International Studies & Programs

Life at VIPP

At VIPP, your educational experience will take place both inside and outside the classroom. We provide a fun and creative learning environment through our innovative programs.

Whether attending a class or a conference, becoming a community volunteer or a member of a university organization, you will discover wonderful opportunities that will help you achieve your goals.

Learn more about life at VIPP by clicking on the sections below.

Academic Calendar

The VIPP academic year consists of a fall semester, a spring semester, and a summer semester. VIPP follows MSU's academic calendar but VIPP courses begin one week after the start of the semester. Download VIPP's 2016-2017 academic and cultural event calendar (PDF).

  • January 9, 2017 — MSU Spring 2017 Semester Begins
  • January 17, 2017 — VIPP Spring 2017 Semester Begins
  • January 27, 2017 — Spring Festival
  • February 25, 2017 — Cross-country Ski Trip
  • March 6 – 10, 2017 — MSU Spring Break (No VIPP classes)
  • March 13, 2017 — VIPP Half-semester Courses Begin
  • April 3 – 7, 2017 — VIPP Spring Break (No VIPP classes)
  • April 28, 2017 — Last day of classes for MSU & VIPP
  • May 15, 2017 — VIPP Summer Session 1 Begins
  • May 30, 2017 — Memorial Day (MSU closed)
  • June 30, 2017 — VIPP Summer Session 1 Ends
  • July 4, 2017 — Independence Day (MSU closed)
  • July 5, 2017 — VIPP Summer Session 2 Begins
  • August 18, 2017 — VIPP Summer Session 2 Ends

VIPP Fall semesters generally begin in the second week of September and end the first week of December. VIPP Spring semesters generally begin in mid-January and end the last week of April. VIPP Spring semesters observe two 1-week breaks: MSU spring break the second week of March and area schools' spring break the second week of April.

Ideally, participants should arrive at the beginning of MSU's Fall or Spring semester since most VIPP courses are a semester long. To accommodate visiting professionals who may arrive in the middle of the semester, we also offer half-semester long courses which normally begin mid-March or late October. 

Course Offerings

VIPP courses focus on improving English language skills for business or academic communications, and enhance understanding of global affairs and American culture and society. Specialized courses on particular areas and topics may be offered as requested.

The following are some examples of the courses; course offerings are subject to change each semester. Download Spring 2017 VIPP course descriptions (PDF).

  • VIP 401 America 101  
  • VIP 414 Idioms
  • VIP 415 Conversation
  • VIP 417 Academic and Professional Writing
  • VIP 418 Reading for Critical Thinking 
  • VIP 441 Pronunciation & Public Speaking
  • VIP 443 Pronunciation Pedagogy 
  • VIP 451 American Culture
  • VIP 454 Discovering MSU 
  • VIP 455 Discovering Michigan 
  • VIP 464 Business English
  • VIP 471 Visual Presentation Skills
  • VIP 475 Corporate Governance
  • VIP 477 American International Relations 
  • VIP 480 Cross-Cultural Business Communication Skills
  • VIP 487 Organizational Leadership 
  • VIP 488 Personnel Training & Development
  • VIP 489 Compensation & Rewards System in HR
  • VIP 841 Current Macroeconomic Issues in the U.S.
  • VIP 815 US Telecom Systems and Services
  • VIP 854 Global Leadership and Management (additional fees apply) 
  • VIP 856A TESOL Pedagogy
  • VIP 856B Pedagogy of University Teaching
  • VIP 858 General Research Methodology
  • VIP 857 Instructed Foreign Language Learning 
  • VIP 865 U.S. Legal System


Each semester VIPP offers orientation to newly arriving participants and provides essential information related to academic and cultural life. 

Signature Lecture Series

For VIPP's Signature Lecture series, we invite renowned MSU scholars and community leaders to deliver a lecture on important topics relevant to our scholars. Our signature lectures provide an intellectually stimulating discussion and will push your thinking beyond your current boundaries.

Spring 2016 Series

Best Practices in University Teaching: Focus on Active Learning by Deborah DeZure, Ph.D., Assistant Provost for Faculty and Organizational Development, Michigan State University

How the U.S. Press Covers the Presidential Campaign by Eric Freedman, Professor of Journalism at Michigan State University, Pulitzer Prize Winner


Fall 2016 Series

US Higher Education by Roger Baldwin, Professor in the Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education at Michigan State University 

Conversation with East Lansing Mayor Mark Meadows 

Life after College Sports: Conversation with Duckett Brothers 

Brown Bag Lunch Seminar Series

brown bag series 1 side-by-side.jpgA brown bag seminar is an American tradition in which people gather during the lunch hour and learn something new while eating their lunch.

VIPP provides two or three brown bag seminars each semester to provide casual learning opportunities to our participants. Brown bag seminar topics are pertinent to safe and healthy living at MSU and in Michigan. The seminars help our participants smoothly transition to American life. Topics we have covered include US K-12 Education, MSU Police, How to Drive Safely in Michigan, Michigan Tourism, Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct Policy,etc.

Field Trips

vipp_participants_with_tom_izzo.jpgchicago_1.jpgLocal field trips are often organized by either VIPP instructors or VIPP staff for hands-on learning and socializing.

Destinations include the MSU facilities that may not be accessible otherwise, Michigan Capitol, Michigan Supreme Court Learning Center, Michigan Historical Museum, Library of Michigan, Fenner Nature Center, and local K-12 schools.

VIPP is always working to develop exciting field trips that will take participants to popular destinations in Michigan and in the U.S. for cultural and historical learning. Additional charges may apply.

Cultural Events

tailgate side-by-side.jpgVIPP believes learning should be fun! We offer lots of cultural events to participants where they can learn more about American cultures and lifestyles simply by having fun.

ski trip side-by-side.jpgOur year-round cultural events are also family-friendly: all VIPP participants and their families are welcome to join and make friends. Our cultural events include cross-country skiing, a maple syrup festival, Thanksgiving potluck, and football tailgating.

Academic Forums

VIPP helps you organize and create academic forums in which you can exchange your knowledge and expertise.

Academic forums allow our participants to interact with other scholars on a regular basis throughout their program period. These interactions help participants advance their research and explore collaboration opportunities. We currently have academic forums focusing on second language acquisition and finance/ economics. More academic forums will be created based on participant demand.

Special Seminars and Workshops

1-9-91D-80-outreach___engagement_lecture_(1).jpgVIPP organizes special seminars and workshop series in collaboration with many MSU departments, colleges, and service units.

For example, recent collaboration with the University Outreach and Engagement (UOE) provides a series of seminars on the topics of community engaged research and methodologies. Another collaboration with the Center for Service-Learning and Civic Engagement provides participants volunteer opportunities with non-profit organizations, schools, hospitals, health care facilities, government agencies, and advocacy groups.

Scholar Presentations

At the conclusion of their programs, VIPP scholars have an opportunity to present their research findings to their colleagues. These twenty-minute presentations are voluntary and help our scholars practice their English and presentation skills in an academic setting.


graduation2016-side-by-side.pngEach semester, VIPP hosts a graduation ceremony for participants who have finished their programs. This is a proud and happy moment for students, staff and faculty. We gather together to celebrate all you have accomplished at VIPP and you will go on to achieve more in your career after your time at MSU. You might be leaving MSU and US, but you’ll always be a Spartan!

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