Carlson School of Management

International Experience — Frequently Asked Questions

Below you will find many of the answers to commonly asked questions about fulfilling our International Experience (IE) requirement, unique considerations, timing, academic planning, financing, and more. First though, you should know why the Carlson School implemented the IE requirement.

The IE requirement was implemented at the Carlson School to prepare our undergraduate students to be business leaders in an increasingly competitive international economy. It signals our commitment to students' personal development in this area, leverages our existing strengths in international scholarship and programming, and provides a specific and important differentiating characteristic for the Carlson Undergraduate Program.

The primary goals of this requirement are:

  1. To motivate students to become more globally competent
  2. To encourage mutual understanding, communication, and collaboration of Carlson School students, staff, and faculty with colleagues abroad
  3. To support the development of students as authentic global business leaders

As you consider the following questions or have additional questions, we encourage you to see an Education Abroad Adviser in the Carlson Global Institute. We have walk-in advising hours and advising by appointment and look forward to helping you explore your study abroad goals and options.

Who is held to the IE Requirement?

All freshmen entering the Carlson School in Fall 2008 and later are expected to complete an international experience.

Transfer students and advanced standing freshmen who entered in Fall 2008 or later, and who are graduating prior to Spring 2012 (i.e., by December 2011), may choose to either complete an international experience or take MGMT 3040, Understanding the International Environment of Firms: International Business. Therefore, transfer students and advanced standing freshman who entered in Fall 2008 or later and who do not graduate by December 2011 are held to completing an international experience.

Students studying at the University of Minnesota on an F1, J1, or H4 visa are essentially studying abroad already. Their experience as a student here meets the IE requirement, so they will not be required to participate in another international experience. These students are free to explore additional international education opportunities through the University of Minnesota if they choose.

Students who enter the school on an F1 visa status, but later change to resident status will not be held to the international requirement. Enforcement will be determined based on the status at the time of admission to the Carlson School.


What type of program can be used to fulfill the IE?

All University of Minnesota sponsored or cosponsored programs fulfill the requirement. These include short-term, summer, semester, and year-long options. Carlson Global Institute offers semester, summer, and short-term study abroad programs. These programs focus on business curriculum and are taught primarily in English, though study in the language of the host country is also an option.

The University of Minnesota Learning Abroad Center (LAC) offers short-term, summer, semester, and year-long options. The LAC has a wide range of programs on a variety of topics, including business classes and language immersion options.

Visit Carlson School Education Abroad and the Learning Abroad Center for more information on specific programs.

Will an internship abroad fulfill the IE?

It's possible, but only with careful planning and advance approval from the Carlson Global Institute and Undergraduate Program offices. To seek approval, schedule a meeting with Deirdre Opp in the Carlson Global Institute at least two months in advance to discuss the IBUS 3999: Proposal for Self-Designed International Experience

Students will be required to earn credit for their internship by completing IBUS 3999 Self-Designed International Experience (1-3 cr, S/N) Students may enroll in IBUS 3999 immediately before, during, or immediately after their experience abroad. Previous experiences must be proposed within six months of the end of the experience.

Will a self-designed program or research abroad fulfill the IE?

It's possible, but only with careful planning and advance approval from the Carlson Global Institute and Undergraduate Program offices. The experience may be academic in nature, a service learning experience, or a volunteer opportunity. While the experience does not need to be a specific length to be approved, it should involve significant time abroad and be a substantive learning experience. To seek approval, schedule a meeting with Deirdre Opp in the Carlson Global Institute to review the IBUS 3999: Proposal for Self-Designed International Experience

Students will be required to earn credit by completing IBUS 3999 Self-Designed International Experience (1-3 cr, S/N) Students may enroll in IBUS 3999 immediately before, during, or immediately after their experience abroad. Previous experiences must be proposed within six months of the end of their experience.

Will previous work or military service abroad fulfill the IE?
Students who have either considerable professional work experience in a country other than their country of citizenship, a previous internship abroad experience, or military experience abroad should first speak with their academic adviser if they wish to have their experience reviewed for meeting the IE requirement. If appropriate, the student will be asked to file a petition documenting their experience, including duration, country or countries of experience, and ways in which they interacted with local people/culture. If the petition is approved, it will be approved under the condition that the student completes Self-Designed International Experience (1-3 cr, S/N).
Does participation in a study abroad program prior to attending the Carlson School fulfill the IE?
Students who previously participated in a Learning Abroad Center program, a Carlson Global Institute education abroad experience, or a University of Minnesota coordinate campus study abroad program may use this to meet their IE requirement. In addition, semester- and quarter-length study abroad programs offered through another 2- or 4-year institution may be reviewed for acceptance to meet the requirement. Documentation may be required. Transfer students with a previous post-secondary credit-bearing international experience should file an academic petition in the Undergraduate Program office within their first semester at Carlson.
Does previous attendance at a university abroad fulfill the IE?
Students who attended a university in another country for a minimum of one semester prior to transferring to the Carlson School may file a petition, including transcripts or TRAC report showing the coursework earned. The experience and credits earned must be college level.
Does a gap year abroad fulfill the International Experience?
Students who spent a year abroad following high school may have it considered for the IE requirement if the experience earned college credit or was a substantive academic experience. Students should speak with their adviser and then fill out the academic petition form with documentation. Students who did not earn college credit for the gap year may have it considered but will be required to complete the IBUS 3999 Self-Designed International Experience within their first year at the Carlson School.
What does not fulfill the IE requirement?

While there are a wide variety of options that fulfill the IE, there are certain specific experiences that will not fulfill it, even with the addition of IBUS 3999.The IE is intended to be academic in nature and at the college level.On that basis the following options are ineligible to fulfill the IE:

  • Personal travel, family vacations, or tours that have no academic component.
  • National Student Exchange to a U.S. university.(However, NSE to Canada or a U.S. territory such as Guam, Puerto Rico, or the Virgin Islands will fulfill the IE).
  • Any experience completed during high school.
  • Attending elementary, middle school, or high school overseas.
  • Living overseas for a period of time, including being born and raised overseas if you are now a U.S. citizen or a U.S. permanent resident (i.e., a green card holder).
Can the IE be waived for students with significant family obligations or responsibilities?

Many students with significant family obligations and/or other responsibilities have successfully gone abroad with careful advanced planning. Students with young children, students who work full-time, and students who are English translators for their parents have all gone abroad. Often, a short-term program can be the best fit, and Carlson Global Institute and the Learning Abroad Center combined have over 40 two- to three-week options abroad.

Students with questions or concerns about how to complete the IE while balancing family responsibilities or other significant obligations or challenges should consult with an adviser. It is important that you fully communicate your situation as early as possible with the Carlson Global Institute and the Undergraduate Program offices so that they may help you determine what programs may be a good match, or if it is determined that given your situation there are absolutely no alternatives, they may advise you about how to propose and petition an alternative using the IBUS 3999: Proposal for Self-Designed International Experience form.

How can a student with a low GPA fulfill the IE?
While there is a posted GPA for all Carlson education abroad programs, some allow a flexible GPA requirement. Each student will be considered on a case-by-base basis to ensure the student has the best chances for academic success. Complete the Education Abroad Online Profile and indicate the programs that interest you. Then, talk to an education abroad adviser before applying for a program to discuss your situation.
Are students with disabilities (psychological, attentional, learning, physical, and sensory) required to fulfill the IE requirement?

Students with disabilities have the same program expectations and requirements to fulfill the IE requirement as other students. In addition, students with disabilities should plan for their disability needs prior to departure and work proactively with Disability Services and with their education abroad adviser to ensure they will have an equal opportunity to both participate in all program activities and be able to demonstrate their knowledge while abroad.

Students registered with Disability Services who are eligible for on-campus accommodation are also eligible for overseas accommodation when it can be arranged. Any site has the potential to be accessible. Students are encouraged to speak with their disability specialist and together fill out the Accommodations Request Form to identify the reasonable accommodations they may need overseas.

If you are considering study abroad for the first time, you are recommended to discuss your interests with Carlson education abroad advisors and review the student Access Abroad information

Some questions to think about in advance:

  • What are the physical environments like in your host country?
  • Is learning mainly from lecture, readings, independent research, etc?
  • How are the assignments different?
  • What housing options exist?
  • Do you need to do your own cooking and laundry?
  • Is transportation available and accessible?

Just as cultures differ, so do disability accommodations and perceptions. The key for any study abroad participant is flexibility. Most of our international programs have accessibility information available. For supplemental information, students are encouraged to contact Mobility International for assistance in finding programs and overseas support services.


  • Disclose your disability needs to program staff early,so appropriate arrangements and reasonable accommodations can be made in advance.
  • Remember that other cultures may provide disability access in a different way—learn about what types of accommodation are typically provided in your host country, and be flexible and open to different ways of accommodating your disability.
  • Before you go, find out as much as you can about your host cultureand how they view disability by reading, talking to other students, and attending pre-departure orientation sessions. The more you know, the better prepared you will be for the interaction between your disability and the new environment.
  • Think about how you will answer questionsabout your disability in the language of your host country—look up key vocabulary words ahead of time.

1. Access Abroad Student Checklist
2. Student Accommodations Request Form
3. Predeparture Preparations
4. First-hand Student Experiences

Who can I contact if I have additional questions about accommodating disabilities, physical health conditions, or mental health conditions abroad?

Education Abroad Advisors in the Carlson Global Institute and disability specialists in the University's Disability Services Office are available to assist you with your planning.

Carlson Global Institute
Phone: 612-625-9361

University of Minnesota Disability Services
Phone: 612-626-1333 (V/TTY)

When should I study abroad?

There are various options available and several factors to consider when deciding when to study abroad. If you wish to study abroad in your freshmen or sophomore year, a short-term or summer program may be feasible or a semester program for language study or fulfilling some liberal education coursework. Short-term and summer programs are also options during your junior or senior year.

Students who plan to study business for a semester or a full year will do so in their junior or senior years, after they have completed the Immersion Core. Students participating in one of Carlson's exchange programs with a partner business school should plan to have a basic foundation of business coursework in advance. Students planning to focus on furthering their language proficiency on a Learning Abroad Center program may need a minimum amount of language study in advance. Some students may choose to do both a semester program and a short-term program or more than one short-term program.

We encourage you to consult with your academic adviser in the Undergraduate Program and an adviser in the Carlson Global Institute as you begin planning for and researching your study abroad options. Your academic adviser can help you determine when and how study abroad may work best in conjunction with your other degree and major requirements, as well as other academic, extra-curricular, and personal considerations. Carlson Global Institute advisers will help you determine what type of program may best suit your goals and will advise you on the various programs available to you. They can also help you consider additional factors that may help you decide what type of program you wish to pursue and when and where to study abroad.

How far in advance do I need to begin planning for study abroad?

Begin at least six months to a year in advance of your study abroad. It is never too early to start planning for your international experience. The process of selecting a study abroad program is similar to selecting your major or minor. You will want to consider your long-term academic and professional goals, as well as your on-campus degree requirements and any personal factors.

Strategically plan which classes you can take abroad. Electives can easily be filled abroad and with advance planning Carlson business courses and liberal education credits can also be fulfilled. Depending on the program, you may need to complete prerequisite courses. Give yourself time to research and talk to advisers and students who have studied abroad. Allow plenty of time to prepare a strong application for your preferred study abroad programs and any scholarships that may be available as well as financial aid forms.

Can I fulfill course requirements for my BSB and my major abroad?
Many liberal education credits can be fulfilled abroad. Carlson Global Institute and the Learning Abroad Center offer programs that may fulfill one to two BSB or major requirements abroad plus additional elective credits. Courses may need to be petitioned to fulfill these requirements. Advance planning is essential. Consult with your academic adviser to confirm what may be feasible for your major and how far along you are in completing your major(s) and degree.
What are the program fees related to studying abroad?
Program fees include tuition and course fee. Please consult the specific program pages of Carlson Global Institute's' and the University's Learning Abroad Center's program for actual amounts. International experiences vary widely in cost. Cost differences are attributed to a variety of factors, such as program type, academic credit, room and board, excursions, level of on-site support, and geographic location. When planning a budget, it's important to consider additional expenses, such as airfare, extra travel, and spending money. Choose your program carefully, and when comparing prices, be sure you are comparing all equivalent cost components.
How can I fund my study abroad experience?
Most types of financial aid apply toward study abroad costs, including expenses such as airfare, room and board, and travel documents. Carlson Global Institute and Learning Abroad Center will provide students on their programs with a Study Abroad Cost Estimate (SACE) form, which is used by the Office of Student Finance to adjust your cost of attendance as appropriate. A SACE may increase or decrease your cost of attendance, depending on the program.
Are there additional scholarships available?
Scholarships are available through Carlson Global Institute and the Learning Abroad Center, and also through outside resources.

You can apply for Carlson Global Institute scholarships at the time of application. See their websites for detailed information about eligibility, award criteria, and application.

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