Parent and Family FAQ

The Study Abroad Office (SAO) encourages parents and family members to review the answers to these commonly asked questions. Please feel free to contact the SAO if additional questions arise and we will gladly offer assistance.

How can parents be involved?

Parental support is essential in helping students assume responsibility for the time abroad. Students will need a parent’s advice and assistance, and encouragement is crucial to the success of a student’s study abroad experience. However, in order for students to get the most out of this experience, the Study Abroad Office asks parents to let students 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. The SAO will serve as a guide, but students should accept the responsibility for 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.

Where can parents find more information about the program?

Each program offered has its own page on the Study Abroad Office website. The program pages contain a description of the location and/or university, and information regarding eligibility requirements, cost, accommodations, and more. Parents and family can find the information page for any program by searching our website.

Can my student still graduate on time if s/he studies 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 the academic department. In addition, most of the Study Abroad Office’s summer and short term faculty-led programs offer NC State credit for 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?

Costs 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
pre-departure orientation.

What financial aid or scholarships are available for my student?

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). Students who receive financial aid and are planning to study abroad need to contact 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. All eligible students are encouraged to apply for this scholarship opportunity. The deadlines are typically in late September and late January. Additional outside scholarships and personal fundraising resources are also available.

Will my student receive preparation assistance during the study abroad process?

The SAO staff is available to help, answer questions, provide assistance, and support students 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 study abroad advisor prior to applying to any program. In addition, the SAO requires all students, including students studying abroad during the summer, to participate in a mandatory pre-departure orientation program where program participants 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 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 Study Abroad Office.

The SOA takes every precaution to ensure student 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 US Department of State’s 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.

Will my student be covered by health insurance while studying abroad?

All students from NC State participating in a university-sponsored program abroad are required to carry a special study abroad health insurance policy (often included in the cost of the summer programs). Information about health insurance, including cost and policy coverage.