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For families and supporters

Studying abroad can give your student a major advantage when it comes to applying for jobs, graduate programs and internships. In today's global society, many employers seek to hire graduates who have demonstrated cultural competency, communication skills and adaptability.

A picturesque scene of a waterfront with colorful buildings, and people enjoying the sunny weather.

The iconic Nyhavn Canal in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Studying abroad doesn't have to be expensive. We offer tuition exchange programs that allow students to pay regular CMU tuition.​ In addition, a number of low-cost programs are available.

There are plenty of ways to help fund study abroad. Students can start by letting their study abroad advisor know that they are seeking an affordable program. Visit our funding page with information about scholarships available on campus and nationally.

Students who receive financial aid through CMU are usually able to use it toward study abroad costs. The Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid takes into consideration additional costs to study abroad such as airfare, passport and any added academic and living costs. Talk to an advisor about financial aid eligibility, including scholarships and loans.

Your student's health and safety while abroad is our number one concern. The Office of Global Engagement strives to keep students informed about safety matters. However, recent world events make it necessary for students to also take responsibility for their own safety, to stay informed and make wise decisions. You can find the information and resources about staying healthy and safe while studying abroad on our health and safety webpage.

Our top priority is to make sure your student leaves the country with as much knowledge and preparation as possible and returns with education and experiences that will last a lifetime. Students are required to complete the study abroad orientation program. Support from parents during this process is vital, and we encourage you to browse our website and familiarize yourself with our office and the study abroad program.

Benefits of studying abroad

Studying abroad is one of the best ways for your student to enhance their resumes and enrich their academic experience. By studying or interning abroad, they are developing intercultural competency that is necessary in today's global society. More and more employers are looking to hire students who have demonstrated the intercultural communication skills required to work in a diverse team and with international partners. The problem solving skills learned by navigating in a different country and culture are valued.

Very importantly, studies have shown that students who study abroad have higher grades, higher graduation rates and higher job placement than students who do not.​ In a recent CMU study, we learned that CMU students who studied abroad graduated, on average, a year sooner than their peers and had a higher GPA.

Overall, studying abroad can enrich your student's college experience and have a direct impact on their future career path. Through these international experiences, students are becoming more confident, demonstrate greater flexibility and adaptability to new situations, develop a tolerance for ambiguity and gain a greater sense of self-awareness and confidence that will launch them well into the modern world.

Study Abroad in the news

Why Study Abroad Could be the Key to Career Success, Forbes, Council Post

Frequently asked questions

    We want you to be involved in your student's study abroad experience, while also allowing them to handle planning and preparations independently. As your student begins to think about studying or interning abroad, the initial questions will be:

    Where can students study or intern?
    Students can choose from more than 150 programs in over 50 countries. The full list is available on our programs search page.

    It is important to meet deadlines. A reminder to your student to pay attention to the deadlines (e.g. applications, scholarships, financial aid, passport and visa) will be helpful. The application process is a good learning experience that will give students a sense of independence and self-confidence that will serve them well once they arrive in the host country. Therefore, we encourage you to let your student be in charge of the process.​

    Our Study Abroad Advisors meet with the students to help them select an appropriate study or internship site. It is not required for the student to decide in advance of that meeting where they want to go. The Study Abroad Advisers will guide the students based on major, cost and destination of interest.

    All students who travel abroad must have a passport to travel. Passport application information may be obtained at the U.S. Department of State's passport website. Applications are also available at a local passport office or U.S. Post Office. Students who already have a passport must ensure the expiration date is no less than six months after the date of return from their program.

    A visa is permission from a foreign government to enter their country. A number of foreign governments require that students who study or intern in their country apply for a visa. When a visa is required, students may obtain application information from the website of the Embassy or Consulate of that country.

    Studying and interning abroad can be affordable. Many budget-friendly options are available, and we even offer tuition exchange programs that allow students to pay their regular CMU tuition for a semester abroad. Certain destinations are more expensive than others, so it will be important for your student to let the Study Abroad Advisor know if cost is an important factor in the decision.

    Students can typically apply their financial aid to the program cost. Additional financial aid, typically in the form of loans, may be available through the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid to fund any additional costs. Financial aid can cover the added costs of airfare, passport, visa and any other necessary academic and visa fees. Vacation travel cannot be funded through the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid.

    You will certainly want to know that your student arrived safely. It will best to keep a copy of the itinerary and track the flight on the airline's website to see that it has landed. Immediately upon arrival, phone calls, texts, Facebook or other forms of communication may not be readily accessible.

    Please allow 24-48 hours for your student to arrive at the host institution and set up internet access to be in touch with you.

    It will be important to talk about how often you will communicate and when. With email and social media, it will be easy to be in touch. By phone, there may be some planning necessary because of access, time difference and cost. Students who intend to take their cell phones with them are encouraged to check with their phone provider about access and cost. Students may also have the option to purchase a phone in-country. Students will receive more information during orientation about internet and telephone options.

    Sometimes students spend too much time on the internet and the telephone and miss out on so much of what the host culture has to offer. It is our recommendation that you talk with your student prior to departure and develop a reasonable communication schedule.

    Staying in touch can be so easy!

    The Office of Global Engagement will provide students with lots of information during orientation. Please encourage your student to take advantage of every opportunity offered to them to best prepare them to study abroad.

    We want you to be involved in your student's study abroad experience while also allowing them to handle planning and preparations independently.​