So Your Student Wants to Study Abroad?

March 2, 2022

Helpful tips for parents and families.



Having a study abroad experience is on the top of many university students' bucket lists during their college years. It may be a dream they've been contemplating since long before applying to college, inspired to learn a language, or driven by curiosity about another culture. Maybe they want an experience that will challenge them to grow personally, professionally, or academically in a foreign environment.

As the world becomes increasingly interconnected, employers want to hire individuals who can adapt and thrive in a variety of cultural contexts. Students who develop cultural competencies and can apply their knowledge and skills in a global context are the future leaders the world needs. Our programs are intentionally structured to provide enriching experiences that develop these skills. 

Studies show that studying abroad improves students' experience in college and bolsters their career prospects. Students who study abroad are more likely to graduate and earn better grades. Students who study abroad report increased confidence, independence, adaptability, and intercultural competence -- all qualities that employers look for in new college graduates. 

We're here to help.

The UA Study Abroad staff will help your student navigate the process and successfully plan an enriching educational experience. Our priority is to create the best experience for your student, with the safety and security of a well-managed program that parents and families can feel confident about. 

We help students:

  • Set concrete personal, academic, and professional goals for their study abroad experience. 
  • Evaluate how study abroad classes will keep them on track for graduation or other academic goals.
  • Make a budget, using our Budget Guide.
  • Discuss health and safety protocols in place for UA students. 
  • Stay engaged when they return from a study abroad experience. 

We advise parents to:

  • Encourage your student to fully engage in the study abroad pre-departure process, attend all mandatory meetings, and check in regularly with their advisor. 
  • Make copies of essential documents your student is taking abroad, such as passports, credit/debit cards, and health insurance.
  • Talk with your student about what to do when specific challenges arise.
  • Check this Resources for Families page.

Students can connect with Study Abroad Peer Advisors M-F during drop-in hours, and attend events covering scholarships, financial aid, programs, and application workshops.

We are excited your student wants to develop as a global citizen. With support from you and their Study Abroad Coordinator, we can help your student maximize this opportunity, navigate any challenges that arise, and take a proactive approach to set them up for success.

Tips from Parents

Diana & Brandon Frees, parents of a UA Study Abroad alum, share:

“Studying abroad is a very structured process and can be easily managed. Our student had access to the study abroad team for questions we had regarding academics, financials, and housing. Our primary tip is to listen without immediately saying no. It will be nerve-wracking to send your child thousands of miles away, but we believe that the experience is worth it. Discuss every detail, big to small, with your student, an advisor, or member of the study abroad team. Knowing the details will help you support them and will ease your nerves as a parent.”

Maria Esther & Luis Verduzco, parents of a UA Study Abroad alum, share:

“I think we felt the natural fears of parents, but we knew the university offered great programs, and we knew how valuable it would be for her personal growth to live in and experience a new culture. Our tip to parents is to be available for advice, support, and checking on their safety, but allow some independence, let them to be the final decision makers. Ensure that they have a reliable means of communication and a reliable living situation. This is key to your student’s experience and your comfort level. The personal growth we saw when our daughter returned was mind-blowing. She grew in confidence, independence, and maturity, became very strong in French, and gained life lessons that she could not have learned in a classroom.”

UA Study Abroad helpful links:

Study Abroad Home Page

Getting Started

Financial Aid & Scholarships

Study Abroad Program Search

This article appeared in the Parent & Family Programs Paw Print Newsletter, 22 February, 2022.