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A Division of the International Studies Office

FAQ: Parents & Family

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

The first step is to complete the Education Abroad Workshop. The Workshop is an online presentation designed to give students the "big picture" of education abroad and help students start planning for their experience. We 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. Please note that program specific admissions requirements may differ and in some cases may be stricter (higher GPA requirement, for example). A student must meet all requirements to be eligible for a specific abroad program.

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

Yes! Students in ANY major can study abroad. There is a wide selection of subject areas available abroad. The ISO Education Abroad Advisors and a student’s Academic Advisor can assist in identifying programs with academic offerings complimentary to the students’ course of study. Students should begin researching and planning early in order to take advantage of the course offerings abroad. Please see the Education Abroad in Your Major or Minor page for more information.

If my student does not speak a second language, is he or she limited to study in the UK or Australia?

There are opportunities all over the world for students with any level of language ability. While plenty of opportunities exist in English-speaking countries, there are also programs in non-English speaking countries which offer course instruction in English. Your student can do a Program Search on our website and identify language of instruction, subject area, location, term, etc.

What financial support is available for education abroad opportunities?

Financial aid is "portable" at U.Va. and can be applied to approved education abroad programs. Federal, State, and Institutional loans, grants, and scholarships are eligible for use for study abroad. (Work Study cannot be used.) The financial aid application process for study abroad is outlined on the “finances” page of the ISO website. Your student may also meet with a Financial Aid Counselor to discuss the specific financial situation. See the Finances section for more information.

Are there scholarship opportunities for studying abroad?

Scholarships for education abroad are available from a number of sources. Students applying to study abroad for a fall, spring, summer or year should consider applying for the ISO Scholarship, as well as for other scholarships listed on the “finances” page of the ISO website. Students participating on outside programs are often able to apply for scholarships through their program sponsor. Check out our page on scholarships and other sources of funding.

How can my student speak with an advisor about the program they are interested in?

After completing the Education Abroad Workshop, students are encouraged to make an appointment with the Education Abroad Advisor for the region they are interested in to discuss any questions or concerns. Please refer them to the Education Abroad Advising 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 and/or through a series of online modules, 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.

Can I login to see my student’s application page?

No. An individual student's application page is password protected. It is a violation of University policy for anyone other than the student to enter information on his or her behalf, and for that reason, only the student can log into their application and status page.

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. 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 (excluding most exchanges) will be enrolled in the CISI plan as part of their education abroad program. Students participating on all other education abroad programs will be prompted to self-enroll when they complete their post-acceptance requirements.  Please view our Insurance page for more information.

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

The Education Abroad Handbook begins to address some of these concerns, including women abroad, multicultural students abroad, LGBTQ students abroad, and students with disabilities abroad. Students should also consult the Identity page. The resources gathered 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.