How should I select a semester study abroad programme?
A semester spent studying abroad can be one of the most formative, challenging and meaningful aspects of many students’ college experiences. For some, a semester abroad will be the perfect way to explore new perspectives on a field of study or to complement the curricular offerings at Yale-NUS. For others it will be a chance to learn or polish a language you wish to gain proficiency in. And for others, it will be an opportunity to immerse yourself in a new culture and to gain independence, self-confidence and problem-solving skills. Often, what study abroad alumni remember about their experiences has as much to do with their lives outside the classroom and the challenges they face as it does with their academic experiences.
At CIPE, we hope that you will consider all of these various goals and possible outcomes as you think about your plans to study abroad. Explore the various study abroad programmes with an open mind. Do keep in mind all of the formative and perhaps even life-changing experiences you have already had at Yale-NUS that you did not expect to have when you started your first year. Reach out to your faculty, academic advisors, friends and family as you think about the paths that best suit your overall goals. And don’t forget to talk with your CIPE advisor – we are excited to help you find a programme that will be a great fit for you!
What kinds of programmes are available?
Most Yale-NUS students will study abroad through one of our partner institutions. These partners have been selected for their rigorous academics, vibrant student life, cultural immersion opportunities, and health and safety factors. Some institutions are specialised in certain academic areas, while others offer a wide range of academic courses and cater to all Yale-NUS majors.
In addition to being able to study abroad at one of the partner programmes listed above, students may also, under special circumstances, apply for a limited number of CIPE-funded spots to study abroad at non-partner institutions/programmes. Funding for non-partner programmes is intended to support students with specific academic interests that are not necessarily covered through our partner institutions, and to increase the diversity of Yale-NUS students’ study abroad experiences. Due to the limited number of non-partner spots, we strongly encourage students to consider our existing partner institutions before applying for non-partner funding.
How are students selected for partner programs and non-partner programs?
Applications are reviewed by a committee which has several selection criteria. As study abroad is chiefly an academic endeavor, academic performance is a significant part of a student’s application. This is measured by students’ overall CAPs as well as their transcripts. Other factors, such as faculty letters of recommendation, involvement in student organisations, ambassadorial ability and fit with the chosen programme are also weighed. A full list of eligibility and selection criteria can be found on the main CIPE Semester Study Abroad page.
In addition to the criteria listed above, students applying for non-partner programmes should also explain what their chosen non-partner programme offers that is not offered by any of Yale-NUS’s partner programmes. The committee will be particularly looking for a clear, unique fit with the selected programme or institution.
How many spots are available for each programme?
Each of our partner programmes has a set number of spots available for the semester or year. This ranges from just 2 per year at some of our partners, to 16 per semester at Yale. You can see how many spots each partner has by clicking onto the partner pages from our Semester Study Abroad homepage.
Additionally, we also have a set number of spots set aside for non-partner programmes. Click here to see the number of spots currently available for Academic Year 2017/18.
Are the number of study abroad spots available to students going to decrease as class sizes increase?
No. In fact, we are continuing to build new partnerships to increase the number of partner spots available over the next few years to keep up with the increasing class sizes. Yale-NUS sees study abroad, both during the semester and during the summer, as an integral part of the Yale-NUS experience and we are working very hard to make these opportunities available to as many students as possible.
Is there a minimum CAP requirement to qualify for semester abroad?
Grades will be one of the many factors considered as study abroad applications are evaluated. In general, there is not an official minimum CAP requirement, though some partner institutions or outside programmes may have their own minimum.
How does my participation in previous CIPE opportunities (e.g. LABs, summer programmes) relate to my eligibility for semester abroad?
In terms of basic candidacy, there is no relation between the two at all. I.e., if you got a funded opportunity to go overseas during the summer after your first year, that does not diminish your chance to go abroad for a semester.
But there is some relation in terms of the knowledge we (CIPE, together with faculty and other administrators) have of you as a person, in ways that may not be captured through grades and application forms. For instance, if, on previous CIPE programmes, you have demonstrated conscientiousness, responsibility, maturity, self-awareness, personal and intellectual growth, this can help your candidacy, as these are qualities that are necessary not only for a positive study abroad experience, but also for model ambassadorship of our College internationally. Of course, such qualities can also be conveyed in an application or recommendation gleaned from many other formative opportunities. Applicants are encouraged to address such qualities in their applications.
I am in the Double Degree Programme with Law. Will I be able to study abroad for a semester?
When can I spend a semester abroad?
Students can study abroad in Year 2 Sem 2, or either semester of Year 3.
Can I study abroad during my final year at Yale-NUS?
Because of the capstone project requirements, approval for study abroad in Year 4 is highly discouraged and will only be granted in very exceptional cases. Please speak to your Academic Advisor, Head of Studies / Major Adviser, and CIPE adviser early in the process (during Year 2) if you are thinking of studying abroad in Year 4.
Can I study abroad for two semesters?
The majority of students who study abroad during term time will do so for one semester. For most students, spending an entire year away would make it challenging to fulfill both the Common Curriculum and individual major requirements, and for some programmes, studying abroad for two semesters in a row is simply not an option (Pitt in the Himalayas programme, for instance, is only offered in Semester 1). Extraordinary and compelling reasons to spend two semesters abroad will be considered on an individual basis in close consultation with the relevant Academic Adviser and Head of Studies / Major Adviser. Students wishing to apply for two semesters abroad must meet with a CIPE International Programmes adviser well in advance of the regular study abroad deadline, and will be required to submit supplemental materials along with their application.
The College will offer exchange spots and funding for only one semester or trimester per eligible student, so students wishing to study abroad for a full year should ensure that they have the financial means to cover their second semester or second & third trimester. In addition to covering their own tuition, room & board, and living expenses at their host institution, students doing a second semester abroad will also be responsible for paying a Continuing Registration Fee to the College in order to remain in compliance with the residency requirement for graduation.
Students who wish to achieve the goal of spending as much time as possible abroad are encouraged to consider a summer followed by a semester (or the other way around), which is a feasible option.
Can I defer my acceptance of CIPE’s offer?
No. CIPE’s offer is tied to each application round. For example, if a student is offered a spot at Institution X for semester 1, the student cannot defer and hold on to the spot at Institution X for semester 2. The student has to apply again during CIPE’s round for semester 2 and there is no guarantee that the student will be offered a spot at Institution X again.
From a career services perspective, when is the best semester to study abroad?
While there are many benefits to study abroad, there are also some considerations that students should be aware of before they choose to be away for an entire semester. For example, being away means that you may not be able to participate in in-person networking events, interviews, or assessment centre activities that many employers use to consider candidates for employment. While some employers are flexible and accommodate by arranging video interviews, others see this as an additional barrier in an already competitive pool of candidates.
Below is a recap of key activities related to internships for each of the semesters:
- Year 2, Semester 2: Recruiting season for all internships, if interested
- Year 3, Semester 1: Recruiting season for top tier banks and consulting firms’ penultimate year internships
- Year 3, Semester 2: Recruiting season for all internships (with exception of top tier banks and consulting firms)
Students should consider the trade-offs before deciding which semester to study abroad. To discuss your unique situation, please contact CIPE Career Services, who would be happy to chat further.
What should I consider if I want to study abroad at an institution where the semester overlaps with typical summer internship dates (in Singapore)?
Most employers are looking for students to intern for 8-12 weeks, so students should consider the host institution’s academic calendar (semester dates) if considering internships as a part of their summer plans. For example, many universities in the UK have a spring term which ends around mid-June or later. The spring semester at some universities in Japan begins in April and goes through early August.
Some employers are willing to be flexible with internship dates, while others are not. For example, employers with structured internship programmes, particularly in the penultimate year, have predetermined dates to meet their business needs and may be less accommodating with unique circumstances.
Students intending to pursue study abroad at institutions with atypical semester schedules can plan ahead to maximise their vacation periods with off-cycle internships or work experiences. For example, students studying abroad in Japan can consider pursuing an off-cycle internship between January to March, before their semester begins in April.
How will semester abroad fit into course progression in the majors? E.g., can courses we take abroad be counted towards our major? Or will they count only as an elective?
With some planning, students in any major should be able to take classes abroad that will count toward their graduation requirements. Some courses offered abroad will be approved as direct replacements for courses required in students’ majors, or as counting toward the major or the specialisation. Other courses will be approved as elective credit. As you start thinking about your study abroad plans, we recommend that you speak to your CIPE International Programmes Adviser, and Head of Studies for major/minor about how studying abroad can fit into your major. Keep in mind, though, that studying abroad can also be a great opportunity to try new and different courses. There should always be ample opportunity to fulfill requirements back at Yale-NUS.
How many classes taken abroad can count toward my major? And will the grades count toward my CAP?
Up to a total of 20 MCs from study abroad can count toward your major. Put differently, out of the 40 MCs required for a major, 20 MCs need to come from Yale-NUS courses. This means that you can choose to count a maximum of 20 MCs from study abroad toward your major; not that you have to do so as you can choose to count toward your minor or elective unrelated to major/minor.
While you are required to take all study abroad classes on a graded basis (unless a class can only be taken on a pass/fail basis, e.g. for creative writing or studio art classes at some schools), the grades you earn will not be factored into the calculation of both your overall and major CAP.
How many credits will I get during my semester abroad?
If you take a full load at your host institution, your credit transfer will be equivalent to a normal semester at Yale-NUS, i.e., 20 MCs which can be counted toward your major/minor/elective unrelated to major/minor. You are expected to take a full load during your semester abroad. If you are facing issues with taking a full load, please approach CIPE to discuss further. For more information about the credit transfer procedure and action required by you, please refer to https://cipe.yale-nus.edu.sg/study-abroad/semester-credit-transfer/
I took more than the minimum number of courses at my host institution during semester study abroad. Do I have to transfer them all back to Yale-NUS?
As long as you pass and transfer back to Yale-NUS at least the minimum number of credits considered a full load by your host institution, you may opt not to transfer back additional courses beyond that minimum. For example, the minimum full load for one semester at XYZ University is 12 credits. Perhaps you took five courses, for a total of 15 credits at XYZ. You passed all five courses, but you are only interested in transferring back four of the five. This would be acceptable, as you would be transferring back a total of 12 credits. Yale-NUS would award 20 MCs for these 12 credits at XYZ, which breaks down to 5 MCs per course. If you decided to transfer back all 15 credits (five courses), you would receive 4 MCs per course, for a total of 20 MCs.
What will I pay for my semester abroad?
Students studying on CIPE-approved semester abroad programmes pay the same Yale-NUS tuition fee as they would if they were at Yale-NUS. Students are responsible for their own room and board, airfare, visa and other personal expenses. They will not be billed for room and board at Yale-NUS for the semester that they are abroad. There is no additional study abroad fee.
If I go to a host institution which has trimesters instead of semesters, what do I have to take note?
Yale-NUS will pay the host institution tuition fee of the first trimester only and students will pay all other expenses for the first trimester. Students who do a full load for the first trimester will transfer a maximum of 14 MCs back. Students have the option to do two trimesters if they can return on time for the following semester in Yale-NUS but they should do so only if they are able to fully fund their second trimester, including the host institution tuition fees. Students who do a full load for the second trimester will transfer a maximum of 20 MCs back for the two trimesters combined. Going for one trimester will result in fewer MCs but lower cost whereas going for two trimesters will result in more MCs but higher cost. Students have to weigh the situation and make their own decision.
If I am already studying abroad in the U.S., can I extend my visa to do an internship?
- If you are studying at Yale University on a J-1 visa, Yale OISS can help extend your visa to intern with an approved organisation.
- If you are studying at another U.S. institution (not Yale) on a J-1 visa, you should check with your institution’s international office to see if an extension is viable. The decision is entirely up to your study abroad institution, as they are your visa sponsor.
- If you are studying in the U.S. on a F-1 visa, it is not possible to extend your visa for an internship. An F-1 visa does not permit students to intern, and students cannot apply for a J-1 visa while on a F-1 visa in the U.S. The time required to apply for a J-1 internship visa (up to 2 months) makes pursuing an internship immediately after your semester implausible.
If my study abroad institution offers the choice between a F-1 and J-1 visa, which should I choose?
- The F-1 visa is the better choice for Semester 1, where the study abroad semester will not be directly followed by an internship in the U.S. The F-1 visa is also a good choice for Semester 2, if you do not plan to intern in the U.S. directly after the semester.
- The J-1 visa is the better choice if you hope to intern in the U.S. immediately following Semester 2. You should first check with your host institution to see if they would be willing to extend your J-1 visa for an internship, and to understand any terms for the extension.
Are there any drawbacks to choosing the J-1 visa?
J-1 visa holders may be subject to a 2-year home country physical presence requirement, based on Section 212(e) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. Exchange Visitors who are subject to this requirement need to return to their home country at the end of the J-1 visa, and will not be allowed to apply for permanent work status or permanent residency in the U.S. for two years. The Exchange Visitor Skills List
gives an idea of which students may be subject to this two-year residence requirement, but the U.S. department of State reserves the right to make final determination regarding 212(e).
I will be in the U.S. for a internship this summer and will also be studying abroad in the U.S. next semester. Can I stay in the U.S. continuously without any issues?
Unfortunately, this situation is not as simple as it may appear. If you are participating in two continuous programmes in the U.S., you should ensure that there is adequate time to secure the second visa. In this example, it is not possible to secure from an internship the J-1 visa in the U.S. to become a student in the U.S. without leaving the U.S. and applying for a new visa. Please note that you cannot pursue two continuous programmes with two different visas without allowing for 6-12 weeks of process time and incurring additional costs for travel.
What advice do you have if I want to secure a full-time job in the U.S. upon graduation?
Securing full-time job opportunities overseas is difficult due to immigration laws and security concerns, especially in countries like the United States. In addition, many employers have restrictions on hiring international students for entry-level positions due to the abundance of local talent available. If you are interested in working in the U.S. after graduation, you may consider starting your career in your home country or Singapore, and seeking an internal transfer. The U.S. has strict national immigration and defense policies that make full-time employment difficult for foreign students needing visa sponsorship.