A vital component of the International Studies major is experience beyond the IUB campus. Completion of the international experience requirement is ordinarily done through participation in an overseas study program or an overseas internship.
Students are encouraged to study or intern abroad for a semester or academic year, but it is the policy of International Studies that a graduate of the program should have at least one international experience of no fewer than 6 weeks in one geographic location. The international experience should be related to the student's academic and/or career goals. It is impossible to graduate with an International Studies major at IUB without an international experience.
Any IUB Overseas Study program of six weeks or longer will fulfill the requirement. No formal approval is necessary for such programs, though students must meet with the INTL advisor to discuss how the program fits into their individual academic plans and then successfully complete the program.
Non-IU study abroad programs, credit-bearing internships, non-credit internships and non-credit volunteer experiences should be discussed with the INTL advisor for review by the department prior to the student's payment of any deposits or signing of any program documents. These programs must be at least six weeks in length.
Examples of programs and experiences that do not fulfill the INTL requirement are Semester at Sea, military service, and programs that involve proselytizing.
Non-IU study abroad programs (credit-bearing)
Students choose to go on non-IU programs for a variety of reasons: to pursue specialized curriculum, to explore locations not offered by IU or to take advantage of flexible eligibilty requirements. Students with cumulative GPA below 3.0 will likely need to look at non-IU program options.
International Internships (credit-bearing)
While Overseas Study is the most popular way of fulfilling the international requirement, some students identify internships abroad. Internship credit for international internships is available through International Studies. See International Internships for additional guidelines and instructions.
Internships and Volunteer experiences (non-credit)
Non-credit internships and non-credit volunteer experiences should be discussed with the INTL advisor. A written proposal and signed waiver and release are required for pre-approval.
The written proposal should be submitted electronically with the following information:
- Dates of the program or internship
- A detailed list of duties and/or responsibilities
- An explanation of how the student will interact with the host culture
- An explanation of why this internship or volunteer opportunity was chosen (i.e. how will it help the student prepare for his/her I400 project or meet other future goals?)
- A reflection on challenges the student expects to face during his/her time abroad and how he/she intends to face these challenges
- Links to the program or sponsoring organization's website
The following is required after the experience:
- A letter from the program or internship supervisor on official letterhead stating completion and dates of participation or certificate of completion with dates
- A daily journal
- A reflection paper of 10 pages
State Department Travel Warnings
International Studies does not support or encourage travel to locations deemed unsafe by the U.S. State Department.
The International Experience and the Senior Thesis
All students are required to complete a senior thesis (INTL-I 400 or INTL-I405/406). The superior senior thesis draws on the overseas experience. Students often formulate their thesis topic while abroad or go abroad with a thesis topic in mind so that they can utilize overseas resources.
Students who matriculated to IU during Summer 2009 or later are encouraged to take INTL-I 315 Research Methods in International Studies before going abroad. Students who matriculated before Summer 2009 are not required to take INTL-I 315, but will find it helpful.
Exceptions to the International Experience
On very rare occasions, International Studies has approved domestic international experiences in lieu of an overseas experience. For such an exception to be made, students must make a strong and compelling case to the Director of International Studies as to why they are unable to complete the requirement abroad and offer a U.S-based domestic alternative with a significant international component. Working with a refugee population or at a U.S.-based foreign embassy are examples of acceptable alternatives.
Cases for an exception are usually based on unforeseen hardship or medical problems. Financial reasons have not previously been accepted.
Students should plan ahead and talk to the INTL advisor about alternative majors if fulfiling the international experience looks problematic.