Apply for Global Exchange & AICAD

Ready to Apply? Applications for Spring 2020 Global Exchange and AICAD Exchange are now open!

Infosessions & Advising
Prior to applying, we recommend that you attend an information session held on campus and/or attend at least one 1:1 advising session with the RISD Global Learning Advisor.

Estonian Academy of Arts (EKA)
Tallinn, Estonia
National Institute of Design (NID)
Ahmedabad, India 2017

How to Apply

Whether applying for exchange at one of our Global Exchange Schools or through AICAD, the entire application process is completed using an online application portal. You will upload, request and submit all required documents there.

Rolling deadlines for our Global Exchange Schools occur throughout the semester before you plan to do your exchange and can be found on each partner's page. The exception is our schools partnered through AICAD Exchange, for which the Spring 2020 deadline is October 1, 2019.

Apply for Global Exchange & AICAD

Note: when you click on the Online Application Portal link above, you will be directed to the RISD Admissions application portal. Please click "login" under "Returning users: Log in to continue an application" and you will be given the option to start or continue an application for Global Exchange. All RISD students should have an account from when they applied to RISD. If you don’t know your password, click “forgot password” to reset. If you are unsuccessful accessing your account, please contact global@risd.edu.

Tip: You will continue to revisit this portal often throughout your application process, and beyond your acceptance, so it’s a good idea to bookmark it for future use!

Am I eligible?

To apply, you must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher and you must remain in good standing at RISD, in terms of conduct and finances, up until and throughout your time on the program.

Undergraduate students in four-year programs may participate during either their junior or senior year. Undergraduate students in five-year programs are encouraged to participate during their senior (fourth) year. Transfer students are eligible as long as they fulfill the residency requirement for graduation (minimum of two years of residency before granting a degree).

  • Major + Location: Filter the Global Exchange Schools by degree to see where you are eligible for exchange based upon your major. If you are interested in exchange at US or Canadian institutions you should visit the AICAD Exchange website.
  • Language: Check the language of instruction at your preferred partner school. If you don't speak the local language, check the availability of courses taught in English or another language that you speak. For successful exchange we recommend you develop at least a basic knowledge of the language spoken in the country where you will live.
  • Dates: Check the partner school's semester dates. Will you miss Wintersession? Will the exchange period include some of your summer months? Make sure you meet with an academic advisor to make sure you are on track to get the credits you need, considering the months you will be away from RISD's campus.
  • Courses: Does the partner school allow exchange students to choose any course offered that semester or do they utilize a set course system? This will help you understand if your course load at the partner school can satisfy your RISD credit requirements.

The first deadline is the day your application for Global Exchange is due to RISD Global. Once your materials have been submitted to RISD Global and are deemed eligible, RISD Global will send a nomination letter on your behalf to your first choice host school.

The second deadline is the day your nomination and application for Global Exchange is due to the Global Exchange School. You are responsible for submitting the required application materials to RISD Global and to the Exchange School by the stated deadlines.

Note: AICAD Schools have a separate application with its own deadline.


Read more about how the application process works and what’s required in Application Steps and Application Materials sections.

Step 1: Research
Prior to starting your application, we recommend learning more about the program by attending an information session held on campus and/or scheduling a 1:1 advising session with the RISD Global Learning Advisor.

You may apply to one partner school at a time. Carefully research the partner schools you are interested in to make sure you find the best fit before applying. You are encouraged to select a first and second preference when you apply for Exchange. Please keep in mind that if you decide to give two preferences for partner schools you should verify that your second choice school deadline falls after your first, so it can be used as a backup if your first application is not successful.

Step 2: Advisor/Department Head Approval

You will be asked to request your Advisor and Department Head’s approval through the online application portal, but it’s best to meet beforehand in person to discuss your intention to join the program and how your Exchange credits will complement your overall academic plan. Your Advisor and Department Head can also assist you in deciding which semester is best for students from your department to attend an off-campus semester on Exchange.

Step 3: Begin your online application to RISD Global

Applications are always submitted the semester before you plan to attend. Once you’re sure attending Exchange in the upcoming semester is right for you, read through the Application Materials list below, then open your online application on the Online Application Portal. In the portal you will find all required materials listed with instructions on how to submit each one. Carefully review all instructions before submitting, so you can ensure that your application will satisfy all requirements.

Step 4: Request Recommendations + Approvals

As soon as you open your application you should visit the References section and submit your requests for your Faculty Recommendation and Academic Advisor and Department Head approvals. Your faculty, Advisor, and Department Head need time to submit their approval/recommendation through the portal, so by completing this step right away, you’re ensuring they have as much time as possible to submit before the deadline. Don’t leave this step until the last minute! Don’t even leave it until the last week.

Because application deadlines are different for each school, you should send your faculty recommenders, advisor, and department head a quick message giving them a heads up on your deadline to submit.

Step 5: Upload all materials and submit

Once your recommendations and approvals are requested, take your time to thoughtfully prepare the rest of your application materials, outlined below. Take proactive steps to ensuring your materials are as strong as possible.

We recommend you visit the Center for Arts + Language to review your written materials with a peer tutor. They offer peer tutoring for all kinds of writing at any stage of the process including brainstorming ideas, outlining, drafting, restructuring, and practicing error correction. RISD Careers offers tips and examples for resume writing on their website.

Review the portfolio pieces you plan to submit with your Advisor or another trusted faculty member or friend. Having another set of eyes on your materials can help you see your application better from an outside perspective, strengthening your application as a whole package.

When everything is just how you want it, submit! You will begin to receive updates from RISD Global by email on the status of your application and the review process.

Step 6: Scholarship

You will notice that the application questions for the Global Exchange Travel Scholarship Funds are included as a part of your application. If you choose to answer these questions your application will be considered and your award decision will be included in your nomination decision letter.

You may also apply external (non-RISD) scholarship awards to your time on Global Exchange - this program qualifies for any scholarship awarded for “study abroad” as well as most scholarships awarded for undergraduate study, as you continue to pay your regular tuition to RISD. Visit the Scholarship page to learn more about recommended external scholarships. Begin your search now, as their deadlines may be fast approaching.

Step 7: Nomination

RISD Global can nomination two RISD applicants for exchange at each of our partner schools each semester. As long as your application is received on time, your application is approved by your department, and no more than two applications have been received for your first choice partner school, RISD Global can submit your nomination very quickly. You should receive an email that your application has been nominated - and that’s your cue to move on to the next step - submitting your materials to your first choice partner school.

If three or more applications are received by RISD Global for the same partner school, a lottery will be conducted to determine the two nominated applicants for that semester. If this occurs, you’ll be notified via email.

Please note: your application to the partner school is considered invalid without receipt of RISD Global’s nomination. This is a mandatory application requirement for all of our partner schools.


Step 8: Begin your application to the partner school

Once nominated, Global Exchange applicants may submit your application materials to the partner school, per their instructions. Typically these materials are the same materials required by RISD Global and require little, if any, tweaking before resubmission.

It is your sole responsibility to submit your application materials to the partner school. RISD Global will submit nomination only upon your behalf.

Once nominated, AICAD Applicants will apply through the AICAD Exchange website.

Step 9: Check Passport Validity
As you wait for your admission decision from the partner school, check to make sure your passport expiration date falls at least 6 months after your return from your semester on Exchange. You will likely need a student visa to visit your exchange destination for an entire semester, so get a jump-start on this process by renewing your passport, if necessary.

Don’t have a Passport?
US Citizens can visit travel.state.gov to apply.

Passport expired or will expire shortly?

Begin the renewal process immediately! US Citizens can visit travel.state.gov to renew. International Citizens, contact your local embassy or consulate to renew.

Don’t delay the process of checking your travel documents for validity. The student visa application process can be time consuming and your failure to possess valid travel documents may jeopardize your ability to participate on exchange.

Statement of purpose (max 500 words) This written statement prepared as if submitting to the partner school should be a concise and thoughtful discussion of how the proposed program of study at the partner school would benefit your artistic development and educational/career goals. Your essay should be tailored to your chosen partner school, just like an admissions essay, and should address the following:

  • Why you are a strong candidate for Global Exchange at their institution, based upon your academic performance, approach to art/design, and interest in the local cultural context
  • How you imagine your participation in Global Exchange will benefit your classmates and the host institution
  • Your interest in working within the cultural and historical/contemporary context of your destination city
  • Your ability to succeed within new and flexible studio environments, with site-specific resources

Portfolio A selection of 10-15 images of your work (JPEG, PDF, video files, or website links are accepted). The pieces you select should reflect your strongest, most recent major and non major-related, academic and/or personal work, as well as projects you would like to pursue or expand upon once on Exchange. Include titles, descriptions, and descriptive text for each portfolio piece in the appropriate spaces provided.

Approval from Department Head + Academic Advisor (requested and sent through Reference section). If your Department Head and Academic Advisor are the same person, both approvals will be sent as one.

One Faculty Letter of Recommendation (requested and sent through Reference section). Must be provided by a RISD faculty member who has instructed you within the last calendar year.

Resume/CV A place to showcase relevant work/volunteer/internship opportunities, your skillset, foreign language proficiency, and other interests or areas of expertise. We advise you to research the standard format for resumes/CVs in the region of the world in which you are applying.

Unofficial Transcript PDF downloaded from WebAdvisor.

RISD Global can nomination up to two RISD applicants for exchange at each of our partner schools each semester. As long as your application is received on time, your application is approved by your department, and no more than two applications have been received for your first choice partner school, RISD Global can submit your nomination very quickly. You should receive an email that your application has been nominated - and that’s your cue to move on to the next step - submitting your materials to your first choice partner school.

In the event that three or more applications are received by RISD Global for the same partner school, a lottery will be conducted to determine the two nominated applicants for that semester. If this occurs, you’ll be notified via email.

If accepted to Global Exchange, you will have approximately one week to confirm your acceptance. Pay close attention to the official acceptance confirmation deadline in your admission decision letter.

Once nominated, you will apply directly to your first choice partner school following their instructions for applying for incoming exchange.

Please Note: AICAD Exchange Applicants should follow all processes outlined for application to RISD Global and nomination, above. When it is time to apply to your chosen partner school, you will apply for AICAD Exchange.

The admission selection process for nominated applicants is ultimately up to the partner school and the school will inform you directly of their admission decision. Upon your acceptance, please communicate their decision to RISD Global. If you applied for RISD Global Exchange Travel Scholarship Funds, you will receive an update from RISD Global on your scholarship application status upon your acceptance to your first choice partner school.

If you are not accepted to your first choice partner school, there is still time to apply to a second choice partner school, and there was previously no more than one other applicant to your second choice partner school your application will be automatically nominated by RISD Global. You may then apply directly to the second choice partner school and await their admission decision.

Confirming Passport Validity

Participation in Global Exchange requires a valid passport and, in most cases, a Study Abroad Visa. Get a jump start on this process by ensuring that your passport expiration date falls at least 6 months after your return from your semester on Exchange.

Don’t have a Passport?

US Citizens can visit travel.state.gov to apply.

Passport expired or will expire shortly?
Begin the renewal process immediately! US Citizens can visit travel.state.gov to renew. International Citizens, contact your local embassy or consulate to renew.

Don’t delay the process of checking your travel documents for validity. The visa application process is time consuming and has a very tight turnaround following your acceptance. Your failure to possess valid travel documents may jeopardize your ability to participate in Global Exchange.

Visa Application
A visa is an official stamp issued by a foreign government granting permission to enter, study, or live in that particular country. It is important to begin the process of obtaining a visa as soon as you have confirmed your participation in Global Exchange as it may take in excess of 4-8 weeks to obtain all of the proper documentation for a student visa.

Costs of visas vary from country to country, so please check with your partner school or the embassy/consulate for specific details. Ultimately, it is your responsibility to secure the correct visa in time for your program start date. Your host school should give you instructions and documentation for the appropriate visa for which to apply. RISD Global can offer general guidance on this process.

Learning Agreement
After instruction from RISD Global you will complete the Learning Agreement Form Part I, through which your department will approve your chosen course work at the partner school. Upon receipt of your Learning Agreement Part I, the RISD Registrar will begin your enrollment in Global Exchange placeholder courses and de-enroll you from your on-campus courses for the appropriate semester.

When you arrive at the partner school for your exchange semester, you’ll complete the revision of the Learning Agreement, called Part 2, through which your department will place final approval upon the courses in which you are able to officially register.


Application Portal Checklist Items
You will continue to utilize the status page of your online application portal to complete tasks and uploads relevant to your participation in Global Exchange, such as important visa and health and safety processes. You are responsible for checking the portal frequently and completing these tasks in a timely manner once accepted to Global Exchange.

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1:1 Advising Session

Have questions? The RISD Global team is available to meet for a 1:1 advising session. We can give you more information about your study options, help you figure out which program makes sense for you, and assist you with the application process.

Schedule an Appointment

Scholarships

Increasing financial aid is a central pillar of RISD’s equity, inclusion and diversity commitment. With income inequality and student debt at unprecedented heights, we are working to provide greater support and access to students interested in pursuing learning experiences through RISD Global.

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