Education Away Options Offered by Cleveland State University

The Center for International Services and Programs (CISP) at Cleveland State University offers and promotes opportunities for students and staff to gain international knowledge and experience. They cater to CISP students who want to study away from CSU and international students who arrive at CSU.

CSU offers three main forms of education abroad through CISP: Faculty-led, reciprocal exchange, and affiliate programs. Faculty-led is the shortest option (anywhere from eight days to four weeks), and the programs are connected to classes offered at CSU. Reciprocal exchange programs allow students to pay CSU tuition while enrolling in a foreign university. 

CSU is also a part of the National Student Exchange, where students can pay CSU tuition while enrolling in classes at a university in another state. Affiliate programs allow students to earn transfer credit at CSU while studying in another location, whether internationally or nationally. The affiliate serves as a third-party intermediary between the student and the university the student wishes to study away at. 

A variety of study abroad options are open to CSU students through the different programs CSU offers and supports, but the options are not limited to CSU’s programs alone. One CSU student, Fintan Bracken, decided on a study away program through the University of Iowa’s Irish Writing Program (students who do not attend the University of Iowa are invited to apply).

Last summer, Fintan spent six weeks in Ireland through the University of Iowa program. Fintan chose Ireland because he would not need to rely on translations for his writing program. The University of Iowa has a strong English and creative writing program, so Fintan was able to make networking connections.

As for the program itself, Fintan described, “The nice thing about this program was there were very few set things to do (besides classes). But even those ended by Wednesday. So really, I was always doing things I was interested in.”

The majority of the six weeks were spent in Dublin for lectures, but Fintan was also able to travel to Inis Mór, the largest Aran island off the west coast of Ireland. Inis Mór was Fintan’s favorite activity because of the island’s beauty and the time he spent walking the island and writing.

Ireland – Photo Credit: Fintan Bracken

Fintan recommends studying away for other students.  He credits the Racquet Scholarship because “It was a huge help for me financially and was a major reason I was able to study abroad in the first place.” 

Currently, COVID-19 still impacts studying abroad opportunities. CISP provides updated guidelines on its website but studying away in certain countries is not approved. During Fintan’s six-week program in Ireland, some of his classmates got COVID and attended lectures digitally, but he was still able to have a good experience studying away.

Each study away experience is different, and CISP supports students throughout all the process steps. The first step is to begin researching programs, and the CISP website walks interested students through the research. 

Fintan explains, “If you are considering studying abroad, make a list of schools and requirements, then contact the staff at CSU for study abroad.” The CISP staff are more equipped to assist students who have some idea where they want to go or what program they might want to do, while the CISP website provides more information on the research process.

Still, Fintan emphasizes the importance of CISP. “Do not be afraid to contact the department at CSU. The staff at CSU were very helpful in providing the forms I needed to send to other schools and recommending scholarships.”

CISP accepts walk-ins (no appointments necessary) from 1:00-3:00 pm during the week in BH 412, or appointments can be scheduled on the CISP website.