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Study Abroad


FAQ for Parents of Students Abroad

When is the best time for students to study abroad?
Students are eligible for short-term study abroad programs as early as their freshman year. It is advisable for students wishing to spend a semester abroad to go during their sophomore or junior year so that they can fulfill remaining General Education requirements and courses in their major. It is still possible for seniors to study abroad, but it may require more preliminary planning so that the student can fulfill their remaining academic requirements.
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How far in advance do students need to start planning to study abroad?
Students planning to spend a semester abroad should start planning at least one or two semesters in advance. They will need to decide which program is the best fit for their academic and personal needs, obtain course approval from their academic advisor(s), complete the application process, apply for any available scholarships, and make sure their financial aid is in order. Application deadlines are usually in October for the Spring semester and April for Summer and Fall programs. NOTE: Deadlines for exchange programs are much earlier and require more planning.
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Is studying abroad safe?
Yes!  The Center for International Education works with reputable program providers and educational institutions overseas. All of our programs have on-site support for students. While absolute safety cannot be guaranteed, students play a major role in their own personal safety and security.  We strive to prepare students for their overseas experience by giving them the tools and information they need to take care of themselves while abroad. When students use common sense and behave responsibly they are more likely to have a safe experience abroad.
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Will my son/daughter receive academic credit for studying abroad?
Yes, all credits that your child earns while abroad should transfer back to St. Ambrose. As part of the application process, students must have any study abroad courses in their major/minor approved by their academic advisor. General Education courses can be approved by the student's academic advisor or a study abroad advisor.

Students do have the option of taking elective classes on a Pass/No Pass basis while abroad. They must obtain approval from their academic advisor and contact the Center for International Education by the third week of classes to make this designation.

All grades earned while abroad (with the exception of courses designated as Pass/No Pass) will count toward the student's cumulative GPA.
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Will my son/daughter fall behind by studying abroad?
With proper planning, your child should not fall behind by studying abroad. We recommend that students discuss their study abroad plans with their academic advisor at least one or two semesters before they apply. The academic advisor can help a student choose which academic requirements they should fulfill while abroad.
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Can my son/daughter use their financial aid to pay for study abroad?
Students participating in study abroad programs through one of our exchange partners can apply their entire SAU scholarship package (excluding work study funds) to study abroad.

Students participating in an approved partner program may use up to $4,000 of their SAU scholarship award.

Eligible students can also use Federal and State loans and private funding sources to pay for study abroad.

Students are required to meet with the Financial Aid office prior to studying abroad to make sure their aid is in order before they depart. For questions regarding financial aid, please contact the Financial Aid Office.
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Do you have a monthly billing plan?
No, monthly billing plans cannot be applied to study abroad. The full amount must be paid in full prior to the student's departure.
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Is the program deposit deducted from the total program fee?
Yes. The deposit is applied to the total cost of the program. Deposits paid directly to other program providers will be deducted from the total program fee charged by St. Ambrose.
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Does St. Ambrose charge a study abroad fee?
Yes. All semester study abroad students are charged a $300 study abroad fee. This fee is built into the total program cost.  Short-term students are charged a $125 study abroad fee.
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It's close to the due date for paying the program fee. Why haven't I received an invoice yet?
In most cases, St. Ambrose establishes direct billing relationships with our study abroad partners. The direct billing procedure makes it easier to allocate financial aid to study abroad costs. You can expect to receive a bill from St. Ambrose University. Once the student's payment is received and financial aid is released, St. Ambrose will then pay the partner institution on the student's behalf. If you receive an invoice directly from the program provider, please contact the Center for International Education.
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Will my son/daughter need any special vaccinations before going abroad?
Students should have all their regular vaccinations up to date prior to going abroad. For country-specific information regarding additional vaccinations, please see the Centers for Disease Control.
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Should my son/daughter get a physical before going abroad?
Yes, the Center for International Education recommends that students take care of all their routine medical visits (family doctor, dentist, optometrist, etc.) before going abroad. If students are taking prescription medications, they should bring enough for the duration of their study abroad program. They should pack prescriptions in their original labeled containers and keep a copy of the prescription on hand. It is advisable that the prescription be written for the generic form of the drug as name-brand medications may be difficult to obtain overseas.
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Does my son/daughter need additional health insurance?
Supplemental study abroad insurance will be provided for all SAU faculty-led short-term program participants and our semester-long exchange students. This insurance coverage is included in the student's program fee.

Prior to departure, students will receive an insurance card, a brochure detailing their coverage, claim forms, and instructions on how to file a claim.

Students traveling abroad with partner programs should pay close attention to their acceptance packet and pre-departure materials for additional information regarding insurance requirements as each program provider has its own insurance guidelines.
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What happens if my son/daughter needs to see a doctor while abroad?
The student should contact his/her program director or international office immediately if they need to see a doctor. During on-site orientation, students usually receive information about where to go if they need medical attention. Some programs have special agreements with specific doctors and clinics.

Students should plan to pay for all medical costs up front and get reimbursed by the insurance company later. Receipts for all medical visits should be kept and submitted to the insurance company along with a claim form.
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Does my son/daughter need to buy travel or property insurance?
Travel or property insurance is not required, but can be useful in the case of travel delays or loss/theft. Check with your insurance company to see if your home owner's policy covers your child's property when they are abroad.  If students are responsible for purchasing their own plane ticket, you can usually add on travel insurance. The International Student ID (ISIC) card may be a good investment because it provides students with a small amount of travel and property insurance as well as many student discounts around the world.
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My son/daughter was supposed to call me as soon as he/she arrived. I haven't heard from him/her yet and I am worried.
Try not to panic. Most students simply are not cognizant of how much their parents are worrying about them. They are tired from traveling or are busy trying to get settled in. Sometimes it takes a few days for students to set up internet or phone service. If you are concerned, please email the Center for International Education. We will locate your son/daughter, let you know that we have reached him/her, and ask him/her to contact you.
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My son/daughter's study abroad program just started and he/she already wants to come home. What should I do?
Stay calm. Severe homesickness at the beginning of the semester is often the result of sleep deprivation and cultural overload. Reassure your son or daughter that homesickness is a normal part of the study abroad experience and that it will pass. Remind your student of all the things they were looking forward to doing while abroad. Encourage your son or daughter to start making travel plans, join an activity on campus, or spend time exploring their new home with their peers. When a student has something to look forward to, it helps them overcome their initial homesickness.

Don't overreact. Don't buy your student a plane ticket home without giving him or her adequate time to adjust to the new environment. In almost every case, the students decide to stay where they are and thoroughly enjoy their experience.

Don't encourage them to call home every day. Although staying in touch with family and friends on a regular basis is recommended, focusing too much on life back home can take away from the student's overall study abroad experience and often makes homesickness worse. Help your student strike a good balance.
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When will my student receive his/her grades?
Depending on the program, it usually takes between 6-8 weeks to receive transcripts from abroad. In some cases, it can take even longer. Once the study abroad credits are transferred in, Office of the Registrar will send an unofficial transcript to the student.
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