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Parents, Guardians, and Family Members

The Global Education Office (GEO) encourages parents, guardians and family members to review the answers to these commonly asked questions. Please feel free to contact us if additional questions arise and we will gladly offer assistance.

How can parents, guardians, and family members be involved?
Parental, guardian and familial support is essential in helping students assume responsibility for their time abroad. Students will need parents, guardians and familial advice and assistance, and encouragement is crucial to the success of a student’s study abroad experience. However, in order for students to get the most out of this experience, The Global Education Office (GEO) asks parents, guardians and families to let students act independently and take responsibility for this process. Studying abroad will help your student become an independent, global citizen, and it starts at the beginning. GEO will serve as a guide, but students should accept the responsibility for the process themselves.
What are the benefits of study abroad?
The benefits of studying abroad are tremendous. In addition to cultural, personal, social and academic growth, students who study abroad are more marketable upon graduation. In today’s world, employers and graduate schools increasingly value an overseas experience. Many employers – in banking, engineering, marketing, the computer industry, and many other areas – are looking specifically for overseas experience when evaluating applicants. Find out more about Benefits of Study Abroad
Where can parents, guardians and family find more information about the program?
Each program offered has its own brochure page on the MasonAbroad website. The program brochure contain a description of the location and/or university, and information regarding eligibility requirements, cost, accommodations, and more. Parents, guardians and family can find more information for any program by searching our website.
Can my student still graduate on time if s/he studies abroad?
Yes! Credit taken abroad on semester programs is transferable, provided the student passes the courses with the equivalent of a C or above and has pre-approval by the academic department. In addition, most Mason study abroad short-term, international internships and some semester programs offer resident credit, which is just like taking classes on campus. With careful planning, there is no reason why studying abroad should delay graduation.
How much does it cost to study abroad?
Costs for studying abroad vary depending on length and type of program. Most of the semester and year-long study abroad programs offered by GEO are exchanges, which involve international students coming here in exchange for Mason students going abroad. This means that students pay their regular tuition and usually pay for room and board to the host institution. Some semester and year-long programs are based on a direct enrollment model and may cost more than regular tuition. The cost of participating on an international internship or faculty-led program is determined by location, number of credits, and number of other factors. Extra costs for most programs will include airline tickets and any personal expenses or travel the student undertakes while abroad. Personal spending will vary, and we discuss budgets and travel in the pre-departure orientation.
What financial aid or scholarships are available for my student?
Financial aid (including loans, grants, and scholarships) can be applied to most GEO programs. Students who receive financial aid and are planning to study abroad need to contact the Financial Aid Office to determine their eligibility. GEO administers several scholarships including the Global Perspectives Scholarship, the Monroe “Chip” Whitton Scholarship, the Jacquemin Family Foundation Scholarship and the Diversity Grant. More details on each individual scholarship, eligibilty and award amounts can be found here . All eligible students are encouraged to apply for these opportunities. The deadlines are typically in late September/ early October and early-late March. Additional outside scholarships and personal fundraising resources are also available.
Will my student receive preparation assistance during the study abroad process?
GEO staff are available to help, answer questions, provide assistance, and support students every step of the journey. Students participating on semester and full-year programs are required to attend a general advising session, as well as meet with a study abroad advisor prior to applying to any program. In addition, GEO requires all students, including students studying abroad on an external program, to participate in a mandatory pre-departure orientation program where program participants are informed about topics including passports, visas, immunizations, housing, health and safety, and culture shock. Students can also obtain contact information from former participants or international students from the country in which they will be studying to ensure your student feels fully confident about their upcoming experience.
Will my student be safe while abroad?
Student safety is our highest priority. General safety issues, as well as any country specific precautions, are discussed at the mandatory pre-departure orientation and are included in the materials provided to the students by GEO. The office has developed an Emergency Abroad Protocol which is given to students during Pre-Departure Orientation as well online through their application. GEO also has an emergency number service (703-993-7500) which is available 24 hours a day. Most Mason study abroad programs either have a Mason faculty member or local staff at the host institution onsite to assist them in case of emergency. Students are strongly encouraged to register themselves with the US Department of State’s Smart Traveller Enrollment Program, and they are given the information on how to do so during orientation.
Will my student be covered by health insurance while studying abroad?
All students participating university-sponsored travel abroad are required to carry a special study abroad health insurance policy. This policy is included in the cost for all GEO administered programs. Information about health insurance, including cost and policy coverage.