Apply Early, Applications will be Considered in Order of Arrival
The SPI Admissions Committee will review applications as they arrive. Acceptance notifications will be sent as soon as an application is processed.
International applicants needing more visa processing time should complete their application as soon as possible. After submitting your completed application, send an e-mail to requesting an expedited review.
Applications will be accepted and processed until the day before a course begins, as space permits. We maintain a waiting list for each course and qualified applicants who apply after the course is full may be placed on that waiting list or in their second choice until space opens in their first choice.
Eastern Mennonite University (EMU) is located in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. Please note that there is no public transportation between EMU and the nearest international airport is located about 120 miles away. To get to campus, you will need to request an SPI pick-up, hire a taxi, or rent a car.
International Entry to the United States
All international persons coming to the U.S. to attend SPI will need to carry a valid passport, have a valid visa (unless your country participates in the U.S. Visa Waiver program), and have insurance that is valid for coverage in the U.S. Unless your country participates in the U.S. Visa Waiver Program, the U.S. government will require you to obtain a nonimmigrant visa before you arrive.
Participants needing visas will want to apply for either a B-1 Visitor visa or a J-1 exchange visitor visa.
Please start the visa application process as soon as possible after being accepted into SPI. Obtaining a visa may take many months. To check requirements, please consult the US State Department’s visa webpage. E-mail the SPI office at if you are unsure about which visa you should choose.
Lodging and Food
All SPI participants who choose on-campus housing will be lodged in apartment-style suites. All suites are single-gendered. The two- or four-person suites are air-conditioned with single or double bedrooms that share a common living room, kitchen, and bath facilities. Participants staying in campus housing will have their weekday noon meals at the EMU cafeteria, but will have to prepare all other meals for themselves. Food supplies may be purchased at stores near campus. Restaurant meals are also an option.
Participants wishing to live off campus need to arrange their own lodging. Information on area hotels, motels and rental apartments is available upon request.
Community life is an important part of the SPI experience. Come prepared to take part in the life of the SPI community. Please bring traditional dress, special recipes, music recordings, games, or musical instruments from home. You may enjoy sharing a skill, teaching a song or game, showing slides or video of your work, leading a seminar, reciting poetry, or telling a story. We encourage everyone to bring photos of family, home, and work, if possible.
Course Requirements and Credits
SPI participants are expected to attend all class sessions, engage in class activities, and complete the basic reading assignments. Additional requirements for those earning graduate credits will be included in the course syllabus. Coursework for full-time students is due before the start of the fall semester. For part-time and non-resident students, coursework is due January 4, 2016. It is possible to receive Continuing Education Units (CEUs) and Continuing Education Hours (CEs) for some SPI courses. Applicants must inform SPI of their desire for CEUs or CEs when they fill out the online application for admission, at least a month before the course begins. Additional fees may apply.
Final course syllabi and introductory readings will be available via the online classroom (Moodle) prior to SPI. Those who do not have access to the internet will receive course materials upon arrival to campus. Course readers will be distributed the first day of each class. Additional books listed in the syllabi can be purchased ahead of time or at the EMU Bookstore after arrival.
SPI does have a small fund for scholarships that are given as matching grants to cover an additional course. SPI scholarships cannot be used for transportation. There is one full Fellowship and one full scholarship that will pay all expenses (including transportation) for several sessions. For more information on scholarships and the fellowship, click here.