Getting Started

Main Content

Start here to learn about what types of opportunities are available, how to choose the right option for you and how to search for programs. Learn about program finances including financial aid and scholarships.

Types of Programs

Southern Illinois University Carbondale offers three main types of opportunities for students interested in education abroad including Faculty-Led Programs, Exchanges, and Direct/Program options.

Faculty-Led Global Seminars Programs

  • led by SIU faculty - primarily for SIU students
  • short-term - typically 1-2 weeks
  • very affordable, coursework transfers back easily
  • normally during summer, but a limited number during spring/winter break
  • see Featured Programs in the program search or search for programs led by a specific faculty member under Advanced Search


Exchanges involve trading places - meaning that you would would pay SIU tuition and fees, and therefore your tuition and fees would be waived at your institution abroad. That way, when students from foreign institutions come to SIU, their tuition and fees would also be waived.

  • makes these options some of the most affordable ways to study abroad
  • exchange placements are generally competitive
  • exchange programs are listed under Featured Programs in the program search
  • most are for a semester or an academic year, but there are some summer exchanges as well
  • may be bi-lateral (directly between SIU and another institution) or
  • through multilateral exchange organizations such as ISEP Exchange or the Utrecht Network


These are non-exchange study options which either involve direct enrollment in a partner university program, or enrollment through an affiliate study abroad provider.

  • programs are one-way and will typically offer more openings (not as competitive)
  • Opportunities may include regular study abroad, field study, internships, or research
  • search for these programs using the Map Search or by searching under Sponsor or Program Type under Advanced Search
  • these kinds of programs are normally 1 semester or an academic year
  • students pay for these programs directly rather than paying SIU tuition and fees

GPA Requirement and Academic Standing

Before applying to a study abroad program at SIU, you must have at least a 2.5 GPA and be in good academic standing. 

Choosing a Program: What to Consider

Choosing a study abroad experience is much like choosing a university; you need to consider which fits your needs, background and resources. Meet with a study abroad advisor before applying for any program and we will help you, but the choice is ultimately yours. Some factors to consider when making your choice:

Academic Needs

Am I looking for courses to fulfill my major, minor, core or honors requirements or mainly for electives? Do I know what I still need to complete my SIU degree? When is the best time for students in my major to study abroad? How many credits will I earn? This is one of the most important considerations; choosing a program that does not fit your academic needs could set you behind to graduate.


Do I understand what is and is not included in the program fee? What will be my personal costs for things such as a passport, visa, transportation, etc.? Does all of my current financial aid apply? Have I investigated whether there are other scholarships available? This is the other most important consideration; working within your budget is normally feasible but you have to look for programs that will work.


What am I trying to achieve? Am I mainly interested in language acquisition? an international perspective on my major? an intercultural experience? adventure? career skills? a resume builder?

Dates and Duration

Is a semester or academic year abroad practical for my major? Would a short-term program fit better? Do the dates of the programs I am considering conflict with SIU semester dates or my summer internship? Am I planning to graduate in the near future?


Is there a place that has always fascinated me? Will I be comfortable with the culture and laws of that country? Do I prefer a big city or a more rural location? Am I looking for a small program or to be immersed in a large university?

Independent Options vs. Group

Do I want to go with a group of other SIU students or do I want to go on program where I am the only one or one of a few? Do I want to study mainly with other Americans or to immerse myself in the host culture?


Do I want to live with a host family, in a university residence, or in an apartment shared with Americans/locals/other international students?

Funding Study Abroad

Most forms of financial aid will apply and there some scholarships specifically for study abroad. SIU, or your program provider, will supply you with a program budget letter upon request. That will need to be submitted to Financial Aid after you have applied for the program. Please note that you must have a FAFSA on file for the appropriate term and be registered for the class in order to apply for aid. The one exception is that Financial Aid will provide a preliminary estimate for summer programs before the official summer aid application is available. For more detailed information, see our Study Abroad Financial Aid and Scholarships section. This includes information on using financial aid, internal and external scholarships, the Salukis Abroad Scholarship and budgeting for study abroad.

What is my next step?

If you are applying for a Global Seminar led by an SIU faculty member, then you simply click the Apply Now button in the top section of the individual program description.

For any other program, you should create an advising application and then set up an appointment with Study Abroad Programs.

You can set up an advising application by clicking here or using the link in the QuickLinks menu on our home page (right menu). In addition, if you click on the Apply Now button for any program other than a faculty-led Global Seminar it will direct you to an advising application.

For the advising application, you will log on using your SIU network ID and password. Please complete the Profile information including your cell number and photo (optional) and the Advising Questionnaire. The rest of your basic information will be downloaded from SalukiNet overnight.