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Why is studying abroad important?
The opportunity to live abroad and gain valuable language abilities and intercultural skills may only come during your student’s university years. This may very well be the most important personal and/or academic decision your student ever makes! Among the most cited benefits of studying abroad are: increased self-confidence, increased maturity, enhanced interest in academic study, improved problem-solving skills, reinforced commitment to foreign language study, enhanced understanding of one’s own cultural values and biases, new career direction, and improved employability.
Will studying abroad set students back from graduating on time?  Will the credits earned overseas count towards my student’s UT degree?
Study abroad will not necessarily keep students from graduating in four years. For UT students on approved study abroad programs, credits earned can be applied to their UT degree provided that all the required documents and authorizations are completed on time and according to due process. Your student should meet with his or her academic advisor to determine what types of courses are transferable and when would be the best time in your student’s college career to study abroad.
When is the best time to study abroad, and when should my student start planning for study abroad?
Students should work with their academic advisors to determine which semester/year/summer term is best for them. We encourage students to begin planning their study abroad experience as early as freshman year, and at least one year in advance, to ensure that the courses available to them fit their degree plan. UT students must have completed at least one semester (transfer students) or one full academic year (new, first-year students) to be eligible for study abroad programs.
How long is a study abroad program?
Students may study abroad for as short a time as a mini-term (~3 weeks) or as long as a semester or academic year. Many students even study abroad more than once during their academic career!
What are the admission requirements?
Admission requirements vary for each program. Some may have language prerequisites or course subject requirements, and most have GPA requirements. UT’s basic eligibility requirements for participation in a study abroad program are that students may not be on academic or judicial probation during the term in which they plan to study abroad.
How can my student apply for a study abroad program?
The steps UT students must take are outlined in the Getting Started section of the website. Students are advised to attend a general information session (Monday-Friday at 2:00pm when classes are in session in the Programs Abroad Office) to learn more about study abroad basics for UT students.
How much will it cost?
Program costs vary greatly. For example, students studying in Paris or London can expect to pay much more than students studying in a small town in Latin America. More information can be found in the Parents’ section on Costs, Financial Aid, and Scholarship Information.
Will my student's financial aid or scholarship apply when s/he studies abroad?
UT students who are studying abroad through approved study abroad programs are eligible to use their UT scholarships and financial aid, and most scholarships and financial aid may be used for semester or academic year programs. Often scholarships and other financial aid do not apply to programs less than a semester in length, but some scholarships, including the TELS/Hope Scholarship, can be used if the student is taking 6 credit hours or more. For more information about using existing financial aid and finding study abroad scholarships, see our Financial Aid & Scholarships section and/or consult with UT OneStop Express Student Services.
Are a passport and/or visa needed to study abroad?
All study abroad programs, regardless of duration, require a passport, and students should apply for passports as soon as they begin to consider studying abroad (visit the State Department website for details about the process and associated costs). Many businesses with photo-processing centers, such as Walgreens, can take passport photos; members of AAA should also enquire about passport photo benefits associated with certain membership levels.
Depending on the country and length of stay, a visa may be required. Students will receive information on whether or not they need a visa during advising sessions and can also consult the foreign embassy of the country or countries to which they are traveling for more information about visa requirements and application procedures.
What is housing like on a study abroad program?
Housing varies from program to program. The most common types of housing include home stays (living with local families), student residence halls/dormitories, or apartments/flats shared with fellow students. Some of the short-term, faculty-led programs house students in hotels for part or all of the program.
What about safety?
Many parents worry about the safety of their study abroad students. Just as no one can 100% guarantee a student’s safety on his or her home campus, the same is true while abroad. However, many students report that they actually feel safer during their stay abroad than here in the U.S.
Common sense is perhaps the most powerful weapon against safety threats while abroad. Being alert and aware of one’s surroundings is as essential abroad as it is here in the U.S. The UT Programs Abroad Office discusses study abroad-specific health and safety matters with students at their mandatory pre-departure orientation and also offers a number of online resources to help students prepare before they leave.
In addition, UT does not approve student participation in programs located in countries where the U.S. Department of State has flagged a Travel Warning, and the Programs Abroad Office staff monitor the updates on health and safety issues around the world that are issued by the U.S. Department of State. Students also have access to our 24-hour emergency telephone.
For more information student health and safety abroad, the following external resources are recommended: Is 9-1-1 the emergency number worldwide?
Although some other countries do use 9-1-1 as the emergency number, most do not. Students should review the specific emergency information for their host country as well as familiarize themselves with the location and contact information of the nearest U.S. Embassy (information can be found on the U.S. State Department international travel website)
Does my student need international health insurance?
Many U.S. health insurance providers include some degree of coverage outside of the U.S. Students should check with their current providers to ascertain the degree of coverage to determine if additional coverage is necessary. Many study abroad providers or programs provide or require health insurance, so students should also familiarize themselves with what their program includes. In addition, students on all exchange, direct enroll and internship programs are required to purchase insurance through the University.  Students studying on affiliate programs and faculty directed programs where insurance is not a part of the program will also be required to purchase insurance.
How can I stay in touch with my student while he or she is abroad?
The frequency with which you contact your student will depend entirely on you and your student’s preferences. You may wish to establish plans for communication on your student’s arrival day as well as a regular communication schedule throughout his or her time abroad prior to departure. An important aspect of the study abroad process is for students to find the balance between staying in touch with their loved ones at home and fully investing in their experience abroad. For more tips about communication, see our section on Communication While Abroad.

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