Hello, and welcome to the Office of International Program’s parent section of the website. Study abroad is an exciting and enriching part of a student’s education, and we are pleased to be working with your student on their intended summer, semester, or year abroad. Thank you for taking the time to learn more about your student’s program. We understand that spending a summer, semester, or year overseas is a big decision for both students and their families, and we want to make sure that all parties stay as informed as possible. Below we have provided some general information for all parents of study abroad students, as well as links to program-specific information.
There are several stages of planning when it comes to study abroad. Prior to application, students should attend information sessions for their programs of interest, and speak with their academic advisor to make sure that they are in line with their major requirements. The program directors in the Office of International Programs will also be able to give students academic guidance once they have applied to study abroad, but it is important that students begin the process early, so as not to limit their options. It is also important for all students to remain flexible. It is our goal to place students in their first choice program, but this is not always possible, as some of our programs are more competitive than others. Keeping an open mind will help your student realize their goal of studying overseas, even if they cannot be placed in their first choice. Your student should be aware of the minimum GPA requirement for their top choice programs, as well as the types of courses that will be available. This information is widely accessible in our literature, and it will help students determine which programs are best suited for them. Students should abide by Loyola’s rules and regulations, as we cannot accept any student with serious or recurrent disciplinary problems.
Once a student has applied and been accepted to a program, their program director will help them get set up for their term abroad. This stage will include a fair amount of paperwork. It is during this period that students will prepare to go abroad, apply to their host universities, and apply for their student visas, if necessary. Each program director will guide students through this process, but it is important that all students observe the deadlines that have been set for them.
The Office of International Programs works closely with each student to ensure that their semester or year abroad will not disrupt their path toward graduation. If it appears that a student’s first choice program does not offer them enough course options, we will work with them to find a suitable alternative. It is always helpful for students to have as many upper-level core courses and electives available as possible, as these provide the most flexibility when studying abroad. Students must keep in touch with their major advisor throughout the planning process to make sure they are staying on course with their major prerequisites.
Study abroad is often instrumental in helping students mature and develop, and it is important for students to realize that the primary focus for study abroad is academic. All students must take a full course load while abroad. We expect them to attend class, meet all course requirements, stay for the duration of the program, take their examinations, and earn respectable grades while overseas. All grades received overseas (except those received on external opportunities) will be reflected on the student’s final transcript, and will affect their GPA. All of our partnerships are developed with academically reputable schools, which will demand a similar level of academic performance as Loyola does. It is important to note, however, that all academic systems are different, and students must adapt to the requirements and customs of their host university in order to be successful. This may require a greater level of academic independence or self-motivation, as many of our partner universities trust the students to complete the readings and be prepared for exams.
At Loyola, we offer several types of study abroad options, and each are packaged a bit differently when it comes to finances.
For many opportunities, students will be expected to pay their regular semester’s tuition and housing to Loyola, along with a study abroad program fee and a reduced comprehensive fee, however, some of the locations will require students to pay housing directly to the host institution. With the exception of Affiliations and External Opportunities, all forms of scholarships and financial aid will transfer, with the exception of Federal work study.
With Loyola Affiliations and External Opportunities, students will not receive Loyola financial aid (although in some cases certain federal and state aid might still apply). Students are usually responsible for their own housing costs abroad, and will be paying tuition directly to the program provider, i.e. NYU, Syracuse, AIFS, Arcadia, DIS, or others.
It is important to research each opportunity to find out the exact fees and how they are paid.
Insurance and Student Safety Abroad
Visit the resources section for more information on health insurance and travel health and safety.
Registering with the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)
You can be assured that the social and political climate in the locations of our programs is conducive to studying. We provide students with country-specific consular information prior to their departure, and will alert them with any subsequent travel warnings or advisories. However, we highly recommend that your student registers themselves with the U.S. State Department prior to their semester or year abroad. Registration is a free service, and it will help the State Department locate your student in case of an emergency, either at home or abroad. For more information or to register, please visit the State Department’s website.
At Loyola, we take each student’s study abroad experience seriously, and expect our students to do the same. We ask that all students attend information sessions, review our website, sit down with program directors, and do whatever else is necessary to make an informed decision about which study abroad program they would like to participate in. We offer regular information sessions for all of our programs, and have several office members available at any given time to help students through their decision making process.
Once a student has applied and been accepted to a study abroad opportunity, they are expected to hand in all necessary materials by the appropriate deadlines, and to update their parents regularly with the information given to them by their program director. Program directors will hold workshops for accepted students, and will help each student with administrative planning and paperwork. It is up to the student, however, to make the necessary preparations for life overseas (familiarizing himself/herself with their host city and country, setting up a communication plan with family and friends, attending to financial matters, etc.) It is also expected that all students will maintain a high level of academic performance while abroad, and will abide by the rules and regulations of both Loyola University Maryland and their host universities. All disciplinary problems that occur abroad will be reported to Loyola University Maryland, and all students found to be in violation of Loyola’s rules and regulations while abroad will be subject to Loyola’s judicial process once they return. Host universities reserve the right to hold students to their own judicial process as well. The Office of International Programs reserves the right to pull any student from his or her program should they behave in a way that endangers themselves or others while abroad, or threatens the enjoyment or well-being of other participating students.
There are staff members available at all times to help support students during each step of the study abroad process. Please encourage your student to contact us should they need specific assistance or advice at any time.
All students participating in study abroad are required to hand in a study abroad deposit to Student Administrative Services prior to their semester or year abroad. This deposit will be deducted from the study abroad program fee described under program costs.
All students hoping to study abroad will need a valid passport. If your student already has a passport, please make sure that it is not set to expire in the near future. Passports must be valid up to six months after the end of the program. If your student does not have a passport, or the passport is set to expire within this time frame, then it is important that they apply for a new one as soon as they make the decision to study abroad. Often, passport information is required by our partner universities during the application process, and a passport will be necessary to obtain a student visa. For more information and to download a passport application form, you can visit http://travel.state.gov/passport/passport_1738.html. Passport applications are currently taking anywhere between 4 – 10 weeks to be processed.
Planning for your student’s finances abroad is an important step in making sure your student can always access money, both for everyday needs and for emergencies. We recommend that all students keep a domestic account linked to a debit/check card during their time abroad. This allows immediate account access for both you and your student. If you have not done so already, we recommend that you establish joint partnership on the account prior to your student’s departure. For many students, this domestic account and a major credit card is all that they will need while abroad. They can use their check card to make purchases at stores and restaurants, and to make cash withdrawals from local ATMs. For certain programs, it will be recommended that students also open an account with a local bank, to facilitate easy deposits and spending. Your student’s program director will brief him or her on standard banking procedures for their program. The program director will also give your student advice on how much money to bring abroad, either in cash or traveler’s checks (we do not recommend carrying large amounts of cash.) It is also a good idea to monitor current exchange rates. The dollar is weaker than most European currencies, so be sure that the student is aware of rate differences when withdrawing money, or making purchases overseas.
Please make sure to call your bank and credit card company to alert them that your son or daughter will be spending time abroad. Otherwise, the company might freeze the account once foreign purchases are made. It is also a good idea for students to set up online banking prior to their departure, so that they can monitor their balance and see their withdrawals listed in USD.
It is difficult for us to advise students on how much money to set aside for the semester or year, as spending habits will differ greatly. Students will want to include extra money in their budgets to do some independent traveling in and around their host city and country. Students can plan to limit spending by spending more time in their host cities, rather than planning a new trip for every weekend, and by preparing meals themselves, rather than eating out frequently. Students who are participating in a Loyola sponsored study abroad program should take advantage of any and all program benefits offered with their program as these can also help reduce personal spending.
For many of our students going abroad, this will be their first time spending a significant amount of time overseas. We understand that for their well being and yours, it is important for them to be able to maintain regular contact with their friends and family at home. Email is always a cheap and quick way for students to touch base, and it is not affected by time differences. Many students will also use online social networks (Facebook, Twitter) and photo databases (Flickr, Smugmug) to help keep in touch and share pictures of their time abroad. Many students will purchase SIM cards from their host countries and use their US smartphones or use online calling services such as Skype to contact friends and family members while abroad. Each country and university will have different options when it comes to phone use, and your student will be informed of their options on site or prior to departure. It is a good idea to examine the time difference with your student ahead of time, and agree upon times that will work for phone calls. It is also a good idea to establish expectations for when and how often your student should contact you, as well as guidelines for how to contact one another in an emergency. Please keep in mind that your student will often be busy with work and travel, and can not always spend long periods of time on the phone. Often there is less contact during the first week or two, as students are getting things set up and are kept busy with orientation programs.