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For many students, meaningful cross-cultural learning continues in the weeks and months following the study abroad experience.  This section of the handbook details what you can do to ensure a smooth return to the U.S. and to continue your international and inter-cultural learning back home.

Leaving your host country

Program evaluation

At the end of the program, all participants complete a program evaluation. A volunteer student from your group will be asked to collect the student evaluation forms to return to OSA immediately following the program. Course instructors will not review student evaluations until after grades have been submitted.  The information you provide will be crucial in helping the academic units and the Office of Study Abroad make program improvements and will provide valuable information to students participating in future study abroad programs.  If you do not turn in an evaluation while abroad, please fill out and return a completed evaluation to the Office of Study Abroad immediately upon your return to the United States.

Customs information

The government requires you to pay duty on goods purchased abroad and brought into the United States.  You should know and understand these requirements before leaving so there are no problems when you return.  You must declare expensive and/or foreign goods you will take with you before leaving the United States so that you are not charged duty on them when you return.  If you are taking imported articles such as cameras, binoculars, watches, laptops, etc., register these foreign-made articles with Customs (before leaving the U.S.) to avoid extra duty charges upon re-entry.

Your exemption is $800 (retail value) on articles acquired abroad, if:

Upon your return, group purchases together and keep receipts ready for Customs inspection.  Should you bring back foreign pharmaceuticals, have the prescriptions ready to present.

You must declare, at the price paid, everything acquired abroad, including gifts given to you and articles worn or used.  If you fail to declare or understate the value, penalties may be severe.  You cannot bring meat, fruits, vegetables and Cuban cigars into the United States.

Check Know Before You GoOpens in new window for more customs information.

Once you’re back in the United States

Grade reports

Faculty-Led Programs

Upon successful completion of courses abroad, all credits and grades (where applicable) earned will be recorded by the MSU Office of the Registrar, and a grade report will be sent to your home address.  MSU students will have the appropriate courses recorded on their regular transcripts. Non-MSU students wishing to have credits transferred to their home institution must request a transcript from the MSU Office of the Registrar.  This is not done automatically. 

To request a transcript, send a check or money order for $5.00 payable to MSU to: 
Michigan State University
East Lansing, Michigan 48824-0210

State your name, telephone number where you can be reached 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (EST), e-mail address, your student PID number or social security number, and your date of birth.  Include the address where the transcript should be sent and verify all information with your written signature.  Alternatively, you can order a transcript from the MSU Office of the RegistrarOpens in new window Web site.

In addition to requesting a paper copy of your transcript, you can now order an electronic (PDF) copy.  The intended recipients will receive an email with a secure access code and a link to a secure Website where the Official Transcripts will be presented via PDF. In addition to the email address, you will need to provide the name and address of the recipient. If you place your order online, you will receive an email when the transcript notice has been sent to the recipient and when the transcript has been viewed.  More information about this option can be found at the MSU Office of the Registrar Web site (

Partner programs (exchange / direct enroll)

Partner programs are study abroad programs sponsored by an academic unit at MSU, implemented by a foreign host partner institution, and staffed by non-MSU faculty.  Partner programs may include exchange programs, direct enrollment in a foreign university, and consortia or other provider programs.

If your program is a partner program, a “translation” of credit and grades for certain courses will be made upon your return.  This translation of credits and grades is based on an MSU-agreed-upon standard.  Check the MSU Registrar’s Web siteOpens in new window to determine how your international grades will be converted into the MSU grade system.

A transcript from your host institution with the record of your academic performance will be sent directly to either the Office of Study Abroad or Office of the Registrar.  It may take four to eight weeks from the time of receipt for the credit to appear on your MSU transcript.  When you return to campus, check periodically with the OSA Program Coordinator and/or your academic adviser in your college to verify that your transcript is being updated correctly.

Post-travel health recommendations

There are a few health issues you need to consider when returning from travel abroad: