For Parents and Family
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, offering an impactful way to gain intercultural competencies, develop confidence, and boost 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 these Parent and Family FAQs 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.
Parent and Family FAQs:
► 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, skills that are highly valued by future employers.
- Develops or improves foreign language skills.
- Brings a unique intercultural perspective to a student's chosen major or academic study.
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.
► 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; 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.
For additional information about preparing to go abroad, and your student may want to read the UNCG study abroad guide, Going Places.pdf
► How much will it cost?
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.
► Can Financial Aid help?
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. See the Funding your Program tab for more information.
► What about health and safety?
The International Programs Center at UNCG considers the health and safety of our students a top priority. IPC does a quarterly audit of active program locations to determine potential risks to student health and well-being using U.S. Department of State Travel Advisories and Drum Cussac Country Security Profiles, among other resources. In accordance with safety protocols, IPC does not currently send exchange students to regions included in a level 3 U.S. Department of State Travel Advisory. On an as needed basis, IPC will evaluate active programs located in heightened risk locations to determine if the program falls within an acceptable level of risk for UNCG.
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. See the special message from our Provost below:
To: Students participating on UNCG study abroad programs and their Parents
From: Penelope Pynes, Ph.D., Associate Provost, International Programs
Re: Safety Abroad
You and your children are about to embark on an amazing adventure. We at IPC want to reassure you and your families that your safety and security are of the utmost importance to us. I would appreciate you taking a few moments to read the following message regarding crisis policies and preparedness with respect to UNCG programs.
We are determined not to lead or send students into a dangerous situation, nor will we require students to stay anywhere that they are unsafe. We monitor international, national and local conditions and are prepared to move students from places where they may be at risk.
At this time, we do not anticipate interrupting or closing any of our overseas programs unless safety dictates. Nonetheless, we have procedures in place to help with evacuation if it became necessary. We would work with the host universities and the embassies in those countries.
Don't forget the safety tips and information we gave you at orientation. Parents, please ask that your students share this information! All UNCG students and their families should have a "plan of emergency" that they have set up in advance to keep each other informed of their welfare in the event of a crisis. Be sure to let the International Programs (both at your host and home institutions) and your family know of any travel plans you have, so that we are able to locate you in the case of an emergency.
In the event of a crisis while overseas, UNCG recommends that students postpone any travel plans and remain at their host university. If students find themselves traveling at the time of a crisis, they should use good judgment regarding their safety, and immediately contact their host and home university coordinators.
Please read the information found in the following document as it will help you understand the process that you and your children will experience: Information for Parents of Study Abroad Students.pdf
If you should have any questions or concerns about our policies, feel free to contact us at the address below or contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your attention.