. ISEP-Direct: This program’s cost is based upon the host university’s tuition and fees. Please consult the ISEP website for the up-to-date costs of ISEP-Direct placements as well as what is included in those fees.

All applicants are required to pay a $395 fee ($475 for dual placement applicants) at the time of application.

Additionally, there are other costs to consider. Final placement is contingent upon enrollment in ISEP’s comprehensive health insurance plan. Students will also need to budget for other miscellaneous program costs, including: passport, immigration/visa fees, airfare, spending money, personal travel and textbooks.

How can I apply?
To apply, please make an appointment with a study abroad adviser and complete the ISEP online application by the following Education Abroad office ISEP application priority deadlines:

  • Fall Semester/Academic Year: February 1
  • Spring Semester: August 15

Please Note: Since exchange space is limited and student placement is made on a rolling basis, it is important for ISEP-Exchange applicants to turn in their application as close to this deadline as possible. ISEP-Direct applicants are not subject to space availability and may have more time to submit their application (please consult the ISEP website for ISEP-Direct program application deadlines).

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