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Santa Clara University




Explore & Apply

Am I eligible to participate?

Check out our eligibility requirements for Study Abroad.

Can engineering students study abroad?

Yes, check out our eligibility requirements for Study Abroad.

Can I Study Abroad more than once?

  1. There is no limit to the number of summer programs on which students may participate and many students do study abroad multiple times through the summer option.  During the academic year (Fall/Winter/Spring) students are limited to one term of participation. This means that students may study on a summer program more than once or on a Fall/Winter/Spring program and a summer program, but may not study abroad for multiple terms during the acadmic year.  Domestic program participation is considered “Study Abroad”.  
  2. In addition to the program as a whole being competitive, individual programs may have enrollment constraints and may be internally competitive. Three programs (FIE London, IES Barcelona, and IES Milan) received more than 30 student applications; we have a cap of 30 students per study abroad program.

What are the GPA requirements?

Check out our eligibility requirements for Study Abroad.  If you do not currently meet eligibility, we recommend working with the many resources across campus to improve your GPA and working with us in another Study Abroad cycle.

Can courses taken abroad fulfill my graduation requirements?

So long as a program appears in our program database, it will transfer automatically to SCU as at minimum elective credit towards your GPA, but can also fulfill major, minor or core requirements.  If a course doesn't appear in our database, please request evaluation by the appropriate Department Chair or the Director of Core for core classes.

How can I get a course evaluated?

After checking the database, if a course you are interested in taking abroad doesn’t appear there, submit an evaluation.

Where can I study abroad?

Santa Clara has study abroad in many locations, but at Santa Clara, we advise that you think about “what” you will get from your study abroad experience rather than “where” you will go.  As such, we encourage you to look closely at the academic opportunities offered by your program and the additional RIISE opportunities.  Browse our program search to find the best program for you.

What programs are most popular?

We tend to focus less on popularity so much as what is the best fit for you.  In our experience, Santa Clara students tend to be the most pleased with their study abroad decision when it connects them with their goals. As such, we encourage you to look closely at the academic opportunities offered by your program and the RIISE opportunities.

Can I study abroad on the same program as my best friend?

Study Abroad is a great opportunity to explore yourself as an individual.  As such, we instead encourage you to look closely at the academic opportunities offered by your program and the RIISE opportunities in order to explore which opportunity will allow you to grow the most.

Are there language requirements?

We always recommend that if studying in a non-English speaking country, you study the language before studying abroad.  However, we do have options at all levels. You can check the language requirement for your program by utilizing the program search under, “Eligibility”.

What does Study Abroad cost?

Like all University fees, the study abroad fees are set by the University Board of Trustees. By standardizing the study abroad fees, the Trustees enables students to pay the same tuition as on campus students.  To find your specific program’s cost, check in the program database.

Are there scholarships for Study Abroad?

Santa Clara has a small fund set aside to provide scholarships.  There is no additional application for this, simply check the box in our Study Abroad application requesting to be considered for the Santa Clara Fund.  

We recommend that you apply to scholarships offered by your program or offered nationally.

Can I study in a program that does not appear in the program search?

A program that doesn’t appear in our program search, is considered a “non-approved” program.  Learn more…

How do I apply for study abroad?

All students must follow the University's procedure as outlined in the "Application Process" page.

Who should I talk to about study abroad options?

Attend a Study Abroad 101 first to get all the basic details about Study Abroad! Then you can make an appointment with a Peer Advisor and a Study Abroad Advisor.

You can also email questions to

Can I use my financial aid towards study abroad fees?

Yes, you can use your aid programs towards study abroad fees as long as you participate in an approved program for the regular terms.

When should I begin my application?

Now!  Start early, start well before the cycle that you actually intend to apply.

What would make my application stand out?

Setting clear and achievable goals based on your selected program.  Students who go to a Study Abroad 101 session and work with our office and do extensive research into their program and plan in advance, tend to produce applications that stand out above the rest.

What resources are available to me when preparing an application?

Our staff

The HUB Writing Center

Academic Advisors from across campus


What other resources should I check out before applying?


Resources on Diversity & Identity abroad


Our online Study Abroad 101


A Study Abroad Fair


Other Study Abroad related events


Is Study Abroad at Santa Clara competitive?

Yes, and as such, we recommend starting early.  Students who pick the correct program for themselves, prepare excellent applications, and meet the eligibility requirements are able to be successful on study abroad.

Should I select a back-up?

Yes, so long as the program would meet your academic, professional, and personal goals.  If you do not meet the requirements for your selected program, or if your program is particularly competitive one year, but you meet eligibility for Santa Clara’s requirements, we can sometimes allow students to participate in their back-up program choice.  If you are redirected to your back-up program choice, please meet with our office.

How strict are the word limits?  Is it okay if I go over/under?

Over:  A major part of Study Abroad is learning effective communication skills.  As such, please be as close as possible, do not go more than 100 words over the word count for any given question.

Under: This is fine, but we’d encourage you to go to the HUB Writing Center and ensure that you have fully answered the question and asking them to compare your answer with what is being assessed in the application criteria.

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Prepare & Abroad

Do I have to purchase additional insurance to go abroad?

All SCU students who participate in approved SCU Study Abroad are required to have health insurance coverage while abroad.

Students should contact their health insurance provider to see if they are covered while abroad and what the coverage will entail.  If covered, make sure that the amount of coverage fulfills program and possible country visa requirements.

Students should also check with their Study Abroad program to see if additional health insurance is provided by their program.  Many include Study Abroad health insurance in their program fees.

If your current health insurance policy does not provide coverage abroad or your program does not provide health insurance for the program, contact SCU Study Abroad for resources in finding Study Abroad health insurance coverage.

All students who participate on SCU Study Abroad programs are covered by SCU’s ACE Insurance/AXA Information and it is included in the SCU Study Abroad program fees.  This insurance covers emergency evacuation and repatriation of remains; it is not health insurance.

Can I travel while abroad?

We advise that you engage in your host community.  Rather than travelling outside of your host community every weekend, see it as an opportunity to better connect.  If you must travel, we recommend that you speak with our program partner to determine the best time to do so to avoid missing class.

Can family visit me while I am abroad?  When should they visit?

On average, approximately 20-30% of parents or guardians visit students while they are abroad. Of course, all students are different and some will be more homesick than others.

Do not plan trips until the student is in his or her program and knows exact dates for breaks and/or mandatory weekend excursions essential to certain courses.

One recommended time to visit students abroad is during a break or at the end of the program. This way, students can show family members around and share their experiences. However, if planning to travel with a student prior to the start of his or her program, it is advised that parents or guardians depart before orientation as to promote a smoother transition into the program early on.

What will my housing/meal situation be like abroad?

This depends on the program that you select.  Students have a variety of different living and meal situations abroad.  Check out your specific program website to learn more or connect with a returnee.

I’m a student with DACA status, can I study abroad?

Check out our resources for DACA-mented students!

I have concerns about my identity abroad.  What resources are available for me?

We’ve created a whole site full of resources for our diverse student body and we are always here to help.

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How do my grades come back to campus?

Please see Grades and Transcripts.

How can I ensure that my grades come back to campus quickly?

Verify that your  matches the courses that you took perfectly, if there are discrepancies your grades will not be processed

Check with your International Office or the representatives from your program to see if grades have been mailed

Read more about grades & transcripts.

How do I register for classes if a course that I took abroad is a pre-requisite for a course that I am taking now and my grades are not yet back?

The best thing for you to do is to go to the department or the professor of the class that you are trying to get into and seek a permission number.

Can I be on one of those Study Abroad panels that I saw at an event?

Yes, join our Bronco Abroad Ambassador program.

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For Families

Planning and Application Phase

Study Abroad at SCU

SCU Study Abroad believes you play an important role in your student's decision to apply to study abroad. It is the student’s responsibility to research programs and complete the study abroad application yet you can assist in the process by pointing your student to valuable resources and upcoming deadlines.

Study abroad at SCU is competitive and not all qualified students are nominated to study abroad. Around eighty-five percent of students who apply to study abroad are nominated.

Applications that get nominated for study abroad demonstrate how the program fits into, and enhances a student’s SCU education. This allows students to develop professional skills and provides them with opportunities to engage in the local community. A student must also meet the program eligibility requirements to be nominated. Study abroad at SCU is not about where a student goes but what they will get out of their study abroad experience.

You can help us successfully prepare your student by bringing this opportunity to their attention early and often; and support them by learning about the process through this website and encouraging them to contact us directly with any questions or concerns.

Benefits of Participating in SCU Study Abroad Programs

Santa Clara works hard to make study abroad an integral component of an SCU education for those nominated to study abroad. The study abroad office offers over 50 programs for all majors and minors and many programs that allow students to pursue academic internships or research. By participating in an SCU study abroad program, SCU students:

  1. Earn SCU Units. Students earn regular SCU units and cannot only “stay on track,” yet often make better progress toward graduation by participating in SCU Study Abroad because they participate in semester-length programs.
  2. Complete Major, Minor, and Core Requirements. The process to get courses approved is simple and students have access to a database of pre-approved study abroad courses that currently contains over 6,000 courses.
  3. Earn grades that count in their SCU GPA.
  4. Have access to all of their federal, state, institutional, and private financial aid to support program participation.
  5. Are eligible for additional study abroad scholarships. Need and merit-based scholarships are available from SCU and from many of our partners. More and more of our partners are offering Pell Grant matching scholarships, early award notification so that students can secure funding before they apply, as well as scholarships for diverse groups such as students of color, first-generation college students, LGBTQ+ students, and others. SCU also has 20 Santa Clara Fund Scholarships. Our cohort of fall 2018 study abroad students received an additional $131,000 in aid from national scholarships and our partner organizations. This is up from $30,000 from the fall of 2015.

Resources For Finding The Right Program

Study abroad is an academic experience that happens to take place in another country. It is important to consider what your student wants to study and help them understand that this experience is not a vacation. Your student should have academic, professional, cultural, and personal goals established for their time abroad. These goals will help a student navigate our database of over 50 program options and assist them in finding the program that is best suited for them. Students can only apply to one study abroad program per application cycle and there is a capacity limit of 30 students per study abroad program, per term.

Here are resources to help students find the right program:

  1. Major Advising Guides. We offer programs for all majors and minors. These guides provide highlighted (not all) programs for each major and gives students a glimpse into the ways that they can actively engage with the local community.
  2. Program Database. This searchable database allows students to search programs by academic disciplines, cost, language of instruction, and much more.
  3. Contact Returned Students. This is a database of SCU students who have previously studied abroad. These students are willing to answer questions prospective students have about the program they participated on, the study abroad application process, etc.
  4. Study Abroad Pre-Approved Course Database. This webpage contains large amounts of valuable information. First, if your student’s major/minor has any restrictions regarding study abroad, they will be listed on this page. At the bottom of the page is the database of pre-approved study abroad courses by program. The courses listed here are not the only courses students can take while abroad; the database is a list of courses students have taken in the past and have been approved. Students must verify with the study abroad programs they are looking at to see if the courses listed in the database are being offered the term they plan to be abroad. If not, students can easily get courses approved and added to the database.
  5. Attend a Study Abroad 101 session & the Study Abroad Fair. Students must attend a Study Abroad 101 session before meeting with study abroad peer advisors and staff for advising. The fair provides an opportunity for students to learn about all the programs SCU offers and get any outstanding questions answered by our study abroad partners, returned students, study abroad staff, and faculty. With your student, you can develop a list of questions and encourage your student to visit the Study Abroad Office.
  6. Prepare for the application by reviewing the application questions. The application can take time to complete as students must answer four short essays questions, write an academic essay, and upload an Academic Planning Form that has been completed and signed by their academic advisor.
  7. Preview the rubric used to score the study abroad application and the tips from the selection committee.
  8. Understand the different types of study abroad programs offered. Determine who classes will be taken with (only other participants on their program, with local students, with other international students, a combination of the above). Where will classes be taught (at a local university, at a program study center, a combination of local university and program center, at a field station, etc.)? Will students be responsible for finding their own housing (exchange programs only)? Different types of programs require students to either be more independent or to push themselves outside of the program bubble to interact more with locals. It is important for a student to know which type of program they are applying to and how to address any challenges they may face with that type of program. The Study Abroad Office can help a student answer these types of questions regarding their programs of interest.
  9. Verify students meets (or will meet) program eligibility. At the time of application, students must meet program minimum GPA requirement to be eligible. Students must also have a declared major to be eligible to apply to study abroad. Students must also meet program language and course specific requirements (for example 1 year of Biology courses completed) by the start of their study abroad program.

Application Process

The SCU Study Abroad application process is ahighly competitive, two-­step process.

Students first complete an SCU study abroad application. Students are only able to apply to one program per application cycle. In the application, students must complete four short essays, an academic essay and upload a complete Academic Planning form that has their academic advisor’s signature. All applications submitted to the Study Abroad Office by the application deadline date (January 6 for summer/fall/winter/spring programs) will be reviewed and scored by multiple readers from across campus (on average about 60 faculty and staff from across campus). The reviewers use this rubric. Scores are ranked and students are nominated until the budget and allotted spots are depleted.  Some students may be placed on a waitlist, redirected to an exchange program that works for them academically, or may not be nominated. Notifications are distributed in mid-February.

For students who are nominated, they must confirm their nomination with us within a stated time frame. If a student does not confirm their nomination by the stated deadline, they will be withdrawn from study abroad and we will move to the waitlist. For confirmed students, their next step is to complete their program specific study abroad application by their determined application deadline. It is imperative that students complete their program specific applications as soon as possible as some programs have rolling admissions and programs fill up quickly. If a student misses their program specific application deadline or if a program fills before the student has completed their application, the student will be withdrawn from study abroad.

Students who complete their program specific applications by the deadline and before a program closes, should be accepted by their study abroad program. If a student is not accepted by their study abroad program, they should contact the Study Abroad Office immediately.

Timeline for Study Abroad Planning

  • 12-18 months before studying abroad
    • Chat about study abroad as a family
    • Visit the SCU Study Abroad page
    • Browse program options by major
    • Understand SCU study abroad pricing levels
  • 9-12 months before studying abroad
    • Narrow program choice
    • Encourage students to attend Study Abroad 101 Session (pre-requisite to meeting with a Study Abroad Advisor) and attend the Study Abroad Fair
    • Suggest students meet with Study Abroad Advisor and Academic Advisor to discuss study abroad plans
    • Review with students the study abroad application requirements and deadlines
  • 6-9 months before studying abroad
    • It’s time to apply! Students are responsible for submitting all application materials before the application deadline. Due to competitiveness of study abroad, no deadline extensions are possible.
    • Encourage students to apply for study abroad scholarships.
    • Talk to students about possible outcomes of their application. As the study abroad process is competitive, not all qualified students will be nominated. Some students may be waitlisted, redirected to another program, or not nominated at all.
    • If students are nominated, take time to ensure that the program is still a good fit, that you all understand the SCU pricing levels and out of pocket expenses associated with the program before confirming participation. Once students confirm participation they will then be assessed a $500 SCU withdrawal fee plus any unrecoverable costs if they withdraw from the program.
    • Visit the prepare page of the SCU Study Abroad website.
  • 3-6 months before studying abroad
    • Apply for a passport or confirm the existing passport’s validity (must be valid 6 months after the conclusion of the study abroad program)
    • Research student visa requirements
    • Learn about host culture, language, history, etc.
    • Assist in making flight arrangements
    • Schedule any doctor appointments and/or make arrangements for needed immunizations
    • Ask students to share with you information they receive from their study abroad program (most communication to students will come directly from the study abroad program provider and not from the SCU study abroad office)
  • 1-3 months before studying abroad
    • Encourage student to let their bank know that they will be out of the country
    • Make copies of their documents
    • Plan how and when you will communicate with each other
    • Work with them to understand packing restrictions and airline weight limits
    • Know when and how students will be billed for study abroad experience

Cost of Study Abroad

It is important to look at the cost of study abroad when researching programs as some programs are similar in cost to attending SCU and others can be thousands of dollars more. Each program in the database will have a pricing level between A and F. All programs that take place during the academic year (fall, winter or spring quarters) are charged SCU tuition. Based on the type of program a student chooses to participate in, an additional program fee that includes basic housing will be added to the SCU tuition costs. You can find current SCU study abroad pricing levels here and pricing levels for programs can be found in the program database. Students on exchange programs will only be charged SCU tuition as they will make their own housing arrangements for their program and pay the housing provider directly. About sixty-five percent of our programs are level B or C programs (close to the cost of attending SCU and living on campus).

Students on SCU study abroad programs are fortunate that SCU allows all financial aid to travel with students while abroad. For students participating on semester programs is should be noted that programs are on average 5-6 weeks longer than SCU’s quarter and fall participants will come back with more quarter units than they would receive while at SCU.

Students are responsible for paying program application fees, but should not make deposit payments to their study abroad program. SCU will pay their program deposits. Partners will also bill SCU directly for the basic costs of the students’ program; costs associated for upgrading (single rooms, housing options with additional fees, etc.) and additional course fees will be billed directly to the student. SCU will bill the student account the appropriate pricing level. Study abroad billing follows the regular SCU payment deadlines:

Fall – August 21

Winter – December 21

Spring – March 21

Please note that southern hemisphere programs in the fall, usually begin in July but payments for the program are not due until August 21.

Students on summer programs are billed in one of two ways:

  1. If the program is run by SCU, students will be charged tuition and a program fee and will be billed during the SCU summer billing cycle for the program. Summer payments are due May 21st.
  2. If the program is run by a partnering program provider, the student will pay the program fee directly to the partnering program provider by their stated deadline.

Preparing to Go Abroad Phase


Each program in the database has a pricing level between A and F. All programs that take place during the academic year (fall, winter or spring quarters) are charged SCU tuition. Based on the type of program a student chooses to participate in, an additional program fee that includes basic housing will be added to the SCU tuition costs. Current SCU study abroad pricing levels can be found here and pricing levels for programs can be found in the program database. Students on exchange programs will only be charged SCU tuition as they will make their own housing arrangements for their program and pay the housing provider directly. SCU allows all financial aid to travel with students while abroad.

Partners will bill SCU directly for the basic costs of the students’ program (tuition and basic housing); costs associated for upgrading (single room, housing options with additional fees, etc.) and additional course fees will be billed directly to the student. SCU will bill the student account the appropriate pricing level. Study abroad billing follows the regular SCU payment deadlines:

Fall – August 21

Winter – December 21

Spring – March 21

Please note that Southern hemisphere programs in the fall, usually begin in July but payment for the program is not due until August 21st.

Students on summer programs are billed in one of two ways:

  1. If the program is run by SCU, students will be charged tuition and a program fee during the summer billing cycle for the program. Summer payments are due May 21st.
  2. If the program is run by a partnering program provider, the student will pay the program fee directly to the partnering program provider by their stated deadline.

Health Insurance While Abroad

SCU provides emergency evacuation and repatriation insurance for students studying abroad. Students must have health insurance coverage while abroad; check with your current health insurance provider to verify if your student will have health insurance coverage while abroad. You should also have your student check with their study abroad program provider to see if they provide supplemental health insurance through their program. If students need assistance in finding health insurance coverage for their study abroad program, they should contact Students going abroad must also complete the SCU insurance waiver if they intend to waive SCU’s coverage while abroad; otherwise, they will be billed for SCU’s insurance.

Pre-Departure Information

Students will receive a large volume of information in preparation for their study abroad experience; a large portion of that information will come in the form of orientations:

  • Online SCU pre-departure orientation
  • SCU in-person pre-departure orientation
  • On-site orientation
  • Some programs will also provide additional pre-departure orientations

If you have questions about the program, logistics, etc. start by asking your student. Students will receive large quantities of information from their programs and it is important that they read all information received as there are often deadline dates and to do lists within those emails. Students are responsible for completing all post-acceptance materials in a timely manner.

You as a parent can also begin to do research on the country, culture, and current events where your student will be studying. Look at information your student shares with you and do your own research online. Gaining more knowledge about your student’s study abroad destination will help answer questions that arise.

While Abroad Phase

Communicating With Your Student While Abroad

You should develop a communication plan with your student for their time abroad. Navigating across time zones and with different forms of technology can be difficult. It is important to stay in touch yet not to the extent that it can impede the students’ experience abroad. You may be used to communicating daily with your student while they are on campus but know that that level of communication may not be possible on many programs and can significantly hinder their development. Students will be adjusting to and learning about a new culture, city, and possibly language. They will need time to explore and begin to make their study abroad destination feel like home. Work with your student to find the appropriate balance between communicating with home and interacting with the local culture.

Cultural Transitions

Adapting to a new culture can be exciting, frustrating, challenging, and rewarding. No two people transition to a new culture in the same manner or at the same pace. There’s been research completed by leading intercultural specialists and psychologists on the effects of study abroad on college-aged individuals which demonstrate that people move through phases on a non-linear scale; progress and regression can occur and is dependent upon a student’s day-to-day activities. Here is a brief overview of the different phases of cultural transition that your student may experience during their study abroad program.

Surprise: This phase is typically early, and rather positive in which students become aware of new, exciting, visible, surface-level, and startling differences. While this can be exciting and energizing, it can also lead to overstimulation and fatigue.

Exploration: This phase is more focused on seeking out understanding of a new cultural context. While this typically begins with visual cultural differences such as food, fashion, and music it can turn toward deeper investigation which can result in an individual discovering elements of their host culture they agree and disagree with.

Stress: This phase is typically common when an individual has been overexposed to stimulation. This manifests in behaviors such as oversleeping or higher than usual emotional responses.

Adjustment: This phase is in direct response to high stimuli and making decisions that reflect an ability to navigate daily life in the new cultural context. This phase may be characterized by overcompensation and subsequent recalibration in an effort of adapting one’s home and host culture.

Fatigue: Like the stress phase, this phase is in response to a high level of stimuli, yet for a more prolonged period of time. Fatigue sets in when people make a plethora of adjustments to their new culture which leads to a decline in interest in the new culture, increased irrationality, and a general high level of emotional responses. This is often seen through ‘language fatigue’ when individuals are making efforts to primarily use the target language.

Conflict: This phase is normally revealed through observable behaviors in the host culture that may irritate or annoy an individual such staring or an event that challenges one’s values and beliefs.

Visiting Your Student Abroad

If you want to visit your student while they are studying abroad, consider making your travel plans coincide with academic breaks or at the completion of the program. This will allow your student time to become familiar with the location where they are studying and the language(s) spoken and will not make them choose between spending time with you and their academics.

Health and Safety

Health and safety of students on SCU study abroad programs is our number one priority. We work with our students and our study abroad program providers to prepare students for their study abroad experiences. During the course of a study abroad program, we communicate regularly with our study abroad program providers and we work in tandem with them in the case of an emergency.

If an emergency occurs during business hours (Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST), please call the SCU Study Abroad mainline at 408-551-3019 for assistance.

If an emergency occurs after business hours or on weekends, call SCU Campus Safety at 408-554-4444.

Emergency Evacuation and Repatriation Insurance

SCU provides emergency evacuation and repatriation insurance through Ace American Insurance Company for all students participating on SCU study abroad programs. A description of the insurance coverage can be found here. In case of an emergency, you should also refer to the health insurance policy your student has for their term abroad.

Safety Procedures

When traveling abroad students should follow a number of precautions. Students should:

  • Consult the US State Department Travel advisories for up-to-date information on travel to their study abroad location.
  • Register with the US State Department Smart Traveler’s Enrollment Program (STEP) if they are a US citizen. Citizens of other countries should register with their country’s embassy. Registering will assist students if an emergency occurs in the country in which they are studying. SCU Study Abroad requires this as part of their online pre-departure orientation.
  • Adhere to information given to them by their program’s on-site staff.
  • Notify their study abroad program if they plan to travel outside their host city.
  • Monitor their SCU email accounts for updates from SCU and their on-site program staff.

Returnee Phase

Support Upon Return

It is important to remember that your student has just spent several weeks living in another country, learning about new cultures/languages/food/etc. This experience may have been a real growing one for them and upon return they may not be the same as they were before going abroad. Your student will want to talk about their experience. Listen to their stories, look at their pictures, and ask clarifying questions. Let them share with you the details of their experience. Know that just as when your student started their study abroad experience and faced some obstacles when adapting to the new country and culture, they may face some of the same challenges returning home. They may have a different perspective in viewing the world and may challenge some of their previous thoughts/beliefs. They may struggle a bit adapting back to SCU and the quarter system.

Some of our study abroad program providers have put together resources for families of students returning from study abroad; please see a sample list below. Even if your student did not participate on one of the programs by the providers below, the resources for parents will still apply.

A Readjustment Manual: A Handbook for Parents of Study Abroad Students Returning Home

IES Parent Reentry Resources