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Indiana University

A Parent's Guide to Overseas Study

Over 1,400 IUB students study abroad every year, and parents are an integral part of the process. The IU Office of Overseas Study is not only committed to providing safe experiences for all students, but to setting high standards of academic quality for all programs. Each of IU’s study abroad programs is an intensive educational experience that combines academic excellence with cross-cultural learning.

Overseas Study understands that parents have numerous questions and concerns about their student studying abroad. Below are a few guidelines to what you can do as a parent to serve as a stepping stone to your student’s study abroad journey.

What You Can Do as a Parent

If your student is thinking about studying abroad . . .

  • Encourage him/her to go! Students who have participated in Overseas Study programs have said that studying abroad is a life-changing experience. Studying abroad helps students focus on their goals and teaches them to live and work with people from different cultures. It is one of the most effective and dramatic experiences your student can have to broaden their international and intercultural awareness. A great way for your son or daughter to get started is by visiting our office, contacting a study abroad returnee or simply exploring our Web site.
  • Emphasize the importance of choosing a program that fits with your student’s academic and career goals. Whatever your student’s major, the Overseas Study staff can help select a program that best matches his or her needs. IU grants credit for all its programs so that your student can continue normal academic progress while abroad. We offer more than 90 programs, in 37 countries and in 17 different languages. For a complete list of all programs, visit the IU Big List at www.indiana.edu/~overseas/programs/biglist.shtml.
  • Understand that studying abroad does not have to be expensive! Numerous financial resources are available and financial aid can also be applied to most programs. Visit www.indiana.edu/~overseas/basics/finaid.shtml for more financial information.

Before your student leaves the country . . .

  • Help them prepare to study abroad. While the Office of Overseas Study provides a network of support services, the student will need your help as well! Assist them in making travel arrangements and taking care of all necessary paperwork including fee payments and passport and visa (if necessary) applications. Overseas Study can assist your student with academic advising, pre-departure orientation, peer counseling, health insurance and cultural preparations.
  • Encourage your student to look out for important documents that they will be receiving from Overseas Study including fee sheets and handbooks (a general “Getting Started” handbook and in most cases, a program specific handbook). We expect students to read the materials from the office carefully, but you too should read them so you are as well-informed as possible. Pay significant attention to the sections on “Academic Policies” and “Safety and Responsibility Guidelines.” We expect that you will play an important role in discussing safety and behavior issues with your student, keeping in touch while he or she is abroad, and being responsive to this office should we request information or advice concerning your student.

Originally published in CampusLink, IU Parent's Association newsletter, Spring 2009

I want to thank you for providing my daughter, Callie, with such a wonderful experience. She loved all of it. I know these past four months will have an impact on her life for a very long time.

-Blair Garceau, Parent of IU Overseas Study Student, Dominican Republic