Study Abroad 101 for Parents
Why should my son/daughter study abroad?
Students develop skills in problem solving and with foreign languages; they gain geographical and historical knowledge; they're exposed to people who process information differently than they do. Additionally, they earn credits towards their Pitt degree.
Students can make professional contacts, gain a sense of direction for their future career, gain a sense of responsibility in working on a project, benefit from the close mentoring of a faculty member.
Personal & Intercultural
Students gain an appreciation of what we have in the U.S.; they develop confidence, a strengthened sense of personal identity, flexibility, and creativity. Students learn to rely on themselves and become more independent. Students increase their interest in other cultures, become less ethnocentric, as they become more aware of cultural differences, develop language skills within a cultural context, become more culturally sensitive and accepting.
What is the process by which my child may study abroad?
- Start Early: We suggest students start planning a year to 6 months in advance.
- Consider where a student would like to go and what they would like to study.
- Visit the study abroad office: Your child should stop in the study abroad office where they can look at program materials and talk with student interns.
- Sign up for an Essentials Session: These meetings are recommended for any student interested in studying abroad, and it is a great introduction to study abroad. It is an informational session that discusses the fundamentals of study abroad, the different ways to study abroad, information on scholarships and transferring credit, etc. You are always welcome to attend these sessions or visit our office to speak with our staff.
- Begin the Process: There are a variety of steps in the study abroad process. You may preview these by visiting the Overview section of this website. This section is designed to shows students the study abroad process and many of the important facets of each stage.
How do we afford study abroad?
Finances are always a factor in the decision to study abroad. There are many ways in which study abroad can become affordable including scholarships and financial aid. State, federal and campus-based financial, with the exception of Federal Work Study, will apply to study abroad, as long as the program is approved by the study abroad office. Additionally, some programs allow the use of tuition remission. The SAO has designed a brochure to help determine which programs are eligible. We also recommend that everyone involved in a student's selection of a study abroad program purview the Finances pages of this website for further information.
What is expected of your son/daughter when studying abroad?
Independence: Study abroad students are expected to be highly independent throughout the entire study abroad process. Although such entities as the Study Abroad Office and parents / guardians are available for their guidance, the more they can handle on your own, the more prepared that they will be for a study abroad program. Once overseas, they will be treated as an adult and expected to perform academically while maintaining appropriate, culturally-sensitive behavior.