Why is global education important?

The opportunity to live abroad and gain valuable language abilities and intercultural skills may only come during your student’s university years. This may very well be the most important personal and/or academic decision your student ever makes! Among the most cited benefits of studying away are: increased self-confidence, increased maturity, enhanced interest in academic study, improved problem-solving skills, reinforced commitment to foreign language study, enhanced understanding of one’s own cultural values and biases, new career direction, and improved employability. 

When should my student start planning for study abroad?

The sooner your student begins planning, the better! Ideally, students should begin planning at least one year in advance, and should have their applications ready to turn in at the beginning of the semester prior to their semester/year abroad.

Will studying abroad keep my student from graduating on time?

Studying abroad does not automatically preclude a timely graduation. In some cases, it may allow students who wouldn’t otherwise be able to graduate in four years to do so. In other cases, studying abroad could potentially delay graduation, but early planning greatly reduces this possibility. In any case, study abroad is a very important investment, and the global mindset it fosters is certainly an asset for students entering the ever-more-globalized job market.

When can my student study abroad?

Beyond our basic eligibility requirements of full-time enrollment status and a 2. 5 GPA there is no one time frame that works best for all students; academic considerations and maturity level are just a few of the factors that determine a student’s readiness to go abroad.  

For how long can my student study abroad?

Students can study abroad for as short as one week through our Global Classroom Series Programs to as long as a full semester or academic year. Many students even study away more than once during their academic career! Please check out our program options for a full list of possibilities.

What can my student study while abroad?


While a student’s major and the semester during which they choose to go abroad play an important role in determining what courses they can take while overseas, the opportunity exists for students to take language immersion classes, electives classes, and/or classes that count towards their liberal arts core or major-related requirements. Many students have also started to complete their required internship experience abroad. For more information on internships abroad, please visit our internship programs page.

The staff at the Center for Global Education does their best to help meet students’ academic needs. However, in order for us to help students do so, students must invest in the planning process in order to find the study abroad experience that is right for them.

Does my student need to know a second language?

No. While many students choose to participate in language immersion or to take courses taught in a foreign language while abroad, there are several opportunities for students to take taught courses in English if they choose to study in a non-English speaking country. There are also many English-speaking countries in which students may study.

How does my student get credit from study abroad? What kind of credit will it be?

All academic credit earned through approved study abroad programs will be transferred back to Marymount upon receipt of a student’s transcripts from the host institution abroad. Credits will transfer as pass/fail (with the exception of Marymount faculty-led programs, which will transfer as letter grades A-F) and will not impact your students GPA, although the credits they obtain do count towards their overall credit requirements for graduation. Pre-approval of course selection by your student’s academic advisor is required prior to studying abroad.

Will grades from abroad affect my student’s GPA?

Credits earned abroad will transfer to Marymount as pass/fail and will thus not affect a student’s GPA as long as he/she receives a passing grade. Exceptions to this include any of Marymount’s short-term faculty-led programs, all of which assign letter grades just like those given for classes taken at Marymount.

What will the academic environment be like?

The academic environment of students’ study abroad experiences will vary greatly depending on their host country. Adjusting to cultural differences is an integral part of the study abroad experience, and academics are no exception to this. In many countries, for example, class grades will be based on one exam rather than multiple assignments and tests. It is important for students to remember that studying abroad is not just an extended vacation, and that just like at Marymount, they will get out of their academic experience what they put into it.

Where will my student live?

Students will live in an on-campus residence, a shared apartment, or in a homestay with a local family, depending on their preferences and on which program they choose. Each living arrangement has its own advantages and disadvantages. Some students will feel more comfortable living on-campus or with a local family, while others may wish to have a somewhat more independent experience in an apartment. For language immersion, homestay accommodations may be particularly helpful to a student’s language proficiency.

What are the admission requirements?

Admission requirements will vary for each host university. Some may have language prerequisites or course subject requirements, and some may have a higher GPA requirement than the minimum 2.5 GPA that the Center for Global Education requires. 

How does my student apply for to study abroad?

Encouraged your student to follow these steps once they decide they would like to pursue a global education experience.

How much will it cost?

Program costs vary greatly and also depend a great deal on the length of program and location. For example, students studying in Paris or London can expect to pay much more than students studying in a small town in Latin America.

Will my student’s financial aid or scholarship apply when s/he studies abroad?

Marymount University students who are studying abroad are eligible to use their Marymount University scholarships and financial aid towards the cost of their study abroad program. Students MUST be full-time, possess a 2.5 GPA or higher, and be participating on an approved study abroad program in order to use their Marymount financial aid and/or scholarships. There are several opportunities for students to apply for additional scholarship to cover the cost of study abroad. Please check our Scholarship & Funding Resources page for more information. Students who have completed a FAFSA should contact the Office of Financial Aid to discuss their aid packages.

What about my student’s health and safety?


Many parents worry about the safety of their study away students. Unfortunately, no one can guarantee a student’s safety on his/her home campus, nor while abroad. Common sense is perhaps the most powerful weapon against safety threats while abroad. For example, when walking at night or going to bars or clubs, it’s very important that students go in pairs or groups. Different alcohol laws may also become a safety issue if moderation is not practiced, so it is absolutely essential that if students chose to drink alcohol, they do so responsibly. Speaking the local language and avoiding obviously American brand logos may also serve as a safeguard against pick pocketing by helping students to blend in with the locals. The most important thing is to be alert and aware of one’s surroundings.

As part of your student’s study abroad program, he or she will be enrolled by Marymount’s Center for Global Education in a HTH Worldwide health insurance plan, as well as Travel Guard travel insurance, which provides service and protection in the event your student becomes ill or injured during the program.

The US Department of State Consular Affairs Website includes up to date information about country-specific safety concerns, as well as a new page devoted specifically to students abroad. Information about traveler’s health and vaccinations can be found at the website for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

How can I stay in touch with my student while he/she is abroad?


The frequency with which you contact your student will depend entirely on you and your student’s preferences. Skype is a commonly used method of communication between study abroad students and their loved ones. Computer-to-computer calls are free and purchasing Skype credit allows one to make calls from a computer or mobile device to a landline. Emails, Facebook, and even good old fashioned letters are also wonderful ways to stay in touch.

You may wish to establish a “communications plan” so that you and your student know when and how often you want to communicate with one another while they are abroad.

An important aspect of the study abroad process is for students to find the balance between staying in touch with their loved ones at home, and fully investing in their experience abroad. The downside of the easy communication is that it can be overused. That being said, Students should utilize communication resources without allowing them to detract from their study abroad experience.

What about “culture shock”?


Adjusting to an unfamiliar culture and environment can lead to culture shock. The degree to which study away students experience culture shock varies greatly, and depends on factors such as a student’s study away location, personality, and specific circumstances.

Furthermore, there are many stages of culture shock, and they can occur both abroad and upon returning home. We often refer to the “Culture Shock W”, as illustrated in the graphic below, to explain the ups and downs of culture shock.  

Culture Shock W

Parents and loved ones play an instrumental role, particularly in the culture shock and reentry shock phases. Confronted with a culture differences, students may begin to feel homesick and may feel frustrated with the host country’s culture. Most students then adjust and thrive in their host country.

The process often occurs in reverse upon a students’ reentry to the United States. Initially, they may be thrilled to be home, but later may begin to feel sad, frustrated, withdrawn, and “homesick” for their study abroad life. Parents and loved ones can support students during this process by listening to them, helping to remind them that what they are experiencing is normal, and by encouraging them to stay in touch with their friends from abroad and to find ways to stay connected to their host culture and language. Returning home does not mean losing or “packing up” study away experience. Rather, it represents a wonderful opportunity to integrate the knowledge, skills, and experiences gained abroad in your life at home!

What if my student has a disability and needs special accommodations or has other related concerns?

Students who are receiving academic accommodations at Marymount should be aware that a program in a foreign country may or may not provide the same accommodations. Discuss your current accommodations with the staff in the Center for Global Education so they can help to determine whether the program(s) you are interested in will provide the accommodations you have at Marymount. Before you leave, meet with the director of Student Access Services who can provide you with a statement of approved accommodations that would be granted at Marymount during the time you will be in the foreign county.