Study Abroad: Parents & Families
Thank you for lending your support to an experience that may be one of the most exciting and significant events of your student's life. The Center for International Programs has many programs available to address the diverse needs of students. In order to make learning abroad an option available to as many students as possible, the CIP is committed to providing opportunities that meet the high academic standards of Saint Joseph’s University through working with our faculty and departments to provide credit that will allow participants to make substantial progress toward their collegiate pursuits while studying abroad. In addition, the CIP believes that learning abroad should provide participants with a significant cultural as well as academic experience. Whether it is through a homestay living arrangement, an in-country internship or other planned cultural and social activities, your student will hopefully seek ways to interact with the people of their host country.
If you or your student have questions about our programs or the information contained on these pages, please feel free to contact us. We hope that this upcoming adventure proves to be meaningful and enriching for all of you.
Before They Go
Saint Joseph's University — and specifically the Center for International Programs — view studying abroad as a vital part of our students' undergraduate experience. CIP staff are available to help students choose a program that meets their academic goals and personal needs, but we also suggest that students discuss their plans with their academic advisor. In addition, for semester or year abroad programs, credit transfer is handled prior to departure through a course approval process. An on-campus orientation program complements the more in-depth orientations in which our students participate upon arrival. Health, safety, cultural differences and logistical information are covered at both orientations. This information is provided to parents and guardians by category. The information below was adapted from IIEPassport. For more information about travel planning and tips, please see our Resources page.
Learn about the CIP's role during your students' study abroad program, as well as what to expect on their arrival day, period of adjustment and how to communicate with them while they are abroad.
Your student will need time to adjust to life at homecoming back to the U.S. and Western culture can be quite a shock for some students. Find information that will help you aid your student through this adjustment period.
FERPA & Study Abroad
According to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), certain information, known as directory information, may be disclosed by anyone without the prior written consent of the student. While FERPA defines a list of what can be considered directory information, it's at the direction of the institution to define what that it. Learn more about what the Center for International Programs can and can't disclose.
Health & Safety Abroad
The Center for International Programs provides students participating in a study abroad program with in-depth information on program location, instructions for how to prepare for a program and its locale and tips and suggestions for how to remain safe and healthy throughout their study abroad experience. Click the button below to learn about student health abroad, medical insurance and student safety tips.
We asked parents what study abroad advice they would give to parents currently going through the process and they answered! Check out their responses below for parent-specific advice on studying abroad.
We also invite you to read about Associate Vice President of University Advancement Marty Farrell, '88, '98 (M.S.), and his visit to Galway, Ireland to see his son during the fall 2015 semester.
- “Let them show you how much they want to go by doing all the applying and preparing. It is so worth it!”
- “Take advantage of everything offered by the program.”
- “Encouraged especially in the first few months when language is difficult, and when classes can seem overwhelming.”
- “Reminded that studying abroad is broadening, and that includes sometimes feeling uncomfortable, but that the reward is more than worth it.”
- “Embrace the experience and to try to immerse in the culture as much as possible.”
- “We knew that if we committed to letting him go on this trip we could not be overbearing parents and force constant communication or requests of him while away so that he could foster his independence.”
- “Encourage them to meet new people and not just American students. Learn the language, be polite and respectful to the natives of that country. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.”
Parents told us they communicated with their students via:
- Facebook phone
- Facebook Messaging
- Cell phone
- “Talk to as many parents and students as you can that have taken advantage of the program. It makes it a lot easier if you know every step before it happens and SJU really did a great job outlining the trip.”
- “Start an account freshman year at your bank to save for it-there are several up-front costs that need to be factored into account.”
- “The student needs to maintain a GPA to be accepted into the program — something they need to keep in mind especially freshman year when it is important to get into good study habits.”
- “Take the opportunity and cherish it! Do not fear the experience and help your child see the journey as an opportunity to learn new things.”
- “They form quick friendships and develop an interest in other cultures. Become enthusiastic about learning about the different cultures.”
- “It is hard to imagine putting your child on that plane and letting them go so far away but they have already experienced the separation by attending college, they are ready for that next step.”
- “Discuss how they will handle homesickness, adversity, diversity of cultures.”
Upon return, parents see many new qualities and positive changes in their students:
- “Broader global view.”
- “Extremely enthusiastic about future travel.”
- “More confident.”
- “Increased maturity level.”
- “More independent person.”
- “Less self-absorbed.”
- “Increased dedication to major and career.”
- “More aware of the similarities between people of all cultures, and also aware of the sources of our differences — political climate, history, etc.”