Parents & Family

Dear parents,

According to national data, only 1% of American college students study abroad. Your student has the chance to join an elite group of future leaders in our country by setting him or herself a part with this once-in-a-lifetime experience! Students who choose to study abroad show a commitment to global citizenship and this distinguishes them in the classroom and the competitive job market.

Education abroad is a unique academic experience full of fun, excitement and learning. It takes a desire to go outside of your comfort zone and be challenged. Students who have studied abroad reflect on their experience as one where they have grown intellectually and personally; transforming personally, transforming their hearts and their minds.

The Education Abroad office is dedicated to assisting students in their journey from selecting a program through their return. We are here to have conversations with your student about their goals for study abroad, getting appropriate course credit for their degree, seeking out financial aid and scholarships, and preparation for their journey.

Begin the conversation early with your student about study abroad programs and steps to take! Students at The University of Alabama have three primary options for study abroad: Exchange programs, Faculty-led programs, and affiliate programs/direct enroll. Feel free to check out our Program Search tool where you can navigate by discipline, region, and program type.

Hopefully you will find many answers to your questions on our website, but feel free to reach out to our office with additional questions or concerns. We hope you will encourage your student to come visit us in 135 B.B. Comer. Our team is eager to support students and their families in their efforts to study abroad!

In an effort to become more informed about your student’s study abroad opportunities, we’ve answered some frequently asked questions:

Parent FAQs

Why is study abroad a value-added experience?

Leaving your comfort zone presents opportunity for heightened levels of learning and development. Studying abroad is seen to open students’ eyes to new ways of thinking about themselves and the world they live in. Students’ returning from study abroad opportunities have been found to develop skills in the areas of: communication, independence, adaptability, and problem-solving skills. Read about why employers hire graduates who have studied abroad!

How much does it cost?

The cost varies by program type, location, length etc. Some study abroad programs can actually be less expensive than tuition and fees for the equivalent amount of time at UA. Things to know:

  • Faculty-led program tuition is charged at the in-state rate.
  • Exchange program tuition is the same as what is paid for your student while at UA.
  • Affiliate programs are paid to the program provider and have a broad price range (some are more than cost at UA, some are less!).

Read the Financing Your Study Abroad section of the website for more details!

Will my student be safe and healthy?

While the benefits of studying abroad are immense, we understand that the thought of having your student in another country can make you feel uneasy. Rest assured knowing that substantial risk management strategies are in place and keeping our students safe is at the forefront of our processes and procedures. Still, there are inherent risks anywhere you go. Common sense and good judgment are the best tips. One of the most important things you can do as a parent is making sure your student is mature enough to study abroad and that the experience is approached seriously. Read more about Health and Safety, including our international insurance and other resources. Other great resources include the UA Study Abroad Student Handbook, the UA International Travel Assistance website and the U.S. State Department’s Study Abroad website!

How to prepare:

  • Research the risks
  • Be informed
  • Talk about health and safety
  • Encourage common sense

How does my student get started?

Begin researching program options and reading information about schools/programs/locations that might be well suited for their goals. Attending a Study Abroad 101 – a daily informational meeting led by UA peer advisors – is a great way to learn the basics. After this, students should meet one-on-one with their designated study abroad advisor to talk in depth about their decision to study abroad.

Why can’t the university give me specific information about my student?

FERPA is an acronym for the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (also referred to as the Buckley Amendment) and is a federal law designed to: Protect the privacy of student education records. FERPA establishes the right of students to inspect and review their education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education. Click here to learn more about how this applies to your student at The University of Alabama.

We always want our parents to feel informed about education abroad! We have many resources in our office including a NASFA handbook for parents in our office.


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