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Identities Abroad: International Students

Identities Abroad: International Students

As an international student, although you are already "studying abroad" in the U.S., you may see value in pursuing a global social work opportunity in another country. International students in the School of Social Work are eligible for most programs provided by the Office of Global Activities. (Please note that to be eligible for Peace Corps service, you must be a U.S. citizen, including naturalized citizens. This may affect your ability to participate in the Office of Global Activities' Masters International Volunteer Program.) While you have some experience navigating another country's customs, norms, cultures, and visa policies, you may encounter additional hurdles while pursuing an additional international opportunity. Our office encourages you to read through the following tips and resources before applying for one of our programs.

Questions to Consider

  • Am I prepared to experience double culture shock?
  • If a crisis happens while abroad, how will I proceed? Will I return to the U.S. or my home country?
  • How do I ensure that I maintain my visa status while outside of the U.S.?
  • Will I need to renew my visa to travel abroad? Can I afford the costs associated with this?
  • Am I eligible for travel-related grants and scholarships?
  • Do I need to apply for a visa to travel to my host country?
  • Will I be able to pursue leisure travel in other countries while abroad?
  • How might my intentions to apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT) be affected by international travel?


  • Begin your preparations in advance. Making arrangements to travel abroad may take longer than average due to your status as an international student.
  • Do your research. Check the duration of your program to make sure they fall in line with visa requirements. Determine whether you will need to apply for an additional visa to enter your host country. Overall, ensure that you comply with each country's immigration laws.
  • Discuss your travel plans with an International Student Advisor. We strongly encourage you to meet with an advisor at the U-M International Center to discuss your plans to pursue a global social work opportunity. They can help answer questions regarding your visa and maintaining your status while abroad. They can also give you a travel signature on your Form I-20/DS-2019, which you will need prior to departing the U.S.


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