DACA Student Success Abroad
To our Dreamer/DACA students, welcome. At Education Abroad, we believe you can become ambassadors of positive change through studying abroad or elsewhere in the United States through the National Student Exchange program. We are excited about your interest in pursuing an educational experience that will enhance your academic, personal, and professional growth, and we are here to support.
Undocumented students can study abroad through the Department of Homeland Security’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals memorandum (DACA). This page provides general information to students, parents and university employees regarding DACA and study abroad. This information is not to be considered as legal advice and should not be relied upon as such.
Exploring the world as a DACA student
Studying Abroad for DACA Students Accordion Closed
Students participating in DACA are recommended to apply for Advance Parole through USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) if they wish to travel outside of the United States without complications or delays, though re-entry to the US is not guaranteed. USCIS typically grants advance parole requests only for humanitarian, educational, or employment purposes. Educational advance parole requests may include study abroad or academic research programs.
NAU Education Abroad strongly encourages DACA students who hope to study abroad to seek legal counsel from an immigration attorney given the complex considerations and risks surrounding travel and DACA.
You can learn more about the experience of Latinx students abroad at this link. You can also continue your research using the links in our References and Resources section below.
Important to note
Undocumented students who do not qualify for DACA are advised strongly against studying abroad due to the uncertainty associated with leaving and re-entering the country. Non-DACA students may not have sufficient documentation to apply for re-entry to the United States and risk not being able to return to their academic program at NAU. Additionally, non-DACA students may not have sufficient immigration documents to enter specific countries. However, undocumented students still have the option to study at another location in the US through the National Student Exchange (NSE) program. Read more about NSE below.
National Student Exchange Accordion Closed
National Student Exchange inspires academic enrichment, personal exploration, and student development by facilitating collegiate study away at over 200 member colleges and universities throughout the United States, Canada, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Study for a semester or a year at an NSE partner school while paying regular NAU tuition or in-state tuition of the host campus. Visit the NSE website for details about the program and available campuses.
Benefits of NSE:
- affordable access to new academic opportunities
- explore new different fields of study
- experience personal and academic growth
- expand your develop an worldview in an unfamiliar open-mind by experiencing a new environment
- become more independent and resourceful
- be inspired to pursue a graduate or professional degree
- come home with a more focused better-defined view of goals for your future
Virtual Experiences Accordion Closed
NAU students can have an international experience and earn credit without leaving home. By participating in a virtual exchange or virtual internship, students can gain exposure to a different culture and develop intercultural competence through internships or academic work.
Visit the Virtual Exchange page on this website and make an appointment with an Education Abroad Advisor to learn more!
References and Resources Accordion Closed
Here are some resources to help you better understand your rights and responsibilities as a Dreamer/DACA student:
Race and Ethnicity Abroad Accordion Closed
You may have grown up being identified by your race or ethnicity here in the U.S, However, while abroad, locals might identify you first by your country–as an American–rather than a Hispanix or LatinX American. Locals you meet will most likely have an opinion about the USA before they meet you and want to discuss U.S. culture, politics, and current events with you, both positive and negative.
Others may also make assumptions based on your physical appearance, resulting in staring at you or wanting to touch your hair or skin. They may openly ask you questions about your cultural heritage, where you’re from, or the way you look.
If someone says or does something that is offensive to you, try to determine if this person is simply curious about you or has bad intentions. In uncomfortable situations, remember to always put your own safety first.
You may also want to consider some of the resources available on our Race and Ethnicity Abroad pages.
Intersecting Identities Accordion Closed
You may identify with your Hispanic/LatinX heritage or demonstrate those values in different situations. This may provide an opportunity to share your culture abroad with others. It is an exciting time but can also be overwhelming. You and your family may wish to discuss the concerns you have about going abroad and want to talk to someone together. It’s important to communicate these needs with your Education Abroad advisor, so we can work together to make sure you are prepared and have the support you need at home and at NAU in order to have a positive experience abroad.
You also may have other personal identities, such as multiracial, LGBTQIA, a student with a disability, First-Gen, low-income, and/or non-traditional student. These intersecting identities make you unique! As a result, your experience abroad will also be uniquely yours. We are here to help you navigate your personal journey.
If you identify in any of these ways, you may want to explore some of our other Diversity Abroad resources.
Money Matters Accordion Closed
Finances for study abroad are a consideration for nearly all students regardless of background or race/ethnicity. NAU and other organizations offer special scholarships for study abroad, and financial aid (grants, loans) can be applied to almost all programs. Merit-based NAU scholarships (Lumberjack, Blue, Gold, Transfer) can also be applied to exchange programs. Some rules and restrictions apply based on the type of scholarship and program, and your Education Abroad advisor can help explain what scholarships are best for you to apply for. Visit our scholarships page for more details.
Scholarships A to Z has resource guides for undocumented students and Scholarships.com frequently updates a list of scholarships for undocumented students as well. Federal Student Aid answers frequently asked financial aid questions from undocumented students.
As an underrepresented ethnic group, we encourage you to attend our scholarship workshop and apply!
Program Options Accordion Closed
Some students have responsibilities in their families or communities that prevent them from being away from home for an extended period of time. We offer hundreds of programs, including short-term programs lasting only a few weeks to accommodate different life situations. Other students who have more flexibility for a longer program can go abroad for a semester or academic-year for an immersive experience. You can focus on courses for your degree plan or explore our special topic courses. National Student Exchange may be a good fit for students who want to experience a different cultural or geographic setting without leaving the US.
Pre-Departure Preparations Accordion Closed
To prepare, learn more about other diverse students’ experiences both at NAU and abroad through the Office of Inclusion and our network of study abroad alumni. Ask your Education Abroad advisor for more details.
Some questions to consider and research before you go abroad:
- How is my ethnicity/race perceived in my host country? What kind of stereotypes are there?
- What advice do you have for students who will be studying abroad in a country of their heritage?
- If staying in a host family, have they housed minority students before? If not, will this be an issue for them?
- Am I used to being part of the majority at home but will be a minority abroad? Or vice versa?
- Will there be other minority students in my program?
- Who should I contact if I do face racial or discriminatory incidents?
- Does my program have support staff that will understand and help me through any racial or discriminatory incident I may face?
- How can I use my presence abroad to represent U.S. diversity and share my culture and values in a positive way?
There are also ways to connect abroad and connect with other DACA students abroad as well:
- join social media groups and forums
- chat with people “IRL” too
- remember to branch out
- be open minded
- read articles and travel blogs
Meet with an Education Abroad Advisor to discuss options for you to study away!