Studying abroad is an exciting prospect for students. The opportunity to travel and experience a different culture can be the highlight of their college career.
As a parent, you’ll naturally have questions and possibly concerns about the prospect of your child studying abroad. At the Center for Global Education (CGE), we’ve answered some of the most frequently asked questions to help put your mind at ease.
Why should I encourage my son or daughter to study abroad?
Studying abroad is an integral part of the TU experience. While we take pride in the rigorous education provided by the faculty in Tulsa, study abroad enriches your child’s academic experience by making available courses, programs and academic learning that are not available on the home campus. Perhaps more importantly, studying abroad is the best way for students to become globally competent graduates. To borrow from the title of a popular book, the world is flat, and we live in a global society in which knowledge, resources, and authority transcend national boundaries. The well-rounded graduate in the 21st century is expected to be able to function effectively in the multicultural, multinational job market, regardless of whether they are living in Oklahoma, New York, or Shanghai. Finally, studying, living, and traveling abroad can provide opportunities that encourage personal growth. Countless students return from their time abroad with experiences that have deepened their intellectual and personal maturity, fostered independent thinking, and built self-confidence.
How does TU determine where students can go to study abroad?
TU has nine CORE study abroad program locations for semester and 12 CORE study abroad program locations for summer that provide rich academic experiences in most areas of study. Besides the CORE programs we have a list of major specific programs that were approved by the academic units. For a complete listing of programs, click here. TU approved programs are hosted by international universities and study abroad program providers that have been reviewed on the basis of their academic offerings, program facilities, orientation programming, risk management practices, cultural content and special activities. We strive to provide a diversity of program offerings that offer students from all majors opportunities to study in most geographic regions of the world for a summer, a semester, or even a full year. This means that your son or daughter will be able to choose a study abroad program that will not only complement his or her TU academics but also his or her social and cultural goals for going abroad.
Does my child need to speak a second language?
No, not necessarily, though, we highly encourage students take advantage of the unique opportunity to learn a new language or build upon their current foreign language skills by being fully immersed in a language and culture abroad. Many approved programs do offer courses taught in English across disciplines. There are numerous program options allowing students to take courses in English while at the same time taking courses taught in the host language as well. Finally, there is always the option of studying abroad in an English speaking country such as Australia, Canada, England, Ireland, New Zealand, Scotland, South Africa, and Singapore. For programs that do have a language requirement, we assist your child with adequately assessing his or her skills in order to determine how prepared he or she is for a particular program.
How much will studying abroad cost?
TU is committed to making study abroad affordable to its students. There are two categories from which to choose the study abroad program: TU Blue or TU Gold. On a TU Blue program students pay only TU tuition and housing will be included in the cost. These are the most affordable programs. On a TU Gold program, students still pay TU tuition plus any additional costs that exceed the amount of TU tuition. On some programs, meals may also be included. Click here of a list of blue programs. Keep in mind that the cost of attending a program abroad will vary from student to student depending upon personal spending habits, current exchange rate in the host country as well as program type, length, and distance to program site. On all programs students are responsible for the cost of enrollment confirmation and housing deposits, airfare to/from the host destination, local transportation, entertainment, housing upgrades, passport expenses, visas (if required), travel related to obtaining a visa (if necessary), optional excursions, optional cultural travel, personal expenses and other program related costs. There is a non-refundable one time Study Abroad Fee payable to The University of Tulsa required at the time of application for all students. Additional program-specific application fees may be required depending on the program selected. Federal Financial Aid and TU Institutional Scholarships can be used on any approved TU study abroad program.
Will studying abroad delay my child’s graduation?
In most cases, it will not. Because TU allows coursework taken abroad to transfer back to TU for credit, this allows students not miss any ‘time’ from TU and in most cases to still graduate with their class. It is because studying abroad shouldn’t delay graduation that the advising process is so important. We talk with students about how to ensure that the courses they take while abroad will count towards graduation. Additionally, we begin talking with students from the time they enter the university about studying abroad. While students from every major can study abroad, some disciplines (such as engineering) require students to plan ahead in order to pick the best semester that won’t delay graduation.
What steps does the CGE take to ensure the safety of students who go abroad?
The Center for Global Education takes seriously issues affecting our students’ health and safety while abroad. It is a reality that international travel is risky, and it is impossible for us to foresee or prevent every emergency. We are committed, however, to providing students with accurate and timely information about ways to minimize risks when they travel abroad and how to respond to emergencies when they happen. We regularly review the programs with which we are affiliated to ensure that they meet nationally accepted standards for safety and security for study abroad. We provide students with information about how to stay safe and healthy while abroad through our handbooks and pre-departure orientations. Programs either include health travel insurance or students are covered by TU’s insurance provided by On Call. We do not approve students to study abroad in countries under a US State Department travel warning for Americans abroad. And finally, we stay in regular communication with students while they are abroad in order to quickly respond to major and minor emergencies.
How can I help my son or daughter with their study abroad plans?
Begin talking with your son or daughter about studying abroad as soon as he or she begins at TU. Especially for students who haven’t traveled abroad before, it is important to know that they have the support of their family when deciding to go abroad. Encourage your child to plan ahead, especially if they are in a major such as engineering or the natural sciences that have many required courses. Speak about study abroad in terms of the possibilities, as opposed to the risks and problems it might create. For example, encourage your child to explore how financial aid can be applied to studying abroad rather than warning that it is too expensive. Additionally, encourage your child to research and apply for scholarships offered through their study abroad program. Finally, encourage your child to do research to find a program that meets his or her personal and academic goals for going abroad. Study abroad programs offer a variety of features, and the more informed your child becomes about his or her options, the more successful he or she will be while abroad.