Frequently Asked Questions

What is CCSF's Study Abroad Program?

Since 1985, City College of San Francisco has been a leader in Study Abroad education. Thousands of City College students, faculty and staff, students from other colleges and universities and citizens of the greater Bay Area community have participated in CCSF Study Abroad programs in such diverse locations as Australia, Cambodia, China, Costa Rica, Cuba, England, France, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Laos, Mexico, Mongolia, Spain, Russia and Vietnam.

While studying abroad, participants earn college credit toward graduation at CCSF or for transfer credit to a variety of four-year universities, particularly those in the California State University or University of California systems.

CCSF's long-standing experience in the field of international education has earned it a reputation for high quality instruction in exotic and stimulating settings. CCSF provides the best in both academic and cultural programs, fusing classroom education with real-life experience and unique excursion opportunities to maximize learning.

Why Should I Study Abroad?

We encourage students to take advantage of this enriching program. Potential rewards of studying abroad include all of the following:

    I.  Academic

  • Gaining new perspectives on academic interests at home and abroad.
  • Learning a foreign language in a setting where the world is your "language lab".
  • Obtaining an advantage over other students who have not had international experience.

    II. Professional

  • Building new career skills and enhancing future job opportunities.
  • Gaining valuable international and intercultural communication skills.
  • Learning or enhancing existing second language skills.

    III. Personal

  • Achieving personal growth, while taking part in a life-changing experience.
  • Raising personal self-confidence and self-esteem.
    Becoming better qualified to take part in world events as a global citizen.
  • Exploring and celebrating another society and culture and developing new understandings of one's own.

Can I Afford to Go?

Programs will range in price depending on the program length, location, type of housing, activities and whether or not air fare and meals are included. Each program is different and should be investigated separately.

It is important to note that some participants may qualify for financial aid by applying for grant or loan assistance through City College of San Francisco's Financial Aid Office. Due to the lengthy processing time, we advise you to plan to apply for financial aid at least two semesters in advance of your intended departure date. Students must be enrolled in a degree or certificate program at CCSF in order to qualify for financial aid through CCSF. For applications and further information, please visit the following websites: or

Or visit the CCSF Office of Financial Aid at 50 Phelan Avenue, Cloud Hall, Room 324, San Francisco, CA 94112, or call 415/239-3575 or 415/239-3577. Financial Aid Counselors can answer questions about Financial Aid as it pertains to studying abroad through CCSF.

Students who have completed at least twelve units through CCSF may apply for partial scholarships though CCSF's International Education Program. If you are interested, call the Study Abroad Office at 415/ 239-3778 for an application.

Even though at first glance the cost of some of CCSF's programs may appear beyond what you can afford, you should compare the cost of studying abroad to the cost of living in the Bay Area. Take into account your expenses for housing, food, school supplies, transportation, tuition, books and fees, and personal expenses, and compare this total to the cost of studying abroad. Consider, too, the fact that by beginning a savings program now, a study abroad opportunity may be within your reach in the near future. Students with a GPA of 3.0 or higher should also research scholarship opportunities.

Students who are PELL eligible may be able to apply for a Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship, which can provide generous amounts of aid toward the cost of studying abroad.

How Much Do I Pay to CCSF?

Please note that residents of California must pay an $46 per unit enrollment fee, plus a one-time fee of $17 during semesters and $14 during summers to CCSF at the time of registration. If you are a citizen of the US and a resident of San Francisco, you may be eligible for "Free City College". Please click on this link to learn more:

Non-residents of California are required to pay $280 per credit, plus a capital outlay fee of $7 per credit, plus a one-time fee of $17. These fees are separate from listed program costs. These fees are set by the State of California, and are subject to change.

All other program costs are paid to the study abroad organization or travel agent that is partnering with CCSF to offer the study abroad program in which you participate. This company will arrange for your housing, travel, support services, and in some cases, airfare, as well as other types of logistical support while you are overseas.

Please consult the CCSF Study Abroad Advisor at 415/239-3778 for further information.

What Type of Student Studies Abroad?

Most students would love to have the opportunity to study in another country, but suspect that only "rich kids" or those who are already fluent in a foreign language are able to do so. CCSF programs are specifically geared to be affordable and inclusive for everyone. We encourage all students to investigate how a summer or semester-length study abroad opportunity might fit into their academic career, including:

  • Students of all ages: Past participants have ranged in age from 18 to 87.
  • Students of all ethnicities, orientations and religious affiliations.
  • Students receiving Financial Aid
  • Married students or students with families: Some programs can make arrangements for shared housing and childcare.
  • Students with only minimal knowledge of the host country's language.

Am I Eligible to Apply?

If you are a student at City College of San Francisco, 18 years of age or older, with a grade point average of 2.0 or above, you are qualified to apply for Study Abroad programs. If you are not a student at City College, but are 18 years of age or older, have graduated from high school, can demonstrate high school equivalency or are registered at another institution of higher learning, you are also eligible to apply.

The application procedure requires you to send in the appropriate study abroad program application form (available from the CCSF Study Abroad Coordinator), together with your deposit. Once your application and deposit are received, enrollment forms for registration at CCSF will be sent to you. All students planning to participate in a CCSF program must be enrolled as students at CCSF for the duration of their program.

Where Will I Live?

Although there are sometimes choices depending on one's program of interest, program participants stay either in dormitories, the homes of local families, furnished student apartments or, in the case of some of our short term programs, in hotels. In addition, meal plans vary from program to program. For more information, please click on the link for the program in which you are interested.

Will I Earn College Credit?

All of CCSF's Study Abroad programs offer the opportunity to earn college credit towards graduation at CCSF and other institutions of higher learning. Courses are fully transferable to the California State University system, and most are also transferable to the University of California system. Students enrolled or planning to enroll in other institutions, before or after they participate in a CCSF program, should check with a counselor at those institutions for information on transferability of credit.

Short-term summer programs usually offer from three to six units, while most semester programs offer up to 15 units. Again, be sure to check the brochure or applicable section of this website for the specific program in which you are interested. CCSF students have the option of taking some classes for "credit/no credit" (instead of a grade) for some courses.

CCSF fees still apply. For further information about the "credit/no credit" option, please consult the current City College of San Francisco Catalog.

Do I Need A Visa to Study Abroad?

It depends on the program you choose. Some countries require visas for short visits, while others only require them if you are studying abroad for 90 days or longer. 

In terms of summer programs, generally a visa is not required because the length of the program is less than 90 days and most countries will currently allow US citizens to visit as tourists for short periods of time with a current passport. However, every country's laws are different and can change at any time, so please make sure to read the program brochure and paperwork thoroughly, as it will explain if a visa is needed and the process for obtaining one.

If you are not a US citizen, it is your responsiblity to check the visa regulations for the country where you will be studying abroad, and to obtain any necessary visas for travel.


How Can I Find Out More?

If you are interested in a particular Study Abroad program, wish to receive a brochure or would like further information, please call the Study Abroad Coordinator at 415/239-3778. If you need further information concerning financial aid at City College, please call CCSF's Financial Aid Office at 415/239-3575 or visit their website at

We also advise all those wishing to apply for any CCSF Study Abroad program to become familiar with the required policies and guidelines for students, as indicated in the City College of San Francisco Catalog.