Study Abroad Parent Information

Studying abroad can be an exciting and stress-inducing experience, for both students and family members. We work extensively to get students ready for an international educational experience. We understand that students and family members have questions. We've answered many of them in the section below. If you have more questions, please contact @email or 716-888-2785.

Why should my son or daughter study abroad?

Study abroad enables your son or daughter to integrate studies at Canisius with a curriculum abroad and thus gain new perspectives on a variety of subjects. Your son or daughter will exchange ideas and information with students from different cultures and gain an increased awareness of cultural diversity and international issues. Perhaps the most important aspect of study abroad is that your son or daughter will live in a new and challenging environment that inspires both personal and intellectual growth. In an increasingly global workplace employers look for students who can communicate and work successfully in an international environment.

When may my son or daughter study abroad?

Most study abroad students are juniors, and many are second semester sophomores or first-semester seniors. Students may already enroll in a summer course program abroad following their freshmen year.

What should be my role in the planning process?

While you should be available to lend your son or daughter help and support, planning and then going abroad is an important step in your son or daughter’s path toward taking responsibility and making well-informed decisions.

What should my role be in helping my son or daughter with study abroad?

When your daughter or son is abroad, it is often tempting to stay closely in touch with him/her. While you should arrange communication with your child as soon as they have settled in, limit and observe your interaction. Trust the local infrastructure of on-site coordinators and university personnel to help your child with the many challenges, small and large, that are part of any study abroad experience.

How can I communicate with my son or daughter while they are abroad?

This is of course, a personal decision, but we recommend that you arrange to telephone your son or daughter at least once a month at a regularly set time. Make sure that you get your son or daughter’s addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses, and best times to call, taking into account the time difference. Check with your long distance carrier regarding discounted international calling rates. Also consider instant messaging if your son or daughter has internet access. Many instant messaging options include free audio, and even video chat, if your computer supports it. Skype has recently become the preferred mode of communication and allows account holders to talk to one another for free over the computer. It is a free service and individuals with an account can also call cell phones at a cheaper rate. Consider setting up an account before your son or daughter departs.

What should I do if my child is unhappy during his or her study abroad program?

Bear in mind that your daughter or son may initially report to you that they are unhappy with some aspect of the program or that they are sad and stressed. We suggest that you exercise a degree of patience, as many of these issues sort themselves out in the first few weeks. Often, students call home in distress because of one issue or another, such as housing, the quality of the courses, or location of the program, which can lead to a discussion about changing housing, sending more money, or even dropping out of the program and returning home. While there are, of course, real emergencies, most of these issues are the result of what we often call “cultural adjustment”, which is normal and will be overcome in a relatively short time. If the situation does not improve, please recognize that Canisius students abroad are entitled to all the support services as an on-campus student. Many of our programs have counseling and psychological services. The student may reach out to the overseas international office who can contact a counselor for the on-site referral.

Can I visit my son or daughter while they are abroad?

Of course, but it is important to remember that study abroad students are not on vacation. Attending class with him or her – or taking your student out of class to sightsee – will interrupt the educational process and immersion experience. If you want to visit, it is best to do so when the program has finished, so you can travel together. You should not try to obtain permission for your student to return home early; the end of the semester is the most important part of his or her academic experience.

What should I expect when my son or daughter returns home after studying abroad?

After living abroad, virtually all students return home changed by the experience. These changes can take many forms, from new ways of dressing to cravings for different kinds of food to new political perspectives. Don’t worry too much: negative feelings usually last for a very short time, while realistic view of America and its place in the world remains with most students for life. Be prepared for him or her to experience some degree of reverse cultural shock – most do – and need some time to readjust fully to life back home again. In some cases, he or she may even experience a period of sadness or longing to return abroad. Your support, interest, and understanding will help your son or daughter during this readjustment process. Observing and discussing these changes is an excellent way to share in your son or daughter’s international experience, and you will probably want to hear more than most other people which will be satisfying to your son or daughter.

What’s the difference between a Canisius program and an external program?

Students going on a Canisius program pay Canisius tuition and remain eligible for all of their financial aid. Courses taken as part of Canisius programs abroad are treated just as courses taken at the home campus. Students receive full credit; courses may fulfill curricular requirements, and their grades are calculated into their GPAs. An external program is organized by a university or provider other than Canisius. Canisius scholarships and grants will NOT be applied to external programs.

How important is international experience for a career later on?

Increasingly, research supports that view that students who have had international 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. According to the 2012 IES Abroad Recent Graduate Study students who study abroad Found a career related position after graduation 40% more found a job within six months of graduation Earn on average $7,000 more a year compared to students who have NOT studied abroad 88% felt that studying abroad helped build job skills 1/3 believed study abroad influenced them to attend graduate school. 50% stated that study abroad helped them find their first jobs.

Does my son or daughter 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.

How can I learn more about my son or daughter’s study abroad program?

Parents are invited to the individual pre-departure orientation for each program. We strongly urge you to attend this session. Students who previously studied abroad in that program will be at the session to share their experiences and advice. We encourage you to read about your child’s program on our website.

What are the requirements for study abroad?

To study abroad during the semester or academic year, your son or daughter must be in good academic standing with a GPA between 2.5 and 3.0 depending on the program (higher for some programs). In addition, your child must have a satisfactory disciplinary record and receive the approval of the Vice President for Student Affairs/Dean for Students. Final approval to enroll in a study abroad program is at the discretion of the Study Abroad Selection Committee which is comprised of faculty members, associate deans, and the Study Abroad Director. These requirements are the same for both Canisius and external programs. Summer courses require that students are in good academic and disciplinary standing.

What will my son or daughter study abroad?

Whether your child studies abroad on a Canisius program or on an external program, he or she will be able to study most every Canisius subject areas as well as many that are not taught on our home campus. Some programs may be better suited to your child’s major. Study Abroad Office encourages students, with input from their major department and Associate Dean, to identify their desired courses, and with the help of our office to learn where those can best be taken.

Can my son or daughter do an internship while abroad?

London, Italy, and a program in Spain offer internships at an additional charge.

Will my son or daughter’s courses abroad count toward graduation?

Students are expected to enroll in a full academic course load at the host institution, although the number of classes taken may vary widely depending upon the host institution. Students meet with their Canisius Associate Dean and Department Chair prior to departure to select the courses they can take abroad.

How are grades from abroad handled at Canisius?

Grading procedures are not the same in all countries. In many programs, your son or daughter will not have on-going assessments, but rather will be assessed at the end of the semester (or year) in the form of a cumulative exam or paper. The credits and grades from the host institution are converted into U.S. credits and grades and the grades are calculated into your son’s or daughter’s GPA. If your child is on an external program, the courses and grades will appear on the Canisius transcript.

Are there programs for students with special needs?

We do our best to accommodate every student. While we try, not every program is equipped to provide for students with special needs. Students should talk to the Director of the Study Abroad Office.

How will my son or daughter register for courses for the next term?

Students returning from studying abroad will contact their academic advisor for their pin number and will register online at their assigned day and time. The students will be e-mailed registration information, and the course listings will be made available for viewing on-line at the Canisius University home page.

Are the teaching styles and grading systems different abroad?

Yes, in many cases teaching is mainly lecture style and class sizes may be much larger than at Canisius. In some programs, the teaching style is patterned after the American system with small group discussion and group work.

How are courses approved for study abroad?

Prior to departure, your son or daughter will meet with his or her Associate Dean and Department Chair to obtain approval for courses taken abroad.

What does Canisius do to prepare my son or daughter to study abroad?

All Canisius students are required to attend a mandatory Study Abroad Pre-Departure Orientation session during the semester prior to departure. Your child will also receive a Study Abroad Handbook which provides information on study abroad policies, procedures and other recommendations, as well as Canisius program-specific information. The programs also provide on-site orientation upon arrival in the host city.

What support services will my son or daughter have while abroad?

On-site support services vary by program. All host universities provide an orientation for newly arrived students. These orientation programs may vary in length, ranging from a few hours, to a few days, up to a full week, and are meant to provide your child with an introduction to the institution, the culture, and the city in which they are located. The International Office at the host university is the first point of contact for students who need anything including university resources such as accommodations for a disability, counseling or health services, or simply where to buy a phone card.

What happens if my son or daughter changes the approved courses while abroad?

If your son or daughter selects a course that was not approved by the Associate Dean or Department Chair, s/he must obtain approval from the Associate Dean for core courses and from his or her Department Chair for courses in their major.

What will it cost for my son or daughter to study abroad?

If your son or daughter goes to a Canisius semester abroad program you will continue to pay Canisius tuition. In addition you will need to cover expenses for housing, airfare, travel, books, and meals. When a student participates in a Canisius overseas semester program, the tuition and study abroad fee charges are equivalent to Canisius’s on-campus tuition and general fee charges. The cost of meals, housing, study materials, insurance, travel and personal expenses is additional, just as it is on campus. All undergraduate semester and academic year study abroad is administered by the Canisius Study Abroad Office with program charges billed through the Canisius Office Student Records and Financial Services. Program costs other than tuition vary widely from one program to another.

How much will the flight abroad cost and when will it have to be paid?

The cost of the flight abroad depends upon the time of the program and the location. Canisius students, faculty, and administrators are required to work with a travel agency, The Travel Team, who will assist the students with flight arrangements. Once a reservation is made (usually about November for the spring semester and April for the fall semester, full payment must be made within 1-3 days.

Are there other costs that my son or daughter will incur prior to departure?

Yes, in addition to Canisius tuition and study abroad fee, some of these costs may include the passport, visa, housing, and airplane ticket.

What happens if my son or daughter withdraws from the program?

In the event that your son or daughter must withdraw from his or her program, the Study Abroad Office should be contacted immediately. Students going on external programs should also be sure to contact the program provider. If your son or daughter returns to Canisius within the first two weeks of the semester at Canisius, he or she may request permission from his/her Associate Dean to re-enroll at Canisius. Students will be responsible for their entire housing cost abroad. Students will not receive a tuition refund. If the student withdraws for a serious medical or psychological problem which is documented by a physician or psychologist, the Study Abroad Director and appropriate Associate Dean will determine if tuition can be refunded.

What happens if my son or daughter has guaranteed on-campus housing at Canisius and she/he goes abroad?

Housing will be guaranteed for them when they return, but they should notify the Office of Residence Life that they will be studying abroad. They will be required to make a housing deposit for the next semester.

How does study abroad affect my son or daughter’s financial aid?

If your son or daughter is participating in a Canisius program, he or she remains eligible for Canisius, federal, and state financial aid; however, depending on the program, his or her aid may be adjusted especially regarding additional loan eligibility. ULLC students, tuition exchange students, children of Canisius faculty and staff, and students studying on certain programs (Australia, El Salvador, London, Galway, or Italy) must meet with a Financial Aid Counselor to determine their financial aid eligibility for their semester abroad. If your son or daughter is participating in an external program, he or she will not be eligible for Canisius financial aid but can apply for federal and state financial aid. If your son or daughter receives financial aid, we always encourage that s/he consults with her or his financial aid advisor prior to going abroad.

What’s the best way for my son or daughter to access money abroad?

The best way to access funds while abroad is by using an ATM. Most banks now charge a foreign transaction fee of 2-3% for each withdrawal. Some banks also charge a non-bank ATM fee. Check with your bank for its policies. Students are encouraged to secure a duplicate ATM card in the event that their original card is lost, damaged, or stolen. Your son or daughter will also find it convenient to use credit cards to make purchases abroad. 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 son or daughter leaves home, it is advisable to check with your credit card company about fees for purchases made abroad. Some countries will require your child to establish a bank account and to prove that he or she has adequate funds to live there. If this is the case, the on-site coordinator or host university usually assists or advises your child about setting up a bank account during the orientation period. It is imperative that your child alert his or her bank or credit card company that he or she will be studying abroad in order to avoid having their card frozen.

Will study abroad cost more than staying at Canisius?

It is important to remember that studying abroad does not have to be more expensive than studying on campus. While some programs in large European metropolitan areas may cost more than a semester in Buffalo, expenditures for many other programs are less than at Canisius. There are many ways in which some measures of frugality can go a long way; for example, cooking instead of frequent use of 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. The money students spend on travel and shopping depends on individual spending habits.

Can my son or daughter work while abroad?

Working abroad depends on the regulations in the host country. You should be aware that working abroad will reduce the amount of time the student will have for studying and travel.

How much spending money does my son or daughter need?

The amount a student spends abroad depends on individual spending habits. Most students spend between $2500-$6000.

How should I ensure that my son or daughter has money overseas?

You should, of course, first check with your local bank on what they recommend. Generally speaking, your son or daughter will not need to open up a bank account overseas, as most international banks accept US ATM cards. It is also generally not advisable to bring cash or travelers cheques overseas because they can be lost or stolen and because they return the lowest currency exchange rates. We do advise that your son or daughter bring a credit card in case of emergencies, but please make sure to keep a copy of it at home in case it is lost or stolen. The easiest way to provide your child with money is to deposit money into his or her ATM account. Also discuss with your daughter or son how you will transfer funds, in case of emergency, and how the funds you send overseas will be spent. For example, it should be clear how much money is budgeted for emergencies, travel, sightseeing, food and entertainment. Occasionally, our office encounters instances in which students choose to spend money on less essential items and fail to budget effectively for living expenses.