Study Abroad Parent Tips

About

We encourage your son or daughter to consider the many choices Fairfield offers to spend a semester, year, month, or just a week abroad earning academic credit and gaining the kind of knowledge only an onsite experience can provide. Fairfield’s programs offer exceptional learning opportunities beyond the classroom including internships, volunteer work, academic excursions, service-learning, and events that make the experience enjoyable and meaningful.

Fairfield University students must select their study abroad program from the list of approved programs. The approved list includes over 60 different study abroad programs on six continents. With proper planning, all majors and minors may study abroad. The approved list is composed of Fairfield-administered programs, exchange programs, and affiliated programs offered by other universities and study abroad organizations.

Please review the Fairfield University Policies and Procedures above. Information regarding admissions policies, program cost, withdrawal and program cancellation, code of conduct, health and safety abroad, disability support, FERPA and housing can be found in this section.

Your Student Living Abroad

As your student prepares to leave, offer them your support, help with packing, and let them know you can be reached from overseas when needed. When they first arrive they will often go through a honeymoon period and be excited to finally be in their new setting. Later, facing the realities of living abroad (such as unfamiliar customs, food, language, housing, transportation, and new university procedures) culture shock may set in. It is common for students to go through some ups and downs during their stay. As your son or daughter learns to problem solve and adapt they will soon rise to a new level of independence.

As parents, it is difficult to not try to solve problems for your student.  Try to avoid becoming too involved in finding solutions for them – but rather be a good listener as they learn to process what they are going though while abroad.  This is all part of the learning experience when studying abroad. Your student may need your support and encouragement to take the first step to talk to someone.  As often as possible, encourage them to speak to the local program staff first as these individuals are in place to help your students with their needs. The local university staff and the staff of the Fairfield University Office of Study Abroad are also available to help at any time.

If you plan to visit, please do not schedule that visit while classes are in session as your student has mandatory attendance and absences can result in a lower grade.  It is best to plan travel after midterms, during a vacation break, or at the end of the program. Students must always plan to stay during the entire final exam period before flying home.

Please be aware that your student will come home changed from their experience. Be prepared for your student to experience some degree of readjustment to things that were once familiar.  This is known as reverse culture shock. Your support, interest, and understanding will help them during the readjustment period. When college students think back about their time as a student, most feel that the time they spent abroad was the best part of their college years.  By allowing your student to study abroad, you have given them a life changing experience.

Application Deadlines

All students who wish to study abroad for a summer session, semester or year must submit an online application (including an application fee) through the Fairfield University study abroad website for their desired study abroad program. Application deadlines are as follows:

 

Applications Open

Applications Due

Decision

Deposit

Fall/Year

October 1

December 15

February 1

March 1

Spring

March 1

May 15

August 1

September 15(beginning Spring '19)

Summer

October 1

February 1

February 20

No deposit required; however, full payment is due March 1)

 

Students interested in a January program or spring break program should contact the Office of Study Abroad directly via email to confirm the deadlines as these dates vary by program.

All Fairfield University students are required to attend an information session in order to apply to study abroad. Details on our information sessions can be found on the Fairfield University Office of Study Abroad orgsync page.

Financing

Semester

Students who study abroad through Fairfield University for a semester on an approved program are charged regular Fairfield tuition. Housing and meal charges will vary by location. All Fairfield scholarships and aid, including federal funds, can be used towards study abroad expenses for one semester with the exceptions of athletic scholarships, tuition remission, FACHEX, tuition exchange and work-study monies. With the approval of the Associate Vice Provost for Global Strategy, students with Modern Language, International Business, and International Studies majors may use Fairfield University financial aid for two semesters abroad on select programs.

Students who study abroad on a semester/year program are required to submit a $1,000 deposit to Fairfield University. This deposit is part of the total tuition cost. The deposits are due on the following dates:

Fall and Year Programs - March 1
Spring Programs - September 15 (beginning Spring 2019)

Summer

Students who study abroad during the summer must have their full payment paid by March 1.

Fees and billing for short term programs vary. Please visit the program specific website for information. Students who wish to use financial aid during the summer are encouraged to connect with the Fairfield University Office of Financial Aid to explore the possibility of having their financial aid package readjusted to include their summer abroad.

Faculty Led Programs

Students who participate on a faculty led program can find financing information directly on the programs brochure page. Students who wish to use financial aid for a faculty led program are encouraged to connect with the Fairfield University Office of Financial Aid to explore the possibility of having their financial aid package readjusted to include costs associated with the program.

General Information

Program Specific Information and Studioabroad

Students have access to Program information regarding housing, airport pick-up, visa requirements, program dates, academics, etc. in their StudioAbroad account. We highly encourage all parents to sit down with their student to review this specific information. Many students provide access to their StudioAbroad accounts to their parents.

Acceptance Meetings and Pre-Departure Orientation

Students are required to attend an acceptance meeting and a pre-departure orientation. This allows the students to meet other participants in the program and learn about the next steps and deadlines. For Fall students, the acceptance meetings are held in early/mid-March and pre-departure is held in April or May. For Spring students, the acceptance meetings are held in September and pre-departure is held in November.

Academics

To ensure credit from a semester abroad, students are required to have their courses approved in StudioAbroad. Students are required to enroll in an academic course of study that engages them for a minimum of 4 days per week and may only take those courses at their hosting institution or program abroad. This process is discussed at the acceptance meeting noted above and can also be found in StudioAbroad. Students who participate in Fairfield University administered programs will receive Fairfield University credit and letter grades. Students who participate in approved non-Fairfield University administered programs will receive transfer credit if they receive a letter grade of a C or higher. Many universities abroad have different classroom structures than those found at Fairfield University. Students are encouraged to meet with their overseas advisor should they have any difficulty or need assistance. Transcripts from the semester abroad will take 8 – 10 weeks after the program end date to be sent to Fairfield, processed and uploaded into StudioAbroad as well as the students’ degree evaluation. More information about academics, and academic grievances can be found in the policies section of our website.

In Case of Emergency

Who to Contact

Your first point of contact while your student is abroad is Fairfield University’s Office of Study Abroad. During the semester, our office is open Monday – Friday 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM. During the summer, our office is open Monday – Thursday 8 AM – 4:30 PM and Friday from 8 AM – 12 PM. Our phone number is 203-254-4000 X 4332. Outside of office hours or during holidays, Public Safety is the point of contact. Public Safety’s phone number is 203-254-4000 X 4090.

The students’ first point of contact while abroad in case of emergency is the on-site coordinator. Upon arrival, students will receive the coordinator’s contact information. Though your student may reach out to you first, please encourage your student to immediately contact his/her on-site coordinator.

Banking Abroad

Students are required to travel with a credit card and are advised to travel with a debit card as well. Fairfield University has implemented this policy to ensure your students safety. In case of emergency, especially during independent travel, a student has the ability to quickly and easily remove themselves from the situation without worrying how much money is in their debit account. Visa and MasterCard credit cards are recommended as they are more widely accepted than American Express or Discover.

Fairfield University does not recommend one bank over another. Before going abroad, we encourage students to research their home bank’s rates concerning international withdrawals, and make sure that the bank is aware of their date of departure. Students should also inform their bank before every international trip to ensure the credit card is not denied. Be sure your student sets up online banking before going abroad, and checks their account frequently. Inadvertently, some students find themselves overdrawing their account due to forgetting to factor in the exchange rate and fees. Students are not advised to open a bank account overseas.

Cell Phones Abroad

Fairfield University requires that all students have a working cell phone with data plan while abroad. Students must have a working cell phone at all times in case of an emergency – using a cell phone over WiFi only is prohibited. Students are encouraged to research their American phone’s international plan. Alternatively, students may choose to purchase a SIM card upon arrival in their host country. Students’ international phone numbers must be uploaded to StudioAbroad within three days of arrival in country.

Medical Power of Attorney

Students should consider having a medical power of attorney prior to studying abroad. A medical power of attorney allows a student to assign an individual to speak on their behalf in the event the student is not able to make decisions for themselves. Students should consider connecting with a family lawyer to move forward with this process.

Legal Power of Attorney

Students should consider having a legal power of attorney prior to studying abroad. A legal power of attorney allows a student to assign an individual to make decisions on their behalf while they are abroad, specifically with regards to their finances. Students should consider connecting with a family lawyer to move forward with this process.

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act

The Family Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) provides for the confidentiality of student educational records at Fairfield University. Fairfield University may not disclose information in a student’s educational records to anyone without the permission of the student, unless disclosure is permitted by an exception set forth in FERPA, 20 U.S.C.A., Sec. 1232 et seq.

Following approval of your students’ study abroad application, your student will be given the option to complete a FERPA Release Form or to withhold that permission. By completing the form, the student is granting permission to Fairfield University officials to disclose and/or discuss the information authorized by the student on their FERPA Release form. Students are not required to submit a FERPA form; it is the student's discretion to decide whether or not they want to provide Fairfield University with this information.

For students who elect not to complete the FERPA Release Form, Fairfield University and the Office of Study Abroad will be unable to relay certain information to parents or guardians. In cases of emergency abroad, including hospitalization and student status during national emergencies, Federal law does allow Fairfield University and the Office of Study Abroad to release necessary information to parents or guardians.

A sample FERPA form can be found here:

As a reminder, all FERPA forms must be completed by the students online following their approval to study abroad.

Questions regarding FERPA and the procedures followed by Fairfield University to comply with FERPA may be referred to the Office of the Dean of Students. Information about FERPA can be found online at www.ed.gov/offices/OM/fpco.

Booking Flights & Travel Tips

Arrival and Departure

The program dates of arrival and departure may be found in the students’ StudioAbroad account. Please note the date of arrival is defined as the date students must arrive in country - not the day a student should depart the United States. The deadline for purchasing flights may also be found in StudioAbroad. When booking students flight with STA over the phone, make sure to mention that you are a Fairfield student.

The approved arrival window is posted in StudioAbroad. Students who arrive prior to the arrival date will not be picked up at the airport or have their accommodations available. No students may arrive later than the posted arrival date. Fairfield University and our partner, STA Travel, will arrange all flight options for each program.

Booking Flights

As part of the International Travel Policy, Fairfield University requires all students book their round trip flights through STA travel. 

For all Fairfield Center, Select and Exchange programs, students must fly into the designated airport, on the designated program start date and within the specified arrival times. For Faculty Led and Provider Programs students are required to follow the flight requirements of that program.

 

Students should not plan personal or family travel prior to the start of the program with the expectation of arriving by other means, at alternate dates/time, or with guests. Early or late arrivals are not approved. There are no exceptions to this policy.

Who is STA Travel?

STA Travel is the world’s leading student and youth travel agency, successfully enabling young adults to explore the world since.  STA works with over 700 universities to book international and domestic group and individual travel. They are the world’s largest travel agency that caters specifically to needs of students and faculty for over 30 years.

Why STA Travel?

  • ADVANTAGE OF STUDENT TICKETS

Student tickets are special contracts with very flexible terms and conditions.  We have negotiated with STA airfare options that provide the optimal airfare with all the risk management needs for changeability.

  • For example:  Need to change your flight? With a non-student ticket, you could be paying $300+ plus airfare difference or have to purchase a brand new ticket. With STA Travel, most of our student contracts allow you to change your flight for $75 + difference in airfare.
  • BOOK NOW, PAY LATER

STA Travel’s exclusive Airfare Deposit Program.  Guarantee your airfare with a nonrefundable.  Full payment is due 7 days prior to departure.  Click here to view/download the Airfare Deposit Program Flier

  • PERSONALIZED SERVICE

STA emphasizes personalized, high quality service and has a team of “real people” who are experts in booking flights and travel arrangements specifically for study abroad programs

  • 24/7/365 TRAVEL HELP
    • Available any time, the Travel Help department has access to all bookings created by STA Travel so they can assist in emergency situations.
    • Available via live chat or phone/skype
    • STATravelCares – comprehensive website for safety and security of STA’s travelers

Packing Tips

This list is not 100% inclusive; however, below you will find packing suggestions from former students. A good tip to follow while packing: DO NOT PACK MORE THAN YOU CAN CARRY BY YOURSELF FOR AT LEAST TWO BLOCKS.

A little bit of research will go a long way. Students should research what the weather will be like where they will be studying, so they can plan ahead and save themselves the hassle and expense of needing to purchase more appropriate clothing after arrival.

Students should ask themselves: How will climate and weather affect my activities? Will I need to bring an umbrella, swimsuit, or both?

Students who have studied abroad suggest packing certain items in a carry-on, and putting other items in checked baggage. Below are a few recommendations of what to pack where, what to leave behind, and what to buy abroad:

Carry-on Luggage

A note about carry-on items: Most commercial airlines now have new regulations regarding what you can and cannot pack in your carry-on luggage. Sharp items like razors and nail files are banned in carry-on luggage on most flights. In general, there are some very important items students will NOT want to pack in a checked baggage; rather, students will want to have them handy at all times and packed in a carry-on bag. These items are:

  • Passport
  • Visa
  • Tickets
  • Prescription medicine
  • Glasses
  • Any other official documentation
  • Credit cards, debit cards and cash

Students may also want to have a few personal items in a carry-on in order to make the trip more comfortable and enjoyable. Consider including items like an empty water bottle (to be filled after passing through security), a book, a toothbrush/toothpaste and a change of clothes and underwear in case of flight delay/cancellation.

Checked Baggage

Packing takes planning, and students will most likely pack and re-pack a number of times before they are satisfied. We suggest beginning this process early.

Packing can be a very personal process and it may be especially challenging if students plan to study abroad for a semester or year. Students may want to have as many comforts abroad as they have at home, yet they know they cannot bring everything with them. However, we like to remind our students that part of the reason they are going abroad to step out of their comfort zone. Therefore, they will have to prepare to make do with fewer things.

Not only do airlines have a baggage limit, but students will have a limited amount of space at their residence abroad. Most students acquire items while traveling, including souvenirs, clothes, gifts, etc. For this reason, we suggest leaving room in their luggage to accommodate these new belongings for their flight home.

Other Things to Bring

The following is a list of items students may not have thought to take with them abroad:

  1. Proof of Insurance
  2. Camera/Journal
  3. Prescriptions for the duration of the semester
  4. Dress set of clothes (for internships or formal occasions)
  5. A small gift for the host family (if applicable)
  6. Identification tags with the students’ contact information, attached both outside and inside the checked bag and carry-on bag
  7. Multi-county converter

 

What to Buy When You Get There

Students can buy many inexpensive items when they arrive at their destination. Students should consider buying items such as textbooks, shampoo, soap, and an umbrella upon arrival.

What Not to Bring

Students should not bring any sentimental items that cannot be replaced. For example, leave heirloom jewelry at home. Additionally, any appliances that generate heat (blow dryer, straightener, heated blanket) should be left at home. Even with the right converter, they will most likely fry out, or burn hair.

Returning to Fairfield

Transcripts

Transcripts from the semester abroad will take 8 – 10 weeks after the program end date to be sent to Fairfield, processed and uploaded into the students’ degree evaluation.

Housing

Students will be contacted by Residence Life while abroad to inquire if they require housing for the following semester. Residence Life will do their best to honor all room and roommate request. For questions regarding housing on campus following the students’ semester abroad, please contact Residence Life at extension 4215.

Course Registration

Students will register for the following semester while abroad. They are expected to know what courses they need to take prior to departure for their semester abroad. Students will need to take into consideration the time zone difference when registering. For questions regarding registration, students are advised to speak with their academic advisor or the Registrar’s Office.

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