Study Abroad and Exchange Opportunities

Rensselaer provides international opportunities for undergraduates, including semester-long study abroad and exchange opportunities, short-term and faculty-led international programs, and other international experiences. All students are encouraged to take advantage of an international experience during their undergraduate program.

Choose a Program

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Types of Programs

Exchanges - Affiliated

These programs are designed to be a reciprocal exchange of students between Rensselaer and a partner institution. Exchange programs offer Rensselaer students the opportunity to take regular classes at a partner university, allowing full immersion with host country peers and integration into the host institution. This type of experience requires a great deal of independence and initiative on the part of the student. The majority of exchanges are for a full semester, however a number of short-term opportunities are available each year. Students pay regular Rensselaer tuition and are eligible for all financial aid. Faculty-led programs may be offered from time to time. Students would pay regular tuition and a program fee for this type of ienternational experience.

Affiliated Exchange Partner Institutions

Non-Affiliated

Students who are unable to find a Rensselaer-affiliated program that meets their academic and personal interests may apply to a non-affiliated study abroad program. Students may transfer up to 16 credits, subject to Rensselaer’s transfer credit guidelines and course approval. Students interested in pursuing non-affiliated study abroad are expected to act independently in the research of an appropriate program and must adhere to all application requirements and deadlines as set by the program sponsor.  Students pay the program provider directly, and are not eligible for Rensselaer aid.

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Factors to Consider

Students should carefully consider a variety of factors when selecting a study abroad program.  The on-line program brochure for each affiliated program includes detailed information, eligibility requirements and links to the host institutions.   It is important to review the types of courses that are offered, program dates, services offered to exchange students and housing options so that you are able to select the study abroad program that meets your personal and academic interests.

International undergraduate students are also encouraged to participate in a study abroad or exchange experience, but may not participate in a program that takes place in their home country.  If you wish to take classes at an institution in your home country, you should plan to take a leave of absence in order to do so. The Leave of Absence process is coordinated by the Office of Student Success, and details can be found here.

Please consider the following when making a decision about which international experience is most suitable for you:

Eligibility

3. 0 minimum GPA (3.3 for UCL and DTU); Second-semester sophomore status is required for most semester programs; some require junior standing.  Short-term programs vary.

International students may not return to their home country for a study abroad experience.

Language

With the exception of the Technical University of Dresden, the working language at all partner universities is English, though the language of the host country will also be spoken. It is important to consider if you will be comfortable living in an environment where English may not be the primary language spoken.

Academic Calendar

Some fall programs end in January, with final exams taking place after the holidays. Southern Hemisphere programs typically run February through June (southern hemisphere semester 1) and July through November (southern hemisphere semester 2).  Make sure that the dates of the program that you select do not interfere with internships or summer plans.  Students are expected to remain at the host institution for all regularly scheduled exams and should not plan to leave early for another commitment.

Cultural and logistical challenges of spending a period abroad

Some programs offer more support than others, and it is important to assess how much support you will need to be comfortable while abroad.  All programs offer an arrival orientation program, and some sponsor activities for international students throughout the semester.  The academic climate at some universities is similar to that in the U.S., but at many partner schools, students are expected to behave independently and take full responsibility for their own academic success

Accommodation and Meals

While most affiliated programs guarantee university housing, some do not. Students may need to consider homestays or other private accommodations. Many programs do not offer a meal plan, and students are expected to eat out and/or cook on their own.

Course Availability

Make sure to check the course catalogue/timetable of the host institution to make sure that the classes that you need to remain on track for graduation will be offered during the semester that you choose to spend abroad.   Faculty approval of a course for the transfer of credit to Rensselaer does not guarantee that it will be available at the host institution during your semester abroad.

Cost and Finances

Students pay regular Rensselaer tuition for semester and full year exchanges and are eligible for all of their financial aid.  Faculty-led programs carry an additional program fee based on the length of the program, the destination and what is included.  Non-affiliated program participation will not pay regular Rensselaer tuition, but instead will pay the tuition and fees of the host institution/program.  Estimated expenses are available on the brochure for each affiliated program. 

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Choose a Program/Access Your Account

Search for available programs, apply to a program or view travel registry information.

Quick Links

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Travel Registry

Undergraduate students who are travelling abroad under the auspices of Rensselaer (e.g. athletic team, club/student organization, faculty-led study/research trip) must register their travel plans with the Office of International Programs (OIP) and submit the documentation requested. Students should register their travel here.

File Collection

Application Process & Deadlines

The Rensselaer Study Abroad application should be completed on-line through Office of International Programs portal. Once you have decided on a program, click “Apply Now” on the program’s information page. You will be prompted to log-in using your RCS ID and password. You will be able to save and return to your application. You will receive messages at various points in the application process, and it is very important that you read these messages and follow all instructions.

Course Selection & Approval Process

Application Deadlines

Fall or Full Academic Year — February 15

Spring — September 15

 Applications are reviewed by the OIP within two weeks of the application deadline.  Nominated applicants will be directed to complete the application materials of the host institution.

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Health & Safety

Rensselaer has contracted with International SOS (SOS) to provide travel assistance and emergency services to all students who are studying or traveling abroad under the auspices of Rensselaer.   SOS provides security and medical evacuation services, as well as a variety of health, safety, and travel-related resources.  SOS services include medical advice and referrals, repatriation, travel assistance and security evacuation assistance.  SOS is NOT health insurance and is not a substitute for health insurance.   Students will receive an SOS membership number and information prior to their departure.

The U.S. Department of State issues a Travel Advisory for every country in the world based on the security conditions that exist in that country/region.  Travel advisories follow a numerical system ranging  from 1 (exercise normal precautions) to 4 (do not travel), Travel advisories describe the risks that exist in a country or region and provide clear guidance that travelers should follow in order to ensure their own safety.

Rensselaer does not support undergraduate student travel to any country with a level 4 advisory.  Student travel to any country with a level 3 advisory must be approved.  Please contact Karen Dvorak for details.

Travel Alerts are issued to inform U.S. citizens of specific safety and security concerns in a country, such as demonstrations, crime trends and weather events. 

Visit the State Department website to view the Advisory/Alert for your destination, and for other important travel resources.

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Tuition, Financial Aid & Scholarships

Tuition & Financial Aid - Affiliated Programs:

  • Participants in an affiliated exchange program will pay tuition directly to Rensselaer but will not be charged the Student Activity or Health Center fees by Rensselaer.
  • Students are eligible to receive their RPI merit scholarship and need based awards for their exchange program if they remain otherwise eligible based on academic performance and financial need. The term a student is on exchange counts as one of the eight terms of eligibility for undergraduate gift aid throughout enrollment.
  • Federal Student Aid Program awards will also be provided if the student is otherwise eligible:
    • Federal loan eligibility will be based on grade level maximum and eligibility remaining from their undergraduate aggregate borrowing limit.
    • Federal work-study is not available during the exchange program enrollment.

Students who are using an exchange program as their Arch Semester Away Experience should speak with the Office of Financial Aid about the impact to their financial aid.

Some impacts to consider include:

  • The term a student is on exchange counts as one of the eight terms of eligibility for undergraduate gift aid throughout enrollment.
  • Students do not receive an additional term of eligibility because the participation in an exchange program is intended to meet degree requirements.
  • If participation in an exchange program results in three consecutive terms of course enrollment and tuition charges during the award year, then during the Arch year the student's Federal Student Loan eligibility will be disbursed in 1/3 increments per term, rather than in ½ increments per term.

Tuition & Financial Aid - Non-Affiliated Programs:

  • Students who participate in non-affiliated study abroad pay their tuition and fees directly to the program provider and do not pay Rensselaer tuition.  
  • Rensselaer scholarships may NOT be applied to study abroad on a non-affiliated program. However, students may use their federal financial aid for non-affiliated study abroad. 

To use your federal aid for non-affiliated study abroad, a Consortium Agreement must be completed and approved by the Office of Financial Aid. You MUST initiate this agreement and provide Financial Aid.

IMPORTANT:  Students must maintain full time enrollment while abroad and must register for the equivalent of at least 12 Rensselaer credits.  Aid applies only to those credits that have been approved towards completion of a Rensselaer degree. Students who fall below 12 credits are at risk of losing some or all of their financial aid.

Scholarships

The Office of International Programs encourages students to pursue various scholarship opportunities. Below are some funding opportunities that are available for study abroad.

Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals, (CBYX)

The Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals, (CBYX) is a yearlong fellowship to study and intern in Germany. CBYX is open to applicants in all career fields, though preference is given to students in STEM fields, agriculture, business, and vocational fields. Students traditionally underrepresented in study abroad opportunities are especially encouraged to apply. Prior German language knowledge is not required, though it is preferred.

More information can be found at www.CBYX.info

The CBYX program annually provides 75 participants with:

  • 2 months intensive German language training
  • 1 semester of study at a German university or university of applied sciences
  • 5-month internship with a German company in the participant’s career field
  • Transatlantic airfare, health insurance, and monthly living expense stipends
  • Local in-country support throughout the program
DAAD RISE

RISE is a summer internship program for undergraduate students from the United States, Canada and the UK in the fields of biology, chemistry, physics, earth sciences and engineering. RISE offers unique opportunities for Bachelor students to work with research groups at universities and top research institutions across Germany for a period of 2 to 3 months during the summer. RISE interns are matched with doctoral students whom they assist and who serve as their mentors. The working language will be English. All scholarship holders receive stipends from the DAAD to help cover living expenses, while partner universities & research institutes provide housing assistance.

Learn more about this scholarship opportunity and how to apply.

Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program

A program of the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program offers intensive summer language institutes in thirteen critical foreign languages. The selection process is administered by American Councils for International Education with awards approved by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The CLS Program is administered by American Councils and The Ohio State University/Ohio University.

Learn more about the CLS Program and how to apply

Boren Awards

Boren Scholarships and Fellowships provide unique funding opportunities for U.S. undergraduate and graduate students to study less commonly taught languages in world regions critical to U.S. interests, and underrepresented in study abroad, including Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America, and the Middle East.

Learn more about the Boren Awards and how to apply.

BUTEX North American Scholarships

The Scholarship is open to all undergraduate students currently registered at an institution in the USA or Canada. To be eligible to apply you must have been offered a study abroad or exchange place at a UK university which is BUTEX affiliated. Your study abroad or exchange place must be for a minimum of one semester.

The value of each scholarship is £500 and will be paid to the winners once they have arrived and registered at their host university.

For further details of how to apply for this scholarship please see https://www.butex.ac.uk/scholarships/

IIEPassport Study Abroad Funding

IIEPassport Study Abroad is a comprehensive online database that allows students to search for scholarships, fellowship, and grants for international experiences.

Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program

The Gilman Scholarship Program offers awards for undergraduate study abroad and was established by the International Academic Opportunity Act of 2000. This scholarship provides awards for U.S. undergraduate students who are receiving Federal Pell Grant funding at a two-year or four-year college or university to participate in study abroad programs worldwide.

For students applying for any academic term (academic year, fall, spring or summer) please find the eligibility requirements below:

  • Enrolled as an undergraduate student at a two or four-year U.S. Institution
  • United States citizen
  • Receiving a Federal Pell Grant at the time of application or during the term of study abroad
  • Participating in a study abroad program that is no less than 4 weeks (28 days) in one country and no more than an academic year
  • Receiving academic credit
  • Study in any country not currently under a U.S. State Department Travel Warning or Cuba

Learn more about this scholarship opportunity and how to apply.

Freeman-ASIA

Freeman-ASIA accepts applications from U.S. citizens or permanent residents studying at the undergraduate level at a two-year or four-year college or university who demonstrate financial need to study abroad in East or Southeast Asia. A Freeman-ASIA Award provides need-based funding to assist the recipient with the cost of the study abroad program and related expenses, including airfare, basic living costs, local transportation, books, etc. 

Learn more about this scholarship opportunity and how to apply.