Study Abroad/Study Away Policies

Study Abroad/Study Away Academic Policies

Through its Center for International Programs, Kalamazoo College sponsors study abroad programs in the following countries: Ecuador, France, Germany, Kenya, Mexico, Sénégal, Spain, Thailand, and Trinidad. In addition, Kalamazoo College students are able to participate in programs organized by foreign or U.S. institutions in a number of other countries including Australia, Botswana, Chile, China, Costa Rica, Denmark, Egypt, England, Greece, Hungary, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, and Scotland. For specific information about the study abroad or study away programs available to Kalamazoo students and their requirements for participation, please contact the Center for International Programs. A list of study abroad and study away programs pre-approved for transfer of academic credit is updated and published by the Center yearly. It is available on the CIP website. All study abroad programs offered through the Center are subject to annual enrollment limits. In the case where a program does not have sufficient minimum enrollment to meet academic and/or financial requirements, the College reserves the right to cancel the program for that particular year and assign students elsewhere.

The Center determines which study abroad and study away programs qualify for transfer of academic credit and Kalamazoo College financial assistance/scholarships. Students should consult the "List of Study Abroad Programs" regularly to determine if a program qualifies for the transfer of academic credit and Kalamazoo College financial assistance/scholarships. Programs may be changed, suspended, or withdrawn at any time due to political, economic, or other conditions. No credit will be awarded for any academic work done outside the United States without prior endorsement by the Center. Requests for endorsements after the fact will not be considered. Students interested in enrolling in a program not on the List of Study Abroad Programs Approved for Transfer of Academic Credit (a copy of which can be found in the CIP office and on the CIP website) can petition the Center to have the program endorsed on a one-time basis. Such petitions must be filed by November 1 of the calendar year prior to the year in which students wish to participate. A description of the petition process is available in the Center for International Programs and on the CIP website.

As a general policy, participation in Kalamazoo College study abroad programs will be limited to a maximum of 15 students per program, although some programs have different limits. Sophomores will be given priority for the spring short-term programs. Juniors will be admitted to spring short-term programs only if there is space available and with the approval of the Registrar and the student's adviser. Sophomores and juniors are equally eligible for the winter short-term program in Oaxaca, Mexico. Long-term and extended-term programs are open to juniors only (students with a minimum of 17 academic K-units). In those Kalamazoo programs that are open to participation by non-Kalamazoo students (Sénégal and Kenya), priority will be given to Kalamazoo students; non-Kalamazoo students will be admitted on a space-available basis. First-year students are not eligible to participate in study abroad during the academic year. A description of the policies and processes for summer off-campus study can be found in this catalog under the heading "Transfer Credit".

Kalamazoo students are eligible to participate in only one extended-term, long-term, or short-term study abroad experience and only one domestic study awa program for credit during their time at the College. Students may participate in both one domestic study away and one short- or long-term study abroad program during their time at the College. No more than ten units of credit from off-campus programs (including study abroad and domestic off-campus programs such as New York Arts, Philadelphia Urban Studies, or Border Studies Program) can be used to meet a student's graduation requirements. Students may apply their Kalamazoo College financial assistance/scholarships to only one extended-, long-, or short-term study abroad program approved for such transfers.

On most Kalamazoo College programs, a College representative meets each group as it arrives abroad. College personnel visit study abroad programs as needed. All Kalamazoo sponsored study abroad programs have a Resident Director appointed by the College to mentor students and represent the College. At many programs, students live in homestays; in other instances, housing is arranged by the program, typically in university dormitories.

Study Abroad Program Length

The study abroad programs available to Kalamazoo College students include long-term, extended-term, and short-term programs. In a long-term program, the academic experience typically lasts 14 to 17 weeks, beginning in the fall. Extended-term programs are only available to language and/or International and Areas Studies majors and typically begin in the fall and end the following June or July. Spring short-term programs typically last ten weeks, beginning in late March and ending in early June. The College offers one short-term winter quarter program, which begins in early January and concludes in mid-March. For information regarding specific program dates, please contact the Center for International Programs. Students need to meet with their academic advisers and consult the CIP well in advance of participation in order to determine the programs that will best fit their academic program at the College. Summer study abroad for credit is available to Kalamazoo College students through CIP-sponsored International Study Seminars or the summer off-campus study programs. Students who intend to participate in extended-term programs must pass all classes taken during the long-term portion with a C or better. If a student has not met this requirement, they are not eligible to participate in the extended-term program and will need to make arrangements to return to campus for the spring quarter.

Study Abroad/Study Away Eligibility

Students are required to obtain approval in advance for participation in study abroad/study away programs through application to the Center for International Programs. Students wishing to participate in study abroad/study away must have a minimum 2.5 GPA at the time of application; some programs have higher minimum GPA requirements. Students whose GPA does not meet the College’s 2.5 minimum or the program's minimum and who still wish to study abroad must meet with CIP staff prior to submitting an application for study abroad. NOTE: Kalamazoo College cannot waive GPA or other eligibility requirements established by other programs. Therefore, only certain Kalamazoo-sponsored study abroad programs may be available to these students. The final decision regarding admission to and participation in specific programs rests with the Associate Provost for International Programs and host institutions abroad. The Associate Provost reserves the right to deny participation in study abroad/study away when students' actions either on or off campus raise doubt that they are ready for an international study experience or prepared to represent Kalamazoo College appropriately.

Students on academic probation, or who have a history of significant disciplinary problems, are not eligible to participate in the study abroad/study away program. All incomplete grades must be resolved prior to departure for study abroad/study away. All students participating in long-term or extended-term study abroad programs must have junior standing (a minimum of 17 Kalamazoo College academic course credits with a grade of D or better; note, this excludes PE or applied music credit). Students who are not able to complete the program's 17 academic-unit requirement prior to the conclusion of the last quarter on campus before study abroad may be placed on a conditional admission status until proof of completion has been received and approved by the registrar. Students who transfer to Kalamazoo College should talk with a CIP staff member during their first term on campus about their study abroad/study away options.

Students whose physical, mental, or emotional condition may require accommodations to participate in study abroad/study away must contact the Center staff well before the deadlines for applications. The Center staff will assist by providing the student a clear description of the physical and mental requirements of the program. The student will be asked to provide the Center staff with a clear description of the accommodations which the student believes will be necessary for the student to meet the requirements of the program as well as a list of the accommodations provided the student by Kalamazoo College. The student may be asked to provide the Center with a release to speak with the student's healthcare provider so that the Center staff can clearly understand the student’s needs. The Center staff will determine the availability of those or other reasonable accommodations at the program location. The student's acceptance into a specific study abroad/study away program is contingent upon the determination to the Associate Provost's satisfaction that reasonable accommodations are available at that program location.

Study Abroad/Study Away Application, Selection, and Placement

Students must meet specific requirements and deadlines in order to be eligible to participate in any study abroad/study away program. These requirements differ from program to program, but for all of them prospective participants must fill out and submit required application materials, which are available on the CIP website and in the CIP. Students must complete a Kalamazoo College study abroad application and, in most cases, will also need to complete additional materials for the host institution or university. Incomplete applications will be considered late and will not be processed until completed. Application materials will be forwarded by the CIP office to the appropriate study abroad/study away programs.

Information on specific program requirements and applications is available in the Center for International Programs. With the exception of a single required foreign language course, students must meet all requirements at the time they apply and continue to meet the set requirements prior to departure. Academic performance and probationary status will be evaluated by CIP staff following each quarter prior to departure for study abroad/study away.

Students may only apply for one study abroad/study away program at a time, regardless of the application deadline of that program. If a student is not admitted into his or her first choice study abroad program, the CIP will assist the student in applying for another study abroad program to which he or she is eligible and in which there is space available.

Participants are admitted to specific study abroad/study away programs based upon student qualifications, program capacities, and other conditions deemed relevant by the Associate Provost for International Programs. Students meeting the College's and any program-specific eligibility requirements are selected for participation in the study abroad/study away program on the basis of such items as their cumulative grade point average, their grades in the appropriate foreign language (where applicable), the strength of the required essay(s), faculty letters of recommendation, an evaluation of the transcript, and other information provided in their application and their College records. The Center for International Programs may also require applicants to be interviewed.

Transfer students should expect that their previous academic work will be reviewed as part of the selection process and must supply the Center with an official transcript from their previous institution(s) at the time of application. The Office of the Registrar cannot release copies of non-Kalamazoo College transcripts. A combined transfer and Kalamazoo GPA will be used to determine eligibility.

Applications for participation in the winter quarter short-term Oaxaca study abroad program are due on Friday of the third week of fall quarter. Applications for participation in short-term study abroad programs are due in the Center by November 1; applications for participation in long-or extended-term study abroad programs are due in the Center by January 15. Failure to turn in the completed application materials by the due dates will jeopardize a student’s participation in study abroad. Study Away application deadlines can be found in the CIP office and on the CIP website.

Study Abroad Foreign Language Prerequisites

Students who desire a university-integrated experience, in which they take classes with host country students in French-, German-, or Spanish-speaking programs, must have advanced proficiency in the appropriate foreign language equivalent to at least level 202 or 203. Students participating in Chinese-or Japanese-speaking programs will need considerably more language study than required by the program to be able to gain entrance to regular university courses. Students who have proficiency in a foreign language through level 201 will most typically take courses in the target language but offered through a language and culture institute for foreign students attached to or otherwise affiliated with a university.

Students who have already taken the required minimum level of foreign language for their study abroad program are encouraged to maintain their level of proficiency during the time before departure. Students will not receive credit for a language course abroad equivalent to one already taken at Kalamazoo College.

Students choosing the spring short-term study abroad option may not have proficiency in the language of the Study Abroad program greater than four units (level 202) of that language and must have a minimum proficiency equivalent to 2 units (102). Most short-term programs can only offer courses at the 201-203 level and are thus not appropriate academically for students with higher levels of foreign language proficiency.

Students who are not able to complete the program's language requirement prior to the conclusion of the last quarter on campus before study abroad may be placed on conditional admission status until proof of completion has been received and approved by the language department and the Registrar.

Study Abroad/Study Away Fees

For Kalamazoo College students participating in a long-term Kalamazoo College study abroad program, the comprehensive fee for 2013-2014 is $31,688; for an extended-term Kalamazoo College program, the 2013-2014 fee is $47,502. The fee for students participating in Kalamazoo College 2014 spring short-term programs is $15,834. Fees for CIP-sponsored International Study Seminars will be noted on the program description and may vary according to the program's itinerary. Fees for study away vary by program and can be found on the CIP website. Fees for summer off-campus study vary by provider. Comprehensive fees for participants from other colleges and universities are the same as for Kalamazoo College students. Comprehensive fees for Kalamazoo students participating in non-Kalamazoo study abroad/study away programs often exceed the fees for Kalamazoo programs. All non-Kalamazoo options are billed at the Kalamazoo College rates cited above or at a higher rate if the costs exceed customary Kalamazoo charges. In no instance will a student pay less than the comprehensive fee assessed for Kalamazoo College's own study abroad programs. The Center for International Programs has information on comprehensive fees for specific programs. A nonrefundable deposit will be required prior to participation in any program. The deposit will be credited towards the comprehensive fee.

The comprehensive fee includes room and board while classes are in session, all academic tuition and fees, and excursions included as part of the academic program.

Note: The US Internal Revenue Service requires that Kalamazoo College report tuition seperate from other fees on the form 1098-T. Study Abroad students at Kalamazoo College are charged a comprehensive fee for participation in the program. For the purposes of the 1098-T form, tuition will be listed in the same amount charged for the on-campus program. The remaining portion of the study abroad comprehensive fee will be noted as "study abroad program fee."

Study abroad fees do not include items such as the following:

  • round-trip transportation between the student's home and the program's location
  • books and other required educational materials (including photocopies and personal printing—approximately $150 per quarter) or additional lab or music fees
  • room and board during academic breaks, Christmas, Holy Week, and other extended vacation periods, particularly in Spain and France
  • cell phones or Internet fees/usage
  • passports
  • required photographs
  • required physical exams, x-rays, and other medical tests
  • required and recommended immunizations (average cost for immunizations at the College Health Center is $200 to $300)
  • required health and accident insurance
  • required antimalarial prophylactic pills (where recommended by the CDC) that the student takes abroad (average cost $10 per pill, taken on a weekly basis; total cost varies from $300 to $400, depending on the length of the program)
  • independent travel while abroad
  • incidental expenses en route and abroad
  • cost of local transportation at the program site, including field trips for a course as well as daily commuting
  • Visa fees (for certain programs)
  • personal property insurance

Note: The CIP tries to estimate these additional miscellaneous expenses on the individual budget program sheet found on the Hornet Passport Website.

Kalamazoo College reserves the right to change or modify what is included in the comprehensive study abroad/study away fee without prior notice. For details on what the comprehensive fee includes, please consult the Associate Provost of International Programs or the CIP website (

The amount students spend above and beyond what is paid to the College will vary: Returning students suggest that an average of $2,000 extra for short-term; $2,500 to $3,500 for long-term programs; and $3,000 to $4,000 for extended-term programs is realistic. Students may be able to manage on less than these amounts if they budget carefully and restrict independent travel. Many study abroad/study away programs require participants to accept financial obligations that are not covered by the Kalamazoo College comprehensive fee. Students should consult program providers for details.

Study Abroad/Study Away Billing and Payment

Students will be informed of the comprehensive fee for the study abroad/study away program prior to the beginning of the program. Payments for study abroad/study away programs are made according to the regular college payment schedule. For specific billing dates, contact the Kalamazoo College Student Accounts Office.

For GLCA and other non-Kalamazoo students participating in Kalamazoo College-sponsored study abroad programs, the home institution will be billed. This allows students to receive any financial aid for which they are eligible. Please notify the Center for International Programs if the bill should be sent to an address different from the home institution. A form specifying a preferred billing address is completed following acceptance into the program.

All student accounts, including fees, must be cleared before students can leave for study abroad/study away. Final departure packets will not be released unless student accounts are paid in full or appropriate arrangements have been made through the Kalamazoo College Student Accounts Office. Non-payment of the comprehensive fee installments will jeopardize a student's continuing participation in the program and may result in withdrawal or dismissal from the program.

Study Abroad Deposit

In order to hold a student's place in a study abroad program, a nonrefundable deposit is required. Payment of this amount is due with the Participation Confirmation form. If this form and deposit are not returned by the deadline, students will be withdrawn from the program. In the cases of withdrawal after that date or dismissal from the program, the deposit will be forfeited. In addition to forfeiting the deposit, students who withdraw following submission of an application to study abroad are liable for all other moneys advanced on their behalf at any time including, but not limited to, application fees and nonrefundable deposits assessed by non-Kalamazoo programs, airlines, etc.

Study Abroad Financial Assistance/Scholarships

International education is supported at Kalamazoo College by a number of generous gifts, including the S. Rudolph Light Endowment and the Arcus Gay and Lesbian Fund Study Abroad Endowment. For Kalamazoo College students receiving Kalamazoo College financial assistance/scholarships, this aid is available for those programs that appear in the "approved for transfer of academic credit and Kalamazoo financial assistance/scholarships" category of the List of Study Abroad Programs. The term "limited financial aid" indicates that state and federal funds are fully available, but institutional funding (including GLCA tuition remission) will not be credited.

For a list of outside scholarships and/or fellowships available to college students, please see the "Scholarships" page on the CIP website. Kalamazoo College students with demonstrated financial need as determined by the Kalamazoo College Office of Financial Aid may be eligible to receive a travel subsidy for their study abroad program. More information on travel subsidies is avaiable in the Travel Subsidy FAQs on the CIP website.

Non-Kalamazoo College students receive no financial aid from Kalamazoo College. Students should consult with the study abroad director and financial aid office on their own campus regarding their financial aid package while studying abroad.

Work/Study: No employment is available to students while on study abroad. Students travel overseas on a student visa that specifically prevents them from seeking employment or earning money while they are in that country: If work/study is part of their financial aid package, students should consult the Office of Financial Aid and should find an alternative source for those funds for the quarters spent abroad.

Study Abroad Pre-Departure Orientation

CIP staff members recognize that an important first step in preparing for the study abroad experience is for participants to have an opportunity to learn more information about their study abroad program. During the quarter preceding study abroad participation, CIP and other College staff members offer question-answer sessions as well as formal meetings providing information about the academic structure of the programs abroad, health and safety information, and details about logistical components of the program. Where feasible, study abroad returnees as well visiting international students will contribute to sessions to help students prepare to make the most of their time abroad. Kalamazoo College students must attend all mandatory study abroad orientation meetings on the Kalamazoo campus. Students are also encouraged to participate in workshops, which may provide additional information and preparation. Non-Kalamazoo students are not required to attend the orientation sessions held on Kalamazoo's campus but are required to abide by and satisfy all deadlines.

Academic Credit from Study Abroad/Study Away

All academic work completed in the study abroad/study away program is certified by the Associate Provost for International Programs and the Registrar and is recorded on the Kalamazoo College academic transcript on the basis of examinations and reports supplied by supervisors and teachers abroad. Study abroad/study away credits may be used to satisfy graduation requirements. Major, minor, or concentration requirements are at the discretion of departmental faculty. Credit distribution for other College graduation requirements is determined by the Registrar. When registering for courses abroad, students should direct inquiries regarding such credits accordingly. Students are encouraged to obtain approval from the department in advance if a student wishes to use a course from study abroad/study away to satisfy requirements for a major, minor, or concentration. Kalamazoo College students are eligible to earn three Kalamazoo College units of credit for a short-term program, six units for a long-term program, and nine units for an extended-term program. Students from other colleges participating in Kalamazoo College programs should consult the Center for International Programs regarding credit. Once students have completed the study abroad/study away program and (where necessary) consulted with the Registrar, the appropriate grades and credits will be recorded on the transcript. Only those courses from study abroad/study away which are within the "Liberal Arts Tradition" of the College will be accepted for credit.

Independent Study on Study Abroad/Study Away

No independent study for credit, including "distance education" courses, may be pursued in any study abroad/study away program without advance approval from the Associate Provost for International Programs.

Grades from Study Abroad/Study Away

All grades earned on study abroad/study away fall within the College's general policies on transfer credit. Study abroad/study away grades will be reviewed, translated, and certified by the Center for International Programs and will be recorded by the Registrar on the official Kalamazoo College transcript according to the Kalamazoo A, B, C grading system. Grades from study abroad/study away courses will not be counted in the student's Kalamazoo grade point average. To receive credit for a study abroad/study away course, students must earn a C or better according to the local grading scale. (Note: Courses taken as "pass/fail" on study abroad will not be transferred.) Credits will normally be listed on the Kalamazoo College transcript with the same academic rubric used at the foreign institution; for example, a class listed as a "History" course will be listed as a "History" course on the Kalamazoo transcript. A student who believes that, for instance, a course listed as "Art History" at a foreign institution should be listed as "History" on the Kalamazoo transcript should appeal to the Associate Provost for International Programs and the Kalamazoo College Registrar. In consultation with the department affected and after examining a syllabus of the course completed abroad, the Associate Provost and Registrar will determine how the course should be described on the transcript.

Students seeking a grade change for a course taken on study abroad/study away must petition the Center for International Programs no later than six weeks following notification of their grades. Requests for a grade review must be accompanied by complete documentation from the course in question including syllabi, assignment sheets, reading lists, homework and other assignments, essays, examinations, etc. Grade appeals must follow the College's standard change of grade procedure as outlined in the catalog.

Incomplete Grades on Study Abroad/Study Away

Students must complete all course work while they are enrolled in the study abroad/study away academic program; no Incomplete (I) grades will be given for course work taken in a program off-campus. All course work must be completed by the deadlines set by the staff and/or instructors at the program. Courses that are not completed abroad will be recorded with a grade of F on the Kalamazoo College transcript.

Attendance Policy on Study Abroad/Study Away

Attendance is required at all classes while on study abroad/study away except in the case of illness and/or emergencies beyond the student's control. Students are expected to attend classes Monday through Friday and to participate in scheduled group activities and excursions. Visits by family or friends are not reasons for an excused absence from class. Unexcused absences often result in a lowered grade and may be deemed a sufficient reason for withdrawal from the program, which could also result in withdrawal from the College.

Underloads, Dropped and Added Courses on Study Abroad/Study Away

Students are not permitted to arbitrarily underload, drop, or add courses while on study abroad/study away. Students must enroll in the required number of courses as specified by Kalamazoo College and cannot exceed or reduce the required number of courses in the program without the written permission of the Associate Provost for International Programs. Students who add a course without permission will receive no credit for that course. Students who drop a course without permission or fail to enroll in the prescribed number of courses will receive an F for each dropped course, which will be recorded on the transcript.

Withdrawal from Study Abroad/Study Away

Students who withdraw from the program after being admitted will forfeit the nonrefundable deposit. They will also be required to pay any additional costs incurred on their behalf (including, but not limited to, moneys advanced on their behalf for nonrefundable deposits at other institutions, airfare, legal documents, visa and application fees, housing deposits, etc.). Students who withdraw with the permission of the Associate Provost for International Programs after the program abroad has begun may be entitled to a partial refund as specified in the College's policies. Eligibility for possible refunds will be computed from the first day of the academic program abroad, not according to the on-campus calendar. These students may be eligible to receive grades of W (withdrawal) on the Kalamazoo College academic transcript.

Students who wish to return home once a program abroad has begun must receive permission to do so from the Associate Provost for International Programs. Students who withdraw without permission will not be eligible for any academic credits that would have been earned and will, in a separate administrative action, automatically be withdrawn from the College. These regulations also apply in the case of dismissal from the program. Students who wish to travel home for a personal or family emergency must notify the Associate Provost for International Programs, or designee, and complete a "temporary leave of absence" form.

If students participate in the study abroad program and subsequently withdraw from the College prior to graduation, the Board of Trustees has directed that these students must pay $1,300 before their academic transcripts will be released.

Dismissal from Study Abroad/Study Away

Application to and acceptance into the study abroad/study away program is separate from admission to the College. Participation in study abroad at Kalamazoo College requires that students meet certain expectations and eligibility criteria as well as exercise responsible judgment and behavior. The Associate Provost for International Programs or designee may withdrawal or dismiss students from the study abroad/study away program for violations of College policy and/or regulations, disruptive behavior or conduct which could bring the program into disrepute, misuse and/or abuse of alcohol or drugs, medical or academic grounds, or behavior that poses a danger to the student or others.

When students accept their admission to the study abroad/study away program, they agree to abide by the policies and regulations set forth in the Study Abroad Handbook, the Academic Catalog, and other relevant Kalamazoo College publications. Of particular importance for students participating in study abroad is the "Statement of Social Behavior" from the Study Abroad Handbook that states, in part, that acceptable behavior includes compliance with local laws and regulations, host university policies and regulations (including local housing regulations and policies), and adherence to the social patterns of the homestay family (or local housing placement) and the local community. Any behavior that, in the judgment of the Associate Provost or Associate Director of the Center for International Programs, causes pain or discomfort to others, reflects discredit on the individual or upon the College, or poses a danger to the individual student or to others is considered unacceptable and may subject the offender to immediate administrative action by the Associate Provost for International Programs including, but not limited to, immediate dismissal from the study abroad/study away program. Immediate administrative action may also be required for behavior or medical conditions which affect a participant’s ability to perform the essential functions of a student.

Students who are dismissed from the study abroad/study away program will be withdrawn from their courses overseas and receive a grade of F for each course. They will also be removed from their program-provided housing and will be expected to return to the United States as soon as possible. Students who have been dismissed from the study abroad program will, in separate administrative action, also be withdrawn from the College. Furthermore, the Associate Provost for International Programs or designee reserves the right to pursue separate sanctions against offenders under the College's judicial system in the event that they are permitted to continue as students at the College. Examples of student behavior while on study abroad/study away that may lead to immediate administrative action by the Associate Provost for International Programs or designee include, but are not limited to, illegal drug use, abuse of alcohol, failure to attend class and/or other required academic activities, hitchhiking, unauthorized absence from the study abroad/study away program, unauthorized changes in housing, arrest for infractions of local laws, and violations of Kalamazoo College policies. Furthermore, the Center for International Programs reserves the right to notify the parents of any student whose behavior abroad, which in the judgment of the Associate Provost or Associate Director, is unacceptable or in violation of study abroad/study away and/or College policy.