Study Abroad

A Study Abroad experience enables you to take classes towards the completion of your degree while living in a unique setting with different cultural, political, and social values from what you might experience at home.  

The Study or Internship Abroad component of the International Studies program provides you with an opportunity to gain overseas experience.  Your increased awareness and understanding of global challenges can later be applied not only in your studies at CofC but in becoming leaders of your generation. 

Study Abroad Requirement for International Studies Majors

All International Studies majors are required to spend one semester or summer in a study or internship abroad program and earn a minimum of 6 credit hours.

You must follow the INTL specific requirements for study abroad otherwise it will not count towards your INTL major.

General requirements:

  1. Study abroad should be in the region of the student’s concentration (e.g. if you are in the Africa concentration you should study abroad in Africa)
  2. Earn at least 6 credits while abroad.
  3. Spend a minimum of 3 weeks abroad.

Only the following programs will be approved for the International Studies major study abroad requirement:

  • All College run semester programs (Argentina, Chile, Cuba, Trujillo etc.)
  • All College of Charleston bilateral (exchange) programs.
  • At this time all College of Charleston summer programs as long as they are at least 3 weeks long and you earn a minimum of 6 credit hours 
  • iCharleston London, Dublin and Rome
  • All Affiliate Programs except for Semester at Sea


Virtual Programs (alternative to the abroad requirement during COVID-19 travel restrictions)

While travel restrictions are in place you may want to consider a virtual program as an alternative to the study abroad requirement. Virtual programs through affiliate providers are set up through the Center for International Education (CIE) the same way that traditional study abroad programs are. Apply through ViaTRM and seek assistance from CIE through the process.

The following approved affiliate providers are offering virtual programs (courses and internships for credit): 


  • internships in Cape Town, Dublin, London, Rome, Sydney and Edinburgh
  • courses in England, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Spain 


  • internships in many locations in Asia and Europe 

CYA (College Year in Athens)

  • internships in Greece


  • service learning in Barcelona
  • internships worldwide


  • courses in Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America
  • internships worldwide

Planning Study Abroad Step-By-Step

1.       Plan ahead

Start thinking about the timing and the location of your study abroad when you declare your INTL major. Aim for your sophomore or junior year. But the best time for you will depend on your particular goals and circumstances. Talk to your advisor about studying abroad as early as possible.

2.       Learn the basics about studying abroad at CofC

Go to the website of the Center of International Education and familiarize yourself with the different programs (CofC faculty-led semester and summer programs, exchange programs, affiliate programs, independent internships, virtual programs) and enroll in the "Study Abroad 101" OAKS course (email for access). 

Start thinking about financing study abroad  and look into available scholarships. Please note that you cannot use most of your institutional financial aid going on affiliate programs. 

CIE can help with questions about the different programs and the logistics of study abroad programs. 

If you are interested in an internship abroad instead of going on a study abroad program please set up a meeting with your advisor to discuss your options.

3.       Choose a study abroad program

Meet with your advisor to discuss which program is best for you.

4.       Apply for Scholarships and get information about your specific financial aid situation.

Review the information provided by the Center for International Education about financing study abroad. 

Meet with your financial aid counselor to discuss financing study abroad if you are getting financial aid.

Apply for scholarships at CofC and look into other opportunities (e.g. Gilman Scholarships

5.       Apply for the study abroad program

This might be at the same time you are applying for scholarships. Just be aware that often the deadlines for scholarships are before the deadlines to apply for the programs.


Students may petition for an alternative or exemption on the basis of special circumstances. Please talk to your INTL major advisor if you would like to petition for an alternative or exemption.