Resources for Parents
Students should work closely with their academic advisor, the study abroad advisor, and the Registrar’s Office to have courses pre-approved before departure. It is essential for students to make sure their classes are first approved by their academic advisor and then by the Registrar’s Office before leaving for their study abroad experience.
- Students generally take 12-16 credits while abroad, including classes in their major(s), minor(s), general education, or elective requirements.
- Sometimes internships, student teaching, and clinicals done while abroad may count for Concordia credits.
- All Concordia Global Ed. Courses count for direct Concordia credit if the student is enrolled in the connected course.
- Upon return from Summer and Semester-long programs, students should have their transcript(s) sent to the Study Abroad Office in order to ensure that courses taken abroad are properly transferred.
Country-specific health information is available on the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website. This resource provides up-to-date information about recommended vaccinations, local food/water conditions, and other relevant health information about the various destinations to which your student might travel.
In many cases, the most dangerous health hazards students face abroad are not those unique to their destination, but those that students bring with them, such as chronic illness, allergies, asthma, and other conditions. If your student has any chronic conditions or severe allergies, you should encourage them to see the Concordia Student Health Center, a travel clinic, or their primary care physician to create a personalized self-care plan to ensure your child’s maintained health while abroad.
*Note: The Concordia Health Center (located at our Mequon campus) offers travel health services to study abroad students, including travel health consultations, vaccines, etc.. The cost for these services is dramatically lower than the costs of third-party travel clinics and most doctor's offices.
Any individual who travels in connection with a Concordia-sponsored study abroad program must have travel health insurance that covers them for the duration of their program. Many summer and semester-length programs include travel insurance, however for those that don't and for Global Ed. Courses, students are required to be covered by iNext Comprehensive Insurance. If you student needs this coverage, there is nothing extra that he or she needs to do, your student will be registered and billed automatically.
While the news media may sensationalize safety issues abroad, hundreds of thousands of American students travel and study abroad every year without incident. However, in the interest of ensuring the safety of all of our students, the Study Abroad Office conducts a safety review of the locations to which we send students. In determining this, we rely on the U.S. Department of State Travel Advisory system, news reports, and most importantly, the advice of our on-site partners. Everyone's risk tolerance is different, so we suggest you review these resources and others as well when considering the safety of a study abroad destination.
Communication While Abroad
Lengthy phone calls can become extremely expensive while students are abroad. These cost-effective methods of communication can help families stay connected with their students while abroad:
- WhatsApp, Viber, Facebook Messenger, etc...- There are numerous smart phone apps that allow users to send and receive text, photo, and video messages over WiFi for free or very little cost. Some even allow audio and video calls over WiFi, like WhatsApp and Apple Facetime.
- Skype - Skype is a free, downloadable software application that allows users to make live video and voice calls over the internet. Skype users can also add money to their account and then use the service to call land lines and cell phones internationally at very low rates. For additional information and to download the application please visit Skype.com.
- Letters - Letters can be read and reread and are extremely appreciated by students while they’re abroad.
- Care packages – Students appreciate their favorite homemade treats or American snacks. Keep in mind, however, that any package sent overseas will go through customs in the destination country, so avoid sending items that may be flagged, taxed, or confiscated.
- Emails – Email isn’t always accessible abroad, but it’s a good way to stay connected for simple check-ins.
When traveling, it’s said that people should take half as many clothes and twice as much money as they think they’ll need.
If you need to send money to you students, there are a number of secure ways to do that:
- Deposits to their home bank account. In order for friends or family back home to deposit money into a student’s bank account, you simply need the name of their financial institution, their name as it appears on their passport, their account number and routing number. All of this information can be found on a personalized deposit slip, or a voided check. Deposits made by people back home into a student’s account will make funds available to them, provided they still have a working ATM card.
- Western Union. If your child does not have a working ATM or credit card, services offered by Western Union are likely the next best option. The fees associated with Western Union and similar wire transfer services vary greatly based on how quickly the money is needed, so be sure to plan ahead to avoid unnecessary fees. To learn how to initiate a Western Union transfer, or find a Western Union location near you, visit https://www.westernunion.com. If going to a Western Union branch to send or receive money overseas, you will need an ID and your child will need their passport to claim the funds.
- U.S. dollars can be exchanged for foreign currency at most international airports, railroad stations, and banks.
- Money can be exchanged at stores, hotels, restaurants or retail shops, but it is not wise to do so as the exchange rate will not be in their favor.
- Banks usually post the current exchange rates and are the safest places for students to exchange their money.
- Every time they exchange money they pay a commission.
- Know the current exchange rate for the country your student plans to visit.
- They may want to have a little local currency with them upon arrival ($50-100 equivalent).
- They can purchase local currency at international banks, or they can work with a local bank that has international bank connections. Getting foreign currency from your home bank can sometimes take a week or more, so plan ahead.
- They can also purchase local currency at most international airports either before leaving the United States or upon arrival in the host country. The exchange rate may not be as favorable so plan to exchange only enough for a few days' expenses.
The Concordia Study Abroad Office provides students with a high level of personal attention during the entire study abroad process: pre-departure, while abroad, and during re-entry. We assist students in finding a program that meets their academic and personal needs, guide them through the application process, and help prepare them for departure. Students are also encouraged to contact the Study Abroad Office with any questions they encounter while abroad. Upon re-entry, we also have resources available for students to learn how to maximize their experience abroad.
Passport & Visas
Every student is responsible for acquiring a passport prior to their study abroad experience. Certain programs/countries may also require students to obtain a student visa prior to departure.
For more information on these issues, visit the U.S. Department of State website. Most programs will offer some level of assistance with the visa process as well.
Didn’t find what you were looking for?Contact the Concordia Study Abroad Office and we'll be more than happy to assist you!