First Year & First Semester Programs
Start your college experience in another culture, learning from world-class faculty, earning FSU credit, and making new friends! FSU International Programs offers first year and first semester study abroad experiences in four unique locations across the globe: London, England; Florence, Italy; Panama City, Republic of Panama; Valencia, Spain.
First Year Abroad
EARN IN-STATE TUITION AT FSU!
The First Year Abroad (FYA) program allows students to complete the first twelve months of their Florida State careers abroad. Students choose to spend their first year at any of our four year-round study centers. Program participants can choose to live in one location for a full calendar year or change locations for the summer term.
First Semester Abroad
For those offered the Seminole Pathway option or summer admission by FSU Admissions, or for those ready to jump into a once-in-a-lifetime experience at the beginning of their career at FSU, the First Semester Abroad (FSA) program is for you! You can enroll as an FSU student this fall through the FSA program.
Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the benefits of studying abroad during my First Year or First Semester?
Studying abroad increases levels of self-confidence and independence and allows students to discover a strong sense of self. The knowledge, friendships, and cross-cultural skills freshmen gain abroad create a foundation for success throughout the rest of college and beyond.
Rather than large lecture halls, students receive personal attention from expert faculty members while taking FSU courses that incorporate local academic, historical, and cultural resources into the fabric of student learning. Living among native speakers also immeasurably aids Spanish or Italian language skills in Valencia, Florence, and Panama City.
Out-of-state FYA students will benefit from the opportunity to earn an out-of-state tuition waiver for the remainder of their first undergraduate degree at FSU upon successful completion of the FYA program. Florida residents on the FYA program who take 14 credits each semester and earn a cumulative FYA GPA of 3.0 will receive two $1,500 scholarships to use toward FYA program fees for the spring and summer semesters!
What are the differences/similarities between First Year Abroad (FYA) and First Semester Abroad (FSA)?
FYA & FSA programs are offered at each FSU study center. During the fall, FYA and FSA students at a study center take the same courses, live together in shared housing accommodations, and participate in the same excursions.
FSA students return to main campus at the end of the fall semester, having earned up to 17 credit hours abroad. FYA students remain abroad for the spring and summer semesters, earning up to 49 credit hours and satisfying the FSU summer residency requirement before returning to main campus for their second year. Non-Florida residents who successfully complete the FYA program will earn an out-of-state tuition waiver for the remainder of their first undergraduate degree at FSU.
If there is any chance you will want to remain abroad beyond the fall semester, you should choose the FYA program. Due to visa and immigration restrictions, it is not usually possible for FSA students to extend their program beyond the fall semester, but it is possible for FYA students to decide to return to main campus after the fall or spring semesters. However, if a student does not complete the FYA program, they would not be eligible for the tuition waiver.
Our team of freshmen program coordinators is also here to help answer any questions you may have! You can reach us at IP-FirstYear@fsu.edu.
Which of FSU's four international study center locations is right for me?
FSU has study centers in Florence, Italy; London, England; Panama City, Republic of Panama; and Valencia, Spain. FYA students must spend their fall and spring terms in the same location for immigration reasons but have the option to switch locations for the summer semester.
There are a few things to consider when choosing a location for your FYA/FSA program. Are you drawn to a particular location’s culture, language, or cuisine? Which location(s) offer the courses needed to stay on track for your intended major?
Review the FYA Program page or FSA Program page to read a description of each FSU study center, including anticipated courses for each semester. See pictures of each center, explore the surrounding neighborhoods, and read about the history by clicking on each location on this Study Center overview page. You can also visit our YouTube channel. FYA students interested in majoring in science or engineering must choose the Panama, London, or Valencia study centers to meet major prerequisites. Pursuant to Italian legal requirements, students interested in studying at FSU Florence must be at least 18 years of age by the start of the program. Contact IP-FirstYear@fsu.edu for more information.
Our team of freshmen program coordinators would love to help you find the study center location that is right for you! You can reach us by emailing IP-FirstYear@fsu.edu.
How does study abroad work with my major?
Our FYA and FSA programs are designed for seamless continuation toward graduation. The courses offered abroad satisfy Liberal Studies and graduation requirements as well as first-year prerequisites for most majors and many minors. Academic advisors help students stay “on track” for their majors while abroad. You can view a list of course offerings by location and semester under the garnet “Courses” tab of the FYA or FSA program pages. For assistance in choosing a location that is well suited to your major, email IP-FirstYear@fsu.edu before applying.
Please note that FYA students interested in majoring in science or engineering must choose the Panama, London, or Valencia study centers to meet major prerequisites.
What are classes like abroad?
FSU classes abroad are taught by passionate faculty members who use the city as a classroom by integrating local cultural and historical sites, museums, restaurants, and organizations into the curriculum. Classes are taught in English (except for foreign language classes) and are taken for FSU credit.
Small classes and personal attention from faculty create an intimate, liberal arts college atmosphere.
View a list of each location's anticipated courses and their descriptions by semester under the garnet “Courses” tab of the FYA Program page or FSA Program page. For assistance in choosing a location that is well suited to your major, email IP-FirstYear@fsu.edu before applying.
How does the cost compare to studying in Tallahassee?
On main campus, students typically pay for their tuition, housing, meals, and activities separately. The estimated cost of attendance for FSU main campus can be found here.
By contrast, program fees for the FYA and FSA programs are comprehensive and include: tuition (up to 17 credits per semester); housing (for the program’s duration); cultural excursions & activities; international health insurance; full-time administrative and academic support; some meals or vouchers (as described for each location).
Almost all sources of financial aid (including Florida Prepaid, Bright Futures, loans, grants, and other university or private scholarships) can be applied toward FYA & FSA program fees. If you have any question about scholarships or financial aid for studying abroad, email IP-FinancialAid@fsu.edu
Are there scholarship opportunities available for these programs?
Yes! Florida residents on the FYA program who take 14 credits in a semester and earn a cumulative FYA GPA of 3.0 or better receive a $1,500 scholarship toward their next semester abroad- a savings of $3,000 if earned for both the spring and summer semesters! Out-of-state residents don’t forget about your opportunity to earn in-state tuition for the remainder of your undergraduate degree after successful completion of the FYA program!
Additionally, almost all sources of financial aid (including Florida Prepaid, Bright Futures, loans, grants, and other university or private scholarships) can be applied toward FYA and FSA program fees. Below are links to helpful scholarship resources.
Additional Scholarship opportunities may be available for FSU CARE Students. Contact IP-FinancialAid@fsu.edu for details.
Students and families are encouraged to read "Understanding the Financial Aid process for FSU students studying abroad". If you have any questions about scholarships or financial aid for studying abroad, email IP-FinancialAid@fsu.edu.
What is the Seminole Pathways program?
FSU International Programs has offered dedicated freshmen study abroad programs since 2004. As the number of students applying to FSU has continued to rise in recent years, the FYA and FSA programs were identified as ideal pathways to the University. Smaller class sizes at FSU study centers create a small, liberal arts college atmosphere conducive to academic achievement, cultural exploration, and identity development.
If offered FSU admission as part of the Seminole Pathways program, students begin their FSU careers by enrolling in a 3-credit hour online summer course, Global Foundations, offered by International Programs. Upon successful completion of this course, FYA and FSA students join us abroad for the fall semester to begin in-person FSU coursework.
Will I miss out on the typical freshman year experience?
The intimate atmosphere of each study center makes it easy to quickly develop new friendships with fellow freshmen and upper-classmen participating in another FSU study abroad program. The bonds you form while traveling, learning, and exploring new cultures together will translate in to lifelong friendships and a support system when you return to main campus.
Seminole Spirit is also alive and well at each study center. Whether you're gathering with fellow students to watch a Seminole sporting event live from Tallahassee, representing FSU in a local soccer tournament, or participating in a study center club or cultural experience, you'll always feel connected to the garnet and gold.
To get a recent student’s perspective, we encourage you to reach out to our Ambassador team who have been there, done that.
Who is eligible & how can I apply?
Eligibility: Incoming freshmen who have been admitted to FSU for the summer or fall terms, or who have been offered FSU admission as part of the Seminole Pathways program, can apply for FYA or FSA. More details about the FSU application process can be found here. Pursuant to Italian legal requirements, students interested in studying at FSU Florence must be at least 18 years of age by the start of the program. Contact IP-FirstYear@fsu.edu for more information.
Application Process: After receiving your FSU acceptance or Seminole Pathways offer, students must apply for the FYA or FSA program on the FSU International Programs website. Early applicaion is advisable as program enrollment is limited and acceptances are offered on a first-come, first-served rolling basis. The application process takes about 10 minutes. There is a $100 non-refundable application fee. Before applying, be sure to check out which study center is best for you. Questions about the application process can be directed to IP-FirstYear@fsu.edu
What do past program participants say about their experiences abroad? Can I talk to them?
You can listen to what past participants have to say about their FYA or FSA experience by checking out these episodes of the Noles Abroad podcast:
Homesickness Abroad: Managing Anxiety, FYA London
Lifelong Friendships, FSA Valencia
Valencia Through the Lens, FSA Valencia
“No Fear,” FYA Valencia and Panama
Connecting to Heritage, FYA Panama
You can also read about past participants experiences on our blog:
My First Year Abroad Experience in London & Advice for Future Students, FYA London
A Queer FYA’s Year in London, FYA London
Little by Little: Living abroad as a Person of Color, FSA Florence
Abroad for the Holidays, FYA Valencia
To hear more from the students who shared their experiences in the video at the top of this page, you can check out this video.
If you want to talk to a recent program participant, we encourage you to reach out to our Ambassador team who have been in your shoes before.
I’ve applied and been admitted to the FYA or FSA program. What’s next?
Congratulations! We are excited to welcome you to the International Programs family. We have created an International Programs Student Portal to help guide you through the pre-departure process. You should login to the IP Student Portal frequently to access program-related information (program specific packet, payment schedule/deadlines, packing lists, etc.), important notifications & reminders, and a “Next Steps” document with answers to questions like:
Is there an Orientation specific to FYA/FSA students? How do I register?
Do I need to pay the FSU Admissions deposit or Main Campus Housing deposit if I have paid the International Programs commitment fee?
How/when should I activate my FSUID/FSU email account?
What are FSU’s Health Insurance and Immunization requirements?
How/when do I register for study abroad courses?
Do I need a passport or visa?
What should I do if I have travel planned for the summer before I study abroad?
How/when should I book my flights?
How/when do FYA students select a summer location?
Am I eligible for main campus housing when I return from study abroad?