Student Initiated Programs in Spain, Portugal, and Latin America

Image of a woman dancing with men surrounding her playing instruments
Study abroad in Spain, Portugal, or Latin America through an approved and accredited non-KU study abroad program.
Location: Spain, Portugal, Latin America
Language of Instruction: EnglishPortugueseSpanish
Academic Disciplines: -Open to All Majors
Program Type: Student-Initiated Program
Open to non-KU Students: No
Fulfills KU Core 4.2: No
Fulfills KU Core 5: No

  • Study abroad with a program provider, another U.S. university, or directly enroll in a foreign institution
  • Choose from a wide variety of destinations and academic options
  • Access most financial aid and scholarships
  • Receive credit at KU with approval of academic departments

Schedule a meeting with a KU Study Abroad program coordinator to learn more about the SIP process.

Student-Initiated Programs (SIPs) allow KU students to study abroad for a winter break, summer, semester, or academic year and earn KU credit for programs that are not administered by KU Study Abroad & Global Engagement. SIPs expand the types of programs and locations in which Jayhawks can study, intern, or research abroad.

  • Directly enroll at a foreign institution, which is accredited by the Ministry of Education of the host country
  • Participate in a program administered by another accredited U.S. university or college
  • Participate in a program administered by a study abroad program provider

Students participating in a SIP remain enrolled at KU during their term abroad, which allows them to use institutional, state and federal financial aid, apply for KU and other scholarships, defer loan payments, and receive KU resident credit and grades for the courses they take. Students will work with both KU Study Abroad and their host university or program provider to complete all required paperwork. 

Many Jayhawks choose SIP programs and receive application and advising assistance from KU Study Abroad & Global Engagement. SIP students will also receive supports both pre-departure and while abroad, including pre-departure orientation to receive academic, cultural, and safety information, 24-hour emergency assistance with KU Study Abroad, and emergency medical evacuation and repatriation coverage for the study period.

Program Selection

Students searching for a study abroad program are encouraged to visit the Study Abroad Info Center or visit the SIP pages online. The Info Center is located in 105 Lippincott Hall and is staffed by Peer Advisors, KU students who have studied abroad. No appointment is necessary. There are brochures for many SIPs available in the Info Center.

Once a student has a specific program or region in mind, they must schedule an appointment to meet with the appropriate Study Abroad & Global Engagement program coordinator before beginning the KU SIP application. The program coordinator will confirm that the chosen program meets University of Kansas and SIP guidelines and discuss the SIP application process, program budget, scholarship opportunities, and the KU credit approval process.

The University of Kansas does not endorse any host university or program provider. The following list is not comprehensive, but includes opportunities the University of Kansas has approved for student-initiated programs. Though unlikely, approval may be revoked at any time due to safety or academic concerns.

Below are a few of many SIP program providers that offer programs in Spain, Portugal, and Latin America.

API - Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica, Portugal, and Spain

AIFS - Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Portugal, and Spain

Arcadia University - Mexico, Spain

Barcelona SAE - Spain

CIS Abroad - Costa Rica and Spain

CEA/CAPA - Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica, and Spain

CET Academic Programs - Brazil and Colombia

CIEE - Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Portugal, and Spain

IES Abroad - Argentina, Chile, Ecuador, and Spain

Institute for Study Abroad (IFSA) – Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, Mexico, Peru, and Spain

ISA - Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Peru, and Spain

Nova School of Business and Economics - Portugal

Saint Louis University in Madrid - Spain

SFS – Chile, Costa Rica, Panama, Peru, and Turks & Caicos Islands

School for International Training (SIT) – Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Portugal, and Spain

SSA Education Abroad - Argentina, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Spain

Tulane University (Mayan Language Institute) - Guatemala

University of Minnesota Learning Abroad Center - Argentina, Ecuador, Mexico, and Spain

University Studies Abroad Consortium (USAC) - Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, Portugal, Spain, and Uruguay


Once students have selected a program, they will complete an application through their chosen program provider AND a KU SIP application. It's the student's responsibility to monitor application procedures and deadlines for their chosen program provider, which may differ from KU's deadlines. The KU SIP application deadlines are as follows:

  • Winter Break or Spring semester programs: October 1
  • Summer programs: February 15
  • Fall and Academic Year programs: March 15


Students will complete post-acceptance requirements for Study Abroad & Global Engagement and their host organization. Post-acceptance requirements include paperwork for international travel, submission of travel information, and participation in the Study Abroad & Global Engagement mandatory pre-departure orientation, which provides academic, cultural, and safety information.

Students can study in a wide variety of locations around the world; however, out of concern for student safety and well-being, KU does not sponsor study abroad in locations where a U.S. Department of State Travel Advisory Level 3 or Level 4 has been issued. The classification level applied to each country can be accessed via the U.S. Department of State Website. Information on Level 3 or Level 4 regional designations within a country is available by reading the country-specific advisory. Exceptions to this policy will be considered by petition to the International Travel Review Committee (ITRC). For information on travel to high-risk locations see KU International Travel Policies.

While abroad, all KU study abroad participants will maintain student status at KU by enrolling in study abroad placeholder credits. Students studying abroad for a semester or academic year must maintain enrollment as a full-time student, which is at least 12 KU credits per semester. The University of Kansas requires that all courses taken abroad, including electives, be transferred back to the student's academic record at KU and all grades earned abroad will be calculated into the student's KU GPA.

Students will work with their academic advisor(s) to determine the courses that they can take while on their study abroad program. As part of the KU SIP application, students will complete the Academic Plan and Approval form, which allows students to find out how classes will transfer back to KU and make sure that the program they have selected is a good academic fit. The host organization can provide students with course syllabi or descriptions, which students will submit to departmental approvers to get KU course equivalents assigned. More information about obtaining course equivalents is available online.

Students should ensure that the transcript for their study abroad program is sent by the host organization to KU Study Abroad following completion of the program and that their study abroad courses are posted to their KU transcript by the end of the following academic term.

Each program provider or host institution will provide students with information about housing options for their program. Options typically include host families, residence halls, and apartments. For students going to Spain, Portugal, or Latin America, a very common option is host families, which allows students to practice the language and more deeply learn about their host county's culture.

Students can learn from the program provider or host institution about any cultural activities and/or excursions that might be included or offered to them.

SAGE is dedicated to creating international engagement opportunities that meet the needs of all our students and providing resources to support you through the process of studying abroad. Study abroad is achievable for students of all identities including our BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ students, students with disabilities, and students with religious/non-religious viewpoints. Before selecting a program, consider how your identities may impact your experience abroad in unique ways and talk with your Program Coordinator about any program-specific concerns. Students with documented disabilities should discuss any accommodation needs with their Program Coordinator early in the planning process.

Check our Identity Abroad page and resources listed below for information specific to you and other students who may be on your program.

All students must have a 2.50 GPA, be in good academic standing at KU, and have completed one semester at KU prior to studying abroad. Additionally, students must meet all host organization eligibility requirements.

Students will work with their KU program coordinator to develop a comprehensive budget for their selected program that includes tuition and fees, housing and meals, travel expenses, passport and visa fees, health insurance, a KU SIP fee, and other costs associated with participating in the selected program.

The KU SIP fee includes an administrative fee, KU enrollment, KU resident credit and grade posting, access to federal and state financial aid, eligibility for study abroad scholarships, pre-departure orientation, 24-hour emergency contact services, access to the Alert Traveler safety app, and emergency medical evacuation and repatriation services. The KU SIP fee is billed through the KU Enroll & Pay system.

The KU program fee for participation in a Student-Initiated Program is as follows:

  • Summer/Short-Term: $580
  • Semester: $1,050
  • Academic Year: $1,330

All other program related expenses such as host organization fees, tuition, room and board, etc. will be paid directly to the host organization, not through KU.

KU students who qualify for federal financial aid in the form of loans, Pell Grant, and/or SEOG Grants or scholarships may apply the aid to the cost of a SIP.

KU Study Abroad offers individualized financial aid planning and advising and limited KU Study Abroad supplemental scholarships for degree-seeking students. Additionally, there are scholarship opportunities through KU departments and others outside KU. For those students who qualify, there are passport grants and airfare assistance. Read more about these opportunities and schedule a financial aid and scholarship advising appointment on the Costs and Funding page.

Some program providers offer scholarships to students participating on their programs. Information about these scholarships can be found on the program provider's website.

Passport and Student Visa Information

Students who do not have a passport should view the processing times and apply for one immediately. Students with a passport should verify that it is an adult passport (valid for ten years), not a child's passport (valid for five years). Students with a child's passport should either apply for an adult passport or consult with the program coordinator about the expiration date.

KU Study Abroad & Global Engagement has a Passport Center where students can apply for a U.S. passport. Some countries require students to obtain student visas which can take several months to process, depending on the host country.

Information for Students Studying Abroad in SPAIN

Students planning to study abroad in Spain should not delay completing their application with their chosen program provider because all students studying abroad in Spain on a program longer than 90 days must obtain a student visa. Students without a passport should apply for one immediately.

In order to submit the visa application, students must be accepted into their program and have received paperwork for the visa application. The paperwork for the visa includes an application and the student's original passport. Once submitted at the consulate, the student visa can take up to nine or ten weeks to be issued. For students studying in the Spring, this means that they will not be able to travel internationally from approximately September until they leave for Spain for their program in January because they will not have their passport.

The consulate can change their policies at any time, but currently, visa applications must be submitted in person to the consulate that has jurisdiction over the student. All students can apply through the Consulate General of Spain in Chicago because they attend school in Kansas. Students from outside the Midwest may be able to choose to apply through the Spanish consulate that has jurisdiction over their home state.

Some program providers offer a visa processing service for a fee, which means they will drop off and pick up the visa application at the consulate so the student won’t have to go to Chicago in person. The deadline to submit the visa paperwork is earlier than the application deadline, so that’s why it’s important to complete the program provider’s application early to take advantage of the visa processing services. For example, the deadline is usually late September/early October for Spring programs.

For more information about applying through the Consulate General of Spain in Chicago please see consular services. Students who will be applying through a different consulate should read the instructions on their consulate’s website because each consulate has their own policies and application procedures. Students will also have access to a required reading about the visa process once an application on KU’s website has been started.

Students with questions should contact Study Abroad & Global Engagement.