Resources for Parents

Your student's decision to study abroad will be an academically engaging, exciting, life-changing experience that will broaden your student's worldview and help him or her succeed in today's globalizing society.

The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) offers a wide variety of study abroad programs from which students can choose and many resources for assisting them with selecting the option that best meets their individual needs.

If you have questions about your student's study abroad program, we encourage you to review the resources below and to communicate with your student about your concerns. If, after speaking with your student and reading this site, you still have questions, please feel free to contact the Office of Study Abroad at studyabroad@uah.edu.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is studying abroad important?

The opportunity to live abroad and gain valuable language abilities and intercultural skills may only come during your student's university years. This may very well be the most important personal and/or academic decision your student ever makes! Among the most cited benefits of studying abroad are: increased self-confidence, increased maturity, enhanced interest in academic study, improved problem-solving skills, reinforced commitment to foreign language study, enhanced understanding of one's own cultural values and biases, new career direction, and improved employability.

Will studying abroad set students back from graduating on time? Will the credits earned overseas count towards my student's UAH degree?

Study abroad will not necessarily keep students from graduating in four years. For UAH students on approved study abroad programs, credits earned can be applied to their UAH degree provided that all the required documents and authorizations are completed on time and according to due process. Your student should meet with his or her academic advisor to determine what types of courses are transferable and when would be the best time in your student's college career to study abroad.

When is the best time to study abroad, and when should my student start planning for study abroad?

Students should work with their academic advisors to determine which semester is best for them. We encourage students to begin planning their study abroad experience as early as freshman year, and at least one year in advance, to ensure that the courses available to them fit their degree plan. UAH students must have completed at least one semester at an institution of higher education to be eligible for study abroad programs.

How long is a study abroad program?

Students may study abroad for as short a time as 10 days or as long as a semester or academic year. Many students even study abroad more than once during their academic career.

What are the admission requirements?

Admission requirements vary for each program. Some may have language prerequisites or course subject requirements, and most have GPA requirements. UAH's basic eligibility requirements for participation in a study abroad program are that students may not be on academic or judicial probation during the term in which they plan to study abroad.

How much will it cost?

Program costs vary greatly. For example, students studying in Paris or London can expect to pay much more than students studying in a small town in Latin America. We advise students to examine carefully the costs of the programs they are considering and how best to develop a financial plan to cover the costs.

Will my student's financial aid or scholarship apply when they study abroad?

UAH merit scholarships are applicable to UAH-faculty led abroad course or program or student exchange programs.  

Depending on their borrowing eligibility and history, students may apply financial aid to the costs of approved study abroad programs. 

Affiliate program providers also often provide scholarships, and students are encouraged to contact these providers for more information about scholarships. 

Are a passport and/or visa needed to study abroad?

All study abroad programs, regardless of duration, require a passport, and students should apply for passports as soon as they begin to consider studying abroad. Visit U.S. State Department for details about the process and associated costs). Many businesses with photo-processing centers, such as Walgreens, can take passport photos; members of AAA should also enquire about passport photo benefits associated with certain membership levels.

Depending on the country and length of stay, a visa may be required. Students will receive information on whether or not they need a visa during advising sessions and can also consult the foreign embassy of the country or countries to which they are traveling for more information about visa requirements and application procedures.

What is housing like on a study abroad program?

Housing varies from program to program. The most common types of housing include home stays (living with local families), student residence halls/dormitories, or apartments/flats shared with fellow students. Some of the short-term, faculty-led programs house students in hotels for part or all of the program.

What about safety information?

Many parents worry about the safety of their study abroad students. Just as no one can 100% guarantee a student's safety on his or her home campus, the same is true while abroad. However, many students report that they actually feel safer during their stay abroad than here in the U.S.

Common sense is perhaps the most powerful weapon against safety threats while abroad. Being alert and aware of one's surroundings is as essential abroad as it is here in the U.S. The UAH Office of Study Abroad discusses study abroad-specific health and safety matters with students at their mandatory pre-departure orientation.

In addition, the UAH Office of Study Abroad monitors the health and safety updates as well as the travel advisories and warnings issued by the U.S. Department of State, the Centers for Disease Control, and the World Health Organization.

Students also receive contact information for UAH personnel and for people and health and safety institutions abroad that they can use in case of an emergency.

Visit health and safety for more information.

Is 9-1-1 the emergency number worldwide?

Although some other countries do use 9-1-1 as the emergency number, most do not. Students should review the specific emergency information for their host country as well as familiarize themselves with the location and contact information of the nearest U.S. Embassy. Information can be found on the U.S. State Department international travel website.

Does my student need international health insurance?

In most cases, UAH students are required to sign up for health insurance from CISI. For more information on what CISI covers, please click here for access to the policy brochure. 

How can I stay in touch with my student while he or she is abroad? 

 

The frequency with which you contact your student will depend entirely on you and your student's preferences. You may wish to establish plans for communication on your student's arrival day as well as a regular communication schedule throughout his or her time abroad prior to departure. An important aspect of the study abroad process is for students to find the balance between staying in touch with their loved ones at home and fully investing in their experience abroad.

Varying means of communication are discussed at pre-departure orientations. We also recommend that you research and identify those means of communication that are most appropriate for your needs.