Guiding your student
We want you to be involved in your student's study abroad experience, while also allowing him or her to handle planning and preparations independently. As your student begins to think about study abroad, the initial questions will be:
Where can students study?
You can read about CMU's study abroad sites by browsing the programs list.
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.
The student process
Choosing a study abroad program
Our Study Abroad Advisors meet with the students to help them select an appropriate study site. It is not required that the students decide in advance where they want to go. The Study Abroad Advisers will guide the students based on area of study, cost, and location.
All students who travel abroad must have a passport to prove their citizenship. Passport application information may be obtained at the U.S. Department of State's passport website. Applications are also available at the local passport office (usually in the federal or county building) or at the U.S. Post Office. Students who are already in possession of a passport must ensure that the expiration date is no less than six months after the date of return from study abroad.
A visa is permission from a foreign government to enter their country. A number of foreign governments require that students who study 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. The Consulate has visa officers on staff to answer questions.
Students typically make their own airline reservations. Airline reservations may be made on-line or through a travel agent, it's the student's choice. Sometimes group travel is offered and, in this case, students will be notified in advance.
Paying for study abroad
Studying abroad is affordable. Low-cost program options are available, and we even offer tuition exchange programs that allow students to pay regular CMU tuition. Certain destinations are more expensive than others so it will be important for your student to let the Study Abroad Advisor know if he or she would like to explore one of our many low-cost programs.
Can students receive financial aid for study abroad?
Students can typically apply their financial aid to the costs of study abroad. Additional financial aid, typically in the form of loans, may be available through the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid to fund any additional study abroad 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.
It is important for students to plan ahead and to develop a realistic budget for their study program expenses as well as weekend travel. An estimated budget for the study abroad program is given to the students at the time of application to help with this planning process.
Communicating with your student while abroad
It will be important to talk about how often you will communicate and when. With email, Facebook and Twitter, it will be easy to be in touch electronically. By phone, there will be some planning necessary because of telephone access, time difference, and cost. Students who intend to take their cell phones with them are encouraged to check with the plan carrier about access and cost in the host country. Students will also have the option to purchase a phone in-country. Students will receive more information during orientation about the specifics of internet and telephone access in their host countries.
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.
You will, undoubtedly, want to know that your student arrived in the host country safely. Sometimes it is not possible for the students to contact home immediately. An agreement that a phone call or email within 48 hours of arrival is reasonable. Keep a copy of your students' flight itinerary and track the flight's departure/arrival on-line to know that the plane has landed.
You are most likely aware of how savvy students are on the internet so you will have easy access to pictures and blogs relaying adventures and daily life abroad. Staying in touch is so easy.
Orientation for Students
The Office of Study Abroad will provide students with orientation information both on-line and in orientation meetings. Please encourage your student to take advantage of every opportunity offered to prepare to study abroad.
We want you to be involved in your student's study abroad experience, while also allowing him or her to handle planning and preparations independently.