International Requirement Quick Facts

Where can I travel to complete my international experience?

Students can complete their international experience in any country that is not currently on the State Department Travel Warning list.

When is the best time to complete my international experience?

There is not a specific time that students should complete their international experience. Every student is different. Students are encouraged to speak with their major academic advisor to discuss when the best time would be for them to complete their international experience based on their major coursework. Many students will complete a program during their junior or senior year, though students can complete a program as early as freshman year if they have planned accordingly. The summer before junior or senior year is also a popular time.

If you know you are interested in studying abroad for a full semester, start planning as soon as you can. Organizing a full semester abroad can take about 2-3 semesters of planning. It is definitely possible to take a full semester, as long as you start the process early. Discuss the possibilities with your major advisor.

Is it safe? What safety measures are taken on these programs?

Safety is a top priority for the university when it comes to international study. All students are required to obtain international health insurance in the event of a medical emergency. The university has an emergency response plan in effect, should an emergency occur while abroad.

For short-term programs offered through SDSU, the program providers have extensive networks in place in country for faculty and students to utilize while they are abroad.

Do I have to speak a foreign language?

For many programs, it is not a requirement to speak a foreign language. Many of the summer/winter/spring break programs offered by SDSU faculty members do not require a foreign language.

If you are participating in a language immersion program or a full semester exchange program, foreign language experience or fluency may be required. Consult the individual program requirements for further information.

Does the International Requirement apply to me?

The International Requirement applies to ALL undergraduate CHHS students who entered San Diego State University (SDSU) during the Fall 2010 semester, and each semester following. This applies to all transfer students and first-time freshman.

Exception: Undergraduate students who entered SDSU prior to Fall 2012 as a new student AND with a declared Exercise and Nutritional Sciences major. 

When in doubt: check your Degree Audit Report on your web portal. If the International Requirement is noted under requirements, it applies to you. If you are still not sure whether or not the requirement applies to you, please contact the CHHS International Coordinator.

I recently changed my major to a one within CHHS, but I have been enrolled in courses at SDSU since before Fall 2010. Does the International requirement apply to me?

If you recently changed your major to one in the College of Health & Human Services (Social Work, Nursing, Public Health, Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences, Exercise & Nutritional Sciences), but you have been continuously enrolled at SDSU prior to Fall 2010, you are not required to complete the International Requirement. Please contact and meet with the CHHS International Coordinator to adjust your academic record.

I completed a study abroad program prior to transferring to SDSU, will that satisfy the International Experience requirement?

If you completed a study abroad program through another university or community college and received academic credit, it may be used to satisfy the international requirement. Proof of completion must be noted on your transcript. Contact and meet with Roxanne Riedel, CHHS International Coordinator, to discuss your specific concerns.

I completed military service abroad prior to entering SDSU, will that satisfy the International Experience requirement?

While we value your service for our country, active tours of duty or travel abroad cannot be used to satisfy the International Experience requirement. Your chosen International program must have an academic component where one receives university credit/units.

I’ve traveled extensively/lived abroad, will that satisfy the International Experience requirement?

Many of our students have traveled abroad previously or lived abroad. While we value that experience, that does not satisfy the International Experience requirement, as academic university credit is required.

How can I meet the International Experience Requirement at SDSU?

Any study abroad experience that includes an academic component for credit and involves a total time abroad of two weeks (certain exceptions apply such as the intensive travel component of HHS 350) will meet the requirement. The study abroad section of this web site has links to many programs. If you have any specific questions regarding the requirement or possible programs, contact the CHHS International Coordinator.

I found a program through another university, can I participate in that program?

As long as the program can be completed for academic credit through the host university, it is an eligible program to go through the independent program approval process. All independent programs outside of SDSU must be approved by the Education Abroad Office and Office of Advising and Evaluations. To begin this process, students must complete the Independent Program application through the Aztecs Abroad database. Not all programs will be accepted.

I found a volunteer program, can I participate in that program to receive credit for my international experience?

Typically, volunteer programs through nonprofit organizations or religious missionary work are not eligible to satisfy the international experience because they do not issue academic credit through an accredited university. If the volunteer program is affiliated with a university, students can follow the process of applying for approval through independent program process (see above).

Can my family/friends come with me on my international experience?

If your family or friends are enrolled in or participating in the study abroad program, then it is usually possible for them to join. Many programs have restrictions on outside guests.

Can students with disabilities participate?

We make every effort to accommodate all students. Contact the CHHS International Coordinator to convey your specific concerns. Additional online resources specific to students with disabilities include:

I am not able to travel outside of the U.S., is it possible to receive an alternative?

Students seeking an alternative to the study abroad portion of the international experience requirement are able to submit a petition to the CHHS Dean’s office for review. Final determinations regarding travel alternatives must be approved by the Dean for students who, because of serious and compelling life events or physical limitations, cannot meet this requirement. Students who are approved for an alternative to the international experience will be able to select from a number of pre-approved classes to enroll in at SDSU that have been identified as developing cross-cultural understanding and/or addressing international concerns. For the petition, students must submit the following to the International Coordinator in Education 154 (ED 154):

  1. A typed letter  with the student’s full name, address, phone number, RedID, email address, and major, explaining the reason for the petition. This should specifically outline your travel restriction only. Previous experience abroad or time/financial conflicts will not be considered and should not be included in the letter.  The letter must be signed and dated by the student.
  2. Official documentation supporting the petition. This can vary by student, but should clearly show the travel restriction for the student.

Alternatives due to medical reasons:

The process to petition for an alternative based on a medical condition is to apply to Student Ability Success Center, submit all medical documentation to their office, and meet with an SDS counselor to discuss your particular situation. SDS will give the CHHS International Coordinator their recommendation and the CHHS Dean may need to meet with the student for additional information.