Information for Parents of Students Studying Abroad
Frequently Asked Questions
Will studying abroad impact a student’s ability to graduate on time?
No, it should not. With careful planning, a student will easily be able to fit a semester abroad into their schedule. We have agreements with all the programs we work with to make sure classes taken abroad will transfer back to Utica College. Students are encouraged to plan early for when they want to take their semester abroad! That way, students can plan out which courses they need to take at UC and which courses can be taken abroad. Study abroad destinations offer many classes that can be used to satisfy Core requirements as well.
*Please note that in order to receive federal financial aid for their semester abroad, the students must take classes that are required for their degree program.
What does Utica College do to prepare my son/daughter to study abroad?
The Office of International Education at Utica College helps your son/daughter every step of the way. They will initially meet with us to express their interest and get their application rolling. Once accepted, they are welcome to meet with us anytime if they have questions. At the end of the semester prior to departure, they are required to attend a mandatory Study Abroad Pre-Departure Orientation session. Their program will provide an on-site orientation upon arrival, but of course we are always reachable by e-mail and we keep in contact throughout the semester.
Does it cost significantly more to study abroad?
Generally, no, it shouldn’t cost significantly more. However, our programs do vary in costs. While we do offer programs that are more expensive than a semester at UC, we certainly also have programs that are more affordable. Some programs are even lower in price than a regular semester of tuition, room, and board at UC. We will gladly work with you and your student to find a program that fits your budget, and will provide your son or daughter with a budget planning worksheet outlining all of the possible costs. During the semester abroad, Utica College will bill you for tuition and fees, a study abroad fee of $600, and international health insurance of $150-200.
Accommodations, meals, international travel, visas, and other expenses are the responsibility of the student. Students are also responsible for any tuition and fees exceeding those of Utica College.
How do I pay for a semester abroad?
Students studying abroad will continue to pay UC tuition & fees, and receive federal and state financial aid. Any scholarships the students may typically get for a semester will also apply. While abroad, you will need to cover expenses for housing (with the exception of CIS programs, which includes housing in program costs), meals, airfare, and books. If a program costs more than the Utica College tuition, the students will be billed the difference.
Where will my student be living?
Housing options varies by program and the student’s personal preference. Common options are a shared apartment, an on-campus residence, or a homestay with a local family. Housing is usually arranged through the host institution’s international office. Apartments and homestays may require transportation by bus or metro, but most institutions do try to house students within a 30 minute walk of the campus. Note that Europeans tend to walk more than Americans, and 30 minutes is an average walking distance for work or school in Europe.
What should I do if my child is unhappy during their study abroad program?
Your child may initially report back to you that they do not like their host country because something is “annoying,” “strange,” “disgusting” or “stupid.” Do not become overly concerned about this. A period of adjustment is to be expected, and you can support your student’s adjustment by listening sympathetically and reminding him/her that adjustment to another culture takes time, patience, and a tolerance of frustration. In fact, it is through coping with such differences that students grow and mature throughout their experience abroad. This initial stage of discomfort and disorientation is called “culture shock” and it is a reaction to having to adjust to cultural practices that are unfamiliar. However, this process of adjusting is exactly what makes studying abroad so valuable to employers. With a positive attitude and supportive family, students will emerge with a stronger sense of personal identity and be more open to the perspectives of others.
It also helps to make sure your student’s expectations in advance of traveling are reasonable as well. Students should expect that differences in accommodations, food, and social interactions are quite significant, and confusion, particularly at first, is normal. Sometimes it’s best to watch and learn at first. Students should also expect that they will make mistakes, but realize that most people in the host country will forgive a cultural faux pas especially when they see that the student is trying to learn the culture. To prepare for this adjustment, it’s wise for students to consciously stay open to the experience and remind themselves that their visit is a short one.
If symptoms of culture shock last more than a couple of weeks, please encourage your son or daughter to talk to their program director or on-staff counselor. All of our study abroad programs have professional staff member in these positions, and we encourage our students to take advantage of these services whenever they need them.
What if my student wants to withdraw from the program?
In the event that a student decides to withdraw from his or her program, the Office of International Education should be contacted immediately. Students are subject to the host institution or program’s withdrawal policy, and many institutions will not refund tuition after classes have started. Utica College will allow the student to re-enroll in classes by the end of the add/drop period but if a student wants to return after this, they will need permission from the school dean and all the professors to re-enroll for that semester. On campus residence is subject to availability.
What should I, as a parent, know before they go?
Students are required to attend the on campus pre-departure orientation meeting at the end of the semester prior to studying abroad. Here they will learn the basics of what to expect, travel tips, health and safety guidelines, and how we can help them when they are abroad. At this meeting they will be given a “What Parents Need to Know” booklet that can help answer some of your questions. Please ask them for it. However, if you have more questions, please feel free to contact us at 315-792-3082 or email us at email@example.com.