Education Abroad

South Africa

Family Resources

Education abroad is essential in today’s job market.


We strive to offer programs for students to get the most of the experience academically and personally. See how programs fit for students academically.

Faculty Led vs Direct Enrolled Programs

All short-term programs are faculty led. This means that a faculty member has designed the course and the trip specific to the course. Faculty also travel with the group during entire program.

Semester-long programs vary. Some have a faculty directors who usually teach some of the courses on the program.

Some programs are set up with students directly enrolling into partner universities with St. Cloud State University. At these universities there is an international student office that will conduct an orientation after arrival and will continue to be of assistance to SCSU students and other international students.

Credits Towards Graduation

Credits taken abroad can be applied to your major, minor, electives, or general education requirements. Prior to departure, students will fill out an Academic Approval Form with their advisers. This form will let students know how credits will transfer back to St. Cloud State (or home university, non-St. Cloud State students). If well-planned in advance, students should be able to use a majority of their credits earned abroad towards graduation. (In the past, students have failed to do this, so please be sure to remind your student to schedule appointments with their adviser to ensure their credits will transfer back and count towards graduation.)

Foreign Language Requirement

St. Cloud State offers both language and non-language based programs. If the student participates on a program where English is not the native language there will be an introductory language course as part of the program requirement.


Funding is often the most stressful part of the education abroad program. Here are some tips:

Financial Aid

Be sure your student is checking with the Financial Aid Office as soon as possible because in some cases students believe they have financial aid availability but find out later that they do not have any left for the year. Go to the Student Registration & Financial Services website to be as informed as you can be on the financial aid process. The problem of lack of funding is especially true for summer programs. Financial aid begins in the Fall semester and the final term is summer.  In many cases the student does not have eligibility for the summer because the student has used the entire federal financial aid awarded for the prior fall and spring. Be sure your student fully understands this process.


The entire program needs to be paid prior to departure. Financial aid needs to be accepted prior to departure. If the student does not have enough financial aid to cover the entire cost of the program including tuition, the student will need to pay for the remaining costs (i.e. the costs not covered by financial aid) prior to leaving on the program.

Please see cancellation policies if needed.

Health, Safety and Security

SCSU and CIS consider the health and safety of their education-abroad participants to be a top priority. We make every effort to stay up-to-date with the changing situations throughout our world, especially with regard to health.

There are currently no travel warnings concerning avian flu or a pandemic of influenza. However, as a precaution we have included information on home care for pandemic flu for your consideration. Should the World Health Organization (WHO) or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issue travel warnings we will keep our students well informed.

If there is an emergency

  1. Call the SCSU Public Safety Switchboard: (320) 308-3333
  2. Identify yourself as the family member of an SCSU student learning abroad; give them the name of your student and the program they are participating in.
  3. Give the operator your contact information.
  4. Tell the operator what is wrong and who else has been contacted.
  5. Respond to any questions and listen carefully to any instructions.

* If this is not a true emergency, please keep in mind: The SCSU Center for International Studies staff members always welcome calls from parents and students about health, security and safety issues abroad.


There is an abundance of information to know and understand about health insurance. 

Students are required to have medical insurance through GeoBlue Worldwide which is processed through the Education Abroad Office and is included in the program fee. Travel insurance is not part of this required insurance but if the student is interested in travel insurance to cover lost baggage or flight cancellations the student can research additional coverage such as InsureMyTrip

Home Owner's Insurance

Please also check with your Home Owner's Policy to see about item coverage such as stolen or lost items. The best way to be prepared is to check prior to your student leaving.

Staying Connected

Feeling connected to your student half-way around the world can feel challenging for parents. Here are some suggestions for staying connected:

  • Whatsapp is a commonly used free app that allows for messaging, group chats, voice calls, and video calls as long as both recipients are connected to wireless internet.
  • Check out your student’s blog if your student is blogging.
  • Sign up for Facebook and ask if he/she will add you as a friend. Go to; it is free to sign up.
  • Students traveling to China can reach out to family most easily via WeChat, another free app for messaging, voice and video calls by connecting to Wi-fi.
  • Ask your student if they use Twitter
  • Skype is a free way to keep in contact if you have a home computer with a microphone and your student has access to the same. You can each purchase a camera for the top of your computer or if you each have a Mac computer with a built-in camera, you will be able to see each other through this process. Go to for more details.
  • Google Hangouts. If you and you and your student have a Google email account (gmail) you can use their free webcam hangout to keep in contact with your student through free video chat and/or call. Go to for more information.
  • Magic Jack is a smart phone application that allows students to call internationally by using internet connection. Students receive an unused phone number in order to place and receive calls. Magic Jack is free and available for download on iTunes and Google Play

Visiting While Abroad

While your student is abroad you should seriously consider visiting if your student is on a semester program. Here is how to begin:

  1. Never surprise them – Always ask them when the best time would be to visit as the programs are intense and their academics should come first.
  2. Housing options for visitors depend on the program your student is attending:
    England – You can stay in the castle for a small fee per night dependent on the room availability. Please contact the Resident Coordinator (Wade Sherman) to coordinate this and find out the cost.
    Other programs – ask your student to check on the best places to stay near where they are living. There may be hostels or hotels nearby.

What's Next for My Student

When your student returns you need to understand that coming home can be more difficult than adjusting to a new culture. It seems like an odd phenomenon, but it is common. Here is a resource for you to consider reading, “The Art of Coming Home” by Craig Storti.

Helpful Tips

  • Your student will also want to share stories to better understand what they just experienced.
  • It is common to want your student to pick up life where they left off, but the student is now a different person. Talk with your student to understand the differences, and understand that it can take months for them to understand the differences in their selves. They may not like the same things they used to and may have different interests.
  • Encourage your student to talk with the Education Abroad Office and the Career Center on campus to understand how to use the international experience and get connected again on-campus.