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Parents Frequently Asked Questions
Below is a list of the most frequent questions and answers we are asked by parents of international and study abroad students.
Study abroad is an educational opportunity for CU Denver students to complete components of their university degree program outside of the United States. Study abroad programs can range from short-term (approximately 2 weeks) to a full academic year.
Students can choose study abroad opportunities that vary in duration, field of study, location, etc. CU Denver offers a variety of CU Denver courses abroad (no transfer of credit needed), but students may also pursue programs offered by third party providers (pre-approved credits will transfer back to their CU Denver transcript).
Studying abroad is an experience that enhances a student’s personal and educational growth. Today’s students need to be knowledgeable about the global community. By studying abroad, students learn compassion, understanding, problem-solving skills, camaraderie, and collaboration. Depending on the location, students may also have the opportunity to learn a foreign language.
Furthermore, international study increases confidence and gives students an advantage when looking for employment as well as when applying for graduate school.
Study abroad will not necessarily keep students from graduating in the traditional four years. It depends on the student’s particular academic situation, including area of emphasis, progress towards degree completion, remaining credits needed, etc. Your student should meet with his/her academic advisor well in advance of going abroad to discuss how studying abroad will fit into the degree program and timeline.
Your student can earn credit toward his/her degree while studying abroad—provided all the required documents and authorizations are completed on time and according to due process. Students must adhere to their completed Course Approval Form, and if the actual courses taken abroad differ from the plan, the student must contact their academic advisor and secure approval of the new courses.
Studying abroad as a senior can affect the graduation timeline. Study abroad transcripts can take months to arrive, and thus students studying abroad in their final semester at CU Denver must typically delay their official graduation for a semester.
Study abroad programs may cost more than in-state tuition, but when factoring in such expenses as housing, food, and insurance, the cost of many study abroad programs is similar to the cost of studying in Denver. Semester programs abroad range from $9,000 to $25,000 depending on the program. Summer programs are shorter in duration and thus less expensive, ranging from $3,000 to $7,000. Airfare, visa fees, spending money, and some meals are not included in these estimates.
CU Denver offers a variety of short-term study abroad opportunities called Global Study programs. These are CU Denver courses taught abroad by CU Denver faculty, and take place during the winter break, Maymester, and throughout the summer. These programs are a great affordable option for students to study abroad!
If your student requests your help choosing a program, choose a program that fits your budget. Federal, state, and/or institutional aid (e.g. Pell Grants, institutional grants, Stafford loans, PLUS loans, etc.) can be applied to study abroad. If your child receives the Pell Grant and maintains a 3.0 GPA, then they are eligible for the Gilman Scholarship, from which they can receive up to $5,000 towards study abroad.
You can also apply for private loans, or apply for some of the scholarships available for students going abroad. Visit the Financial Planning section for more information.
Definitely. Be sure your student communicates with the Financial Aid office in the early stages of the planning process to find out how aid will work with the chosen study abroad program. There is additional paperwork students must complete in order to ensure the financial aid distributes properly. Note that during the summer term, undergraduate students must be enrolled in at least six credits to be eligible for financial aid. Graduate students must be enrolled in three credits during the summer term in order to be eligible.
Your student should go abroad when it best fits her or his academic planning. Most students study abroad during their sophomore or junior year. Have your student inquire with their academic adviser for recommendations on when studying abroad is possible. Note that studying abroad during the final semester of college can delay a student’s official graduation date.
CU Denver also boasts a high number of graduate students who study abroad! Many of our CU Denver Global Study programs are open to both undergraduate and graduate students.
The safety of your student while she or he is studying abroad is a top priority both to you and to the Office of Global Education. During our mandatory pre-departure orientations, students are provided with counseling on potential risks, necessary precautions, and contacts abroad. If a U.S. citizen, encourage your student to register their travel plans with the U.S. Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). STEP enrolls a traveler’s itinerary with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate, sends travelers health and security updates for the countries they are traveling to, as well as helps friends and family to contact travelers in case of an emergency.
CU Denver restricts student participation in programs located in countries where the U.S. Department of State has issued an active Travel Warning.
The Office of Global Education works closely with International SOS – an international emergency assistance provider and an outstanding source of international health and safety information. In addition, the Office of Global Education monitors updates on health and safety issues around the world that are issued by the U.S. Department of State, the World Health Organization, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
One of the most universal means of keeping in touch with your student is e-mail. However, there are numerous other ways of contacting your student while abroad. Skype is incredibly useful for video calls; if you and your student have Skype accounts, you can call or video call for free, and if they would like to call your phone from Skype, Skype credit is available for affordable calls to phone numbers. WhatsApp is a similar service used for sending free text messages. Google Hangouts and Apple’s FaceTime are other great free video chat options.
If your student chooses to buy a phone or an international SIM card for their time abroad, there are certain service providers who provide better rates on international calls. These service providers vary from country to country, so it is best to research cellular service providers in the host country. If you would like to use a phone to call your student, calling from a landline is usually cheapest (Vonage generally provides the best rates for international calls; get in touch with your phone service provider to learn more about their international call rates).
Before you decide to ship your student a package, keep in mind that it is common for packages and even mail from the U.S. to arrive very delayed. Sometimes packages arrive after a student has already returned home. Avoid sending valuables or confidential information, and re-consider mailing/shipping items if your student’s program duration is less than two months.
If you do wish to ship your student a package, have your student speak with the faculty leader or program provider about where mail should be sent and what local laws and limitations exist on items that can be shipped. It is advisable to include a customs form declaring all goods and their monetary worth. If you exceed the value allowed by the host country (value varies by country), your student may need to pay a fee in order to receive their package.
Be sensible when choosing what to send a student while they are abroad. Do not ship perishables, as these might be confiscated even if they have not yet spoiled. Be wary of shipping religious materials to certain countries, as they may be banned and could cause legal issues with local law enforcement. We strongly recommend that students take enough of any medication they require to last them their entire trip. Shipping or mailing medications may not be a viable option because many countries’ laws prohibit the mailing of drugs, including prescription medicines. If you must mail medications, be sure to include a typed list of included medications, provided by a doctor on official letterhead, and keep all medications in their original bottles. Following all of these steps still does not ensure that your medication will reach the student; it is crucial that they speak with their program advisor in their host country or the health center on their host school’s campus to learn about regulations on medicines in the host country.
Generally, it is easiest for students to maintain their U.S. checking account and withdraw money from ATMs as needed. Most international destinations will have plenty of ATMs that accept international Visa and Mastercard debit cards. Be aware that international withdrawals often carry a fee, assessed by both the U.S. bank and the bank that operates the local ATM. Check with your bank to learn more about international withdrawal fees.
It is recommended that travelers have a secondary means of electronic payment abroad, such as a credit card (either a Visa or Mastercard). Note that some credit card companies charge a foreign transaction fee for payments made abroad. This fee can range from 2 to 5%. There are credit cards that charge no foreign transaction fee; it may be worth considering applying for a card without a fee. Check with your credit card company about foreign transaction fees.
Debit and credit cards issued with embedded microchips are becoming increasingly popular in the United States, and have been in use in many other countries for several years already. Microchips provide additional security. It is very common abroad to be asked for your PIN (personal identification number) when making a purchase with a credit or debit card. If you don’t already know your PIN, be sure to call your bank before you travel to obtain one for these instances.
If it is necessary for your student to open up a bank account abroad, they can find out more information about how to do so from their program coordinator at their university abroad. Once the account has been open, you may make a bulk transfer of funds. However, be aware that exchange rates can change fairly rapidly, and there is no guarantee that a transfer made at the beginning of the semester will have the same worth in foreign currency at the end of the semester.
If you are concerned about your student’s funds, recommend that they allow you access to their online banking. If necessary, remind your student that they must still pay their bills while abroad, unless they have worked out agreements ahead of time.
Students on CU Denver Global Study and semester programs are provided with extensive international health insurance coverage. The plan covers medical expenses in-country (no co-pay at in-network medical providers, reimbursement for out-of-network medical providers) and evacuation due to medical, natural disaster, or political emergencies. This insurance does not cover pre-existing conditions or any medical visits needed in the U.S. prior to or post travel. It is highly recommended that students maintain coverage with their U.S. health insurance policy.
Third-party providers typically include international health insurance in their program costs. For more information, check the website for the program your student has chosen, or contact the provider directly. If the provider does not offer international health insurance coverage, have your student contact the Office of Global Education for enrollment instructions in our recommended plan.
Students are not automatically covered by the international health insurance plan if they choose to travel before or after their actual program dates. Students can contact the provided health insurance plan and pay to extend coverage, which is highly recommended.
Be sure to speak with your student first, as they may have the information you are seeking! If you have any further questions, please call CU Denver’s Office of Global Education at 303.315.2230 or email us at email@example.com.