Approximately 17% of all NC State University students will study overseas by the time they graduate. Almost all study abroad students say that it was the most rewarding experience of their lives. The Study Abroad Office (SAO) regularly hears stories from students about the joys, academic and personal challenges, new friendships, and gained independence of a study abroad experience.
However, before the decision is made to incorporate study abroad into your student’s college career, as a parent or family member, you may have concerns or questions. We hope this page will answer some of the more common asked questions. If you or your student has additional questions, please have them contact our office, and we will be happy to help.
How can I be involved?
Your support is essential in helping your student assume responsibility for their time abroad. Your student will need your advice and assistance, and your encouragement is crucial to the success of your student’s study abroad experience. However in order for students to get the most out of this experience, we ask you to let your student act independently and take responsibility for this process. Studying abroad will help your student become an independent, global citizen, and it starts at the beginning. Our office will serve as a guide for your student, but they should accept the responsibility of the process themselves.
What are the benefits of study abroad?
The benefits of studying abroad are tremendous. In addition to cultural, personal, social and academic growth, students who study abroad are more marketable upon graduation. In today’s world, employers and graduate schools increasingly value an overseas experience. Many employers - in banking, engineering, marketing, the computer industry, and many other areas - are looking specifically for overseas experience when evaluating applicants.
Can my student still graduate on time if they study abroad?
Yes! Credit taken abroad on semester programs is transferable, provided the student passes the courses with the equivalent of a C- or above and has pre-approval by their academic department. In addition, most of our summer and short term faculty-led programs offer NC State credit of courses taught by NC State faculty, so the credit earned is just like taking summer session classes on campus. With careful planning, there is no reason why studying abroad for a semester or year should delay graduation.
How much does it cost to study abroad?
Prices for studying abroad vary depending on length and type of program. However, most of the semester and
year-long study abroad programs offered by NC State are exchanges, which involve international students coming here in exchange for NC State students going abroad. This means that students pay their regular tuition and usually pay for room and board upon arrival abroad. The cost of participating on an NC State summer program can often be lower than the estimated cost of attendance for 6-8 credit hours during the summer at NC State.
Consequently, students can study abroad for about the same cost as staying on campus at NC State either during the semester or summer. Extra costs will include airline tickets and any personal expenses or travel the student undertakes while abroad. Personal spending will vary, and we discuss budgets and travel in the
What financial aid or scholarships are available for my student?
You can find more information about Financial Aid here: http://studyabroad.ncsu.edu/?go=financialaid. In general, students may apply financial aid (including loans, grants, and scholarships) towards the cost of ANY study abroad program, whether or not it is sponsored by NC State. Financial aid eligibility is determined using the TOTAL cost of studying abroad, based on official program budgets provided by the Study Abroad Office or by the sponsoring institution (if the program is not an NC State program). If your student receives financial aid and is planning to study abroad, they need to contact Ivy Wilcox (919-515-2421) in the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid.
The Study Abroad Office (SAO) coordinates a competitive scholarship process each semester. Typical award amounts are $500 - $1000 or more. We encourage all study abroad participants to apply for this scholarship opportunity. The deadlines are typically in late September and late January. You can find more information about our scholarship process here: http://studyabroad.ncsu.edu/?go=GeneralScholarships. You can also see a listing of outside scholarships for study abroad here: http://studyabroad.ncsu.edu/?go=OutsideScholarships.
Will my student receive preparation assistance during the study abroad process?
The SAO staff is available to help, answer questions, provide assistance, and support your student every step of the journey. Students participating on semester and full-year programs are required to attend a general advising session, as well as meet with a SAO advisor prior to applying to any program. In addition, we require all students, including students studying abroad during the summer, to participate in a mandatory pre-departure orientation program where they are informed about topics including passports, visas, immunizations, housing, health and safety, and culture shock.
Students can also obtain contact information from former participants or international students from the country in which they will be studying. Our goal is to ensure your student feels fully confident about their upcoming experience.
Will my student be safe while abroad?
Student safety is our highest priority. General safety issues, as well as any country specific precautions, are discussed at the mandatory pre-departure orientation and are included in the materials provided to the students by the SAO.
We will take every precaution to ensure your student’s safety. All NC State students on faculty-led, NC State sponsored programs are registered with the local U.S. Embassy upon arrival. Students on semester or year programs register with the U.S. Embassy on their own via the Smart Traveller Enrollment Program, and they are given the information on how to do so during orientation. The SAO also has a Study Abroad Emergency Response Team to manage any emergencies that may occur while students are abroad. This team receives U.S. State Department travel information and is available 24 hours a day through the NC State Campus Police.