Questions?If you still have questions, make sure your student has filled out the FERPA requirements and email Study Abroad.
Haz clic para ver recursos para la familia en español
Family resources in Navajo (coming soon)
NAU Education Abroad
Helpful information for families
Hello parents and family members,
You might be here because your Lumberjack has mentioned their interest in studying in another country, or maybe they are packing up to leave in a few days. We want to help you understand the benefits of this transformational, rewarding experience and the process behind getting them abroad.
Studying in another culture provides students with opportunities to broaden their perspectives. Lumberjacks abroad might enhance their proficiency in a foreign language, explore a new academic interest, build an international career network, and make lasting friendships with local students and host families. Additionally, they may feel inspired by incredible sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of an unfamiliar place. It is a privilege for us to help your student engage in the diversity of the world.
We strive to support students in navigating as much of the planning process independently, as their independence will benefit them when they arrive in their host country. We also understand that without your support, your student could not succeed abroad. Thank you for supporting them and learning alongside them in this journey.
We hope these resources provide you the information you need to understand your student’s upcoming experiences. Thank you for your entrusting us with facilitating your Lumberjack’s experience abroad!
Your Education Abroad Team
Frequently asked questions
What is the best time to study abroad? Accordion Closed
There is no “best” time for everyone to study abroad, but there may be a time that is more convenient for certain majors or students who participate in athletics, Greek life, or other activities with designated timelines. Students are encouraged to contact the Education Abroad office in their freshman year to help plan their time at NAU in accordance with their study abroad goals. It is most common to study abroad during a student’s sophomore or junior year.
Will studying abroad prevent my student from graduating on time? Accordion Closed
With proper planning, many students are able to study abroad and graduate on time. When speaking with an Education Abroad Advisor about programs, your student will see where they can find classes available to them while they are abroad. They are highly encouraged to work with their academic advisor before they leave to determine what classes they can take abroad to fulfill their NAU degree requirements. Students can take major, minor, Liberal Studies, and General Electives abroad to stay on track academically.
Am I required to sign any documents or participate in the application process? Accordion Closed
Parents are not required to participate in the application process unless the student is under 18, in which case the parent will need to sign each application document on behalf of the student. The student must be 18 at the time of travel. Parents are encouraged to remain involved and supportive in their student’s study abroad experience.
What if my student wants to withdraw their application? Accordion Closed
Once students click the “submit” button in their Education Abroad application, they are automatically responsible for a $100 application fee (regardless of program). Should they choose to withdraw their application after submitting, they must both notify their Education Abroad Advisor and withdraw their application. Students who withdraw after submitting their application will also be responsible for a $500 cancellation fee (regardless of program). This will be charged to the student’s LOUIE.
Students who withdraw from their Faculty-Led program after being admitted will be responsible for the $100 and $500 fees listed above in addition to any money that has already been spent on the student’s behalf. This will be charged to the student’s LOUIE.
Where will my student live? Accordion Closed
Accommodations vary based on program; students may live in on-campus residence halls, off-campus accommodations, homestays/host families, or hotels/hostels for short-term programs. Students are encouraged to work with their Education Abroad Advisor on what types of accommodations are available for their specific program and how much accommodations will cost.
Can I attend my student’s pre-departure meetings and orientation? Accordion Closed
Absolutely. Parents are welcomed to join their student at any pre-departure orientations and meetings.
What is a reliable method to keep in touch with my student while abroad? Accordion Closed
Based on what location they are in and how long they are staying, your student may opt to purchase a local phone/phone plan for their time abroad. The most common mode of communication for our students abroad is Wi-Fi based apps such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Skype, Viber, and so on. Students are highly encouraged to remain connected with family and support systems back home while abroad.
Can my student extend their trip or make side trips? Accordion Closed
Students can, and often do, incorporate independent weekend/short trips into their time abroad, and also often leave the U.S. for their host country early or extend their trip at the end. Students are more than welcomed to do so, though they are highly encouraged to ensure that they have appropriate health insurance coverage during their time abroad. Students should also inform others if they plan to travel abroad, such as parents or their host university in case of an emergency. Students should research any required visas, cultural nuances, and health/safety information before planning such trips. Students interested in traveling to other destinations during their time abroad or extending their trip should speak to their Education Abroad Advisor.
While my student is abroad, what should they do if there are questions or problems? Accordion Closed
Students are encouraged to remain in constant contact with both their Education Abroad Advisor and the study abroad support team at their home institution (or their faculty leader, if on a faculty-led program) regarding any questions or concerns. If a student experiences an emergency abroad, they are encouraged to call the Education Abroad 24-hour line.
Can I contact the NAU Education Abroad office to request information on my student? Accordion Closed
Parents are welcomed to contact the Center for International Education if they have general inquiries. If parents have inquiries on their specific student, they are encouraged to contact the student’s Education Abroad Advisor.
Parents should note that according to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (also known as FERPA), a student’s university-related records including educational, financial, and personal information are confidential. The Education Abroad office can only release information on a specific student if that student has filled out the FERPA. If students wish for their parents to have access to their personal information through NAU while the student is abroad, they are encouraged to sign the FERPA release.
Health and safety
Will travel insurance be provided? What about supplemental private health insurance? Accordion Closed
Students traveling on exchange or faculty-led programs will be automatically enrolled by Education Abroad in GEOBlue health insurance that will begin 3 days before the official beginning of the program and ending 3 days after the official last day of the program. Students traveling on ISEP, USAC, or provider programs will receive insurance through their provider.
Students and parents should be advised that depending on what country the student is traveling to, they may be required to purchase country-specific health insurance in addition to the health insurance provided by NAU/ISEP/USAC/their provider. Students are encouraged to work with their Education Abroad Advisor to clarify country-specific health insurance requirements. Please be advised that Education Abroad does not assist in purchase or payment of country-specific health insurance on behalf of the student.
For a list of international health insurance providers, see the State Department’s “Insurance for Overseas Providers” page
Are my student’s medications legal in the host country? Accordion Closed
Students should verify that any medication they plan to take abroad is legal in their host country. It is also recommended that students have all the proper documentation for their medications (e.g. doctor’s note, written prescriptions) during their travel. In the event that medicine is lost, students should have an alternative plan for obtaining and replacing required medications. Students and parents can consult the Center for Disease Control for information on taking medications abroad.
Can my student get enough medication for the duration of their trip? Accordion Closed
How much medication a student is able to obtain before their trip may vary based on the type of medication, prescriber, and health insurance coverage. Students and parents can consult the Center for Disease Control as well as their personal physician and/or health insurance provider for details on obtaining medications to take abroad.
Will my student need any vaccines? Accordion Closed
Students and parents can view necessary vaccine information through the Center for Disease Control.
What should my student do in case of an emergency? Accordion Closed
If a student experiences a medical emergency abroad, they are encouraged to use the international health insurance they are provided (either through NAU if they are on an exchange program, or through their provider if there are on a provider program) to seek necessary medical attention. They can also contact NAU Education Abroad’s 24-hour emergency line. Students are encouraged to remain in constant contact with both their Education Abroad Advisor and the study abroad support team at their home institution (or their faculty leader, if on a faculty-led program) and keep all parties informed of any emergencies.
Costs and Scholarships
What are the costs of study abroad? Accordion Closed
Costs can vary based on program and location. Typically, students can expect to pay for an application fee, tuition, student fees, airfare, accommodations, meals, books, visa expenses, personal expenses, and international health insurance costs. There may also be additional fees incurred based on the program the student attends. Students are encouraged to work with their Education Abroad Advisor on the costs of their particular program.
My student receives a full or partial tuition waiver/scholarship from NAU, does that apply to study abroad? Accordion Closed
Students can apply NAU tuition waivers to all Exchange and ISEP Exchange programs. Tuition waivers cannot apply to ISEP Direct, USAC, Costa Rica, provider, faculty-led, or any programs that run over Winter or Summer terms. Using waivers on international internships depends on the term and internship specifics.
How does FAFSA apply to study abroad? Accordion Closed
All students, regardless of whether they plan to study abroad, are encouraged to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Filling out the FAFSA qualifies students for loans and grants. Students can apply their FAFSA aid to any study abroad program. We encourage students to contact our Financial Aid Advisor for study abroad by email to see specifically how their financial aid will apply to their program.
Are there scholarships available? Accordion Closed
YES! There are scholarships available through the Center for International Education and other organizations nationwide and internationally that provide funding options. Students are encouraged to look for scholarships that they may qualify for (scholarships may be based on financial need, status as an underrepresented student such as students of color or first generation students, major, location, language learned abroad, or a variety of other factors).
Students should contact our Financial Aid Advisor for study abroad by email to see how receiving scholarships may impact their financial aid status. Students should keep in mind that applying for scholarships is not a guarantee that funding will be provided and it is vital to submit high-quality applications for scholarships.
How will my student access and manage money while abroad? Accordion Closed
Money matters can vary between countries. Some countries operate almost universally on a cashless, contactless credit/debit card system, while some countries have an economy that is entirely cash-based; it is easier to open a bank account with a local bank in some countries than in others. Some countries have currency practices that may vary based on what part of the country students are in. Your student should discuss with their Education Abroad Advisor the best ways of managing money while abroad.
Resources and Useful Links for Parents & Family
- S. Department of State Travel Resources
- S. Department of State Study Abroad Information for Parents
- S. Department of State Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)
- Institute of International Education (IIE)
- IIE’s A Parent Guide to Study Abroad
- Locate an Embassy or Consulate
- Calculate time differences, international calling codes, and other useful information
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Traveler Resources