Study abroad offers students a broader perspective on their studies and on themselves, preparing them for new opportunities and experiences. Parents and families can play a key role in helping a student consider program options, prepare for, and participate in study abroad.
- Setting Parents Expectations
Study abroad is a great opportunity for students to increase their independence, maturity, and problem solving skills through taking ownership of their study abroad experience. We encourage parents to support their students as they research, apply to, and participate in a study abroad program. Some things you may want to consider when discussing study abroad with your student include:
- Consider their goals (academic, professional, and personal) and how a study abroad program might help meet these goals.
- Understand program costs/fee sheets and what funding they currently have (including student/family contributions, financial aid, etc.).
- Encourage them to advocate for themselves. Work with them to identify their questions and/or concerns so they can discuss these with the appropriate staff member.
- Prepare them to keep an open mind and set appropriate expectations.
- Help them prepare to be a responsible adult abroad.
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. As such, Education Abroad may be restricted in what we are able to discuss with parents. We encourage students to reach out to us directly to discuss their study abroad plans. You can be there for your students as a sounding board and offering support throughout the process.
- Guidance and Support Services
We can help students to find a program that matches their needs and interests. We encourage them to begin their own research on choosing a program and to visit our office for more personalized guidance.
Once a student is accepted for a program, we provide a network of support services that include academic advising, pre-departure orientation, peer counseling with students who have studied abroad, housing, and health insurance. Our office also provides assistance with re-entry and adjustment after returning to IU.
We can provide documentation and guidance in navigating and interpreting visa requirements. However, we have no authority or influence over the process. Students work directly with the Consulate or study abroad provider to ensure they take the proper steps in the appropriate timeline to obtain their visas.
- Planning and Preparation
A variety of general and specific resources are made available to students, including information on living abroad and detailed handbooks.
It is important that you also read them so that you are as well informed as possible about academic expectations, program costs and fee payments, money and banking, health insurance, and the academic calendar. In addition, we provide articles that are of particular interest to parents.
- Health, Safety, and Security
Our first priority is always the health, safety, and security of IU students abroad. We provide extensive information and advice to all students in preparation for their time overseas and we work closely with program administrators abroad on a continuous basis to safeguard the health, safety, and security of participants. We stress to program participants that they must act responsibly in their daily choices and behaviors so as to minimize risk.
In addition, we encourage you to discuss the topics of personal safety and behavior issues with your student, to keep in touch while he or she is abroad, and to be responsive to this office should we request information or advice concerning the student. We draw your attention to the Recommendations to Families.
- Useful Sites for General Safety and Additional Resources
These websites provide additional content for traveling outside of the country.
- U.S. State Department Website - Travel Warnings and U.S. Consulate information
- U.S. Embassies - U.S. Embassy Information Abroad
- Tips for Traveling Abroad - Department of State
- Safety Abroad Handbook - USC Center of Global Education's resources and preparation tips for students
Many of our study abroad partners also provide guidance for parents and families. If your student is looking at a co-sponsored study abroad program through one of our partners, you might also want to review their parents/families sections.
- Costs and Funding
Students who participate on Education Abroad programs are billed for their program costs through the IU Bursar. The timing (i.e. billing cycle) is the same as if the student on campus for the term.
We provide fee sheets that outline the costs for any Education Abroad program. You can find these fee sheets under the ‘Costs and Financial Aid’ accordion menu on the specific program web flyer. These sheets will include both the expenses billed to students through the IU Bursar and estimations for out-of-pocket expenses. Please read these carefully as they will explain what costs are included in the expenses billed through IU.
It is important to note that most forms of existing financial aid are applicable to the cost of an Education Abroad program. There are a few exceptions. Your student is welcome to contact a study abroad advisor to confirm how their existing aid package may apply to their study abroad program.
Students may be eligible for study abroad-specific scholarships. Please encourage your student to review the available scholarships for which they may be eligible. While Education Abroad can help guide students in scholarship research, students should direct specific questions to the organization overseeing the scholarship.
- High School Study Abroad Opportunities
The IU Honors Program in Foreign Languages offers summer study abroad opportunities to Indiana high school students studying Chinese, French, German, Japanese, or Spanish.