Studying Abroad: Info to Know


Aurora Venteicher (right) with a friend (left) on a Hamburg boat tour in Germany.

Lucia Plagge, Reporter

Eighteen events were held recently in honor of International Education Month at SDSU. These events provide students the opportunity to learn more about education abroad and the international community at SDSU.

For students who were unable to attend, here’s a look at international education at SDSU:


5 partner universities around the world that have a close relationship with SDSU and exchange students for study abroad.

6 providers that offer students a variety of programs across the world.

24  faculty-led programs this year, led by SDSU faculty, these short-term programs are coupled with a semester-long class.

109 students studied abroad in the last year.

5  Jacks Start Abroad programs planned for Fall 2023, 2 more than last year. These programs provide incoming freshmen an opportunity to participate in a faculty-led program before their college journey begins.

Year Ed Abroad Numbers Other

FA 2018/SP 2019/SU 2019 501

FA 2019/SP 2020/SU 2020 90

FA2020/SP2021/SU2021 0

FA 2021/SP 2022/SU 2022 109

*Covid Pandemic–no students abroad, only virtual programs


But I don’t speak the language. 

According to Cassandra Stangeland, assistant director of Education Abroad, English is the language used for the programs, so students don’t need to be concerned about it. 

“A lot of people think that you have to speak the language, but that’s not true,” said Ellen White, a junior majoring in exercise science and Spanish who spent her Spring 2022 semester in Granada, Spain.

Isn’t studying abroad expensive?

There are options to fit a variety of budgets. In some cases, a semester abroad can be cheaper than a semester at SDSU, according to Sally Gillman, director of Education Abroad.

My major has a strict class order.

Gillman strongly emphasized that if a student hopes to study abroad, she will do her utmost to make it happen. 

“We will talk to anyone to make sure we get whatever that person wants. We try to tick as many boxes as possible,” Gillman said.

 For seniors who would still like to try and make it abroad, she recommends a winter in Paris option, which takes place between the two semesters so as not to disrupt crucial classes.

I’m not sure if I want to spend a whole semester in a different country. 

There are a wide variety of options available to fit any situation. Below is a brief overview of some of the options SDSU offers.


Faculty Led: Led by university professors, these programs are short-term, usually lasting from 10-14 days. They are accompanied by a semester-long class to help prepare the student for their time abroad. Stangeland recommends these programs because they allow students to become familiar with the material before heading abroad and putting what they learned to use.

Semester/Year Abroad: Done through a partner university or a provider, this is most likely what the phrase “study abroad” brings to mind. Students take off for another country, and after an orientation, begin their semester or year taking college courses at a university.

Internship: Often done over the summer, this experience allows students the opportunity to hone skills in their desired career field. Gillman says this program is especially valuable in that it helps students have both real job experience and an experience abroad simultaneously, while providing the possibility of a very strong letter of recommendation.

Summer: Usually done through program providers, these last from 6-8 weeks long. For students who are worried about disrupting their major’s class schedule, these are a great option.

And more! There are opportunities to complete research or participate in service work abroad. Winter programs are another option and take place in between the two semesters. For those who prefer to stay at home, but would like a global experience, virtual internships are also a possibility.


  • Unlike most colleges where study abroad programs stem from the business department, SDSU’s education abroad program began in the department of animal science. Gillman said, “It was the agriculture and animal science faculty who decided they wanted to teach a class and then take the students to an international location.” Since then, she added, they have remained heavily involved in getting students abroad.
  • Unique to SDSU, Jacks Start Abroad is a faculty-led program that allows freshmen to spend a short time abroad before they begin their college journey. Gillman added that this program gives incoming freshmen a step ahead and allows them to hit the ground running.


“I would say it taught me a lot of skills about how to problem solve on the fly,” White said. “It was a lot of learning how to do things by myself, so there was a lot of personal growth in that sense.”

“I think in general it really helped my self-confidence when it comes to being independent,” Aurora Venteicher, a German, Global Studies and Political Science major, who studied abroad in Fall 2022 in Germany, said. “I think in general it’s a really good idea to study abroad. I think it can broaden your horizons and give you insights on new perspectives.”

“Try and befriend a small friend group on campus…but also don’t be afraid to befriend the people that are from the country you’re studying in,” Venteicher said. 

“To me, it doesn’t matter where you go, it’s that you go,” Gillman said.  “I’ve never had a course abroad that I can’t find a way to get the student credit for. We want to help as many students fulfill their dream of going abroad and either doing an internship or studying there. That adds something they couldn’t get here at SDSU, but adds value for what their career will look like.”