Supporting Your Student
We encourage you to support your student by empowering them to be actively responsible for preparing for their study abroad experience.
Study abroad can benefit your student's personal growth, professional development, and academic goals. Therefore, it is never too early to start planning. The study abroad process has multiple, important phases. Each student is unique and no two will navigate these phases in the same way. The five major phases of the process are outlined below.
1. When they express interest in studying abroad…
There are several ways for students to explore opportunities and find a program that fits their academic and professional goals.
- Come to walk-in advising hours. Students with general questions about the study abroad process can stop by the Advising and Resource Center to speak with a Program Assistant.
- Attend an info session and/or workshop. Students can attend one of our First Steps Workshops to learn more about the process and receive advice from our Program Assistants. They can also attend a regional or program-specific info session. Visit our Calendar for upcoming workshops and info sessions.
- Do an online program search. The University uses a platform called “My Study Abroad” to host program brochure pages and process applications. Encourage your student to narrow their search by experimenting with the search parameters.
- Schedule an appointment with an Education Abroad Coordinator. Once your student has settled on a region or country, encourage them to meet with an Education Abroad Coordinator to answer their specific questions.
- Meet with an academic advisor. Students should meet with their academic advisors to discuss how study abroad fits within their academic plan.
- Meet with the Office of Student Financial Aid. Have your student visit the Office of Student Financial Aid to understand how their financial aid package applies to study abroad.
- Explore scholarship opportunities. Illinois scholarships and national scholarships are available to many students and can help offset program costs.
Important note: We are not the only study abroad office on campus. Program titles in My Study Abroad starting with “IAGE” or “SAO” are sponsored by our office and are programs we advise on. If the program title starts with the abbreviation of a college (e.g. LAS), then any questions should be directed to the respective college’s study abroad office.
2. When they apply…
Application requirements will vary depending on the type of program. The standard requirements will be an Illinois transcript, a photocopy of your student's passport (or proof that they have applied for one), and a disciplinary action questionnaire.
Important note: Encourage your student to make sure that their passport is valid six months beyond their return date.
Throughout the application process, information will be sent to your student from a variety of sources, including our staff, other Illinois faculty and staff, and the institution where they are enrolling. Please encourage your student to review any and all correspondence carefully and meet the deadlines set by the program.
3. When they are traveling to their host country…
As your student prepares to depart, ensure that you have a copy of their itinerary. Airline websites often offer tools to track the flights. Upon arrival, students may not be able to call or email home immediately as they may be greeted by the program representatives, on their way to lodging, or may not have access to internet or a phone. Most students are able to stay in close contact throughout the program, however, certain locations may make this more challenging. We encourage you and your student to research the most affordable and reliable ways stay in contact with each other.
Important note: Due to FERPA regulations, we will not be able to provide parents with flight information.
4. When they are abroad…
Being abroad will be an adjustment for most students as they will be experiencing a new location, new culture, and perhaps a new language. All students are susceptible to varying levels of culture shock, regardless of maturity level, personality type, previous travel experience abroad, or knowledge of their host country. This feeling of culture shock is a normal part of the study abroad process.
It is more likely that a student will call or email family or friends during a moment of low morale rather than when things are going well. Support your student through these stages by encouraging them to utilize the online Illinois resources as seen on the Families and Friends Resources page.
5. When they return…
Returning to their home country can often be as challenging as departing from it. It may take your student time to re-adjust and they may experience "reverse culture shock" as they re-acquaint themselves with their home. Providing a space that allows your student to talk about their experiences, asking questions, and encouraging them to incorporate their cross-cultural skillset into their interests is a great way to show support.