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Why Study Abroad?

International study and the acquisition of cross-cultural communication skills are imperatives of contemporary higher education. Americans who study abroad in quality programs for academic credit; engage in service and experiential learning, internships, and research; and study foreign areas and languages are far better prepared for the demands of the twenty-first century. Building relationships with other nations has become increasingly complex endeavor which transcends governmental and diplomatic prerogatives. While a consensus exists that international educational exchanges remain one of our strongest and most effective tools of public policy, they also play a role in developing the critical and knowledge skills of our young generations. They enhance our understanding, as a nation, of other societies, cultures, conflicts, histories, and world-views, while simultaneously enhancing our ability to reflect on our own. Just as importantly, they contribute, on institutional, scientific, and personal levels, to the development of strong and durable relationships with the rest of the world.

It has been acknowledged time and time again that a shortage of language and cultural skills among our citizens does a disservice to our national interests and to peace and prosperity in the world. Educational experts have also bemoaned the limits of limiting ourselves to traditional classroom experiences and extolled the virtues of exposure to real-world settings. Study abroad affords students cultural and linguistic education beyond what can be conveyed from behind lecterns or in laboratories.

We need to ensure that our graduates design their career objectives and begin their professional lives with knowledge about, and sensitivity to, the opportunities and constraints of the global arena. Studying abroad should be the rule rather than the exception in U.S. higher education; indeed, many colleges and universities have made such study mandatory or integrated it into their core curriculum. As we become a nation whose citizens are globally educated, intercultural cooperation and transnational development will gradually take on more effective, reciprocal, and broadly embraced forms.

Anticipated demographic and marketplace changes make it imperative that institutions of higher education, especially historically black colleges and universities, prepare students for leadership and service in settings that offer international and global opportunities through academic exposure and experiences. As an institution with both liberal arts and professional school components, and with numerous foreign faculty and students, Norfolk State University has long been committed to learning without borders. Furthermore, the presence of extensive military facilities in our community, added to the significant number of students in our university undergoing military or intelligence preparation, has given us an additional incentive and advantages for increased internationalization. Our business, medical, cultural, social science and humanities programs also require significant global enhancements in order to remain competitive in the educational and scholarly marketplace.


  1. Consider when you will be available for study abroad, where you might want to go, what you wish to study, and what length of time you can commit to foreign study.
  2. Discuss your intentions with your academic advisers and family members. 
  3. Feel free to conduct your own research on study-abroad programs, but DO NOT commit to a specific program before discussing such with NSU International Programs! The following are study abroad/internship partners that offer reputable, supervised programs. 
    • College Consortium for International Studies (Partnership with NSU), 
    • Knowledge Exchange Institute (Partnership with NSU),
    • CIEE: Council On International Educational Exchange (Partnership with NSU),
    • CAPA The Global Education Network, www.capa.or 
    • Institute for the International Education of Students,
    • American Institute for Foreign Study,
    • The Education Abroad Network,
    • EUSA: Academic Internship Experts,
    • Cultural Experiences Abroad,
    • School for International Training,
    • International Studies Abroad, 
  4. Consult the International Programs office (Nursing & General Educational Building, Room 304) for advice regarding your specific interests, suitable study abroad programs, and what to expect during the application process. Contact Dr. William Alexander at or by telephone at (757) 823-8109.
  5. Access your selected program and begin the application process.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Be in good judicial standing and not have a significant record of judicial infractions at NSU
  • Minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5
  • Obtain a valid passport
  • Be willing to abide by the Norfolk State University Code of Conduct and the rules of the study abroad venue