Skip to main content

Exchange Students

Welcome to Georgia Southern University!


We are a major University with an enrollment of nearly 26,000 students, granting bachelors, masters, specialist, and doctoral degrees in hundreds of programs of study.  Consistently featured in U.S. News & World  Report’s “America’s Best Colleges”, our focus is on YOU, the student. With many majors to choose from, hundreds of  student organizations to get involved with, and many events on campus, Georgia Southern provides you with extensive opportunities.

While we are a major University, our outstanding professors and friendly and personal environment will provide you with the individual attention you need to succeed.  At Georgia Southern, you’ll get the best of both worlds.

Use the following tabs to navigate between the types of information designed to help you prepare for a semester abroad at Georgia Southern.

About Statesboro

Georgia Southern University is located in Statesboro, which is in Bulloch County in the southeastern corner of Georgia (about one hour by car from Savannah and 1 1/2 hours to the beaches of Tybee and Hilton Head Islands).  Florida is two hours away and metropolitan Atlanta can be reached in about three hours.

Statesboro is a university town of around 30,000 people, known for hospitality, friendliness, and a mild year-round climate.  It offers the charm and safety of a small town but has the amenities of a larger city, such as varied shopping centers, cafes and restaurants, and entertainment options such as a cinema and outdoor parks.

Applying to Georgia Southern

Students who wish to study on exchange at Georgia Southern must be nominated by their home university’s international office.  Once their nomination is received and confirmed, students should begin gathering the documents listed below.  Since many of these documents will also help you obtain your visa, it is important to read carefully, follow all directions, and submit your materials in a timely manner. Documents listed under Exchange Student Application can be accessed/submitted through the Global Portal.

What are the deadlines for applying?

Students who wish to begin their studies at Georgia Southern in the Fall term (August) should submit all application materials no later than May 1.  Students who will study at Georgia Southern beginning in the Spring term (January) should submit all materials no later than November 1.  All materials must be received by the Office of International Programs & Services by these deadlines.  Remember, the earlier you apply, the better!

What materials do I need to submit?

Inbound exchange students will need to complete and submit the following items to the Office of International Programs & Services at Georgia Southern:

  1. Exchange Student Application which includes:
    1. Passport identification page
    2. Official home university transcript
    3. Essay of Educational Intent
      Students should write a brief essay detailing why they would like to study at Georgia Southern University on exchange.
    4. Course Request List
      This will help the Office of International Programs & Services begin the registration process for new exchange students.  The course search will help students plan for a specific term, and students are encouraged to carefully read and use the Course Search Guide to find appropriate courses to meet their needs.  Most course search results will link to full course descriptions.  These descriptions can also be found in the Georgia Southern Catalog. Students should note, though, that the catalog is an exhaustive listing of all courses authorized for instruction at Georgia Southern.  Only the course search will indicate which courses are offered during a specific term.
    5. Financial Documentation
      See the SEVIS Financial Documentation Requirements to view the amount of money in USD that you are required to document depending on your anticipated length of study. If your financial documentation is not in your own name (example: the account belongs to a parent or sibling), then each account holder must sign an affidavit guaranteeing they will be providing the funds for your study in the U.S.  The original copy of this document must be submitted with the financial documentation.
    6. TOFEL or IELTS scores
      All exchange students whose first language is not English and who have not studied exclusively in English must submit official TOEFL or IELTS scores to Georgia Southern.  The minimum scores for admission are TOEFL iBT 69 and IELTS 6.0.  Those with scores less than TOEFL iBT 96 or IELTS 7.5 will take an English language placement exam during orientation to determine if additional English-language support coursework is required.
  2. Immunization Requirements
    After admission, all students entering Georgia Southern must submit proof of valid immunization.  Students should complete the Medical Entrance Form and the TB Screening Questionnaire Form.  Note that all forms must be submitted in English.

It is best to mail all of these materials in a single packet for faster processing.

How do I submit these materials?

All materials (except the Georgia Southern Admissions Application and the medical forms) may be submitted electronically through the Global Portal. You do not have to be admitted to submit this information. The page will provide instructions about logging in if you have or if you have not been admitted.

How will I know I have been admitted?

The Office of International Programs & Services will do its best to notify students or their home international office when all materials have arrived.  Once students have been admitted to Georgia Southern, they will begin receiving automatic emails with information about their Eagle ID student number, and access to sign up for accommodations and orientation.

Visa Information

When will I get my visa?
Georgia Southern does not issue the visa, but it does issue the Form DS-2019 – called the “Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status.”  This form shows the U.S. government that based on your documented funds and academic record, you are considered eligible to apply for a J-1 Exchange Visitor visa and make an appointment for interview at your closest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.  (Canadian citizens will only apply to enter the U.S. in J-1 status.  No visa is required.)  You will need to submit all of the forms listed as part of your application to Georgia Southern in order to receive the form DS-2019.  It is important to provide all of the application documents in a timely manner so you have plenty of time to apply for and receive your J-1 visa.

Once the Form DS-2019 is prepared, a welcome packet containing a new student Welcome Guide, Letter of Admission, and Form DS-2019 will be shipped to you. For more information on the J-1 visa process, please visit our page here.

Estimating Expenses

Estimating your cost of study is an important part of preparing to participate on your exchange program.  The chart below will help you determine your budget while studying in the U.S.  Though the tuition fee and related fees are waived for exchange students, accommodations, meals, and personal expenses still need to be paid.  ISEP students should refer to the information provided on their Institutional Information Sheet (IIS), as their estimated expenses will differ.

Estimated Costs for a Semester of Study  AY18-19
Costs Paid to Georgia Southern
On-Campus Housing (varies by dormitory) $2,120 – $3,895
Housing Application and Deposit* $350
Residence Hall Activity Fee $20
Dining Plan (unlimited meals) $1,725 – $1,875
Other Class Fees (varies, estimate) $50
Books and Supplies (estimate) $300
Mandatory Health Insurance $870 – $1,500
SOAR Fee (orientation)* $110
Transcript Request Fee* $10
Personal Expenses $750
Costs Paid to U.S. Government
SEVIS Fee* $180
Visa Application Fee* $160

*Students studying at Georgia Southern for two semesters will only pay this fee one time.

Living in a campus dormitory is not required of exchange students, though it is highly encouraged for ease of transition, access to campus services, and the ability to interact with other students.   Dining plans are also optional, though many students choose them for the convenience.  Read more by selecting the Accommodations tab.

Class fees, books, and supplies can vary depending on the subject area a student intends to study.  Many laboratory courses carry a fee to help the cover the cost of special equipment, software, and special technology.  These class fees are the responsibility of exchange students to pay.

All students must possess health insurance that meets the minimum requirements for their visa category.  Georgia Southern offers health insurance that meets these requirements that students may purchase.  Read more by selecting the Health Insurance tab.

Arrival and Orientation

International SOAR (Orientation)

When is Orientation?

SOAR is Georgia Southern’s Orientation program for all new students.  All students must register to attend this SOAR session.  You will be able to register for SOAR once you have been accepted to Georgia Southern and you have an Eagle ID number.  Please visit the Georgia Southern University Admissions website to learn more about SOAR, and register your SOAR session.

*Note: there is an orientation fee of approximately $110.  The fee includes early move-in access to on-campus accommodations, orientation supplies, and several meals during orientation.

How do I get to the Georgia Southern campus?

Armstrong Campus(Savannah):

Flying: The Savannah\Hilton Head International Airport (SAV) is the closest airport to Georgia Southern University’s Savannah campus. Information regarding availability of shuttle services from the airport will be sent to the students prior to arrival.


Northbound: Travel north on interstate 95 (I-95N). Take exit 94, GA-204, toward Savannah/Pembroke. Turn right onto GA-204 E for 7.3 miles. Armstrong State University is on your right and has two entrances onto campus. The second entrance (Arts Drive) is the main entrance to the university. See campus map for specific building locations.

Southbound: Travel south on interstate 95 (I-95N). Take exit 94, GA-204, toward Savannah/Pembroke. Turn left onto GA-204 E for 7.5 miles. Armstrong State University is on your right and has two entrances onto campus. The second entrance (Arts Drive) is the main entrance to the university. See campus map for specific building locations.

Eastbound: Travel east on interstate I-16 (I-16E). Take exit 157A onto interstate 95 (I-95S) toward Brunswick/Jacksonville for 5.1 miles. Turn onto GA-204 E for 7.5 miles. Armstrong State University is on your right and has two entrances onto campus. The second entrance (Arts Drive) is the main entrance to the university. See campus map for specific building locations.

Statesboro Campus:

Flying: The Savannah\Hilton Head International Airport (SAV) is the closest airport to Georgia Southern University’s Statesboro campus. Information regarding availability of shuttle services from the airport will be sent to the students prior to arrival.

Depending on when your flight arrives, you may need to spend the night at an airport hotel.  A list of Savannah-Hilton Head Airport hotels can be found here.

Driving: For driving directions to Lewis Hall, home of Georgia Southern University’s Welcome Center, click here.  For a map service or GPS, use 100 Southern Drive, Statesboro, GA 30460.

More thorough information will be provided upon acceptance to Georgia Southern, and in the welcome packet sent to students.

Health Insurance

In order to meet federal requirements, the University System of Georgia requires all international students to purchase health insurance. You will be automatically billed after you register for classes every semester. The Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) must be paid for in August and provides coverage from August through December.  Health insurance coverage for January through July must be paid in January.  All exchange students are required to purchase the University System of Georgia Student Health Insurance Plan.  Each semester period (fall and spring/summer) you will need to either enroll in, or waive out of, the USG SHIP through the United Healthcare-Student Resources Georgia Southern MyAccount online program.  During orientation we will discuss how to use this health insurance plan in the event that you require medical attention.

Students may only request to waive out of the USG SHIP policy if their personal insurance meets the minimum requirements listed here.  Students, though, should be cautioned that health insurance plans based out of other countries are not always easy to use or accepted everywhere in the U.S.

Additionally, all students enrolling in Georgia Southern University are required to show proof of immunizations. Print the immunization forms and ask your health care provider fill out your immunization history.


Where can I stay while studying at Georgia Southern?

There are several on-campus dormitory options for students studying on exchange at Georgia Southern.  While students are not specifically limited to this dormitory, they should note that many dorms are designed for first year/freshman/freshers students and may not provide the most desired experience for students who are older or used to having far more independence while attending university. Students who wish to stay off-campus must reserve their own accommodations. Be sure to inquire about distance from campus and the possibility for a short-term lease.

What are my dining options at Georgia Southern?

Student life at Georgia Southern offers a wide variety of options for making certain students have consistent access to meals.  A number of restaurants and grocery stores are available close to the campus, and located throughout Statesboro.  Students living in University Villas on campus will have a kitchen in their residence and the ability to prepare their own meals.  All students who choose to do so may also purchase an Eagle Dining Plan, which offers unlimited access to Georgia Southern’s dining halls, as well as some limited access to additional restaurants on the campus.

What should I bring with me?

You should travel with your passport (valid at least six months into the future), Georgia Southern DS-2019, SEVIS fee receipt, admission letter, and financial documentation.  Keep these items on your person and do not put them in your checked baggage.  You will be asked to present these documents upon arrival to your Port of Entry in the U.S.

Moving to Statesboro is exciting but deciding what to pack can be challenging! Check luggage restrictions for your airline as overweight luggage can be very costly.  University Housing keeps a list of suggested items to bring when you are moving into your dorm. We will take you shopping after you arrive so that you can purchase items such as bed linens, towels, and school supplies. There are several places in Statesboro to purchase necessities.  You may want to purchase small electronic items here if your country does not use 120/60Hz voltage, the standard for the United States.

What is the weather in Statesboro like?  How do people dress?

The U.S. is an informal country, and students usually dress informally for classes and for social events. However, there will be special occasions when you will be asked to dress in business attire. The weather also determines the type of clothes you should bring (visit The Geography & Climate of Georgia). While Georgia is not cold, there can be chilly days in the winter months (November to February), so a jacket or coat, sweaters, and jeans are good items to pack.  In the warmer months (March to October), many students will wear shorts, t-shirts, and sandals.  Additionally, we recommend students pack the following items:

    • Personal medications and prescriptions for refills; extra eyeglasses and contact lenses
    • Items to remind you of home and share with new friends, such as photographs, books, postcards, music
    • Traditional clothing to wear during international celebrations
  • A small blanket for the first night or two


When do I register for my classes?

Your registration will be completed during your SOAR orientation session.  Prior to arrival on campus, your exchange advisor will work to help you finalize your course selections and placements to build a complete schedule, and register you for as many classes as possible before your arrival.

What if I don’t like my classes, or found something more interesting?  Can I change them?

Students will have limited opportunity to change their courses and schedule during the first week of the term.  It is a good idea to ask your exchange advisor before you make any changes to your schedule.  Remember, students attending Georgia Southern on exchange must remain enrolled in a minimum of 12 credits hours at all times to meet your visa requirements.  Additionally, the courses you complete at Georgia Southern can affect the credits you transfer back to your home institution.

How many credits will I take?

Most students at Georgia Southern will complete 12 – 15 credit hours during a term, or 4 -5 classes.  (This is the equivalent of earning 24-30 ECTS points, or roughly 60 CATS during a term.)

What do the course numbers mean?

Courses at Georgia Southern are labeled by academic subject and numbered according to when students complete them during University.  Course numbers beginning with a 1 or 2  are introductory courses that are completed during the Freshman or Sophomore year.  Courses beginning with a 3 or 4 are often completed during the Junior or Senior year.  It is important to understand that courses beginning with a 3 or 4 often require significant previous study in that academic field in order to be successful. You should not consider courses higher than the 4000 level as these require admission into the College of Graduate studies and are not available to exchange students. 5000 level courses may have exceptions pending department and advisor approval.

For example: MKTG 3132 is a Marketing course taught at the Junior level.

What will my classes be like?

Georgia Southern offers a variety of different classes and a large number of academic subjects.  You may experience lectures and laboratory courses, all which will encourage you to participate, express your opinions, and actively involve yourself in the class, as these are typical expectations in the U.S. classroom.  All classes are taught by professors and are usually smaller with 25-35 students.

How will I be graded?

Final course grades at Georgia Southern are assigned using A, B, C, D, and F.   Grades of  ‘A’ are the highest, and indicate excellent work and mastery of the class material, and an ‘F’ indicates a failing grade.  These are the grades that will appear on the final transcript issued to you by Georgia Southern.  If your home institution use percentages for final grades.  If you are in need of these please click to access this form, which will request your professors provide a final percentage grade be released to the Office of International Programs and Services.

How will I receive my Georgia Southern transcript?

Each student will have an official copy for their transcript sent from Georgia Southern to their home institution.  This process will be facilitated by the Office of International Programs & Services at the completion of their studies.  At any point, students may access additional copies of their official transcripts through the Office of the Registrar.

Who Do I Contact

Do you have more questions?  Need some help?  Contact us!

Your main contact for exchange programs in the Office of Global Engagementis:

Ms. Kristin R. Karam
Interim Director
Phone: +1 (912) 478-0332

Your Rights

The goal of your J-1 Exchange Visitor program is to provide educational and cultural exchange activities in an interesting, safe, and rewarding environment. Students should know that while studying in J-1 status at Georgia Southern, you have certain rights and protections guaranteed to you under U.S. law.  Some of these protections include the ability to keep possession of your documents, receive fair and equal treatment, seek justice in U.S. courts, and avoid fear of retaliation for reporting abuse.  Your safety and security while studying in the U.S. and at Georgia Southern is highly important.

Students are encouraged to access and read the Wilberforce Pamphlet to better understand their rights and protections while studying in the United States.

Additionally, Georgia Southern take issues of equal opportunity and non-discrimination very seriously.   Students are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the role of the Equal Opportunity & Title IX Office on campus.  A student who feels they have been the recipient of discriminatory behavior including harassment or assault related to their national original, sex, race, color, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, religion, age, veteran status, political affiliation, or disability is encouraged to contact this office.

Last updated: 4/18/2022