Have you ever wanted to study away from home and campus? Take classes in Japan, France or Italy? If so, you should get acquainted with the International and Exchange Student Center in the University Student Union.

California State University, Northridge’s International and Exchange Student Center (IESC) in the Division of Student Affairs oversees multiple programs such as California State University International Programs (CSU-IP) and the National Student Exchange. The IESC engages and collaborates with CSUN community partners to achieve their mission, encourage the development of global citizens and enhance CSUN’s reputation at home and abroad.

Study Abroad & National Student Exchange Advisor in the IESC, Rebecca Spector, explained that the office “provides services to newly admitted and continuing international F-1 and J-1 visa students, Fulbright students and participants of the study abroad program and National Student Exchange (NSE).” Spector added that the office also provides other types of support. “The IESC also coordinates cultural and social events that allow our students to share their national heritage and get involved with the campus educational community.”

The IESC also promotes scholarships for students who study abroad. These scholarships include the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship and the Fund for Education Abroad (FEA) scholarship.

From all of the programs they have to offer, the most popular one is the California State University International Program (CSU-IP). It offers students the opportunity to choose from 18 countries to visit and study abroad for either a year or a semester depending on which country is chosen. The 18 countries are Australia, Canada, Chile, China, Denmark, France, Germany, Ghana, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan and the United Kingdom. This program had over 150 applications submitted for 2022-23.

Some of the benefits of studying abroad are discovering different cultures, developing a broader understanding of the world, self-discovery, establishing independence, learning from others, learning a foreign language, enhancing their resume and becoming a global citizen.

However, traveling around the world is not effortless and some students encounter hurdles during their trip. Spector added, “Some adjustments students encounter while traveling abroad are homesickness, language and cultural barriers, and dietary and health issues.” The Study Abroad staff at CSUN, CSU-IP staff in Long Beach at the Chancellor’s Office and the support staff in the country that the students are studying in help them navigate these adjustments by providing resources and additional guidance.

“Our office holds a mandatory pre-departure meeting where we discuss these topics and provide resources. We are also available to meet with students while they are abroad to help with any adjustments they are facing,” Spector said. There is also onsite staff that helps students with resources to help combat these issues while abroad,” Spector continued.

For more information about studying abroad or other opportunities, visit the International and Exchange Student Center.

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