Visiting International Students Programs
As part of Barnard College’s broad initiative to internationalize its campus, the College has created the Visiting International Students Program (VISP) for spring semesters in residence at our campus in New York City. Through a limited number of collaborative relationships with international universities, our partners send cohorts of 3-12 undergraduate students to Barnard to spend the spring semester as full-time visiting students. VISP students are fully integrated into the Barnard College academic and co-curricular community, gaining a broad understanding of how liberal arts institutions in the United States function, exploring the American model of undergraduate education, and studying and researching with Barnard and Columbia University’s world-class faculty, while also contributing to the internationalization of the student body.
Why Barnard? Why New York?
On November 22, 1890 in commemoration of Barnard’s first anniversary, Columbia President Seth Low made the following commentary in the New York Times:
“Part of one's education is in the atmosphere of the place in which he studies,” he said, “and no one can be indifferent to the inspiration which comes from the full life of a great community like New York.”
By immersing visiting international students into life at Barnard, at Columbia, and in New York City, we hope to inspire them, as well as our own students, and to encourage our students as well as those from all partner institutions to "flourish in different cultural surroundings in an increasingly inter-connected world." (From Barnard's mission statement)
In the words of Lisa de Waal, a VISP student from the University of Cape Town, Spring 2011:
"From E.B. White’s love letter to New York, called Here is New York:
'There are roughly three New Yorks. There is, first, the New York of the man or woman who was born here, who takes the city for granted and accepts its size and its turbulence as natural and inevitable. Second, there is the New York of the commuter – the city that is devoured by locusts each day and spat out each night. Third, there is the New York of the person who was born somewhere else and came in quest of something. Of these three trembling cities the greatest is the last – the city of final destination, the city that is a goal.'
Now, we belong to the third kind of New York ‘settler’. Each and every one of us came here with personal goals that we hoped to achieve and with dreams of what this city had in store for us. We can proudly say that we’ve braved the icy cold New York winter; we’ve mastered the art of hailing a cab, catching a bus, and navigating the subway system; and we’ve slaved over numerous papers, but above all, we’ve truly given this experience, this incredible opportunity, all we’ve got - which I think is the greatest achievement of all."
The Visiting International Student Program is open only to students who are nominated by our partner
Beijing Foreign Studies University
Beijing Normal University
China Foreign Affairs University
Collegio Nuovo, Università di Pavia
Ewha Woman's University
Shanghai International Studies University
Trinity College Dublin
Universitat Pompeu Fabra
University of Copenhagen in partnership with the Danish Institute for Study Abroad
University of Edinburgh
Interested students from these colleges and universities should contact their study abroad office for more information. The application deadline is March 15 for the full academic year and September 15 for the spring semester only. Students will be notified of admission after May 1 (full academic year)and October 15 (spring semester only).
Requirements for admission
Applicants must have a minimum TOEFL score of at least 600 (250 computer test; 100 internet-based test) or a minimum IELTS score of 7.0. TOEFL/IELTS scores must reach Barnard by September 15, prior to the semester of enrollment.
Should an applicant not meet these minimum requirements, her application will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Students must also have sufficient academic preparation for the courses they wish to pursue at Barnard.
Students must have completed at least one year of higher education at their home institution.
Once they are nominated by their home schools, students should submit their application materials, outlined below.
A completed application includes the following documents:
- VISP Application Cover Sheet
- A Curriculum Vitae;
- An essay describing why you wish to spend the spring semester at Barnard College (500 words or less);
- A copy of the identification page of your passport;
- An official TOEFL or IELTS Score Report (for non-native English speakers only);
- An official university transcript;
- A high school transcript (optional);
- Two (2) letters of recommendation from university professors;
Once students are notified of admission, they will receive information on how to request a DS-2019 to apply for a J-1 visa. Students will submit:
- The DS-2019 Request Form (see link on the right)
- Documentation of funding* .
*Please check with your home university coordinator for the total amount of funds necessary to apply for your DS-2019.
Program dates for Spring 2019
Student arrival and housing check-in: January 15th
Student departure and housing check-out: May 17th
Costs for Spring 2022
For more information, please contact your home institution coordinator or email email@example.com.
All VISP students are required to purchase medical insurance in accordance with Barnard policy and visa regulations. This comprehensive insurance will be billed automatically to each student. You will receive information on insurance as part of your Acceptance Packet.
Room and Board
All VISP students are required to live on-campus and select a meal plan.
Please visit Barnard's Residential Life & Housing website to see the current housing options and rates.
Questions about room selection and living in the residence halls should be directed to the Residential Life and Housing Office via phone 212-854-65561, email: ;firstname.lastname@example.org, or Skype: BarnardResLife.
Please visit the Bursar's website to see the meal plan options.
Submit meal plan contracts and direct all meal plan questions to the Bursar's Office at email@example.com.
Barnard has agreements with the Institut d'Etudes Politiques ("Sciences Po") in France, The University of Edinburgh in Scotland, and University of New South Wales ("UNSW") in Australia which allow international students to study at Barnard for an entire academic year.
If you are a student currently enrolled in one of these institutions and are interested in studying at Barnard for a full year, please contact the study abroad/away office at your home institution.
Preparing for your semester at Barnard
Once you are accepted to VISP, you will receive an email from the Office of International and Intercultural Student Programs with information on the visa application process.
You will also receive your acceptance packet, which includes required forms and information on:
- meal plans
- medical forms and insurance
- setting up your Barnard email account
- what to bring
- arrival information
and much more.
Please use this simplified "To Do List" below as a guide to help you prepare for your semester at Barnard.
- December 1 - Payment due IN FULL
- December 3 - Submit required health information forms
- As soon as possible - Activate your myBarnard/email; activate UNI; submit ID photo; complete online forms via myBarnard
- As soon as possible - Submit your flight information online
- January 15Move-in to your residence hall
- January 15NSOP (New Student Orientation Program) begins
Choosing courses for your VISP semester
You will not register for courses until you arrive on campus in January. Courses which VISP students are eligible to take while at Barnard include:
- Courses designated BC, C, R, V, and W
- Courses numbered from 1000 through 4999
- VISP students are not eligible to take classes in Journalism, Law, Engineering (except for "The Art of Engineering"), and graduate-level courses (coded GR or coded 6000 0r higher)
- Students may not register for more than two Business courses
Please note that you are welcome to search for courses but you should plan to work closely with your academic advisor during Orientation to put together an appropriate program. The Columbia online catalog includes courses from Columbia, Barnard, and even some graduate schools. Remember, undergraduate students may not enroll in graduate school courses.
Please review our Frequently Asked Questions for even more helpful information as you prepare for your semester at Barnard.
When they first arrive on campus, VISP students will participate in a special track of Barnard’s New Student Orientation Program that will integrate them into campus life, introduce them to other new students at Barnard and also address concerns and questions specific to VISP. The VISP Extended Orientation Program follows Barnard’s general New Student Orientation Program, adding additional sessions throughout the spring semester to help VISP students adjust to life at Barnard. These events include:
Welcome meeting specifically for VISP students
Individual Advising Appointments with a faculty member or academic dean
Sessions on American Culture, Culture Shock, American Slang and Colloquial English
Sessions on Public Speaking, Writing Papers, Study Skills
Barnard Reach Out (BRO)— VISP students will be eligible to participate in a variety of community service projects on the final day of NSOP. This is a great way to start becoming familiar with various neighborhoods in New York City, to get to know other visiting students, and to meet other Barnard students and faculty/staff. The program is modeled on Barnard’s well-known programs for first-year and transfer students during fall Orientation.
Prior to coming to Barnard, VISP students will be matched with a Visiting International Student Ambassador (VISA), a current Barnard student interested in introducing VISP students to the Barnard campus, to the University, and to New York. Ambassadors will be matched for the entire semester, and are available to the incoming students before the semester begins, to answer questions and give advice.
All VISP students will also be assigned a full-time faculty member to assist them in choosing and signing up for courses when they arrive.
All VISP students are eligible to take an American Language Course through Columbia’s ALP. Placement will be determined upon arrival; depending on TOEFL/IELTS scores, some students may be required to take a course through ALP.
Throughout the semester, VISP students will have the option of participating in:
- Monthly food and cultural festivals sponsored by VISP students from different countries, in collaboration with various Barnard offices and student cultural groups
- Sporting/Cultural Events on and off-campus
- And much more!
General Campus Resources
VISP students have access to the same services and support as all Barnard students, including but not limited to:
Academic Support Services: Academic support is available to all VISP students via the Academic Support Services Center.
The I-20/DS-2019 document will enable you to secure your F-1 or J-1 visa for study at Barnard. The Application for I-20/DS-2019 is a fillable form. Please see our detailed instructions on how to qualify for an I-20/DS-2019.
A complete application must include:
- Your I-20 Request Form
- Copy of your passport photo page
- Financial documentation
- Sponsor's Affidavit of Support Form (if applicable)
- F-1 Transfer Verification Form (if applicable)
You must email your completed applications as one file in PDF format to: IISP@barnard.edu.
Once your I-20 request has been approved, we will mail the I-20 to you via express mail. You will then need to make an appointment with your nearest American embassy or consulate to apply for your F-1 student visa.
Once you've read the instructions carefully, you may discover that you need to submit the forms below in addition to the I-20 request form posted above. The forms below are not fillable online, so you will need to download them, fill them out, and submit them via email with your application.
F1 Transfer Certification: Please submit this form ONLY IF you attended another U.S. secondary school or U.S. college/university within the last six months.
Dependent Information: Please submit this form ONLY IF you plan to bring a spouse and/or children with you.
Sponsor’s Affidavit of Free Room and Board in the New York City Metropolitan Area: Please submit this form ONLY IF you will be sponsored for free room and board.
Sponsor’s Affidavit of Support Form: Please submit this form ONLY IF you have a sponsor (parent or relative) supporting you financially. Each sponsor must complete a separate Affidavit of Support Form.
Questions about these forms may be directed to Office of International & Intercultural Student Programs via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 212-854-1777. Remember, your application should be submitted as one file in PDF format