FAQ for Parents

My son/daughter is interested in studying abroad. How does he/she get started?

The all important first step is to sign up for an appointment at the Office of International Studies (OIS). We generally run initial counseling/information sessions twice a day throughout the year. At these sessions, students will learn from a member of the OIS staff everything they need to know about studying overseas: costs, credit transfer, safety issues, types of programs, etc. At this meeting, students are also given an Application Checklist which outlines the steps they need to take to be able to study abroad.

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What program is best for my student?

At the initial information session, , the most important requirement we impart on students is the need to enunciate a skill that they want to develop while studying overseas. This skill can be academic (directed studies in a major, minor, language acquisition); professional (internships, service learning); or even personal (artistic talent, or 'something I just can't study at 'Nova'). This skill becomes the lodestone as we work with students to identify a program that best meets their needs.

In this regard, as a parent you can be most helpful. Encourage your student to think of overseas study not as a vacation but as another aspect of their education. The Office's unofficial motto is 'We are not a travel agency,' and this is particularly true as the students are going through the process of selecting a program. Students that enunciate their program wishes by geography--choosing destinations by country and not by program strengths--are selling themselves short and missing an opportunity to develop holistically, both personally and academically. By helping your student to frame this opportunity in terms of the 'skill question,' you ensure that the experience is (as mentioned earlier) an extension of, not a break from, a Villanova University education.

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My son/daughter is interested in studying abroad. How does he/she get started?

Is it safe to study abroad right now? When the Chinese use the expression 'May you live in interesting times,' they mean it as a curse. There is no doubt that we live in interesting times, as reflected by nightly new reports and regular State Department Worldwide Cautions.

However, the OIS believes that students are in no more danger by studying overseas than by staying in the US. To offset these safety concerns, though, we address these issues in the Student Handbook given to every participant, the online Pre-Departure Orientation students are required to complete, and in the face-to-face orientation we have with all students prior to their departure. As an office, we maintain informed on safety issues through professional organizations (Inter-Organizational Taskforce on Safety and Responsibility in Study Abroad, SECUSSA Committee on Health and Safety. We also maintain contact with other similar offices in our region, and receive regular updates from government and nonprofit organizations (OSAC, U.S. State Department,ASIRT). Finally, students themselves receive further information from their program provider or host university upon their arrival in-country.

This office is prepared to interrupt a student's study abroad placement if there is any problem or situation that warrants concern in a program. In addition, this office is responsible for insuring that in such a situation, students will graduate on time. This may take the form of late registrations for classes, creating independent studies, or administering final examinations (depending on the point in the semester). Regardless, student safety is the highest priority both of this office and Villanova University and all appropriate actions will be taken without academic penalty for the students to maintain continuity within their 'four-year plan.'

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How much does it cost?

Like its peer institutions, Villanova University maintains a 'home tuition policy,' meaning that students that study overseas during the semester and/or year are charged Villanova University tuition. This link includes additional information on the Study Abroad Tuition Policy.

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Does financial aid transfer?

Yes. For information on applying financial aid to overseas study, contact the Office of Financial Assistance at (610) 519-6456.

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Who can go?

All students regardless of major can study overseas. In addition, because financial aid transfers with the student, all students regardless of financial need can study overseas.

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Where can they go?

The OIS works with programs that are located in virtually every country in the world. This means that students literally can go anywhere. Again, because of this flexibility, it is especially important that students not think of study abroad in terms of geography.

The only exception to the 'geography question' occurs when the State Department suggests otherwise. Villanova University students cannot study in countries receiving a 'State Department Travel Warning' label.

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What can they do?

The OIS works with three types of programs. The first could be labeled 'traditional' programs, ones where students enroll at an overseas university for a semester or an academic year, take the equivalent of a fulltime course load, and transfer those courses back to their Villanova University transcript. A second type of program could be called 'nontraditional,' and comprise of those programs where students do something outside of the classroom to receive course credit. These programs generally include internships, service learning , field research, and directed/independent studies. The third type of program is a Villanova-specific study abroad program. Currently Villanova offers three programs: Villanova Study Center in GalwayIreland., Villanova Program at the University of Melbourne, and Villanova Service-learning in London.

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Do the students graduate on time?

Yes. The application process at VU requires that students receive course approval from faculty prior to their departure. They are also told to notify the OIS if they make any changes to their schedules while overseas. As long as the students have these approvals (and receive a 'C' grade or better in the individual classes) all of the credits transfer towards Villanova University graduation.

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Do I need to purchase insurance?

The answer to this question varies by insurance provider. Many insurance policies cover students when they are overseas, generally reimbursing them upon their return to the US. It is essential that this question be raised with your insurance provider, however, since every provider maintains different policies. In the event that the policy does not cover your son or daughter, the following is a list of companies that specialize in Study Abroad Insurance. Keep in mind that all students sign a release waiver prior to their departure asserting that they are covered by health and medical insurance for the duration of their overseas stay, so the need to check with the insurance provider cannot be emphasized enough.

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What should they pack? How much money should they take? What is the cheapest airline?

Because of the multitude of destinations our students choose, we cannot answer these questions for all students. Most students will be given this information by their program provider or host university upon acceptance. The OIS has compiled an extensive List of Travel Resources for students traveling overseas, found on the student web site. This has been created with your student in mind and includes everything from discount travel to health and safety.

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My son/daughter hasn't contacted us. How can I reach them?

During the Pre-Departure Orientation, ALL students are asked to call home upon arrival. However, often in the excitement of being in a new country with new friends and new adventures, this request is forgotten. Given the close contact that we maintain with our overseas partners, this is a 'no news is good news' situation. However, a gentle reminder to 'phone home' via the student's VU email account never hurts.

However, IN THE EVENT OF AN EMERGENCY, we can contact our overseas partners in order to track down any student immediately. Call this office (610-519-6412) or the Office of Public Safety (610-519-4444, after business hours) to get in touch with a member of this office.

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My student doesn't like their housing/roommates/class schedule. Can you help?

The overseas programs and universities with which Villanova University works are all of the highest caliber and standards. Both on-site Resident Directors and university International Offices exist exclusively to help students in these situations. Though it is stressful to hear of you son or daughter in a situation that may not be ideal, there is little that we can do from here: encourage your student to contact the people 'on the ground.' Another office 'mantra' that we share regularly with the students studying abroad: "If you wanted it to be just like Villanova, you would have stayed at Villanova."

Also keep in mind that these complaints arise regularly in the first few weeks of any program. Culture shock is a very real phenomenon and takes many different forms. The stress of living in a different place, taking classes in a different structure, and speaking a different language can manifest itself in many ways. Many of the differences that cause the students anxiety are simply cultural nuances that will be easily adapted to. Encourage your student to show some patience and question the reasons for those differences, not just assume that they are 'wrong.' For more information on culture shock, please refer to page 23 of the Student Handbook (located here).

However, if your son or daughter is in a situation that you feel is unsafe we will follow up with their host institution immediately. Contact this office at 610-519-6412.

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When do my son or daughter's credits appear on their Villanova University transcript?

All students have been instructed to have their official study abroad transcript sent to this office. The OIS then assigns the courses a Villanova University equivalent, based on approvals approved by faculty members prior to students' departure. The Deans' offices are notified of these equivalencies and enter the courses and credits directly to the students' transcripts. Upon receipt of the transcripts, the study abroad courses should appear on the transcript (or NOVASIS account) within a week. The courses will appear on the VU transcript as a 'T' for transfer credit. GPA will not be affected, however the credit will count towards requirements of the major, minor, concentration, core requirements, etc. The only delays that occur at this point result from students having taken classes for which they had no approval.

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My student is interested in going back! What opportunities exist to return to the host country?

Three important resources for students wishing to return overseas:

  • Career Services. Career Services is the most valuable campus resource on 'life after graduation,' including such international options as internships, graduate school, Peace Corps, and, most importantly, building study abroad experience into the resume.
  • Campus Ministry. Campus Ministry offers a number of international service learning trips during the fall and spring break.
  • Office of International Studies. The OIS has compiled a list of other options that exist for work and volunteer abroad.

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Learn About Our Programs

Take the First Step!
Want to learn more about semester or non-VU summer programs?
Schedule your first group information session required for all students.

Already attend an info session?
All individual meetings with OIS advisers are scheduled by calling our main office number at 610-519-6412.

Going on a Villanova Summer Program?
Contact the faculty member who runs the program for more information and application instructions.

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Blog from Abroad

Read about Emily Frankenberry's (LAS '16) adventures in Copenhagen with DIS

Follow Michelle Velez (A&S '14) as she explores Panama with the SIT program Tropical Ecology, Marine Ecosystems and Biodiversity Conversation.  Read more here.

Follow Channing Press (A&S '14) through her adventures studying in Ecuador with IES Abroad during the fall 2012 semester. Read more here.

Follow Amy Rowland (A&S '14) as she navigates Tokyo, Japan in the fall 2012 semester. Read more here.

News, Events & Notices

It’s never too early to start planning your study abroad experience. Complete a Student Information Form and schedule your first information session today.

Study Abroad Fair 2013 - Friday, October 25th 11am-3pm in Bartley Atrium. Meet with program and university respresentatives from around the world!

Irish Studies & Africana Studies has announced a fantastic fall events schedule!

Upcoming Events

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