FAQ: Parents & Family

FAQ: Parents & Family

You and your student are likely to have many questions as your student explores education abroad opportunities. Find answers to some of our most frequently asked questions below.  

My student is interested in participating in an abroad program. What is the first step?

To make sure that your student understands the “big picture” of education abroad at UVA, they should complete the Education Abroad Workshop and review information about Getting Started. We also encourage family members to watch the Workshop to gain a more complete understanding of education abroad at UVA.

What are the minimum eligibility requirements to participate in education abroad?

Please view the webpage detailing Eligibility. Some programs or UVA schools of enrollment may have further requirements. A student must meet all requirements to be eligible for a specific abroad program.

How can my student speak with an advisor about a specific program?

Students are encouraged to make an appointment with the Education Abroad Advisor for the program(s) they are interested in to discuss any questions or concerns. Students can see individual Advisor’s availability and book an appointment virtually or in person.

When should my student plan to study abroad?

Your student’s degree program and personal interests will determine the most appropriate timing to study abroad. We encourage students to meet with their Academic Advisor and Education Abroad Advisor early on to determine the best time frame. With the exception of the UVA Global First Program, students must have completed at least one semester at UVA to be eligible to study abroad; one year is recommended and may be required by their school of enrollment or program.

Is it possible for students of any major to study abroad?

Yes, students in any major can study abroad. Programs offer a wide selection of subject areas during multiple terms. However, some degree programs have more conditions than others, so students should begin researching and planning early. Education Abroad Advisors and a student’s Academic Advisor can assist in identifying programs that are complimentary to the student’s course of study. Please see the Education Abroad in Your Major or Minor page for more information.

Will this delay my student's time of graduation?

No! With careful and early planning, your student can integrate a meaningful education abroad experience into a four-year degree program at UVA. Students will need to consider the courses and requirements they can fulfill abroad, the programs that best match their goals, and the timing and duration of their experience. Students must also get courses pre-approved (for transfer credit) before they are accepted into a program to ensure the likelihood of receiving credit for their coursework abroad.

If my student does not speak a second language, are they limited to study in English-speaking countries?

Opportunities abound all over the world for students with any level of language ability. While plenty of opportunities exist in English-speaking countries, many programs in non-English-speaking countries also offer courses taught in English. Your student can do a Program Search on our website and filter by language of instruction and more.

How does study abroad credit count toward my student’s degree program?

Students can receive direct credit (factoring into their GPA) or transfer credit (which does not factor into the GPA). The Academic Considerations page includes a detailed description of the types of credits that can be earned on study abroad programs and how these credits can be used. Education Abroad will comprise an important part of a student’s academic plan and will contribute to personal development and workforce preparation.

What financial support is available for education abroad opportunities?

UVA financial aid is often "portable", especially for a semester and year of study abroad. That is, federal, state, and institutional loans, grants, and scholarships can be used to fund participation in approved education abroad programs (not Work Study). We recommend that students meet with a Financial Aid Counselor to discuss their specific financial situation. More information can be found in the Finances section of the Education Abroad website.

Are there scholarship opportunities for studying abroad?

Scholarships for education abroad are available from a number of sources, including from UVA. The International Studies Office (ISO) administers over a dozen scholarships, and in 2022-2023, awarded almost $500,000 in scholarships. Students participating in Outside programs are often able to apply for scholarships through their program provider as well. National and international-level scholarships, such as the Gilman International Scholarship for Pell Grant recipients, are also available. See the Scholarships page for more information.

Can I log in to see my student’s application page?

No. An individual student's application is password protected. UVA students use their UVA identification user ID, known as their Netbadge, and a private password to log in. It is a violation of University policy for anyone other than the student to enter information on their behalf and, for that reason, only the student can log in to their application.

If my student has already signed a lease for an entire year but wants to go abroad for one semester, can they find a subletter? How does it work for students in on-Grounds housing?

Students can post (or find) potential sublet opportunities online. Finding a subletter is easier when starting the process early. For students in on-Grounds housing, Housing and Residence Life will release students studying abroad from their housing contracts for the term they are abroad. See the Housing in Charlottesville page for more information.

Is it safe to participate on an abroad program?

Students' safety is our top priority. Our commitment to safety is three-fold: first, as a condition of program approval; second, as an integral part of student meetings and preparation; and third, in our Crisis Management Plan should an event (natural, political, or otherwise) occur while students are abroad.

The University limits student travel for University-related purposes to or through a country or a region for which the U.S. Department of State has published a Travel Advisory of Level 3 “Reconsider Travel” – color code orange or Level 4 “Do Not Travel” – color code red; a country or region for which the Centers for Disease Control have issued a Travel Health Notification of Warning Level 3;  a country with a Sanctioned Country designation issued by the Office of Foreign Assets Control in the U.S. Department of Treasury; and to a country of region for which the has issued its own University Travel Restriction. If a DOS Level 3 or 4 Travel Advisory, CDC Travel Warning Level 3 or a University Travel Restriction is issued prior to departure for a planned destination or while students are participating in a program in the affected region, the program will be canceled or alternate arrangements will be made for students in the program. Students will also not be approved to participate in outside programs which do not demonstrate adequate safety and emergency preparedness. See the University of Virginia Policy on Student International Travel for more information.

UVA Education Abroad Advisors work with students individually as well as at mandatory Pre-Departure Orientations (for UVA students) to educate students on how to prepare themselves for a safe experience abroad. Topics covered include general safety, traveling safety, medical concerns, and responsible and respectful behavior.

While we hope for smooth and uninterrupted programs, unexpected world events can occur. The International Studies Office has developed a Crisis Management Plan to handle emergency situations. The ISO utilizes a variety of safety and risk management organizations to gather information regarding world events and responds accordingly. When appropriate, updates will be shared with those individuals who students have identified as emergency contacts.  Parents and family are encouraged to read more information related to Health and Safety in the Education Abroad Handbook.

Will my student be covered under a health insurance policy while studying abroad?

The University of Virginia Policy on Student International Travel requires students who travel outside the U.S. for University-related purposes to enroll in the UVA international health and emergency assistance insurance plan through CISI (Cultural Insurance Services International). The insurance plan covers health care costs incurred during international travel for university-related purposes and provides emergency assistance, including medical evacuation, security evacuation, and repatriation of remains. Students participating in UVA-administered programs will be enrolled in the CISI plan as part of their education abroad program. Students participating in outside and exchange programs will be prompted to self-enroll when they complete their post-acceptance requirements. Please view the Insurance page for more information.

What resources are available for my student in regards to their identity development while abroad?

Students should consult the Identity page; resources gathered there are a starting point for the individual student to begin to think about their own identity and how that might change or be different while abroad. Students are encouraged to conduct their own research in order to prepare for their individual needs and goals. In addition to the resources mentioned in the handbook, a most valuable resource is the student's own capacity to learn from new experiences. Accordingly when students arrive at their destination they must anticipate that issues of difference and sameness will necessarily arise.

Students stand to gain a great deal from how they can use a situation that arises as an opportunity to reflect on:

  1. Who am I?
  2. Where am I ?
  3. How like the Other am I?
  4. How unlike the Other am I?

Out of such questions will come a new fund of knowledge about how students situate themselves in the world.

How many UVA students study abroad each year?

Each year, over 3,000 UVA students from all schools, disciplines, and majors study, conduct research, and intern in locations around the world for an academic year, semester, summer, or January term.