Studying abroad can be a complicated process for students and without the support and assistance from a student's support circles, it can cause the process to be more stressful. All the information below will help assist in increasing your knowledge to best support your student who is going abroad.
The St. Cloud State Education Abroad Office must abide by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). This means that we cannot divulge student academic, financial, enrollment, or non-emergency medical information to parents without the student's consent. Whenever possible, we encourage you to shift questions for all aspects of their education abroad program to your student. Find out more information about student educational privacy rights at St. Cloud State University.
Some outside resources to help learn more include:
There are two types of programs that students could be completing abroad.
Credits taken abroad will be applied to the students academic record as either a major, minor, elective, or general education requirement. Prior to departure, students will fill out an Academic Approval Form with their advisers and the Education Abroad Office. This form will let students know how credits and which courses will transfer back to St. Cloud State. If well-planned in advance, students should be able to use a majority of their credits earned abroad towards graduation. (In the past, there have been situations where students have failed to work with their adviser and had to complete items post-program that delayed registration for the next term. Please be sure to remind your student to schedule appointments with their adviser to ensure their credits will transfer back and count towards graduation.) Courses come back as pass/fail. While this will not affect their GPA, it will affect their credit completion rate which does also affect graduation.
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, most programs will have an introductory language course as part of the program requirement or an elective course that are strongly suggested that the student take while abroad.
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 and if they have any questions to connect with either the Education Abroad Office or with Financial Aid directly.
If your student is currently receiving any scholarships, help them to see if there are any restrictions in using them for a study abroad program. Studying abroad will earn them academic credit at St. Cloud State so students have not had many issues in the past with using already awarded scholarships. Students have access to apply for scholarships to help offset costs for studying abroad. The Huskies Scholarship platform is available at St. Cloud State for them apply through and they can also find more on our website.
The entire program needs to be paid prior to departure. This means that your student needs to have accepted their financial aid award through e-services prior to departure or have paid their balance online. 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 in other ways.
Please see cancellation policies if needed.
SCSU and CIS considers 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.
The Center for International Studies enrolls all students in the Smart Travel Enrollment Program (STEP). This service, run by the U.S. Department of State, sends students notifications while traveling if there are any warnings or issues while abroad in the location that they are registered for.
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 and make sure they are prepared in their location. We are also keeping updated on the travel warnings as they relate to COVID.
* Whether this is or is not a true emergency, please keep in mind: The St. Cloud State Center for International Studies (CIS) staff members always welcome calls from parents and students about health, security and safety issues abroad. Public Safety on campus has the CIS teams direct contact and in an emergency will call us no matter the time of day.
There is an abundance of information to know and understand about health insurance. Students are required to have health insurance while abroad and often they will be double covered depending on the program.
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. The medical insurance covers the student throughout the program no matter where they are. If you would like to learn more about this insurance you can learn more on the health and insurance planning page.
Most semester long programs will also require health insurance from the country the student is studying in. This requirement is mandated by the abroad countries' government and what is required will change depending on where the student is studying abroad. This insurance only covers the student when they are in that country. If the student travels during breaks to nearby countries, their GeoBlue will cover them. Students should connect with the program manager in the Education Abroad Office to learn more.
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.
Feeling connected to your student half-way around the world can feel challenging at times. Have a conversation with your student on the best way to stay connected while they are abroad. Once students are abroad, they will have a better sense of how they can communicate back home too. Students in the past have given us some suggestions on how they were able to stay connected while abroad with family and friends:
Families in the past have gone to visit their student while they are on a semester program. When it comes to visiting, the best advice we can give is to wait until after your student has arrived abroad and can personally tell you when it would be best to visit. Once they have confirmed their class schedule and know their school breaks, they will be better equipped to help you plan. Other things to consider:
When your student returns home, often it can be more difficult readjusting to their life at home than adjusting to a new culture. It seems like an odd phenomenon, but it is common and can happen in different ways. Students find that after spending a semester abroad, different aspects of their life changes. Often it can be as small as going shopping at the grocery store. Below are some tips on how to help your student transition back home: