International Experience Petitions

There are several options for students who need a modification or alternative to the study abroad portion of the international experience requirement. All require submission of a petition/proposal that must be approved by the Dean of the college. Students whose petitions/proposals are approved must also enroll in and complete APSC 198ITL, a 1-unit online seminar course.

Alternative to the International Experience Requirement

We understand that some students may be unable to travel abroad due to health issues, immigration/documentation status (i.e., AB 540, DACA, undocumented), financial hardship, family/work responsibilities or other situations. In these cases, students can petition to complete an alternative experience locally or elsewhere within the United States. To do so, follow the steps below:

  1. Meet with a CHHS International Experience advisor in the CHHS Student Success Center for advising on resources and options available for international study and alternative experiences, and the process for submitting a petition.
  2. Complete the Alternative Petition [pdf]. Be sure to include supporting documentation.
  3. Obtain signatures of the CHHS International Experience advisor and your academic advisor or department chair, and submit the petition and required attachments via email to chhs-internationalexperience@sjsu.edu.
  4. Final determination regarding travel alternatives must be approved by the associate dean of CHHS. The Dean’s office will notify you when the petition has been signed.

Due to COVID-19, CHHS understands the financial implications and hardships students are currently facing. Students may be unable to participate in a domestic cultural program (Option 1) or volunteer service (Option 2) due to Public Health restrictions. CHHS is happy to announce a pilot program, Virtual International Partners (VIP) (Option 3) in partnership with Study Abroad and Away that will allow students to complete their International Experience Requirement while Sheltering in Place. Students can find more information regarding Option 1 through Option 3 below.

If you are approved for a travel alternative you must complete one of the following options:

Option 1

  1. Complete a 7-10 day domestic cultural program within the United States offered by SJSU Study Abroad and Away Office. You must complete the domestic cultural program before you take APSC 198ITL.
  2. Submit the certificate of participation via your APSC 198ITL Permission Number Request Form. Submit your request to enroll in the course prior to the beginning of the semester that they wish to enroll in.
  3. Once you receive your permission number, register for and complete APSC 198ITL, 1-unit online seminar course. APSC 198ITL is offered in Fall and Spring semesters.

Option 2

  1. Complete 20 hours of volunteer service in a local organization that serves individuals or communities from a culture that is different than your own. The local organization must have a University Organization Agreement (UOA) with the university. More information below.
  2. Submit your verification letter via your APSC 198ITL Permission Number Request Form. The letter must be on the organization's letterhead and signed by an employee of the organization (see sample verification letter attached to the petition form). Submit your request to enroll in the course prior to the beginning of the semester that they wish to enroll in. For Academic Year 2020-2021, students can complete their volunteer service in the same semester they enroll in APSC 198ITL.
  3. Register for and complete APSC 198ITL, 1-unit online seminar course. APSC 198ITL is offered in Fall and Spring semesters.

Option 3

  1. Submit your request to enroll in the Virtual International Partners (VIP) (Option 3) via the APSC198ITL Permission Number Request Form AFTER submitting the petition. Students who choose the Virtual International Partners option will be matched with a SJSU international student and engage in a peer to peer interaction to learn about each other's culture, language, and country. CHHS will reach out via email with additional information as we get closer to the start of the semester.
  2. Obtain signatures of the CHHS International Experience advisor and your academic advisor or department chair, and submit the petition and required attachments via email to chhs-internationalexperience@sjsu.edu.
  3. Register for and complete APSC 198ITL, 1-unit online seminar course. APSC 198ITL is offered in Fall and Spring semesters.

Volunteer Service (Option 2) additional information

Students who elect Option 2 are responsible to connect with the organization to arrange their volunteer service. The local organization you elect must have a University Organization Agreement (UOA) with the university. You can visit SJS4, for organizations with UOA’s already established with SJSU or you can request a site.

To help guide students in finding a volunteer site, please see the pdf below with approved sites. More sites will be added in the future.

International Experience Approved Sites [pdf]

Alternative to International Experience Petition [pdf]


Modification for Students with Prior International Experience

International students and students who have substantial international experience within 5 years of entering San Jose State University may petition the college for a modification of the international experience requirement. Examples of substantial international experience may include (but are not limited to): international service in the Peace Corps or other volunteer organization; schooling, military service, or work experience abroad.

Students whose modification petition is approved are not required to study abroad but must register for a one-unit online seminar course, APSC 198ITL, where they will engage in reflection and analysis of their prior international experience. Students can submit their request to enroll in the course prior to the beginning of the semester that they wish to enroll in via the APSC198ITL Permission Number Request Form. APSC198ITL is offered in Fall and Spring semesters.

Modification of the International Experience Petition [pdf]


Independent International Experience

Students who wish to pursue an independent international experience can petition for permission to do so. An independent international experience is one that is not completed through SJSU. It is not necessary for the experience

  • A course taken at a university outside of the U.S.
  • A faculty-led study abroad program taken through another U.S. university
  • A service or volunteer trip abroad sponsored by a non-profit or charitable organization

Students who successfully petition for an independent international experience must take APSC 198ITL (1-unit online seminar course) upon their return. Students can submit their request to enroll in the course prior to the beginning of the semester that they wish to enroll in via the APSC198ITL Permission Number Request Form. APSC 198ITL is offered Fall and Spring semesters.

Submitting the Petition:

  1. Download and complete the Independent International Petition [pdf].
  2. Attach documentation regarding the experience, i.e., course syllabus, program information, etc.
  3. Obtain the signature of your academic advisor or department chair
  4. Submit the petition and required attachments via email to chhs-internationalexperience@sjsu.edu for processing.

Important Considerations:

  • All students traveling abroad must obtain international health insurance that includes medical, evacuation and repatriation coverage. If the organization that you are traveling with does not provide this insurance you must obtain it on your own.
  • Students in nursing, occupational therapy, social work, or athletic training must obtain individual malpractice insurance if you will be in direct contact with clients/patients.
  • You must register for and complete APSC 198ITL or approved departmental equivalent upon your return (1-unit online seminar) in order to satisfy the international experience requirement. APSC 198ITL is offered Fall and Spring semesters.

In signing your petition, you will be agreeing to the following:

In electing to pursue an independent international experience, I understand that the agencies or organizations with which I travel or work abroad are not affiliated with San Jose State University and the University provides no assurance or guarantee of program content or supervision, travel arrangements, or accommodations. I have purchased international health insurance and if my international placement involves contact with clients/patients, I have purchased individual malpractice insurance. I further understand that upon my return to SJSU I must register for and complete APSC 198ITL (or approved departmental equivalent).

Independent International Experience Petition [pdf]


Waiver to International Experience Due to Catalog Rights

Please schedule an appointment to meet with an advisor from the Student Success Center to discuss your option and qualification to waive the International Experience requirement due to catalog rights.