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Parent and Family FAQ's

Your support is essential in helping your student assume responsibility for their time abroad. Your student will need your advice and assistance, and your encouragement is crucial to the success of your student's study abroad experience. However, in order for students to get the most out of this experience, we ask you to let your student act independently and take responsibility for this process. Studying abroad will help your student become an independent global citizen, and it starts at the beginning. Our office will serve as a guide for your student, but they should accept the responsibility of the process themselves. Before your student makes the decision to study abroad, you, as a parent or family member, may have concerns or questions. We hope this page will answer some of the more commonly asked questions.


What are the benefits of study abroad?
Where can I find more information about the program my student is interested in?
Can my student still graduate on time if they study abroad?
How much does it cost to study abroad?
What financial aid or scholarships are available to study abroad students?
Will my student receive preparation assistance during the study abroad process?
Will my student be safe while abroad?
Will my student be covered by health or cancellation insurance while abroad?
Can I visit my son or daughter while they are abroad?



What are the benefits of study abroad?
The benefits of studying abroad are tremendous. In addition to cultural, personal, social, and academic growth, students who study abroad are more marketable upon graduation. In today's world, employers and graduate schools increasingly value an overseas experience. Many employers - in banking, engineering, marketing, the computer industry, and many other areas - are looking specifically for overseas experience when evaluating applicants.


Where can I find more information about the program my student is interested in?
Each program we offer has its own page on our website. The program pages contain a description of the location and/or university, and information regarding eligibility requirements, cost, accommodations, and more. You can find the information page for your student's program by searching for the specific program on our website.  [Top]


Can my student still graduate on time if they study abroad?
Yes! Credits taken abroad are transferable, provided the student passes the courses with the equivalent of a C- or above and has been pre-approved by their academic department. In addition, most of our short term faculty-led programs offer SPU credit for courses taught by SPU faculty, so the credit earned is just like taking classes on campus. With careful planning, there is no reason why studying abroad for any length of time should delay graduation.  [Top]


How much does it cost to study abroad?
Prices for studying abroad vary depending on length and type of program. Students can participate in short term Global Seminars and the tuition for the courses taken abroad are part of normal SPU tuition. Extra costs will include the travel portion of the trip.  For summer progtrams, the cost is often not much more expensive than taking the credits on campus.

Consequently, depending on location, students can study abroad for a quarter for about the same cost as staying on campus by attending third party provider programs or directly enrolling at a foreign university. Many are 'semester' rather than 'quarter' programs, so the number of credits your student will be bringing back are over and above those earned in a typical quarter. Extra costs will include airline tickets and any personal expenses or travel the student undertakes while abroad. Personal spending will vary, and we will discuss budgets and travel during the pre-departure orientation.  [Top]


What financial aid or scholarships are available for my student?
In general, students may apply for financial aid (including loans, grants, and scholarships) towards the cost of study abroad programs, whether or not it is sponsored by SPU. Financial aid eligibility is determined using the TOTAL cost of studying abroad, based on official program budgets provided by the Study Abroad Office or the sponsoring institution (if the program is not an SPU program). If your student receives financial aid and is planning to study abroad, he or she will need to contact a representative in Student Financial Services to find out what will apply toward the program of their choice. [Top]


Will my student receive preparation assistance during the study abroad process?
The study abroad staff is available to help, answer questions, provide assistance, and support your student every step of the journey. Students participating on quarter/semester and full-year programs are encouraged to meet with a study abroad advisor prior to applying for any program. In addition, we require all students, including students on short term programs to attend pre-departure orientation meetings where they are informed about topics including passports, visas, immunizations, housing, health and safety, and culture shock.

Students can also obtain contact information from former participants from the program in which they will be studying. Our goal is to ensure your student feels fully confident about their upcoming experience.  [Top]


Will my student be safe while abroad?
Student safety is our highest priority. General safety issues, as well as any country specific precautions, are discussed at the mandatory pre-departure orientation sessions and are included in the materials provided to the students by the study abroad office or their provider program.

We will take every precaution to ensure your student's safety. The study abroad office has emergency protocol and an emergency response team to manage any emergencies that may occur while students are abroad. This team receives U.S. State Department travel information and is available 24 hours a day.  [Top]


Will my student be covered by health and cancellation insurance while studying abroad?
All students participating in a university-sponsored program abroad are provided with health and medical insurance for the duration of their program and the cost is included in the program fee. Most provider programs will also enroll students in a health insurance plan. Information about the coverage limits and an insurance ID card will be given to each student prior to departure. While medical insurance is provided, our programs do NOT include travel cancellation/interruption insurance, nor do we require that students purchase it. We highly recommend independent purchase of this type of insurance. We're happy to offer advice on travel insurance or you can find information online or contact any travel agent for assistance.  [Top]


Can I visit my son or daughter while they are abroad?
Absolutely, but it's important to remember that study abroad students are not on vacation. Attending class, group meals or activities with your student - or taking your student away from these activities in order to sightsee - will interrupt the educational process and immersion experience. If you want to visit, it's best to do so when the program has finished so you can enjoy your time together. 

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