International Experience

Requirements & FAQ

All BA and BFA degree students are required to participate in an International Experience.

How to satisfy the International Experience:

  1. Study abroad through a Stamps pre-approved program, where credit is earned
  2. An internship, where credit may or may not be earned (requires Independent Experience Proposal)
  3. An independent research, volunteer or service-learning experience (requires Independent Experience Proposal)

Minimum requirements:

  • Three weeks minimum duration
  • Location outside the U.S.
  • Experience occurred after matriculation at U-M
  • Experience does not occur during the first year of the Stamps curriculum
  • Experience does not occur during the sophomore review semester

There are additional requirements related to preparing for the international experience, such as completing the relevant M-Compass program application materials and purchasing travel health insurance from the U-M preferred vendor.

Frequently Asked Questions

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.

The PDFs below were created to help you prepare for your international experience.

  1. How to Prepare
  2. What do you want from this experience?
  3. Identifying a Program
  4. Timeline
  5. Stamps-Sponsored Study Abroad Programs
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.  The international advising application, funding applications, program applications, and independent experience applications for residencies, internships, research, volunteer or service-learning are all located in M-Compass. 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 a Stamps pre-approved program, where credit is earned. Locations include Costa Rica, Denmark, France, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, the U.K., and more.

Requires more work on your part:

Do I need a passport?

Yes. Students need a valid passport. Passport scholarships are available to students who have financial need. For detailed information on how to apply for a passport and to request funding, visit M-Compass.

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. All students are required to purchase this insurance, even if they have coverage through another policy.

Is it affordable?

The most affordable option is studying abroad for an entire semester. Some options require juggling your academic schedule, so plan ahead. Talking with your academic advisor during your freshman advising session is perfect!

Is there funding?

Yes. Review the Scholarships and Awards section, and click on the “Funding” tab in M-Compass for opportunities from other U-M funding sources.

What about using financial aid?

Start this process at

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, including exchange programs in Germany, Italy, Japan, and Spain.

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

If you need to schedule an appointment with an international peer advisor or Director of International Study Programs Sandra Wiley, go to: 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 Oct 1
Independent experience proposal Dec 1
Stamps Faculty-led Winter/Spring Jan 15*
Stamps Faculty-led Summer Feb 15**
Spring, Summer or Fall at Stamps Partners Mar 1

* For these programs, students enroll and pay winter tuition, but spend time abroad during spring term.
**For these programs, students enroll and pay summer term tuition.


Sandra Wiley - Director of International Study Programs

Are you excited that your degree program requires you to live in another country?  When Sandy studied abroad it transformed her so much she decided to become an education abroad professional.  She channels her enthusiasm into designing cool programs for Stamps students.  Drawing from her own experience as a first-generation college student, she also makes them accessible and affordable.  The newest program is located in Costa Rica.  Travel to the land of M-Compass and start planning your own adventure. Meet Sandy at one of the events she organizes just for you – the Stamps International Fair, planning sessions, partner information sessions, pre-departure orientations and much more.

Email Sandy