So, a student you take interest in has told you they want to study abroad. How exciting! And you probably have a million questions. UCEAP is here to help.
Why study abroad
Study abroad delivers an impact that will positively affect the rest of your student’s life. Really.
This academic opportunity reaches far beyond earning credit, networking with faculty and peers abroad, and forging lifelong friendships.
Students see the difference:
Sources: Gaining an Employee Edge: The Impact of Study Abroad on 21st Century Skills & Career Prospects in the United States, Institute of International Education
Make no mistake, study abroad is a challenging experience. It teaches valuable skills like independence, confidence, and self-awareness. In fact, study abroad might be the single most valuable thing your student does before they graduate!
Recent research suggests that study abroad doesn’t delay timely graduation and may, in fact, boost graduation rates.
- Degree Matters: The Impact of UCEAP Participation in Graduation Rates, August 2021
- Education Abroad and College Completion (January 2022), by the Consortium for Analysis of Student Success through International Education (CASSIE)
Your student's health and safety
Students who take UCEAP programs receive UC-level support backed by a world-class health and safety system. No matter where your student is in the world, they have 24-hour emergency response and comprehensive health and safety protocols to help them stay safe.
In addition, your student’s health while abroad is carefully considered and supported by the UCEAP health clearance process.
When your student participates in a UCEAP study abroad program, they are also covered by a travel insurance plan that is purpose-built for UC students. The cost is included in the program costs, and your student will be automatically enrolled once accepted into a program. That’s one concern you can check off your list!
Study abroad affordability
Choosing to study abroad is a big step and an essential investment for your student’s future. One of the advantages of choosing a UCEAP program is cost.
UCEAP programs typically cost less than programs offered by other study abroad providers. This is because UCEAP is a University of California program and works directly with UC financial aid offices. And, unlike many study abroad providers, UCEAP includes all essential living expenses in the program costs estimates.
If your student is on financial aid, their aid can be applied to the cost of their UCEAP study abroad program. As a UC student, they are eligible for UC Cal and Pell grants—plus scholarships!
Depending on where your student goes, study abroad could be less expensive than a typical semester or quarter at UC. See the list of study abroad locations where your student can save tuition money on study abroad.
Preparing to study abroad
Now that you understand the value of study abroad, here’s how you can help your student prepare.
While they are applying
Encourage your student to disclose any accommodation needs (academic or otherwise) to UCEAP at the start.
All disclosures are confidential, and there's a big benefit to disclosing as early as possible.
Not all accommodations can be met at all locations, so these early discussions can help your student choose a program where their needs can be met.
When they are accepted
Encourage your student to apply for UCEAP scholarships. With just one application, your student has access to thousands of dollars that can help pay for their needs abroad.
Bonus: Check out this advice in The Californian Abroad: How to Get Study Abroad Scholarships.
During the health clearance process
Encourage your student to disclose any mental or physical health needs on their health clearance, which is a process completed prior to departure.
Read more about the UCEAP Health Clearance.
Before they depart
Encourage your student to think about a personal safety plan and how you’ll stay in contact while they are abroad.
Encourage them to sign up for the US Department of State’s STEP program to receive important and timely security messages about their location abroad.
In addition to helping your student prepare, be sure your passport is current. You’ll need it to visit your student abroad. Plus, you don’t want to be stuck with an expired passport in the rare situation when your student is sent to a hospital in their host country or region.
Communication between UCEAP and your student
UCEAP takes a specific approach to communicating with students while they are abroad.
Students are legal adults and UCEAP communication will be primarily with the student. It's UCEAP's practice to allow the student to decide how to involve their support networks.
Please encourage your student to share important information with you and other family members. During emergencies, UCEAP will communicate with the student's emergency contact as allowed by Federal laws.
When your student returns
Give yourself time to get to know your student again when they return. For some students, the study abroad experience is very transformative, and they may have difficulty expressing how they've changed. You may also notice they approach their lifestyle, relationship with others, and academics in new and different ways.
You probably know your student will experience culture shock while they are on study abroad. You may not be as familiar with reverse culture shock, which can be a surprise.
Reverse culture shock is something nearly all study abroad students experience to varying degrees when they return. As a caregiver to a student who plans to study abroad, it may be helpful to understand the symptoms, so you are prepared to support them.
Be sure to read UCEAP’s advice on managing reverse culture shock.
Curious to learn more from others?
You may find past surveys of parents, guardians, and support networks useful. UCEAP Research conducts annual studies to understand the study abroad experience from your perspective.
Explore the UCEAP parent survey data to learn what past support networks have said about study abroad and the effect of study abroad on their students.