We know you’ve got questions, and we hope this FAQ section is a good start. If you do not find your question answered here, please contact us so that we can get you an answer!
While the questions below are still relevant to any study abroad experience, we are constantly making adjustments as we face this coronavirus pandemic. Please see our COVID-19 Updates page for the latest information on our plans to support student learning and travel in these unprecedented times.
What is the one tip you would advise a parent whose child is studying abroad?
We have found that the most successful students abroad are those who take the initiative to work with CIS Abroad. We would advise that you encourage your student to work with directly CIS Abroad, rather than let you, the parent, call and ask questions on their behalf. While we certainly understand you will have your own questions and seek information that only a parent would want to know (and we welcome that), we ask for your support in helping your student be fully involved in the process of going abroad. Once they get to their destination, they will ultimately be the one responsible, and working toward that independence during the application process is an important step.
Will my student be safe while they are studying or interning abroad?
We recognize that safety is one of the most important concerns of parents with children studying abroad. We have carefully selected countries and universities that are considered safe and stable.
As part of the pre-departure orientation your child will be given an overview of the safety issues that you should be concerned with in the country in which they will be living. In addition, once our students arrive in country, they will go through an extensive on-site orientation where safety concerns will again be addressed.
We ask that as parents you consider talking with your child about your concerns for their safety. 99% of the time we find that common sense can keep students out of trouble while they are abroad.
Who is responsible for my student while they are abroad?
We do everything in our power to ensure your student is safe and healthy while abroad by providing comprehensive information for them before and during their experience. We also provide your student with an Emergency Information Card before they depart, detailing a number of in-country personnel for them to contact should they run into any difficulties. And finally, we have staff, on-site, to assist your child as they adapt and acclimate to the host culture.
Remember, all of the locations in which we have programs are considered as safe as or safer than the U.S. Although we do everything we can to prepare students and keep them informed of health and safety information, it is ultimately your student’s responsibility to follow suggestions and guidelines, just as it is their responsibility at home.
How are transcripts for the study abroad program processed?
Your student’s transcript will be sent to the CIS Abroad office upon completion of the program*. We will then send the official transcript to the study abroad office at their home university or department on their home campus which your child indicated on their application.
The university/department will review the results and send it to the appropriate credit authority on campus. We will send a copy of the transcript to each student as well. Please remember that the transcript must first arrive from the universities abroad and this will take anywhere from 8-10 weeks after the completion of the program. Yes, we understand that this is much longer than in the US, but because your child is a visiting student, the protocols to process a transcript take additional time.
*For Programs in Australia and New Zealand students will be given instructions on how to request electronic transcripts after their program is over. For data protection purposes Australia and New Zealand handle transcripts differently.
How can I get in touch with my child while they are abroad?
Students are encouraged to call home immediately upon arrival in their host country to let their family/friends know that they have arrived safely. Prior to leaving the US, CIS Abroad furnishes our students with their residential address so that you will have a place to send all of those “care packages!”
Another important consideration is finding the best time to call your student. To find out what the time difference is in the country they are living in compared to where you are located, please check the website www.worldtimeserver.com.
Also, we’ve found that most of our students really like the ease and cost of using Skype or Facetime to “call home” … if you both have a Skype account and a headset, you can chat for free!
What if my child’s financial aid loans are going to be disbursed after they leave?
It is not uncommon for universities to actually disburse a loan after your child has already left the US. When they are accepted into a CIS Abroad program, we will supply your child with a financial aid form that your university should complete and then send in to CIS Abroad. This form will tell us not only how much aid the student is receiving, but also when the aid will be disbursed and to whom.
If the aid will be disbursed to the student after they have left, you may be responsible for depositing the check and forwarding it to CIS Abroad. In order to have the authority to do so, we will include a “Power of Attorney” form in the acceptance packet.
What if the financial aid loans do not cover the whole cost of the program?
Upon receiving the financial aid forms from your university, as mentioned in the question above, CIS Abroad will review the forms, and then invoice your child for the difference in the cost of program and the loans they are receiving. Your student will be responsible for paying any difference in cost before they go abroad.
While my student is abroad, what should they do if there are questions or problems?
We are always a phone call or email away and will gladly assist students during the time they are abroad. We maintain a 24/7 emergency phone for overseas emergencies. However, due to time differences and distance we find that it is much easier for students to work with our on-site staff in-country.
Often, we have found that a problem can be resolved within minutes by working with the staff there as opposed to here in the U.S. Prior to leaving, we will supply your student with local and program-specific contacts and advise them on the best person to contact in a particular situation.
In addition to our CIS Abroad on-site support staff, staff at all our partner institutions are extremely helpful and accessible, so you can rest assured a team of people will react quickly to resolve any problem.
What is unique about the CIS Abroad programs?
A quality that sets us apart is the personalized support we offer, which is apparent in our personal service from the time your child starts looking for information until they arrive home again.
Furthermore, one of our goals here at CIS Abroad is to keep study abroad affordable for as many students as possible, so we strive to keep our costs as reasonable as possible.
Finally, CIS Abroad is dedicated to providing a culturally immersive experience for your child. We have carefully planned activities and excursions to help them get the most out of their experience while they are abroad.
We hope that you choose to work with us because we can’t wait to get to know your student and have them share with you what is the amazing experience of studying or interning abroad with CIS Abroad!
You might find it helpful to review the rest of our website. And we also recommend that you that you consider ordering “The Parent’s Guide to Study Abroad” as published by NAFSA: Association of International Educators. It is a very useful and helpful guide and many parents who have read it comment positively about it.