Incoming Participants

Welcome, incoming graduate exchange participants

Congratulations on your nomination to participate in the graduate exchange program with Indiana University. Your exchange program is administered by the Office of the Vice President for International Affairs and managed by the international partnerships team. You should send any questions you have to

The vast majority of our exchange programs require incoming students to focus on independent research. A limited number of exchange programs allow students to enroll in courses for academic credit

Are you planning to do research?

If you are visiting Indiana University solely for the purpose of conducting research independently, you should follow the instructions to come as a J-1 visiting scholar. As a visiting scholar, you will not apply for admission.

The primary purpose of your visit to Indiana University must be research. However, you may be eligible to audit a limited number of courses. (To audit means to enroll in a course for no academic credit.) If you are interested in auditing courses, you must follow Student Central's instructions for international students. There is a fee to audit courses

Are you planning to enroll in courses for academic credit?

Currently, only graduate students from Freie Universität Berlin may enroll in courses for credit. 

Exchange participants enrolling in courses for credit must apply for admission to Indiana University as a nondegree exchange participant. Prior to enrollment, you must possess the equivalent of a baccalaureate degree or similar certification.

Before you start the application for admission, identify the academic program that most closely matches your current program of study. You will be asked to select this academic program on your application. Exchange students from Freie Universität Berlin are restricted to academic programs offered in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Start your application

You will be required to pay the application fee. An application is not submitted for review until the fee is paid. 

Apply for admission

After you apply

After you have submitted the online application, your home institution’s exchange coordinator should send the following supporting documents to the Office of the Vice President for International Affairs:

  • TOEFL or IELTS Score Report (required)
  • Official academic records (originals or certified copies)
  • Degree certificates (originals or certified copies)
  • 2 or 3 letters of recommendation (in English or translated into English)
  • Resume
  • 300–500-word statement of purpose
  • Evidence of financial support beyond IU financial support
  • Evidence of financial support for dependents, if applicable

We will then submit your supporting documents to the appropriate department for review. This process can take several weeks.

Financial support and taxation

Exchange participants from Freie Universität Berlin will (1) receive a scholarship that covers tuition and fees; (2) receive a fellowship for housing and meals; and (3) be automatically enrolled in a health insurance plan, the cost of which IU covers.

We encourage graduate students to apply for an on-campus apartment through Residential Programs and Services (RPS). You may enroll in a meal plan offered by IU Dining or choose to receive a monthly stipend. If you plan to live off campus, you will receive a reasonable monthly stipend for housing and meals. By August 1, you must notify us at about your housing and meal decisions.

A fellowship award (for anything other than tuition and mandatory fees) is considered taxable income by the state of Indiana and the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. Some students may claim full exemption from taxation under tax treaties between their countries and the United States. In order to do so, you must file the IU International Tax Questionnaire and complete all other steps required by IU’s tax office.

Get details about taxes

Initial expenses

Plan to bring a credit card or traveler’s checks to pay initial expenses when you arrive. Some of these expenses may include:

  • Ground transportation from airport to housing accommodations: $25–$85
  • Text books and supplies: $350–$500
  • Household and personal items: $100–$150
  • Taxis, bicycle, or other non-bus transportation: $50–$125

All students can ride Indiana University and Bloomington city buses free of charge with their IU student identification card, called the CrimsonCard.

Health insurance

IU provides a general health insurance plan for all graduate fellowship recipients. Coverage is adequate, but not comprehensive. Participation in this group program is mandatory. Premiums are heavily subsidized by IU.

You may maintain duplicate coverage. Some past recipients have chosen to make separate arrangements, at their own expense, for more extensive health insurance coverage from their home countries.

Learn more about health and insurance

Your IU email account and access to information technology resources

Set up your IU email account after you receive your university ID number. You will need to provide your last name, date of birth, and university ID number.

With your IU email address and passphrase, you can access IU’s many online resources and services through One.IU and selected library resources in IU Bloomington Libraries.

Computing labs and IT support

Wireless internet (“wifi”) access is available across the majority of the IU Bloomington campus.

Computing labs, including many with printing services, are available in multiple locations on the campus.

University Information Technology Services (UITS) offers many other resources and services, including an option for live chat with a staff member to resolve technology issues that arise during your visit.

Planning your travel to Bloomington

You should plan to fly into the Indianapolis International Airport (code IND). Bloomington is located approximately 50 miles (80.5 km) from the airport. Before you arrive in the United States, you should arrange transportation from the airport to Bloomington.

Learn about travel to Bloomington


Most academic departments manage orientation for graduate students. Contact your department for specific information. Make sure you bring this required documentation with you to the United States:

  • Passport
  • Visa stamp
  • All original I-20s or DS-2019s (including documents from previous U.S. schools as well)

Learn more about orientation

Course registration and maintaining your visa status

To stay in status, you must enroll in a full load of classes, at least 8 credit hours, each semester you are studying at IU. Prepare for orientation by looking through the schedule of classes. Some exchange students may be able to pre-register for classes before their arrival on campus; this differs by academic department.

Prepare for your experience in the United States

Learn more about living and working here