Undergraduate Students

Undergraduate Handbook

International Experience

What is it?

The Stamps School of Art & Design International Experience prepares students to thrive in culturally diverse settings as they bring their design and art practices into the world.

The objectives for these International Experiences are to:

  1. Challenge students to experience their art and design practices in new cultures.
  2. Facilitate development of personal and professional connections with designers and artists from diverse cultures.
  3. Increase student interest in and ability to negotiate diverse cultures.
  4. Increase student independence and adaptability.
Is it required?

All BA and BFA art and design students are required to complete an International Experience outside the United States. This is true for everyone except:

  • Students whose permanent address is not in the U.S.
  • Students enrolled in the BFA in Interarts Performance are strongly encouraged to engage in an International Experience, but are not required.
  • Students enrolled in the Art & Design minor are exempt from the requirement.
How do I get started?
  • Use the documents found in the “Preparation” section to begin exploring what you would like to do.
  • If you haven’t already, complete advising questionnaire at stamps.umich.edu/international/mcompass.
  • Take advantage of walk-in hours with your International Experience peer advisors (see hours posted on the door of the Academic Program Center).
What’s the time commitment?

At a minimum, your International Experience must last at least 21 days on the ground in a host country (excluding travel days). Timing matters: an international experience may be undertaken as soon as the summer between your first and second year. For a semester abroad, the third year is a popular choice. Two-thirds of students select a summer program.

Occasionally, a student may want to study abroad for a full year. Study abroad for an entire academic year requires a written rationale and approval from the Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Programs. You will need to explain your plan of study at the host institution and the specific factors/reasons that make this a necessity.

How do I apply?

Students apply online using M-Compass. All Stamps students use M-Compass, even for non-UM study abroad programs, as well as international internships and independent research experience. In short, if you are fulfilling your International Experience requirement in any way, shape, or form, you use M-Compass.

What are my options for satisfying the requirement?

Easiest option:

  • Study abroad through an accredited program, where credit is earned. Examples include Stamps faculty-led programs and Stamps-sponsored programs such as DIS and SACI.

Requires more work on your part:

  • An internship, where credit may or may not be earned.
  • An independent research, volunteer, or service-learning experience.

These options require a detailed written proposal form, due December 1. For more information, attend an international advising session. The schedule is published in the weekly Stamps newsletter. December 1 is a hard deadline. You must have approval before you make plans to travel.

Do I need a passport?

Yes. Students need a valid passport. Passport scholarships are available to students who have financial need. Visit the Scholarships and Awards section for more info.

Are there additional requirements?

Yes. Students are required to complete the entire M-Compass application. This includes extensive health, safety, and security preparations, including purchasing travel health insurance from the U-M preferred vendor, currently HTH Worldwide. There are no exceptions to this policy.

Is it affordable?

There are a lot of choices, and budgets will vary. If there is a specific program or place you have your heart set on, start early to find out whether you can afford it. The most affordable option is studying abroad for an entire semester. Talking with your academic advisor during your freshman advising is perfect!

Is there funding?

Yes. Review the Scholarships and Awards section. And, click on the “Funding” tab in M-Compass.

Is there a foreign language requirement?

No. If you speak only English and need to enroll in studio courses abroad, a Stamps-sponsored program will be the best option. If you speak additional languages proficiently, more opportunities will be available.

Need face-to-face advice?

If you have a quick question about your international experience, get in touch with an international peer adviser - they're students just like you, and can help you find the answers you're looking for. Just email stamps-international@umich.edu.

If you need to schedule an appointment with an international peer advisor or Director of International Study Programs Sandra Wiley, go to: stamps.genbook.com. TIP: Keep the confirmation email sent to you by Genbook - you'll need to use the "Manage your appointment" link to change or cancel your appointment.

How can my academic advisor help me?

Talk with your academic advisor to incorporate the International Experience into your four-year plan of study.

Important International Experience Deadlines
Program term abroad Stamps deadline
Winter (Stamps-sponsored) Oct 1
Independent proposal Dec 1
Faculty-led (Stamps) Jan 31
Spring, Summer or Fall Mar 1
Independent reflections due Sep 1


Sandra Wiley - International Engagement Coordinator

Think of your International Experience as a musical score, with Sandy as your maestro. She will help you identify the experience that meets your needs, and provide perfectly timed advice for applying for a passport, searching for funding, and applying for a program. With her recommendations, you’ll be even better prepared for the transition to your host country!

Email Sandra