What is KIIS?
A non-profit consortium of colleges and universities (incorporated as a non-profit corporation), the Kentucky Institute for International Studies (KIIS) sponsors summer, winter and semester study abroad programs in over 20 countries in Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America. An acknowledged leader in international education, KIIS is also recognized as one of the most cost-effective study abroad organizations in the United States. Our objective is to make the international experience available to the widest range of participants, and we work hard to keep expenses down so that our programs can stay within reach of the typical college or university student. Over the last 40 years, KIIS has provided life-changing international experiences for over 12,000 students. KIIS welcomes students from any academic institution in the United States and Canada to participate in its study abroad programs.
Who participates on KIIS programs?
Undergraduate, graduate, and honors students from all academic disciplines (individuals not currently enrolled in a college or university may also apply). Summer applicants must have a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or above at the time of application. Semester applicants must have a 2.75 GPA or above. Winter applicants must have a 2.0 GPA or above at the time of application, with the exception of the Maya Mexico Winter program, which requires a 3.2 GPA or higher. Preference is given to students from KIIS member schools, yet applicants from any North American college or university are always welcome to apply. Applicants must be 18 years of age or older at the time of program departure. For more, see Academics.
Can Honors and Graduate students participate?
Yes. The KIIS Maya Mexico Winter program is an annual Honors study abroad open to Honors students and non-Honors students with a 3.2 GPA or higher. For Summer 2015, KIIS offers Honors courses on the Greece program. If interested in Honors courses on other KIIS programs, please contact Maria Canning; we may be able to arrange an Honors Augmentation.
Similarly, Graduate courses are available on a number of Summer programs. View all KIIS Summer course offerings. If interested in Graduate courses on other KIIS programs, please contact Maria Canning; we may be able to offer additional Graduate course offerings.
Semester programs: KIIS offers two English-language Honors courses on the Caen, France Spring Semester program.
Can non-KIIS students go on KIIS programs?
Yes. Students from any college or university may apply to participate on any KIIS summer, winter or semester study abroad program. Each year dozens of students from non-KIIS schools across the U.S. and Canada go abroad with KIIS. There are two caveats: 1) preference is given to students from KIIS-member schools and 2) students not presently matriculated at a KIIS institution must add $300 to their program fee. Exceptions: a) students from non-consortium schools who are past participants in KIIS programs do not pay the $300; b) Teachers in Kentucky and alumni of consortium-member schools also are exempt from the $300 fee; and c) all applicants to KIIS Semester programs. Questions: contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 270-745-4416.
Do I have to speak a foreign language?
No. While KIIS promotes the study of foreign languages, no previous language training is required (except on Munich, Paris II, Spain I, and Spain II programs). We offer foreign-language courses on many of our Summer programs, but the great majority of KIIS courses are taught in English. For more, see Academics.
Semester programs: Two KIIS semester programs are language-focused (Regensburg, Germany and Segovia, Spain) and two (Caen, France and Merida, Mexico) offer both foreign-language and English-language course options. The Caen and Merida Semester programs do not require any prior foreign-language study.
Winter programs: no foreign language is required (all instruction is in English).
How do KIIS Summer and Winter programs work?
Typically, Summer programs last 4-5 weeks. Each one is led by a Program Director. While abroad, students reside in dorms, hotels or with a homestay family. A typical week includes classes, program activities, group excursions, time for study, and time for individual pursuits. Many programs allow students to travel independently on weekends. Students take 1 or 2 courses (3 or 6 credit hours); the program fee is the same so most students take two 3-credit courses. Courses are taught by professors from KIIS member institutions. Other than language-specific programs (Munich, Paris II, Spain I, and Spain II) and optional language courses (available on many programs), courses are taught in English. KIIS course credit is awarded by Western Kentucky University; grades are transferred to each student's home institution on August 15. All KIIS programs include comprehensive medical insurance ($500,000 max, $0 deductible) and security evacuation protection.
Winter programs are arranged in a similar manner with two noted exceptions: a) students cannot earn more than 3 credits and b) students do not have weekends free to travel independently. The same comprehensive medical insurance (outlined above) applies to KIIS Winter programs. Winter program grades are transferred to each student's home institution 4-6 weeks after completion of the program.
How much does it cost?
It depends which KIIS program you select. Excluding airfare, KIIS Summer programs range from $2,275 to $4,950
(+ the $250 application fee). We offer many summer programs under $4,000. Typically, the program cost includes: accommodations, transfer to/from airport abroad, group excursions, group transportation, 1-2 meals/day, comprehensive medical insurance, security evacuation protection, and up to 6 credit hours (2 courses). Typically, it excludes: 1 meal/day, spending money and independent travel (i.e. going out at night or free-weekend travel to another European city), textbooks/reading materials (approx. $15-50/course), passport fees (U.S. passport renewal = $115; new U.S. passport = $135), and any fees assessed by your college/university. Scholarships are available and financial aid can be applied to all KIIS programs.
Excluding airfare, KIIS Winter programs begin at $2,275 (+ the $250 application fee). Students may take one course for 3 credit hours on Winter programs. For individual Winter program costs, select the program name from the dropdown menu above.
Excluding airfare, KIIS Semester programs range from $6,950 to $9,300 (+ the $250 application fee). For individual Summer or Semester program costs, select the program name from the dropdown menu above.
Are scholarships and financial aid available?
Yes. There are several options: 1) all KIIS applicants can 'apply early and save $100'; 2) KIIS offers one $600 scholarship for every Summer program, one $300 scholarship for every Winter program, and one $750 scholarship for every Semester program; 3) KIIS provides each full-member consortium institution with a KIIS-"Member-institution" scholarship in the amount of $1,500 to award/disburse to students on a KIIS program ($500 at affiliate-member institution); 4) many colleges and universities offer their students generous study abroad scholarships; 5) Honors Colleges or Programs often offer honors students additional study abroad scholarships; and 6) regional, national, and international scholarships are also available. Click here for complete scholarship details.
Students may also apply most types of financial aid to KIIS study abroad programs.
Is there a KIIS master course list?
Yes. Click here for a complete KIIS Summer course listing. For individual course descriptions and syllabi (posted several months prior to departure), select your desired program and then select 'courses'. Please note: our Summer course offerings change each summer. For KIIS Winter, Summer, and Semester Honors course descriptions, click here.
When is the KIIS application deadline?
For Summer programs, the deadline is February 15 (January 20 = apply early and save $100). For Fall Semester programs, the deadline is April 15 (April 1 = apply early and save $100). For Winter programs, the deadline is October 1 (September 15 = apply early and save $100). For Spring Semester programs, the deadline is October 15 (October 1 = apply early and save $100). Click here for all KIIS deadlines.
How do I make a KIIS payment?
You have 4 payment options: a) online by electronic check (no transaction fee), b) online by credit card (2.99% transaction fee), c) mail KIIS a paper check, money order, or certified check, or d) in person (WKU Campus, Tate Page Hall 129). For details on each of the four payment options, visit the KIIS Payment Info page (scroll down that page to where it reads "Payment Options" in blue).
Note: With the exception of their $250 application fee, Ball State, Berea, and WKU students do not pay KIIS directly; they pay their KIIS program fees to their respective schools (which in turn pay KIIS). All other students pay KIIS directly.
Flight Info: Option 1 vs Option 2?
KIIS applicants have two flight options: Option 1 (make your own flight arrangements) or Option 2 (travel to and from the program on the KIIS group flight). Students must make their selection at the time of online application and cannot later change their Option 1 or Option 2 selection.
Because KIIS cannot yet state with certainty the price of the group flight, for each program we offer a price range for Option 2. For example, if Option 1 is listed online at $3,500, and Option 2 is listed at $5,000 - $5,200, then the group flight for that KIIS program will cost between $1,500 and $1,700. All final Option 2 prices (meaning with the exact group flight price) will be posted on the KIIS website on April 1 (after the February 15 Summer application deadline).
Read the helpful KIIS Flight Info section before making your Option 1 or Option 2 selection. To locate your group flight itinerary (also posted April 1), select your program from dropdown menu above and then click Admitted Students.
For KIIS Winter programs, group flight itineraries will be posted on the KIIS website on November 15; for those Winter students selecting the group flight option (Option 2), the cost of the group flight will be added to your KIIS account on November 15 too.
How many courses do I take abroad?
On KIIS Summer programs, students take 1 or 2 courses (3 or 6 credit hours); since the program fee is the same, most students take two 3-credit courses. Courses are taught by professors from KIIS member institutions. On KIIS Winter programs, students may take one course (3 credit hours). On KIIS Semester programs, typically students take 4-5 courses (12-15 credit hours).
What about accommodations abroad?
While abroad, students reside in dorms, hotels or with a homestay family. KIIS Summer programs with a full homestay include Austria, Costa Rica, Mexico, Munich, Spain I, and Spain II (Japan includes a 1-week homestay portion). On other Summer programs, students reside either in dorms, hotels or both- for specifics, select your desired program from the dropdown menu above and then click 'accommodations'. Students on Winter programs reside in hotels. Semester programs with a homestay include Merida (Mexico) and Segovia (Spain). In Caen (France), students elect whether to reside with a homestay family or in a university dorm (the homestay option costs several hundred dollars more-- see Caen program for details). In Regensburg (Germany), students reside in university dorms.
Does KIIS provide medical insurance?
Yes. Through CMI Insurance, KIIS provides all student and faculty participants with comprehensive medical insurance ($500,000 max; $0 deductible) while abroad on KIIS programs. The KIIS-CMI policy also provides all program participants with 1) Security Evacuation Protection; 2) Emergency Medical Evacuation Benefit; 3) pays 100% of the cost for repatriation of remains; 4) Trip Interruption Benefit; and 5) Trip Cancellation-Terrorism. For complete details, see Health & Safety & KIIS-CMI policy.
Do students with disabilities study abroad?
Yes. KIIS makes every effort to offer students with disabilities an opportunity to participate on study abroad programs whenever possible. However, students should be aware that in many countries there are fewer and sometimes no provisions (i.e. ramps, elevators, handicap access, Braille signage) to accommodate individuals with disabilities. In some cases, students may need to bring a caregiver. For more, please see Disability Accommodations
Can my spouse/children join me on the program?
Spouses or children may accompany student participants on a space-available and logistically-possible 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. Please contact the KIIS office (270-745-4416) if you wish to have your spouse/children join you on your KIIS program.
Faculty members with similar questions should click here (and then scroll to the bottom of that page).
Who is my KIIS Campus Rep & Program Director?
Each KIIS consortium school counts on a KIIS Campus Representative. Typically, he or she is located at your home institution's study abroad office and is very knowledgeable about KIIS programs; you will also need to meet with your KIIS Campus Rep to complete any paperwork your home institution requires. Each KIIS program is led by a Program Director. Your Program Director is your best source for the day-to-day specifics of your chosen KIIS program.
When do I find out if I've been accepted?
For Summer programs, early acceptance notification is February 1 (to be considered, you must apply by January 20); regular acceptance notification is March 1 (apply by February 15). For Winter programs, you will be notified on October 5. For Fall Semester programs, you will be notified on April 22. For Spring Semester programs, you will be notified on October 25. Acceptance notifications are sent by email.
What happens if I'm waitlisted or rejected?
If waitlisted, you have 3 options: a) remain on the waitlist and hope a spot becomes available (it certainly happens), b) contact the KIIS office and request to switch to another KIIS program, c) withdraw your waitlisted application and request a refund of your $250 application fee (note: if a student chooses to remain on the waiting list, a space becomes available, and the waitlisted student then declines the offer, KIIS will not refund the $250 application fee). If rejected, KIIS will refund your $250 application fee. Click here for KIIS refund policy
What do I do once I've been accepted?
To finalize your application, you must complete several important forms in your MyKIIS account (program contract, medical history and medical surrogacy, agreement & assumption of risk, etc.) by March 15. Program documents such as your KIIS Student Handbook (which contains info specific to your program, health & safety issues, money questions, cellphones abroad, packing tips, airport instructions,
etc.) and the group flight itinerary will be made available to you through your MyKIIS account. Attend the mandatory KIIS Student Orientation (held in April for Summer programs); your parents/relatives are welcome to attend (though not in your place). Make your program payments by the appropriate deadlines. Finally, contact your KIIS Campus Rep to complete any study abroad paperwork required by your home institution. Additional questions: contact your Program Director or Haley.McTaggart@wku.edu
How/when do I register for KIIS courses?
When you apply online to a KIIS Summer, Winter or Semester program, you must select your desired courses from the dropdown menu (up to 2 courses/Summer programs and up to 5 courses/Semester programs). Approximately a month after being accepted into a KIIS program (click for dates), students finalize their desired course selections. KIIS then forwards student course selections to the Western Kentucky University Registrar (all KIIS course credit is awarded by WKU). Current WKU students: you cannot register for your KIIS Summer or Semester courses on TopNet; you'll follow the same procedure described above.
When will my KIIS grades be transferred?
All KIIS course credit is awarded by Western Kentucky University. Grades are transferred (a transcript is sent) to each student's home institution 8-10 weeks after the completion of the program. For KIIS Summer students, we will send your transcript to your home institution on August 15. For KIIS Winter students, we will send your transcript to your home institution 4-6 weeks after the completion of the program. For KIIS Semester students, we will send your transcript to your home institution 10-12 weeks after the completion of the program. It is KIIS policy not to release a transcript for any student with an outstanding KIIS balance.
Must I attend the KIIS student orientation?
Yes. All students participating on a KIIS program must attend the KIIS orientation prior to departure. Click here for designated orientation date. Your parents or other emergency contacts are welcome at the orientation. In addition to meeting your fellow participants, 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 email@example.com a completed Individual Student Orientation form
What kind of communications options are available abroad?
Many of the accommodations on KIIS programs offer students free internet and/or WiFi. The quality at some locales is better than others. Be aware that using your U.S. cell phone abroad can be costly. If you bring your cell phone, it is a good idea to disable your internet roaming and 4G capabilities; if you do not, you may incur aubstantial roaming/data charges even if you do not use the internet. An affordable (often free) alternative is only to use your phone's WiFi capabilities while abroad. Some participants also recommend purchasing a host-country cellphone once abroad.
Faculty: want to teach on a KIIS summer or winter program?
The KIIS Summer programs faculty application deadline is March 1 for the summer of the following year (e.g. the faculty deadline for Summer 2017 programs is March 1, 2016). The KIIS Winter programs faculty application deadline is November 15 (e.g. the faculty deadline for Winter 2016-2017 programs is November 15, 2015) Click here for more info about teaching on a KIIS Summer or Winter program. Click to apply.
Faculty flight reimbursement info?
KIIS faculty have the option of flying round-trip with the group (known as Option 2) or flying to and from the program site independently (known as Option 1). If you elect to fly both ways on the group flight, KIIS will purchase your airfare for you. If you elect to fly independently (defined as anything different to both ways on the group flight), you will purchase your own airfare and then KIIS will reimburse you for the cost of your airline ticket up to the amount of the group flight. Click here for reimbursement details.
Additional questions: Contact KIIS at 270-745-4416 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Fax 270-745-4413. See complete contact info.
In the event of an emergency, contact Dr. John Dizgun (KIIS Executive Director) at 270-227-2288 (cell)