As a supporter of your student, we encourage you to learn more about studying abroad and how to assist your student throughout the planning and pre-departure process, and their journey abroad.
There are many benefits to studying abroad such as learning about new cultures, becoming a global citizen, and overall personal growth to name a few. Additionally, studying abroad can demonstrate to future employers that your student is independent and able to take on challenges, ultimately making them a more competitive candidate in the workforce. While every student’s experience is different, nearly every student who has studied abroad considers it a major highlight of their time in college.
When incorporated into a student’s academic planning, study abroad can also help students complete their breadth and degree requirements in a timely manner, and in many cases, lead to overall savings in tuition, fees and cost of living. One way you can support your student in exploring study abroad is to encourage them to meet with their academic advisor and a study abroad advisor to include study abroad in their academic plan.
Under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), your student’s education records are protected and can not be accessed without written consent. More information can be found here.
FERPA regulations do not allow us to share information about students directly with family members, so we encourage open communication with your student. With your student’s consent, you may join an advising session with a study abroad advisor to better understand the options available to your student.
Berkeley Study Abroad is committed to supporting all students to participate, regardless of financial ability. There are many resources available to ensure that finances are not an obstacle. To begin, your student can find an estimated cost of study abroad by reviewing their program’s detailed budget. Navigate to this page by going to Explore Page > Program of Interest > Program Page > Costs Tab. This breakdown includes fees that are paid to Berkeley or to the sponsoring institution, as well as estimated out-of-pocket expenses. It is also important to have a discussion with your student around budgeting.
Students, if financial aid recipients, can request a Financial Aid Package Estimate. Financial aid travels with students as long as they are participating in a Berkeley Summer Abroad, Berkeley Global Internships, or UCEAP Program. All program costs, including flights, housing, meals and estimated out of pocket expenses, are included in the Financial Aid Package Estimate.
There are many scholarships available to students, including those offered by Berkeley Study Abroad, Academic Departments, Major Departments, UCEAP, and the U.S. Dept. of State. Depending on your program type, identities, and financial-need, please encourage your student to explore the Scholarships section of our website to find awards they may be eligible to receive.
Berkeley Global Edge is a program for newly admitted freshmen where students spend their Fall Semester studying abroad in London at the UC Study Center.
Berkeley Global Internships are 6-8 week academic and internship programs offered in a variety of global cities over the summer.
Berkeley Summer Abroad includes Berkeley faculty-led courses taught in an international location.
University of California Education Abroad Programs (UCEAP) offer UC system-wide summer, semester, and year programs offered in over 40 locations that include study, research and internship opportunities.
Independent Programs allow you to take advantage of hundreds of study, internship, volunteer, and teaching opportunities around the world. These programs are not affiliated with the University of California and are typically administered by another university, institution, or organization.
- You can find more information about how your student may be impacted by COVID-19 here.
- All students participating in Berkeley Summer Abroad or Berkeley Global Internships programs will be covered under the UC Travel Insurance Policy. Read more about the coverage here.
- All students participating in UCEAP programs will be covered under the UCEAP Travel Insurance Policy. Read more about the coverage here.
- UC Berkeley requires all students to have major medical insurance and provides the Berkeley Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) to meet this requirement. Students are automatically enrolled in SHIP at the beginning of each academic year but have the option to waive SHIP coverage with proof of equivalent private insurance. Travel insurance does not satisfy SHIP waiver criteria.
- Berkeley Study Abroad monitors information relevant to your student’s safety and well-being while abroad but it’s important to discuss a plan for how your student will communicate with you in the event of an emergency.
- Berkeley Study Abroad will enroll all Summer Abroad and Global Internships participants in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). STEP is a free service to allow U.S. citizens and nationals traveling and living abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
- Who to contact in an emergency
- UC Education Abroad Program (UCEAP)
- If seriously injured or sick, students should get medical treatment at the closest medical facility and contact the local UCEAP representative.
- More information can be found on the UCEAP emergency resources page.
- Other Berkeley and Independent programs
- Contact local emergency services
- Contact your student’s local abroad program in-country support staff
- UC Berkeley Police Department: +1 510-642-3333. UCPD will then notify Berkeley Study Abroad if support from our office is needed.
- UC Education Abroad Program (UCEAP)
- If necessary, locate the nearest U.S. embassy
We want study abroad to be accessible to all students and recognize that safety concerns may be of concern for those with underrepresented individuals. We are committed to your student’s well being and are here to support them through their journey. For more information for students who hold these identities, please refer to the following pages:
Student Role & Responsibility
- The study abroad experience is student-centered, which is why all communication is directly sent from our office to your student. The students are who will be abroad and responsible for themselves in a foreign country.
- We recognize that families play an important role in supporting their students throughout the study abroad experience, and there are many ways to assist your student through this process.
- When they express interest
- Encourage your student to familiarize themselves with the Berkeley Study Abroad website and to start researching programs they are interested in. A good place to start is our Getting Started page.
- Encourage your students to sign up for Berkeley Study Abroad Advising, as well as scheduling a meeting with their Academic or Major Advisor
- Discuss financing options with your student
- Application Process
- Students can check for eligibility on the Explore page.
- Students must complete the online application(s) themselves and submit all required documents.
- Note: Some programs, including the Berkeley Summer Abroad and Global Internships programs, require a non-refundable deposit at the time of application. Please review the program policies for more information.
- Travel Documents
- Study abroad programs in international locations require a passport that is valid for at least 6 months past the end of the program, and many programs also require a visa. Students can learn more about the required documents on their Berkeley Study Abroad or UCEAP Portal.
- Additional information, such as passport processing times, is available from the State Department.
- Once Accepted
- After students are accepted to a study abroad program, they will have access to pre-departure instructions and guides. It is the students responsibility to keep up with all pre-departure tasks.
- In addition to written pre-departure materials, students have access to one on one advising services and live orientations that will help them prepare for their study abroad program
- Review the health and travel insurance plans provided to your student with them.
- Plan how your student will contact you upon arrival, and discuss how often and in what format you will communicate with them while they are abroad. Please keep in mind the time zone differences, and provide your student with space to immerse in their new environment. Your student may be busy with classes, activities and getting to know their new environment.
- Make a copy of all your student’s travel documents to keep at home, including passport information page, student visa (if applicable), acceptance letter (if applicable), travel insurance card, and other insurance information
- While students are abroad, ensure that you have a copy of their flight information, their local address, and a reliable form of communication (options include WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, an International Phone Plan, email, Zoom/Skype, and more).
- Some families also visit their students while they are abroad, and this is a great opportunity for families to learn more about where their student has been studying and living! However, it is important to plan visits around your student’s academic calendar, such as during a break if applicable. We also encourage you to hold off on visiting until your student is settled in their new environment. We advise you do not arrive with your student at the beginning of their program due to the busy schedule they will have with orientations and welcome activities.
- Students may travel on weekends throughout their program abroad. We encourage you to keep an open dialogue with your student about any additional travel plans.
- Returning to their home country can often be difficult, as students take time to re-adjust and may experience “reverse culture shock.” Reverse Culture Shock is a term used to describe the feelings (of surprise, disorientation, confusion, etc.) experienced when people return to their home country and find they do not fit in as they used to. More information from the Department of State is available here, and from Diversity Abroad about Reverse Culture Shock: What It Is and How to Respond.
- You can support your student by asking your student about their experiences, such as encouraging your student to share their favorite foods or music from their host country with you, and providing them with space to process their emotions.
- Your student can also access resources from Berkeley Study Abroad such as the Reentry Workshop that is hosted every semester, and professional advice from the UC Berkeley Career Center, or join the Berkeley Study Abroad Student Ambassador Program
Where can my student study abroad?
Students have the option to pick from 100+ programs in 40+ locations, spanning 6 continents. All available options are listed on our Explore Page.
Will my student still graduate on time?
With advanced planning and coordination with their college and department(s), your student can apply courses taken on study abroad to their major, minor, breadth, and general education requirements, allowing them to graduate on a four-year plan for freshman admits and a two-year plan for transfer students. All majors can study abroad with careful academic planning, and the Major Advising page contains helpful, major-specific information.
Will my student’s credits transfer?
Credits for courses taken abroad on a UCEAP or BSA Program will transfer back to your student’s transcript. You can take a look at the academics section of our website for more information.
Where will my student be living?
Housing options vary by program. Some programs have arranged housing in dorms, apartments, or homestays while others require students to find housing on their own. You can find more information about your student’s housing options on their program’s page under the “housing” tab.
How will COVID-19 impact my student studying abroad?
You can find more information about how your student may be impacted by COVID-19 here.
I have more questions. Is there someone I can speak to?
We encourage you to speak with your student first! Oftentimes, students know the answer to many of the questions regarding study abroad and the specific program they’ve applied to, or answers can be found by exploring our website. If you or your student still have questions, your student can sign up for an advising appointment with one of our advisors. You are welcome to join them at their appointment with your student’s consent.
“My daughter went abroad to London, England during her freshman year of college. While I was concerned that it was going to be a significant challenge, it was terrific to see how independent she became. Not only did she manage her academic schedule, she may have set a record for most cities visited across Europe during a single semester. The whole process significantly changed her worldview, and we enjoyed learning about how her perspective on America’s position in the global socio-economic order had evolved as a result!”
Student Program: Global Edge London, United Kingdom, Fall 2019
“When my daughter told me she was going to Costa Rica, I was really shocked because she had never left the state let alone the country on her own. I was concerned I wouldn’t be just a car ride away from her for a couple weeks. However, when she came back I was extremely proud of her for achieving her goals and becoming more self-sufficient. It was amazing to hear about her work with sea turtles and all the opportunities she was able to experience.”
Student Program: BIOMA Sea Turtle Field Course, Summer 2021
“Being able to study abroad in Paris was a fantastic opportunity for my daughter’s personal growth and an invaluable opportunity to immerse herself in another culture. I think she came away from it with memories that will last a lifetime as well as the insight that will help guide her to make future choices regarding additional study abroad as well as other important life choices.”
Student Program: UCEAP Sciences Po, Paris, Fall 2021
“My daughter traveled to Sweden not knowing any other students but soon made amazing, lifelong friends and traveled to many countries learning of other cultures, histories, and the cuisines which all made for an enriching experience that she will never forget. Upon her return home, I could see how the experience changed her in many ways, especially being more accepting of others and willing to try new adventures as well as figuring things out when they don’t always go as planned. Her months abroad have only heightened her eagerness to continue to travel the world and all that it has to offer.”
Student program: UCEAP Lund University, Sweden, Fall 2021
- • Travel Resources from the US Department of State
- • A Parent Guide to Study Abroad by IIE
- • Reverse Culture Shock: What It Is and How to Respond by Diversity Abroad
- • UCEAP Study Abroad YouTube Channel
- • Berkeley Study Abroad YouTube Channel