|Dear Parents and Family Members,
We are thrilled that your student has chosen to study abroad. The importance of an international education in our increasingly globally connected world cannot be understated. Studying abroad is often one of the most rewarding and transformative experiences a student will have during their college years and a high impact way to gain intercultural competencies, and develop confidence and independence. Students who participate in study abroad programs acquire skills and new perspectives that make them more competitive in achieving their professional goals. The staff in the International Programs Center at UNCG is here to assist and support your student throughout the entire study abroad process so that they receive the maximum benefit.
While we encourage students to take ownership of the preparations for their international experience*, we understand that support from parents and family members is an important part of ensuring success. With that in mind, we have created this Parent and Family Guide which you can access on our study abroad website to address some of the most frequent questions we receive.
We thank you for being a part of your student’s journey. If you have questions or concerns that are not addressed here, please do not hesitate to contact us.
UNCG International Programs Center
*The Education Abroad staff are here to assist and support your student, but advisers must adhere to federal student-privacy regulations and therefore when possible, questions from parents should be communicated to International Programs Center staff through the student. An important part of the study abroad process is establishing independence and personal accountability. Ultimately, it is each student's responsibility to adhere to deadlines, attend pre-departure meetings, and to read all communications regarding their program.
Why should my student study abroad?
Every student who hopes to succeed in the global economy should study abroad. Studying abroad offers students competitive advantages and cross-cultural competence that open up a wealth of immediate personal and long-term professional opportunities.
THE STUDY ABROAD EXPERIENCE:
- Helps students gain in-depth exposure to foreign cultures in a way that cannot be accomplished in the classroom or on a vacation.
- Exposes students to new ways of thinking about the world and their home country.
- Promotes intercultural competency skills and promotes greater confidence, independence, and self-sufficiency.
- Develops or improves foreign language skills.
- Brings a unique intercultural perspective to a student's chosen major or academic study.
What should my student and I do to prepare?
Before students board the plane and travel to their host country, there are several items that will require attention:
PARENTS AND FAMILIES
- Students must complete an application and post-acceptance materials in a timely fashion
- Students must meet with their academic adviser to determine how study abroad fulfills their degree requirements.
- The pre-departure process is important in assuring that students understand the academic nature of the study abroad program and are also prepared for the cultural differences they will encounter.
- All students must attend orientation sessions, submit required documents available through their accepted application, and read pre-departure information and guides.
- We also encourage students to read additional materials of their choice to prepare for life in their host country (examples include online newspapers, historical novels, and information from current and former study abroad students).
Here's how you can assist your student:
- Ask your student about any forms they need to complete for their specific program.
- Ensure that your student is sharing information with you about financial aid and costs of the program.
- Most importantly, students need your support! This can be a very daunting process for some students and most, if not all, items are solely the responsibility of the student.
Guidance from the International Programs Center
The International Programs Center staff members understand that preparing for and participating on a study abroad program can be both exciting and overwhelming, so we provide support and guidance to students in all stages of preparation. However, we also require that students take an active role in preparing for their experience abroad, and we expect them to be responsible and complete all necessary steps prior to departure.
INITIAL SEARCH PHASE
Study abroad advisors are available to meet with students to:
- Help identify programs that will meet their particular academic and personal needs.
- Discuss program-specific details such as cost, housing, and available courses.
- Assist with the application process.
- Discuss financial aid and scholarship opportunities.
- Discuss health insurance and other safety concerns.
- All students are required to attend mandatory pre-departure orientation sessions
- Besides the mandatory orientation sessions, advisers are available by appointment, email, or phone to discuss any questions or concerns the student may have about their upcoming time abroad.
BACK AT UNCG
- Study abroad advisors work closely with the on-site staff for all UNCG-approved programs, and they are in direct communication regarding any issue or emergency occurring abroad.
- Advising staff also keep in touch with students via email and encourage them to be in contact with any questions or concerns.
- In the unlikely case that there is a natural disaster, political upheaval or other dangerous situation, the International Programs Center will coordinate with on-site colleagues and our international health insurance provider to ensure our students are safe and, if need be, evacuate them from the country.
- Once the student completes his or her study abroad program, the study abroad staff will facilitate the course equivalency process (issuing UNCG credit for coursework taken abroad).
- Reentry workshops and other post study abroad programming are held each semester to help students adjust to life back at UNCG, connect with fellow study abroad students, learn how to translate study abroad experiences onto a resume, and learn of other helpful resources.
- Returned students can also stay involved with study abroad by becoming an international ambassador to help promote study abroad across campus, be part of our PAL program and be paired with an incoming international student, or join several other internationally focused student groups on campus.
Costs and Financial Aid
- The programs offered through UNCG vary in cost, depending on the features of the program, geographic location, length, inclusions in the program such as excursions and cultural activities, and the level of on-site support. Program cost estimates are provided on the budget sheet links on each program information page.
- It is absolutely possible to find a program that will work in just about any budget by considering a variety of factors when researching programs including: program duration and location, program type, cost of living in host country, and student's personal spending habits.
- Financial aid and scholarships are definitely options! UNCG students studying on UNCG approved programs can use most components of their existing financial aid packages toward the cost of studying abroad.
- There are many, many scholarship and funding opportunities available to students both at UNCG and externally.
Health and Safety
The International Programs Center at UNCG considers the health and safety of our students a top priority.
- Students should meet with a doctor prior to going abroad for a general health check-up and to ensure all routine vaccinations are up-to-date. They should also discuss with a doctor any chronic health concerns and discuss treatment/health maintenance abroad.
- Mandatory international health insurance is provided to all students who are enrolled in a UNCG study abroad program. This is a comprehensive insurance plan that provides a wide variety of services for students abroad, including 24/7 emergency assistance.
- Though it is not likely, a student may experience a personal emergency while studying abroad. UNCG International Programs Center staff offer orientation sessions and provide country-specific information to students that should help them to prepare for possible in-country scenarios, but it is impossible to predict and prevent every possible situation. In the event of an emergency, it is important to remain as calm as possible so that the student can communicate the issue to the proper authorities, medical professionals, host institution representatives, their families, and/or UNCG.