Information for Families

As you may already know, study abroad is often a life-changing experience, not only for the student abroad, but for her/his family as well. We encourage you to learn about study abroad yourself, so that you can help your student as they embark on this journey and so that you can be informed about the various issues related to study abroad. These include Butler University’s policies and procedures, the patterns of cultural adjustment, health and safety abroad, and so forth. Approximately 150 Butler students study abroad each year and have access to program in Africa, Asia, Canada, Europe, Latin America, and the South Pacific for a full academic year or a semester. Additionally, approximately 300 Butler students go abroad over the summer on our faculty-led programs and through outside providers.

Some of the work the Center for Global Education (CGE) does to help students in the study abroad process includes:

  • Evaluate potential programs for affiliation and monitor currently affiliated programs.
  • Develop and implement educational programs, including Study Abroad Information Sessions, pre-departure orientation, and special events for students who have returned from abroad. These programs provide students with the practical, educational, and emotional knowledge to help them choose an appropriate overseas study experience, make the most of their time abroad, and continue to learn from their experience once they return.
  • Work closely with faculty and administrators to clarify and streamline study abroad materials and policies.
  • Produce informational materials on study abroad for students, faculty, and administrators.
  • Advise students on an individual basis as often as the students would like.
  • Talk with parents/guardians about the study abroad and related issues.
  • Facilitate student registration for study abroad status.
  • Facilitate the billing of study abroad students.
  • Maintain contact as needed with all students abroad.
  • Facilitate the posting of study abroad academic credit once students return to campus

Assisting Your Student

We offer the following suggestions to help you participate in your student’s exploration and experience. In addition to reading through the information below, we highly encourage you to take a look at the Institute for International Education’s (IIE) A Parent Guide to Study Abroad

Before Departure
  • Values and Goals—help your student identify and clarify values and goals for the study abroad experience early in the process.
  • Options—understand the options available to your student.
  • Models—be familiar with the various types of programs and what they are designed to facilitate or promote.
  • Fit—determine how well individual programs, services and environments fit your student’s academic needs, personal goals, linguistic preparation, expectations and interests.
  • Features and Benefits—consider what is available and if these features provide benefits valued by your student.
  • Informed Choice—consider how study abroad in a less-traditional destination might fulfill your student’s academic, cultural, linguistic, personal and professional goals.
  • Advantages and Disadvantages—help your student weigh the likely advantages of study abroad in a particular program or destination against any perceived disadvantages.
  • Approval Process—learn what your student must do to be authorized to study abroad by BU—review policies concerning eligibility and approval.
  • Participation Requirements—understand the requirements your student must meet to participate, including academic performance, social standing and behavioral expectations.
  • Costs, Financial Assistance, and Scholarships—assess program costs and what they cover, anticipated personal expenses associated with participation, and the availability and process for financial aid and scholarships.
  • Volatility—understand that study abroad involves risk and volatility regardless of where your student studies, though some destinations may be more likely to present specific risks such as health precautions, strikes, political turmoil, natural disasters, or crime—gather information about such concerns and evaluate them carefully. Learn more about local conditions and travel precautions through the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs and the Centers for Disease Control.

When your student has selected a specific site, be sure you receive, review and understand the following information about your student’s program:

  • Program Structure—type, location, duration, size, facilities and staffing
  • Academic Credit—how earned, courses available, how applied to degree at BU
  • Living Arrangements—homestay, residence, independent living and other options
  • Orientation—pre-departure program on campus and upon arrival in country
  • Safety and Responsibility—security measures, precautions, local conditions, contingency plans and emergency procedures
  • Health and Wellness Resources—recommended precautions and required immunizations, local medical care, program services and referrals
  • Support Services—academic, social, emotional, health and wellness and special needs
  • Cost—program fee, what the fee covers, and how to pay
  • Travel Arrangements—how to make them and program dates

Please make sure one parent or guardian has a valid passport during the time of your student’s study abroad experience.  To find out how to apply for a new passport or renew an expired passport, visit:

While Abroad
  • Maintain communication with reasonable frequency, but not on a daily basis.
  • Keep the program calendar in mind—if you haven’t heard from your student, it may be because he or she is on a program excursion or traveling during a break.
  • Encourage your student to refer to the CGE’s newsletters and the information on this website.
  • Stay in touch with the program sponsor concerning security precautions and conditions abroad.
  • Monitor online information, country-specific advisories, and country-specific alerts from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs website.
  • Contact the program provider should you or your student need assistance.
  • Keep a journal of events and celebrations that occur during the semester or year to share with your son or daughter when he or she returns home.

When They Return

  • Expect your student to have a period of transition upon return, sometimes as long as the period they were abroad.
  • Continue your enthusiasm for your student’s experience in the months after they return home—show interest in the photos, stories, and memories to help keep the experience alive.
  • Encourage your student to resolve any remaining course approvals to prevent delay in the posting of academic credit.
  • Don’t open transcripts received from abroad—these may have been inadvertently sent to your student rather than the CGE – check with your student first to determine if they requested a copy.
  • Forward any program-related materials to your student for processing on campus.