As an International Studies (IS) Major, studying abroad can enrich your educational experiences and open up future career opportunities. Study abroad will allow you to further your knowledge of international studies by experiencing the current issues that you are engaging with in the classroom. Study abroad is a natural combination with the IS major since we expect all students to pursue a significant international experience during their undergraduate career.
As an International Studies student, you can study abroad during almost any time in your college career, but there are some important facts to consider. The information below will help in your planning and conversations with an International Studies advisor.
Prospective International Studies Students
If you plan to major in International Studies, you must complete your two track core course at UW-Madison. In addition, the vast majority of students will also complete many of the pre-requisites (e.g., IS 101, Econ 101, and Econ 102) at UW-Madison. In general, classes taken abroad will fit into your Issues or Elective credits. Students can also work towards completing their 5th semester foreign language requirements while abroad.
You should do some research regarding where you would like to study abroad and then meet with an IS Major academic advisor to plan out how classes taken abroad will fit with your particular degree path. You can research potential study abroad programs by attending the Study Abroad Fair, using the Program Search on the International Academic Programs (IAP) website, or scheduling a meeting with advisors at IAP.
International Studies Course Considerations Abroad
International Studies advisors will screen your overseas coursework and help you fit appropriate courses into your major requirements.
The IS major is comprised of 35 credits and will accept up to 20 of these credits from study abroad. You may apply study abroad credits towards your issues courses and electives. Study abroad courses need to be international in their content. In addition, International Studies is a modern major, so course content needs to be post 1800s.
As at UW-Madison, classes that focus on math, science or language acquisition do not count towards the IS major. Depending on program course offerings, you may complete your fifth semester language prerequisite while abroad.
There is a 15 credit on campus requirement for the IS major, meaning that 15 credits need to be completed on campus at UW Madison. In addition, you cannot take your track core courses while abroad.
The IS Major strongly suggests that you meet with an Advisor to review classes before you go abroad. The IS Major website has a worksheet for you to complete so that advisors can assess how your classes taken abroad will fit into the major (http://www.ismajor.wisc.edu/about/current-students/study-abroad/). If you have questions while abroad, the IS Major advisors are happy to meet with you via Skype or Google Hangout, please just schedule an advising appointment using Starfish and then email the advisor your username along with the date and time of your appointment.
Best Time to Go Abroad as an International Studies Major
There is no “best time” to study abroad, the major is flexible enough that you can study abroad whenever works “best” for you! International Studies Majors study abroad in the Fall, Spring, Winter, and Summer semesters of their Freshman-Senior years. The International Studies Major also encourages students to extend their study experience to include an internship abroad. If you have multiple majors or certificates, you will ultimately want to determine the best path by consulting with your academic advisors. Please follow the guidelines listed above, consider other factors such as your apartment lease, and work with an IS Major advisor to plan your time abroad into your degree plan.
Questions to Ask
To Ask your Academic Advisor
- What classes must I complete on campus for my degree?
- What breadth/depth requirements do I need to complete? What major requirements do I need to complete?
- What remaining prerequisites must I fulfill and how will study abroad impact progress?
- How many credits of electives do I have remaining in my major? Are those advanced/intermediate level or elementary level requirements?
- Are there any in-residence requirements I need to be aware of before I go abroad?
- How should I follow up with you as my study abroad plans are confirmed?
- What do I need to do after I return to make sure the classes taken abroad count for the IS Major?
To Ask your Study Abroad Advisor
- What classes can I take abroad?
- How and when do I select courses for my program?
- When will I know course equivalents for my program?
- What is the class structure like abroad?
Identifying Programs That are Right for You
International Studies Majors study abroad in a variety of countries and with many different programs. Students who are double majoring or getting a certificate might want to consider what programs are preferred by their second major or certificate program. In addition, students who are using study abroad to complete their 5th semester of foreign language should search for programs in countries that will enable this option. Additional considerations include: cost, internship opportunities, cultural differences, and program duration. Below we provide a brief list of programs that previous students have used. Please keep in mind that the International Studies Major is very broad and therefore this is not an exhaustive list of all programs that offer International Studies courses. You can find a full list of all IAP programs here.
Argentina: IFSA Argentina Study Abroad Programs
China: UW Intensive Chinese Language
Chile: CIEE Liberal Arts in Santiago
Denmark: Danish Institute for Study Abroad (DIS)
England: UW in London
Iceland: University of Iceland Exchange
Israel: University of Haifa
France: Academic Program in Aix-en-Provence
France: UW in Paris
Russia: ACTR-Russian Language and Area Studies Program
Spain: WIP Universidad Complutense de Madrid
Spain: CIEE Advanced Liberal Arts & Liberal Arts in Seville
South Africa: University of Cape Town Exchange
South Korea: Various Exchange Programs
USA: UW Wisconsin in Washington, DC Internship Program
Worldwide: UW International Internship Program
Search all IAP programs
Research all programs using the IAP Program Search page. The above is not an exhaustive list of all programs that offer International Studies courses. There may be other programs that are a better fit for your individual needs or interests.