Study Abroad Parent & Family Resources

  • Congratulations! Your college student is making the worthwhile and challenging decision to study abroad. These resources will assist you as you navigate this journey with your student.

  • Your student may be interested in exploring international issues first-hand, developing their own independence, and stepping up the level of personal challenge involved in obtaining their education.

    In survey after survey, nationally and globally, the majority of employers value job applicants with international experience. Companies want people who can navigate intercultural communication and international settings appropriately and productively. Studying abroad provides students with an immersive chance to problem solve and learn about themselves in vastly different ways than by staying within their comfort zone, and these personal gains translate into skills that employers value.

    Check out our Student Voices section to hear from Dragons who studied abroad, and what the experience means to them.

    There are many different types of study abroad programs for your student, each possessing different features and advantages.  

    An exchange program represents a formal relationship between MSUM and another educational institution. Some send and receive equal numbers, some are for certain majors only, and some allow students to pay MSUM tuition and fees. Most exchanges are for one semester, though some can be used for a full school year.

    External providers put the world at your student’s fingertips. They provide options in destinations where we don’t have exchanges. These programs are for semesters, school years, and all or part of a summer. They also include internship and service-learning options.

    Eurospring is MSUM’s longest-running study abroad program. This unique and challenging program is a full semester’s worth of study, with students combining study and work time in the U.S. before departure with five weeks of living and studying in Oxford, England, and culminating with a three-week study tour on the European continent.

    Short-term faculty-led programs are MSUM courses that take place, in part, in another country. They may be abroad over winter or spring break or during the summer. Our talented faculty design and teach the courses and lead the groups. When your student can’t be away for a whole semester, a short-term faculty-led course will give them a great flavor of an international experience.

    Financial Aid

    MSUM financial aid, in general, applies toward the cost of studying abroad. Your student will meet with a Financial Aid officer individually, since the types and amounts of aid received vary case by case.

    If you are a military veteran, you can use your benefits on certain kinds of programs. Contact our office, Financial Aid, and the Veteran’s Resource Center for details.


    MSUM has some scholarships available for study abroad. Students on applicable programs are provided with application information for these scholarships.

    Fund raising

    Some students use crowdfunding, but carefully consider the pool of potential donors (family and friends) before devoting time and effort.

    Be creative: is there a local group in your hometown that might award a scholarship in return for a travel talk from the student when they return? (Churches, parent groups such as Lions, etc.).

    Encourage your student to save every penny. Every single one. They should also save any overage they can. If they live frugally, little things add up. For example, if one spends $3.50 per day on a cup of fancy coffee or juice, after saving that amount for one year they’d have $1,277.50, the price of a plane ticket to many destinations.

    Spending while abroad

    Students need to make and stick to a spending budget while abroad to ensure they’ll have enough funds for the entire duration.

    Some students arrange with their bank for a family member to have access to their account while away, in order to make deposits if necessary.

    Exchange rates

    Various web sites calculate the current exchange rate in countries globally:

    All students must have international health insurance while studying abroad. External providers include this cost in the student’s program fee. Other programs may require this as a separate fee. Some U.S. health insurance policies do not cover people while abroad; if they do cover incidents, they may require the traveler to pay cash for services obtained and request reimbursement later. Our office has information on international health insurance for students.

    This health insurance must include coverage for health issues, accidents, emergency evacuation, and repatriation of remains.

    Travel insurance is different from health insurance; in general it covers reimbursement of costs for trip interruption or cancelation. This can be purchased from travel agents. Most travel insurance does not cover a change of mind, so students must be sure of their plans when applying to their programs. MSUM does not require student to purchase travel/trip insurance, but it is strongly recommended.

    The International Student ID Card (ISIC) is a globally recognized student ID. Benefits include a layer of insurance and discounts at numerous vendors, domestically and abroad. Cards can be purchased in our office or online.

    Centers for Disease Control

    The U.S. CDC provides information on travel destinations, including what kinds of immunizations are recommended or required.

    U.S. Department of State - STEP Program

    MSUM students must enroll in the STEP program while abroad. This enables them to receive updates on travel safety from the U.S. State Department relevant to their specific destination.

    World Health Organization

    The UN’s World Health Organization provides destination-specific information on health issues.

    Pre-departure Orientation

    All MSUM students will participate in pre-departure orientation. Eternal providers include this for all programs; students on MSUM exchanges and programs will receive this orientation from faculty and staff here on campus and at their exchange partner campus. MSUM also offers re-entry orientation to returning study abroad students.

    Safety Log

    All students should complete a Safety Log before departure. This is basic information shared by the student, their emergency contact, and the Office of Study Abroad so that assistance can be more easily provided in case of an emergency. The Safety Log form will be provided to all study abroad students as part of their pre-departure planning; students provide a copy to their emergency contact.

    Keeping in touch with your student can be challenging when they are engaged with their study abroad experience. If you are used to talking to your student daily, this will change while they are abroad. Time zone changes make scheduling difficult, and it’s also a wonderful time for students to fully immerse in their international experience. So don’t be surprised if the level of communication drops off.

    There are a number of ways to touch base given the availability of online and electronic communication. You and your student may agree to email, Skype, text, or chat on Facebook, Snapchat, or through a medium such as WhatsApp. Discuss the options before your student departs and have realistic expectations.

    It’s much easier now to talk by phone than it used to be -- many mobile phone carriers now offer international plans at increasingly reasonable rates. Students don’t need to have their roaming on at all times, but it’s nice to have it enabled when direct communication is desired. Even if a student doesn’t enable roaming while abroad, Internet access on a smart phone is a handy tool.

    When your student returns home they are likely to bubble over with stories, photos, and experiences they want to share. Most students describe their study abroad experience as “life changing.” It’s hard to fit weeks of happenings into a few conversations, so be patient as your student processes this experience over time. They’ll appreciate your listening and your questions.

    Your student may also seem different to you in some ways when they return -- that’s a feature, not a bug, of study abroad. They’ve had to make advances in self-reliance and independence, problem solving, and navigating a new culture. It’s a great learning, growing, transformational experience that benefits them personally and professionally.

    Public Safety: 24/7 switchboard will contact the Director of Study Abroad and other university officials in case of emergency.

    Office of Study Abroad: Students abroad on semester, year, and external summer programs, and faculty leading short-term study courses are provided with a 24/7 number for the Director of Study Abroad.