The decision to study abroad is an important one, and the Office of International Education encourages parents and families to support their student as they prepare for a time of exciting academic experiences and significant personal growth. At the same time, we understand that sending a son or daughter overseas can be a nerve-wracking experience for any parent. There are a number of ways that you can inform and prepare yourself, and your student, for this experience.
We encourage students to take responsibility for their learning experience, beginning with the selection of their program and the completion of the application process. Students learn a great deal of information about studying abroad and their particular program through our extensive orientation process. We encourage students to share information about their program with their family, but you will also find a great deal of helpful information throughout our website.
Please feel free to contact the Office of International Education with any questions you may have.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why should my student study abroad?
Study abroad gives your student a unique opportunity to add an international dimension to their education by gaining new perspectives on a variety of subjects. In addition, most study abroad students rate their experience as one of the highlights of their college career, and find that they undergo drastic personal and intellectual growth during their time abroad.
When can my student go abroad?
Students can participate in faculty-led international courses and summer programs (excluding internship programs) as early as freshman year. Most semester abroad students are juniors; however, many students study abroad during the fall of senior year.
What is my role in the planning process?
Showing interest in your son or daughter's pre-departure preparation can be a positive way for you to learn more about their program while demonstrating your support for them. Encourage your student to pick a program that meets his or her goals, instead of selecting a program only because a friend plans to apply as well. While gentle reminders and suggestions are fine, please resist the temptation to complete steps for your son or daughter. The preparation phase sets the tone for the remainder of the program, so students should become accustomed to working through issues and completing important documents on their own. This will not only prepare them to be more independent, but will also increase their feeling of ownership of the entire education abroad experience. Encourage your student to trust the local infrastructure of on-site coordinators and university personnel to help with the many challenges, small and large, that are part of any study abroad experience.
Does my student need to know a foreign language?
While some programs do require that students have a background in a foreign language, we offer many programs where classes are taught in English, even in non-English speaking countries. Many of these programs require a language course in the language of the host country.
How comparable will the host institution and services be to those at Bentley?
Most foreign institutions are quite different than their American counterparts in areas such as registration procedures, teaching and grading styles, accommodations, access to technology, and campus facilities. These differences do not indicate a lack of quality. Students should embrace and learn from such differences and resist the urge to make comparisons.
What will it cost to study abroad?
Please click here for a list of all semester abroad fees. Please note that individual spending habits vary widely, so it is difficult to provide an exact estimate of personal expenses.
Why do I pay Bentley tuition for a semester abroad program?
Bentley charges home tuition because students on study abroad continue to earn Bentley credit, not transfer credit, toward a Bentley degree. Students going abroad remain Bentley students and thus retain many of the services that they receive on campus (such as IT, advising, online library and research services, etc.) as well as additional specialized services particular to study abroad. Home school tuition for study abroad allows the broadest access to study abroad, ensuring that the financial aid package students have at Bentley will also apply to a semester abroad. Bentley financial aid is transferable to Bentley's approved partner and affiliate semester abroad programs. The policy of charging home tuition for study abroad is common among Bentley’s selective peer universities around the U.S.
What if my student needs to withdraw from the program?
In the event that your student must withdraw from his or her program, the student should contact the Office of International Education immediately. Please click here to view our refund policy.
Is there financial aid for study abroad?
If your student is participating in a Bentley semester program, he or she remains eligible for Bentley, federal, and state financial aid; however, depending on the program cost, his or her aid may be adjusted. If your student receives financial aid, we encourage that he or she consult with their financial aid advisor prior to going abroad. Regarding faculty-led programs, the costs of an embedded program are not included in the determination of Bentley need-based or merit-based aid; however, it is possible to consider loans for these costs. Please visit the Office of Financial Assistance and speak with a financial aid counselor to discuss these options.
How should my student handle banking abroad?
In most cases your son or daughter will find it most convenient to use credit and ATM cards. These cards will allow her or him to access funds from a home account and make purchases abroad. MasterCard and Visa are the most commonly accepted credit cards. Before your student leaves home, it is advisable to check with your bank or credit card company about fees for withdrawals and purchases made abroad. It is recommended that your student arrive in-country with some cash in local currency in case there are any problems with accessing funds in the first few days.
Health and Safety Questions
How safe is study abroad?
Our office works closely with our partner institutions to provide a safe and welcoming environment for all of our students. While no part of the world is crime-free (including the U.S.), we prepare students for common safety issues during the orientation process at Bentley. We strive to make students aware of the resources which will prove helpful in the event of an emergency.
What is CISI international insurance?
CISI is a required international insurance plan. It is not possible to opt out of CISI insurance. Please visit our Health and Safety page to learn more.
What happens if my student becomes ill abroad?
Students receive this handout about using CISI at their Pre-Departure Orientation meeting. Students who are enrolled in a similar insurance through their study abroad program provider will receive details on how to use their international insurance, although the process will be similar.
What should my student do if she or he has health concerns before or while abroad?
If your student has a chronic physical or psychological condition that requires on-going treatment, he or she should consult with their physician about the prospect of studying abroad. If your student is on medication, he or she should consult wtih their physician and insurance company to discuss the type of care they may need abroad and the best way to continue his or her regimen. Encourage your student to discuss these matters with his or her Education Abroad Advisor or another Bentley staff member.
What should I do if my student has a hard time adjusting to studying abroad?
All students experience some degree of culture shock while they are overseas, although many aren't able to recognize it as such until later. Common symptoms include homesickness, stress, frustration, and loneliness. These kinds of feelings are very typical, and they usually subside with time and effort. Although adjustment to differences in language, accommodations, social norms, academics, and more can be frustrating and challenging, it is exactly this type of adaptation process that makes an education abroad experience such a rewarding educational and independence-building endeavor. Reminding your student to expect such feelings before they leave and to approach situations with an open mind will help minimize the shock once they arrive.
It's also important to encourage your son or daughter to contact our office to discuss any last-minute questions they may have. Knowing the details will help students feel much more confident when they arrive in an unfamiliar place. That said, remind your son or daughter that they must be ready to deal with uncertainty and difference. Most students are bound to encounter some type of unforeseen obstacle along the way.
What are the requirements for studying abroad?
You can view a complete list of eligibility and evaluation criteria for programs abroad here.
What kind of classes can my student take abroad?
Our programs abroad offer a wide variety of coursework, but it is important to understand that classes offered vary widely from one program to the next. Some programs are more focused on language and liberal arts, while others offer only business classes. With approval, students may take courses abroad that can count towards their major, minor, or LSM.
How does Bentley process grades from abroad?
Grading procedures are not the same in all countries. In many programs, your student will not have on-going assessments, but rather will be assessed at the end of the semester (or year) in the form of a cumulative exam or paper. Please visit our Academic Policies section to learn more about how grades appear on the Bentley transcript.
Can students with disabilities study abroad?
The Office of International Education strives to accommodate every student. Please contact your Education Abroad Advisor to discuss specific needs.
Advising and Support Questions
How does the Office of International Education help my student prepare to go abroad?
We require all semester students to attend a mandatory general Pre-Departure Orientation during the semester prior to departure. At the Pre-Departure Orientation, we discuss topics such as health and safety, academic preparedness, and cultural adjustment. In addition, students attend a Program Meeting tailored to their specific study abroad program. Faculty members will conduct Pre-Departure Sessions for undergraduate faculty-led programs and GBEs.
What support services will my student have abroad?
On-site support services vary by program. Virtually all host universities provide an orientation for newly arrived students. These orientation programs may vary in length, ranging from a few hours, to a few days, up to a full week, and are meant to provide your student with an introduction to the institution, the culture, and the city in which they are located. The study abroad office at the host university is the first point of contact for students who need anything including university resources such as accommodations for a disability, counseling or health services, or simply where to buy a phone card.