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Student Preparedness Policy
Congratulations! Your student is about to embark on a life-changing adventure that will allow him or her to learn and grow academically, professionally, and personally, while having fun, making friends, and traveling all over the world. A semester abroad is often the highlight of a college career, and impacts students long after graduation.
Our office is here to help in this process, and provide support at all times for your student. It's important that you and your student understand that completion of program requirements is the student’s responsibility, and he or she should be the point of contact with our office.
BBA exchange programs, by their very nature, require students to be highly responsible, independent, and able to solve their own problems with the help and many resources available.
Until the student leaves, their participation status in the exchange program is considered “conditional.” The student demonstrates the above traits by following instructions, completing all the pre-departure materials for UT Austin and the host institution, obtaining their visa, and attending all of the mandatory pre-departure preparatory meetings we hold. Students must successfully go through this process themselves regardless of how demanding their regular course load and extra-curricular activities are.
The period of preparing to go abroad is a vital part of the experience. This allows students to become familiar with the resources available to them, how to use them, and to become familiar with their host country’s culture and partner school's support staff.
If students cannot do this on their own, they will not be prepared to cope abroad, and are not ready for a BBA exchange program.
The Role of Parents
Parents who contact a McCombs staff member regarding their student’s study abroad (housing, courses, budget, visa, airfare, traveling, etc.) will be asked to contact their student about all matters concerning their program, unless it's an emergency like serious medical, safety or legal issues. In which case, we can refer you to the resources on our website.
Please encourage your student to take care of various issues like insurance and travel arrangements mostly on their own. It's most helpful to offer your assistance, but wait until asked to provide help. Students these days are usually capable of booking airline tickets, researching living costs and currency conversions, and taking care of phone calls to doctors and others on their own. It is imperative that the student fills out all the necessary forms him/herself because of legal issues and Federal student privacy laws.
A helpful parent will suggest to the student:
With the health, safety, and best interest of our students in mind, it is imperative that only students with the proper preparation participate in our exchange programs.
So with the support of the Dean of Undergraduate Programs, we restrict communication with parents and have the students serve as the point of contact, except for emergencies.
In the event of an emergency, please contact:
Polly Trigger, BBA International Programs Assistant Director
Josh Rucker, BBA International Programs Coordinator
The University of Minnesota has written a helpful article for parents discussing pre-departure preparation, things you can do while your student is abroad, and post-return help for your student. We also suggest exploring the travel, health, safety and country resource links on the BBA International Programs website for more information.
It is also important to ask your student for copies of important information and documents. Be sure to also encourage your student to take photo copies of the documents with them, in case they lose the originals. Documents include:
- Emergency contact information (found in their Acceptance Packet)
- Airline ticket
- Credit cards
- Traveler's checks
- Insurance policies
Help your student construct their study abroad budget, remembering to account for their own personal lifestyle and habits. Remember that cost of living is different for different countries.
The Costs of Study Abroad
Before signing on to any program, students should have accurate figures, or at least solid estimates, of the following costs:
- Is there an application fee?
Is there a program fee? What does it cover? (BBA International Programs do NOT have program fees; students pay UT tuition)
Instructional materials: books, supplies, labs, computers
- Passport fee
Traveler’s insurance for lost or stolen personal items
Visa, if required
Medicine, inoculations, immunizations, etc. (often a sizable item when traveling to
Medical exams prior to departure
International health insurance (CISI)
International Student Identity Card (ISIC) (optional)
Luggage or backpack that is convenient to carry
Appropriate clothing for the climate and for traveling comfortably
- International airfare
In-country domestic transportation between point of international entry and program site
Commuting costs/daily travel expenses (public transport is widely used overseas, and long-term passes might be available)
Independent travel during breaks, weekends, etc.
- Room (arrival to departure, not just for duration of formal program)
Housing or key deposits
Residence permits (check on the internet or program information for requirements)
Food (depending on location, this may vary from US $2-15/day)
Computer, Internet, and cell phone use fees (if applicable)
Other (laundry, cleaning, postage, incidental expenses)
In addition, you must take into account the costs of your son’s or daughter’s social life, of gifts and souvenirs, and of mail and other long-distance communications. Some such things will amount to less than what he or she now spends on campus, and some will cost more. Past participants or program representatives can help with these estimates.
Tips For Saving Money While Abroad
- Internet phones (Skype, MSN, Yahoo are free when calling computer-computer, and are very inexpensive when calling computer-landline/cell)
- Set up local bank account in host country to avoid ATM usage fees (sometimes up to US $5/transaction) – this also eliminates currency conversion fluctuations
- Travel in groups if leaving host city to divide housing costs – youth hostels offer inexpensive lodging and quality conditions
Source: Taken from What Parents Need to Know! Before, During, and After Education Abroad by Janet Hulstrand. To order a copy, visit www.nafsa.org