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Information for Parents

AUB encourages all its students to take advantage of opportunities to study abroad, enabling them to gain a global perspective and to enjoy an enriching academic experience.

If your son or daughter is considering study abroad and you would like to know more about available options, or they have already committed to a semester abroad, you can visit our Outgoing Students section. This will help you familiarize yourself with the study abroad process. We understand that parents have particular concerns as they are preparing to send their children abroad. Below is a list of collected questions and answers for parents.

Before Applying

What is study abroad? Is there a difference between study abroad and exchange?

 Students at AUB may study at any accredited university in the world, assuming that they can do coursework in the language of instruction and that they can find courses that AUB faculty approve as counting towards their degree requirements or electives. In study abroad, students pay the tuition fees at the university they are attending. It is important to note the difference between study abroad and exchange. An exchange program is when there is an agreement between two universities for a fixed number of students to exchange places for a semester or a year. AUB students who go on exchange continue to pay AUB tuition fees. Places are limited and in the case of popular destinations, the selection process may be competitive. Once nominated, students must secure their spot by paying a $500 deposit. This is refundable if the student goes on the exchange. Students also have the option of applying for an Erasmus + exchange opportunity. Erasmus +is not a scholarship but rather a fund for exchange initiated by the European Union, which encourages cross cultural communication between certain regions and the countries of Europe through university partnerships. If your son/daughter is accepted to participate in an exchange through Erasmus +, their travel costs will be covered and they will receive a monthly stipend to cover most of their living expenses. Visit this page for more information on Erasmus +. Please note that AUB has no summer exchange programs, although it has many recommended summer study abroad programs. However, students planning to attend the UC Berkeley summer session must go through a nomination process.

When may my son or daughter go abroad?

• Undergraduates are required to have successfully completed at least 24 AUB credits at the sophomore level before they study abroad

 • Graduate students are required to have successfully completed at least 6 AUB credits before they study abroad
• Students may NOT study abroad during the final semester of their degree program at AUB. Students must be in good academic standing
• A student who transferred into AUB as a junior is only permitted to attend a summer study abroad program
• AUB requires students to have a minimum of a 78 cumulative GPA in order to be considered as candidates for an exchange Note: Other kinds of study abroad do not have such a high GPA requirement

When should my son/daughter start planning to study abroad?

Take a look at the study abroad timeline for planning. It’s never too early to start thinking about studying abroad!

 What should be my role in the planning process?
 While you should be available and lend help and support, planning and then going abroad is an important step in your son/daughter’s path toward taking responsibility and making well-informed decisions. We encourage you to provide support during the planning process, but let your son/daughter take the lead on preparations as they follow the guidelines provided by OIP and local universities. While he/she is abroad, it will be tempting to stay closely in touch with him/her. While it is important to communicate, once he/she has settled in, it is helpful to limit communication so as to provide the space necessary for your son/daughter to be present and fully immerse him or herself abroad. Trust the local infrastructure of the university personnel to help your child with the many challenges, small and large, which are part of any study abroad experience.

How important is international experience for a career later on?
Increasingly, research supports the view that students who have had international study experience are better equipped to compete in a global job market because of specific skills and attitudes they acquired while abroad: better foreign language skills, deeper cross-cultural insights, and in general a higher level of maturity.

Does my child need to speak a foreign language in order to go abroad?
While students are encouraged to study abroad in order to gain fluency in foreign languages in which they already have some background, there are many programs in non-English-speaking countries where classes are taught in English. Most of these programs also include a language course in the language of the host country.

 Application and Pre-Departure What is the process for studying abroad?
Instructions for applying can be found on our website: Study Abroad Exchange General Policies & Procedures Once accepted and confirmed, students will attend the mandatory OIP Pre-departure Orientation. They will then pay the appropriate AUB fees by the deadline.

How does my child get credit for courses taken abroad?
Students must complete the Study Abroad Application Form by the appropriate deadline and BEFORE they go abroad; this is what allows them to maintain their status as an active student at AUB. This form also allows students to get equivalencies for all the courses they take abroad. Once the transcript has been received at the end of the study abroad program, students take it along with other required documents to the Dean’s Office of their faculty and then to the Office of the Registrar to be transferred to their AUB transcript as pass/fail courses.

How does OIP prepare my son/daughter to study abroad?
OIP advises students during the application process to help them find the program that best fits their academic and personal interests. We hold mandatory Pre-departure Orientation sessions for students before they begin their study abroad program and provide opportunities for them to connect with program alumni. Additionally, we provide a Study Abroad Handbook for all students, with important information including emergency numbers. We are always able to answer any questions students may have.

Does my son/daughter need medical insurance while abroad? What are some good options to choose from?
Most programs require students to have medical insurance while studying abroad, and AUB’s HIP does not cover students while abroad. Some universities offer for their international students to take part in their university insurance plans. Make sure your son/daughter inquires at the office of international programs at their host university before attending to see if this option is available. If you currently have health insurance other than the AUB HIP, you may want to check to see if it offers international coverage and what fees would be associated with that. Compass Insurance Plans, Arope Travel Insurance, Metlife Alico, Amana Insurance, and HTH Worldwide are among the many options that are offered by private companies. Make sure to check with the host university and if necessary, shop around for the best plan for your child, reading the policies carefully to be sure of exclusions and restrictions.

What must we do if my son/daughter has health issues before going abroad?
If your child has a chronic physical or psychological condition that requires on-going treatment or monitoring by a doctor, you need to consult with your son or daughter’s physician about the prospect of studying abroad. If your son/daughter is on medication, you should discuss the type of care they may need abroad and the best way for him/her to continue his or her regimen. Additionally, if your son/daughter has a prescription that they must take, make sure to purchase and pack enough for the duration of their stay abroad. It is important that any preexisting mental or physical health conditions are shared with his/her host university to ensure that they can best help in the event of an emergency.

Should I plan to visit my child while he/she is abroad?
Visiting and traveling with your son or daughter can be a great experience, but be sure to plan such a visit for either a vacation period or after the end of the academic schedule. We discourage parents from visiting during the academic programs.


 

Financial Concerns

What will it cost for my son or daughter to study abroad?
For study abroad programs, the cost of tuition will vary depending on the university your son or daughter will be attending. You can refer to the website of the host university for more information. If your son/daughter goes on an exchange program you will continue to pay AUB tuition. In addition, you will need to cover expenses for housing, airfare, travel, books, and meals. With Erasmus +exchanges, travel costs are covered and students receive a monthly stipend to cover most of their living expenses.

Will study abroad cost more than staying at AUB?
It is important to remember that studying abroad is not necessarily more expensive than staying on campus. While some programs in large European metropolitan areas may cost more than a semester in Beirut, tuition in some other universities is actually less than at AUB. Remember that you will pay AUB tuition for exchange programs and host university tuition for study abroad programs. If finances are a concern for your family, we encourage you to be honest with your son/daughter so they can talk to OIP about appropriate program options. Once abroad, there are many ways in which some measures towards frugality can go a long way; for example, cooking instead of eating at restaurants, travel in the host country instead of longer trips in the region, taking advantage of many subsidized cultural activities such as free museums, and student tickets for performances.

What if my son or daughter withdraws from the program?
Students should communicate their withdrawal directly with both the host university and the Office of International Programs at AUB. Students should contact Ms. Basma Zeidan at bz06@mail.aub.edu. Please be aware of the host university’s policy regarding financial penalties in the event of late withdrawal. How does study abroad affect my child’s financial aid? If your son or daughter is participating in an exchange program, their financial aid will still be applied to tuition fees. However, if he/she chooses to go on a study abroad program, it will not be possible to use financial aid to cover expenses. Please consult with the Office of Financial Aid regarding your son or daughter’s status prior to studying abroad.

Will I have to pay any fees at AUB if my son/daughter is going abroad?
 If your son or daughter is on a study abroad program then they do not have to pay AUB tuition but will have to pay AUB Internet, social activity, and other miscellaneous fees in order to maintain an active student status. Students who go abroad during the summer semester are waived these fees.

What happens if my child is residing in the AUB dorms and decides to go abroad?
The student housing office does not guarantee that your son/daughter’s spot will remain when he/she returns from study abroad. Students will need to re-apply for housing at the appropriate time. Please keep in mind that new freshman and visiting international students will receive priority in housing assignments. For more information, please see the new housing eligibility criteria. Does my son/daughter need a bank account abroad? In most cases your son or daughter will find it most convenient to use credit and ATM cards. These cards will allow her or him to access funds from a home account and make purchases abroad. MasterCard and Visa are the most commonly accepted credit cards. Before your child leaves home, it is advisable to check with your bank or credit card company about fees for withdrawals and purchases made abroad. Some countries will require your son/daughter to establish a bank account and to prove that he or she has adequate funds to live there. If this is the case, the international office at the host university usually assists or advises their new international students about setting up a bank account during the orientation period. It is recommended that your son/daughter have some money on hand while traveling and to have additional funds transferred once the bank account is established.


 

While Abroad

What support services will my child have abroad?

Encourage your child to take advantage of the campus resources of their host university. We recommend they reach out to the International Office at their host university as well as the Office of International Programs at AUB for assistance in the event something happens while they are abroad.

 How safe is study abroad?
The vast majority of incidences reported while studying abroad have to do with theft and pick pocketing. Incidences abroad are not more frequent than in Beirut. Just as at home, much of your son/daughter’s safety will be determined by his or her good judgment and decision-making. Certain steps—traveling with companions rather than alone (especially at night), using caution in interactions with strangers, knowing and staying away from dangerous areas, and not drinking to excess—will help make your son/daughter ’s study abroad experience safe and enjoyable. OIP provides general health and safety information to AUB students during pre-departure orientation as well as in the Study Abroad and Exchange Handbook. Host universities provide program-specific information to students.

How do I know that my son/daughter will be safe while abroad?
OIP is committed to doing its best to ensure your child’s safety abroad. Each semester OIP holds a mandatory Pre-departure Orientation that includes a section on health and personal safety abroad in order to help your son/daughter prepare for the experience. Prior to departure, each of our study abroad students receives a Study Abroad Handbook that includes information about safety. OIP is in frequent communication with our partners abroad, especially our colleagues at our partner universities. We monitor U.S. Department of State travel advisories and remain informed about issues in locations where we have students. In the event of an emergency, our partner universities follow established procedures to ensure your student’s safety. Your child is provided with emergency contact phone numbers and e-mail addresses from their host university and OIP.

What happens if my son/daughter becomes ill while abroad?
The host university should have your emergency contact information. Your son or daughter will be informed by the host university staff regarding where to seek 24/7 medical help. Additionally, if you purchase medical insurance for your child, check to make sure he or she has the emergency numbers listed with the coverage plan.

What should I do if my son/daughter has problems adjusting to being abroad?
 It is very common for a student to experience some degree of homesickness or difficulty transitioning to a new culture when he or she goes abroad – even a student who has traveled previously. Being in a new and different environment is challenging and takes a little getting used to; some students adapt sooner while others need more time. If your son/daughter appears to be having difficulties adjusting to new surroundings, please let OIP know. Often, we are able to contact someone at the host university or on site, whom we trust to determine whether there is a problem, provide a different perspective on the situation, or arrange for appropriate intervention.

 

Useful Resources

 • Studying Abroad: 7 things parents need to know
• Study Abroad Information for Parents
• Top Ten Study Abroad Tips for Parents
• Safety Tips for Parents Whose Children Are Studying Abroad
• How to Keep in Touch with Your Kid While They're Abroad
• How to Deal with Sickness or Injury Abroad
• Lebanese Embassies and Consulates Abroad
• NAFSA’s What Parents Need to Know Before, During, and After Education Abroad, available to order through the NAFSA website: www.nafsa.org
• CIEE’s Knowledge is a series of brochures designed to help parents and their students prepare for study abroad and is available at www.ciee.org
• University of the Pacific has an on-line cultural training called “What’s Up With Culture?” for study abroad students. You may want to look at it yourself and encourage your student to view it before going abroad. The website is: www.pacific.edu/sis/culture
 • Letsgo.com offers parents and students helpful travel guides with information regarding accommodations, food, and sights listings, as well as numerous tips for student travelers looking to save money while traveling, working, or studying abroad. Available through their website at www.letsgo.com.

 

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