Global Learning and International Affairs (GLIA)
Global Learning and International Affairs (GLIA) works on campus and around the world to offer WKU students transformative global learning experiences. GLIA consists of four units: Global Engagement; International Student and Scholar Services; International Student Progress; and Study Abroad and Global Learning. Global Engagement is involved in international programming on- and off-campus, international student recruitment and admissions, and presenting WKU internationally. International Student and Scholar Services supports prospective and current WKU students with immigration and visa compliance, as well as organizing programming to integrate international students into the US and WKU community. International Student Progress will develop the University’s non-credit English as a Second Language program for non-native English speakers, as well as the credit-bearing International Student Progress Pathway. Study Abroad and Global Learning is WKU’s one-stop shop for students seeking credit-bearing study off-campus in the US and worldwide. SAGL now includes the Office of Faculty Led and Study Away. WKU faculty and SAGL collaborate to build affordable, discipline-focused short-term off-campus study opportunities. All GLIA units are housed in the Honors College and International Center building.
Global Engagement (GE) is a unit within the Office of Global Learning and International Affairs (GLIA), which works on campus and around the world to offer WKU students transformative global learning experiences. GE exists to support the mission of GLIA and, by extension, WKU, through three primary areas of focus:
- International Admissions: leads WKU’s efforts to attract and enroll a diverse pool of talented undergraduate international students. This includes setting and ensuring adherence to admission standards, as well as liaising with academic departments and colleges to establish fruitful international partnerships in support of student recruitment. We also award scholarships to eligible international students. International Admissions generates immigration documents necessary for prospective students to secure the appropriate F-1 visa that is required to study at WKU in compliance with all U.S. federal laws and regulations.
- Global learning and international programming: reaches across the entire University community, ensuring that all WKU students have numerous opportunities to learn about and engage with the world and supporting lifelong learning within our region. These include targeted programs designed to internationalize the curriculum and co-curriculum, annual initiatives such as International Education Week, and international professional development opportunities for WKU faculty and staff.
- Communication: provides critical outreach to a wide-range of constituents—both internal and external. Through the creation and dissemination of timely and useful information, GE provides key support for international student recruitment and retention, as well as the overall communication needs of GLIA.
International Student and Scholar Services
International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) supports WKU’s international students, visiting scholars, and their families through immigration advising, advocacy, cross-cultural programming, and training.
ISSS welcomes and assists international students and visiting scholars through advisement, programming, and support services. As the primary point of contact for current students and prospective visiting scholars, ISSS generates immigration documents necessary for them to maintain the appropriate F-1 or J-1 visa that is required to study or work at Western Kentucky University. ISSS is responsible for ensuring WKU’s compliance with U.S. federal laws and regulations that pertain to immigration requirements of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the U.S. Department of State (DOS), and other federal agencies. ISSS serves as WKU’s official liaison and primary point of contact for these federal offices. Based on their directives and regulations, staff members advise students and visiting scholars on matters related to maintaining and / or changing immigration statuses, student and scholar visa issues, work authorization, and other student support matters. Additionally, ISSS serves as the liaison and point of contact for sponsoring agencies, their students, and the WKU community.
Upon arrival, students and visiting scholars are required to attend an orientation, which includes workshops and programming to promote acculturation, adaptation, and personal adjustment to WKU and the Bowling Green community. Additionally, ISSS works closely with several student-run organizations, such as the Council of International Student Organizations, to help foster interactions between domestic and international students and encourage the various international student organizations to collaborate on projects. ISSS also manages the Zuheir Sofia International Student Diplomat Program which provides mentoring to current and prospective international students to assist them in achieving their personal, educational, and professional goals.
Study Abroad & Global Learning
The Office of Study Abroad & Global Learning (SAGL) serves the WKU community by engaging students, faculty, and staff in diverse educational and cultural experiences through faculty-led, exchange, consortia, and other study abroad opportunities.
Study abroad programs at WKU offer students the opportunity to incorporate international academic, professional, and cross-cultural experiences into their education. WKU offers a wide variety of international education opportunities for a range of academic disciplines and budget needs. Students can choose to study, intern, volunteer, student teach, or conduct research abroad during any academic term.
Students who wish to study abroad should start planning early in their academic career to ensure the most affordable and academically enriching experience. When planning a study abroad experience, each student should be aware of the university’s academic requirements and regulations contained in this catalog in the chapter “Academic Information.” It is recommended that students work closely with their academic departments and the SAGL office to carefully select a program that meets their academic needs, fulfilling specific degree requirements through courses offered on the program.
WKU students who participate in a study abroad program may choose to earn an “Emphasis in Global Studies” designation, which can be combined with any major, as part of their undergraduate education. For details regarding the requirements, refer to the section about “Global Studies Designation” in this catalog or on the SAGL website.
Types of Study Abroad Programs
WKU students wishing to study in another country have a variety of options from which to choose. These options can be divided into five major categories: short-term faculty-led programs, international student teaching, exchange programs, WKU partner programs, and provider programs. More detailed information on all study abroad options can be found on the SAGL website, but a brief overview of each type of program follows.
- WKU Faculty Led Study Abroad Programs
Many WKU students who study abroad do so by taking a course in another country on a program personally led by a WKU faculty member. These courses are typically 1-7 weeks in length and carry 3-6 credit hours, and they generally occur during the winter or summer terms.
- WKU International Student Teaching
Education majors at WKU have the opportunity to spend the final month of their student teaching semester in another country, teaching classes in English at a partner school. This cross-cultural teaching experience fosters global awareness and helps prepare future teachers for working with diverse student populations.
- WKU Exchange Programs
WKU has formal agreements with more than a dozen institutions of higher education outside the United States. Exchange programs are typically for a semester or an academic year, and they offer students the opportunity to become fully integrated into a foreign university. Shorter-term opportunities exist with some exchange partners. Students are often surprised to learn that studying abroad for a semester on an exchange program costs the same tuition as a semester at WKU at the in-state tuition rate.
- WKU Partner Programs
WKU has close partnerships with several programs and study abroad consortia including Harlaxton College, Semester at Sea, the Kentucky Institute for International Studies (KIIS), and the Cooperative Center for Study Abroad (CCSA). The two on-campus consortia partners (KIIS and CCSA) offer affordable program options for which students receive WKU credit. Several of the courses offered on WKU partner programs are taught by WKU faculty members.
- Provider Programs
WKU has affiliation agreements with a variety of study abroad program providers which offer a plethora of short-term, semester, and academic year programs in numerous countries around the world. Students who are unable to find a program that meets their academic needs through faculty-led, international student teaching, exchange programs, or WKU partner programs can certainly find good options through affiliate providers.
Financing Study Abroad
Scholarships and financial aid are available for most study abroad programs. Even the most expensive program can be affordable when students use all of the resources available to them. Students who are eligible for financial aid and/or are receiving scholarships can typically use those awards towards the cost of a study abroad program. The Office of Study Abroad and Global Learning, the Student Financial Assistance Office, and the Office of Scholar Development can help students plan financially for this important investment in their college education.
WKU has created several significant study abroad scholarships to support WKU students who pursue international opportunities. These scholarships include the World Topper Scholarship and the Diversity Abroad Grant (DAG). While the World Topper Scholarship is intended to support any WKU student planning to study abroad, the DAG is intended to provide significant financial support for diverse students. For more information about these and other scholarship opportunities available through WKU and external organizations, visit the SAGL webpage (http://www.wku.edu/studyabroad).
Safety & Code of Conduct
The safety of our students is of paramount importance. Students are provided with information pertaining to insurance requirements, emergency procedures, and health and safety abroad during the pre-departure process, both in writing through SAGL’s online application and enrollment tracking system, and in person at the mandatory pre-departure orientation session. Additional on-site orientation is provided upon arrival in the destination country. Students are also required to register with the U.S. State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) prior to departure, which enables the State Department to reach students directly when security-related information is issued or updated. While abroad, WKU students are held to the standards set forth in the university’s Student Code of Conduct. The Office of Student Conduct will be notified of any alleged violations of the Student Code of Conduct that occur during an education abroad experience.