Study Abroad/Off-Campus: FAQ

How do I contact my son or daughter in case of emergency?

Set up a way to get in touch with your student when they first arrive. Depending on where they are located and what type of program they choose, this may be very easy or very difficult. It is important to learn as much information as possible from your student's program provider before they leave.

Isn't studying abroad really expensive?

Cost is dependent on the location and duration of the program your student chooses. It is often similar to a semester at SAIC. More information on specific programs and options.

Is financial aid available?

Students participating in SAIC-sponsored study away programs are eligible for financial aid. Please see the Financing Study Away section for more information.

Will my student's credits transfer?

If your student is approved by SAIC to study abroad and follows the directions of his/her Study Abroad Advisor, in addition to receiving a grade of C or better in coursework attempted, he/she will be eligible to receive credit for classes taken abroad.

Will my student graduate on time?

Credits earned on SAIC-sponsored study away programs are eligible to count toward degree progress and in most cases should not delay your student's graduation. Credits earned on Independent Study Aboard must be approved through the Permission to Take Classes Off-Campus process in order to count toward an SAIC degree. In addition, your student should meet with his or her academic advisor to make sure that he/she can study abroad and still satisfy SAIC's Residency Requirement.

Does my student need international health insurance?

SAIC requires all full-time students to have SAIC health insurance coverage (or equal or better coverage). Health insurance should be valid for the entire period of time a student is studying and traveling abroad.

Where will my student live while they are abroad?

Living arrangements vary by program. In most cases, students arrange their own housing in off-campus apartments. While some exchange partners may provide guidance on finding housing, most do not. Check with the individual exchange program regarding housing.

How can I ship personal belongings to my student?

If you plan to ship personal items to your student, make sure to have them arrive after your student. Specify that the package contains “used personal items” in order to avoid customs fees. Removing gift items from packaging helps to clarify that they are not going to be used commercially. If you declare the value of the items, your student will be required to pay a percentage of that amount upon delivery.

What if I'd like to visit my son/daughter?

While we encourage families to visit their students abroad, the timing of the visit is very important.  Visiting at the beginning of the program is generally discouraged to allow your student to adjust to the new environment on his/her own. Visiting during an academic break or at the conclusion of the program will typically be better for everyone. It is also best to have your student check with his or her program about any policies regarding visits.

How should I communicate with my son/daughter while they are abroad?

There are many easy and inexpensive ways to stay in contact with your student, with email being the easiest and most widely used. Skype, GChat, or iChat provide inexpensive phone connections or even free video conferencing via computers or iPhones. Students may opt to purchase inexpensive pay-per-use cell phones or local SIM cards for a phone purchased in the U.S. Allowing your student to make the most of his/her study abroad experience, while checking in with you on a reasonable basis should be the goal when it comes to setting a communication plan

What is culture shock?

Culture shock is a term used to describe feelings of homesickness and other reactions to spending an extended period of time in a new place/culture. It can be characterized by periods of frustration, adjustment, and depression. More information about culture shock.