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Parent FAQs

Welcome parents!

We are glad you’re here. We know you are invested in your student and want you to know that we are helping them every step of the way. We hope that you encourage your student to actively engage with us throughout the application, pre-departure, and re-entry processes.

Below you will find a list of questions frequently asked of our office by parents such as yourself. Please take a few moments to browse the information and reach out to us with any other questions you may have.

Due to FERPA regulations, our office may not be able to provide you with specific information about your student’s study abroad plans, so please be sure to check in with your student regularly about information they may have received. 

Contact information for the Study Abroad Office can be found here.

Program Information and Application Process

Where can I find information on a specific NDG study abroad program?

Each Notre Dame Global (NDG) study abroad program has its own information page that can be found under PROGRAMS. Each page includes details about academics, housing, eligibility requirements, dates, and costs specific to a program.

How are study abroad applications reviewed for approval?

Study abroad applications are holistically evaluated and carefully considered. First, students must meet the eligibility requirements for the program they have applied for. Then the quality of the application essay, the caliber of the references (if applicable), academic fit, the student's cumulative GPA and the GPA in his or her primary field (if relevant), and language preparation (if applicable) are all carefully considered. Students must also receive approval from their academic advisors and advising deans in order to study abroad.

Previous or current academic or disciplinary offenses are also taken into careful consideration. Students on probation are not eligible to study abroad.

Are study abroad programs highly competitive?

Almost all study abroad programs have a maximum capacity. Some programs have more applicants than spots available.

While we always consider a student’s first choice first, attaining the privilege to study abroad demands careful preparation and application. Securing a placement in a designated study abroad program for a specific semester is not always guaranteed.

The selection process considers various factors, including academic background and how students articulate their motivation to study abroad on a specific program. Academic record, such as GPA, is not the sole factor of gaining acceptance to study abroad programs.

It is common for more Notre Dame students to apply to study abroad during the spring semester than during the fall. If studying abroad in either the fall or spring semester works with a student’s academic plan, it is advantageous for the student to be willing to consider studying abroad in the fall semester. Nonetheless, every semester, qualified individuals often secure the opportunity to study abroad in their chosen program.

What happens if my student is not accepted to his/her first or second-choice program?

Students who meet the eligibility criteria for studying abroad but were not accepted into a program are encouraged to discuss with an NDG staff member to explore other potential options that align with their academic goals. This might entail the student being flexible either in their geographical destination or the timing of their abroad experience (fall versus spring semester) or remaining on the waitlist should space in their desired program become available.

Students who do not meet the minimum eligibility criteria for abroad participation and are consequently not accepted into a program may consider reapplying in a subsequent semester or to an NDG summer program.

Is it possible for my student to engage in a study abroad program not affiliated with Notre Dame?

Students may be eligible to apply for a leave of absence to study abroad in a program offered by another college or university. They should explore this option with their respective advising deans.

They may not, however, take a leave of absence to attend international programs at institutions where Notre Dame offers its own study abroad programs.

Will the grades my student earned abroad be displayed on their Notre Dame transcript?

All coursework and grades earned at the host institution abroad will be reflected on a student’s Notre Dame transcript and factored into their GPA. The campus location on the Notre Dame transcript reflects that coursework during a certain semester was taken abroad.

Costs and Financial Aid

Are there fees related to the application?

NDG does not charge an application fee or require a deposit upon commitment to a program. However, if a student has committed to a program and later chooses to no longer participate, they are subject to our withdrawal policies, which include a withdrawal fee. Withdrawal fees increase substantially for students who withdraw near the departure date or after arriving on-site, and may include non-recoverable costs paid in the student’s name for tuition, housing, etc. Additionally, there is a $750 study abroad fee added to a student’s account for the semester they study abroad.

How much will study abroad cost?

For semester and year-long programs, NDG programs adhere to Notre Dame's tuition and on-campus room and board charges. This mirrors the cost structure on the main campus. This approach ensures that financial aid packages remain applicable to the student's study abroad experience.

Many foreign universities do not implement meal plans, which require students to either pay directly at university dining facilities or prepare their meals using shared kitchens in dormitories or apartments. In these situations, NDG provides students with modest stipends to help defray meal costs. Detailed cost estimates for each NDG semester abroad program are available on the respective program's brochure page.

The cost estimates provided on the study abroad program page do not encompass personal expenses, including air travel and entertainment. Airfare to and from the location is typically the largest out-of-pocket expense for students.

Does financial aid apply?

Yes, financial aid applies to NDG study abroad for the fall and/or spring terms, just as it would for enrollment on the main campus. With the exception of the work/study component, students' financial aid package remains the same whether on campus or abroad. Moreover, additional scholarships specific to study abroad are also accessible. For more information about financial aid to study abroad, it is recommended students contact the financial aid office.

Please visit the study abroad website for more information on costs here.

What are the discretionary costs of studying abroad?

Students should anticipate certain expenses before their departure, which may include costs for luggage, passports, visas, ID photos, required vaccines (if applicable), and travel essentials such as money pouches, power converters, and similar items. Students are also expected to have active cell phone service while abroad.

During their time abroad, out of pocket expenses can range from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars depending on location and students’ spending habits. The most substantial category of discretionary expenses often involves recreational travel outside of the student's host city. It is advisable to counsel students who are considering study abroad to start saving well in advance and expenses can be reduced by exploring nearby cities and local attractions.

Am I required to pay Notre Dame tuition and fees for the semester my student will be abroad?

Yes. The decision to charge home tuition is rooted in the fact that students studying abroad continue to earn credits toward their Notre Dame degree. And they will be able to keep their financial aid.

The University’s operational costs are fixed whether or not every student is on campus. When students choose to study abroad with a NDI sponsored program, they pay the same fees as a Notre Dame student on the main campus, plus a $750 study abroad fee. In return, the University covers tuition, housing, and international health insurance abroad and provides the student the full support of Notre Dame--deans, advisors, registrar, financial aid, and onsite support while they study abroad. Most importantly, students receive ND credit toward graduation while experiencing an educational opportunity that could not be replicated on the ND campus. The fees that are paid to Notre Dame support the university as a whole and there is no direct equivalency between the cost of attending Notre Dame and the cost of the study abroad location.

Health and Safety Abroad

Is it safe for my student to travel abroad?

While there are always risks involved in international travel, the University of Notre Dame has a dedicated international health and travel safety team, a comprehensive crisis management plan and insurance coverage that help navigate international travel safety. More information can be found here.

Engage your student in discussions about health and safety considerations, including aspects related to insurance coverage, emergency preparedness, and adapting to life in the host country. After your student is accepted for study abroad, comprehensive information on these matters will be discussed in pre-departure meetings. Encourage them to share this information with you.

What type of support is available for study abroad students with learning or physical disabilities?

NDG is committed to ensuring that students with learning or physical disabilities have the necessary support to fully engage in their study abroad experience. We collaborate with our partner institutions abroad to provide reasonable accommodations that enable these students to achieve their academic and personal goals during their time abroad. Students seeking assistance should register and work with Sara Bea Accessibility Services in the Center for Student Support and Care. The study abroad team collaborates closely with Sara Bea Accessibility Services throughout the pre-departure stage. Students with physical disabilities are responsible to discuss needs with program directors as early as the application process to determine if host institutions are able to accommodate specific needs.

Does Notre Dame International provide international health insurance for my student?

Yes. Study Abroad enrolls all NDG program participants in the GeoBlue insurance plan. The cost of the health insurance policy is paid by the University.

Is it advisable to maintain my student’s domestic (U.S.) health insurance while they are abroad?

Yes! It's important to ensure that your student remains covered under a health insurance plan while abroad to mitigate potential gaps in coverage. Re-enrollment in the domestic plan upon returning from the study abroad program might pose challenges. Moreover, in the event of a significant illness or injury necessitating ongoing treatment after the study abroad program concludes, the coverage provided by GeoBlue (the Notre Dame study abroad insurance) may not be sufficient.

What if my student requires prescription medication while abroad?

Advance planning is crucial as it's important to note that certain medications available in the U.S. might not be accessible abroad. To learn more about managing prescription medication while studying abroad, we advise students to speak directly with their healthcare provider. In the event that a prescription is illegal in a study abroad location, the student will need to work with their health care provider, insurance and International health insurance to find the right medication.

Communication and Contact

When can I expect communication from Notre Dame Global regarding my student's study abroad program?

While we make every effort to respond promptly to inquiries from parents/guardians, we do not typically initiate communication unless there is a critical health or safety issue occurring abroad. We expect students to communicate with parents. NDG Global Safety & Security supports the health, safety, and security of all NDG travelers by enabling safe and responsible international travel, mitigating risks to Notre Dame and individuals traveling, and responding to emergencies abroad. More information on Travel & Safety can be found here.

NDG staff are available to help during after-hours situations that pose a life-threatening emergency. It's worth noting that while FERPA regulations do not apply to foreign universities, it is uncommon and often culturally inappropriate for parents/guardians to directly contact foreign universities for the purpose of intervening on behalf of a student, given that students are recognized as legal adults.

How can I send packages and letters to my student abroad?

Usually all packages will need to go through customs and may be subject to the country’s tax. Please refer to each country’s guidelines on international shipments. Please note that medications and prescriptions cannot be shipped overseas and will be confiscated by the customs during inspection.

What is the recommended method of communication with my student while they are abroad?

WhatsApp and phones are the primary means of communication for most parents and students. WhatsApp offers free computer-to-computer communication and can also be used to make calls to mobile and landlines abroad. Other web-based platforms like Google Talk are also commonly used. We encourage you to develop a communication plan with your student abroad and decide on when and how often you will communicate.

Internet access will be available at the university or program abroad and, in most cases, within student housing. While staying connected with your student while they are abroad is important, recognize that their communication frequency might differ from their time on campus. Encourage them to fully embrace their international experience and not miss out on valuable opportunities by constantly communicating with family and friends back home.

Arrival and Departure

Will my student need to obtain a student visa before departing for their study abroad program?

It depends. In some cases, a student visa will be necessary based on the student's citizenship and the host country's regulations. Students will need to initiate the visa application process either through an in-person appointment or by mail prior to departure. Guidance will be provided by the Study Abroad Program Director. However, every student is responsible for their visa application. Students should contact their NDG Study Abroad advisor with questions regarding visa requirements.

Is there a group flight option available?

Notre Dame semester programs do not generally include group flights. Nonetheless, it's common for students participating in the same program to collaborate on travel arrangements, facilitating the possibility of flying together.

Will my student receive assistance at the airport upon arrival in their host country?

The availability of airport assistance varies by program. Some NDG programs will provide airport pick-up services during specified times while other programs will need students to arrange their own transportation from the airport to their accommodation using a taxi or public transportation. Students will be advised prior to departure.

Withdrawal and Re-entry

What is "reverse culture shock," and how can I support my student through it?

Upon returning home, your student may experience "reverse culture shock," which is similar to initial culture shock but occurs upon reentry to their home country. Symptoms can vary in intensity and might include minor illnesses, depression, withdrawal, and a sense of disconnection from campus life. To help your student through this transition, encourage them to engage in campus events, join relevant clubs or organizations, and seek support from resources

Is there a fee for withdrawing from a study abroad program?

Circumstances may change for students throughout the study abroad process and sometimes these changes may necessitate the need for students to withdraw from their study abroad program. Voluntary withdrawal from a study abroad program does incur a penalty. For detailed information, please consult the withdrawal policy.

Guidance for Discussing Alcohol & Study Abroad with Your Student

Alcohol plays a role in many students' study abroad experiences. As parents and family members who love and care about your student, it is important for you to discuss their expectations about drinking in advance. Here are some tips on ways to talk about this with your student. Alcohol & Study Abroad