KIIS programs are open to all undergraduate, graduate, and honors students (and those not currently enrolled in a college or university) age 18 years and older. Preference is given to students from KIIS consortium member institutions. KIIS welcomes applicants from other North American colleges and universities to participate on our study abroad programs (students from non-consortium schools are considered on a space-available basis).
Summer and Winter program applicants must have a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or above at the time of application, with the exception of the Maya Mexico Winter program, which requires a 3.2 GPA or higher.
Semester applicants must have a 2.75 GPA or above. All applicants must complete the application process, register for at least one course (Summer and Winter), and be paid in full by the payment deadline.
Students on academic or disciplinary probation at their home institution are not permitted to participate on KIIS study abroad programs.
Each KIIS student must take at least one three-credit course for academic credit during a Summer or Winter program. Typically, most summer students take two three-credit courses (the program fee is the same). Winter students may only take one three-credit hour course. Semester students are required to take at least 12 credit hours.
Only five of KIIS's over two dozen Summer and Winter programs have a language requirement (Cuba, Munich, Paris II, Spain I & Spain II). All other programs have no language requirement. The vast majority of KIIS courses are taught in English. As part of our efforts to promote the study of foreign languages, KIIS offers students the opportunity to enroll in language courses on some non-language programs (though you are not required to take a language course).
While the classroom experience abroad often differs greatly from that on U.S. campuses, KIIS adheres to all of the applicable regulations of its Sponsoring Institution, Western Kentucky University (WKU) and utilizes WKU's academic and accreditation standards from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). Each KIIS course totals at least 37.5 instruction hours.
Note: with the exception of certain language courses, most KIIS summer and winter courses do not have prerequisites. Course offerings are subject to change according to enrollment.
KIIS program participants are expected to be punctual, attend all classes, meetings, and required excursions, and remain with the program for the full academic period. Unexcused absences from classes and/or mandatory meetings/excursions will result in a lowering of the student's final grade, as will excessive tardiness. Multiple unexcused absences could result in expulsion from the program. Any absence from an academic session must be excused for medical reasons.
Credits, Equivalencies, and Transcripts
All KIIS course credit is awarded by Western Kentucky University. We encourage all students - long before KIIS program departure - to contact their Academic Advisor, Department Head, and/or the Study Abroad Office to determine the credit equivalencies at their home institution (that is, confirm ahead of time with your college or university how your desired KIIS courses will count towards your major and/or overall degree requirements). Course offerings are subject to change according to enrollment.
Approximately three weeks after the completion of a study abroad program, individual grades will be posted on each student's MyKIIS account. For KIIS Summer programs, the WKU Registrar will send an official KIIS transcript to each student's home institution between August 10-15. For the Merida and Segovia Semester programs, official transcripts are sent 6-8 weeks after completion of the program; for Caen and Regensburg Semester programs, approximately 8-10 weeks. For Winter programs, official transcripts are sent at the very end of January. Transcripts are sent automatically; students are not required to complete any additional paperwork. Please note that your home institution may require additional time on its end to process your KIIS-WKU transcript once received. It is KIIS policy not to release a transcript for any student with an outstanding KIIS balance.
As part of the online application process, students must select their desired Summer, Winter, or Semester courses. However, admitted students will have the opportunity to make changes to their selections. A week before the KIIS student orientation, accepted students will receive a course registration sheet. Students must complete and return it electronically to KIIS. If you are undecided about your desired KIIS program courses, you may wait until the KIIS orientation to hear more about each individual course from the professors present and then electronically submit your course registration sheet. All admitted students must submit their course registration sheets by the Monday following orientation.
The same course registration procedure applies for KIIS winter or semester students. Spring and Fall Semester students will receive their course registration sheet two weeks prior to their respective orientations.
KIIS Honors Options
KIIS offers one Honors study abroad program, the annual Maya Mexico Winter offering in the Yucatan Peninsula. It is open to Honors and non-Honors students with a 3.2 GPA and above. Interdisciplinary in nature, it employs a Place-as-Text approach that encourages students to take an active role in the direction of their learning (view syllabus). Students learn to work effectively in small groups, improve their oral presentation and analytical skills, and develop a heightened sense of confidence and leadership. On average, there are 3.5 hours of instruction per day, in the form of excursions, seminars, and debriefings, for a total of 38.5 contact hours. No Spanish language is required.
Any student with a 3.2 GPA or above (at time of application) can enroll in any KIIS Honors course. Students enrolled for Honors credit will have more challenging and unconventional assignments that will require greater analytical, creative, and critical thinking skills. Many Honors Colleges or Programs offer their Honors students generous study abroad scholarships (such Honors scholarships are in addition to KIIS scholarships and your college/university study abroad scholarships; for details, contact the Honors Director at your home institution).
Semester programs: KIIS offers English-language Honors courses on our Caen, France (Spring Semester) and Merida, Mexico (Fall Semester) program. These Honors offerings permit academically-strong students with little or no prior language study to enroll in beginner or intermediate language courses (e.g. FREN 101/102 or FREN 201/202) plus two English-language theme-based Honors courses.
Many KIIS Summer, Winter, and Semester programs offer graduate courses. Graduate students are encouraged to contact the Program Director (of their desired program) or Dr. John Dizgun to discuss graduate credit options.
To enroll in KIIS graduate courses, students must complete their Bachelor's degree by the end of the semester preceeding their KIIS program (e.g. by end of Spring Semester if participating on a KIIS summer program). Note: (non-WKU) students taking KIIS graduate courses must complete and submit to KIIS a WKU Graduate Admissions form (different from the WKU Undergraduate form). Graduate students are also required to provide KIIS with their official undergraduate transcript (ask the Registrar at your undergraduate institution to send electronically your official transcript to email@example.com). See the KIIS Admitted Students page for more details
KIIS also provides a 3-credit Assistant to the Program Director Internship for Graduate students and Undergraduate seniors. The Internship enables students to shadow a Summer or Winter KIIS program director. In consultation with the KIIS office and KIIS director, the student creates a personalized work plan outlining the duties and responsibilities to be performed. Previous interns have assisted with residence life duties, accounting and administration, orientation, risk management, and communication between students & faculty. Interns apply for a specific KIIS program and receive a $300 scholarship. Contact Dr. John Dizgun for details.
Mandatory Student Orientation
All students participating on a KIIS program must attend the KIIS mandatory student orientation prior to departure. See orientation date.
Your parents or other emergency contacts are welcome at the orientation. You will meet your fellow participants at the orientation.
The orientation is designed to inform students of what they can expect in the foreign setting. Among the topics discussed: host country culture and laws, academics, housing, health and safety, social and sexual mores, climate, unfamiliar or different terrain, money matters, communications, traffic, independent travel, and packing.
If for any reason a student cannot attend the mandatory orientation, a $150 fee will be added to the student's program fee to cover the cost of carrying out an individual orientation with the Program Director. A parent or other relative cannot attend the orientation in place of the participating student. A student who misses the mandatory orientation must (after holding their individual orientation with the Program Director) email firstname.lastname@example.org a completed Individual Student Orientation form
In many countries abroad, there is no comprehensive legislation that protects individuals covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). As a result, businesses operating in those countries, which may provide support services such as lodging or transportation to KIIS, may not have made any provisions for disability accommodations. Therefore, although KIIS will make every effort to provide reasonable accommodation for program participants with special needs, KIIS cannot guarantee that it will be able to do so. After acceptance into a KIIS program, program participants must notify KIIS (by contacting email@example.com) if they have a special need or disability that might impact their experience abroad. Any special accommodations must be supported with documentation prior to the start of the program. In consulation with KIIS, the program participant may need to make arrangements and financial provisions for a care-giver to join him/her on the KIIS program should the participant's physician, university disability services, or KIIS make such a recommendation and that I cannot rely on other program participants to assist me.
Spouses or children may accompany program participants on a space-available basis. Spouses of participants are required to apply to the program and register for at least one course for academic credit unless that spouse is going to take care of a child or a participant with a disability.
Family members must pay the full program fee whether taking classes or not. A minor child must have child care on-site which has been arranged by the program participant prior to the program departure. The program participant is responsible for all child care costs.
Disciplinary and Expulsion Policy
All students admitted into KIIS programs are required to read and sign several documents, including the Program Contract, Agreement and Assumption of Risk, Medical History, and Medical Surrogacy (program specific). It is the student's responsibility to read each document carefully. KIIS also strongly encourages Admitted Students to read carefully their KIIS Student Handbook (program specific); it contains valuable information on host country norms and values, what to expect abroad and guidelines on how to behave abroad, health and safety protocols, medical and emergency protocols, individual and group flights, academic schedule and requirements, meals and lodging, communication, independent travel, and more. All students and faculty must also attend the mandatory KIIS pre-departure orientation.
KIIS has established certain rules and guidelines for participation, both general and program-specific. As participants, students are expected to conform to acceptable standards of behavior. Any student who, in the judgment of the Program Director, does not behave accordingly will receive a disciplinary warning or be expelled from the program. Any costs so incurred (including in-country transportation, lodging, meals, and transportation for immediate return to the United States) will be borne by the student. KIIS reports all disciplinary incidents, including expulsion, to the participant's home institution. Each home institution reserves the right to take further action against the participant. Expulsion from a KIIS program will result in the termination of status as a program participant and failing grades in all KIIS courses. KIIS will provide an official transcript of the failing grades to the student's home institution. No refund of any kind is issued to any student dismissed from a KIIS program. Once dismissed, the former participant is not permitted to remain in KIIS program facilities (such as
housing) nor participate in any KIIS program group activities.