Frequently Asked Questions
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.
Below are some frequently asked questions from families.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Before heading to the airport, sit down with your family and make a plan for how to get in contact upon your arrival overseas. Make sure that they have a copy of your itinerary and keep in mind that you might not be able to contact them immediately depending on how accessible internet is.
It is a good idea to buy a pay-as-you-go cell phone when in your host country. Most countries provide short-term plans that are flexible and affordable. Having a local cell phone is not only convenient and cost effective but can also be an asset in case of an emergency. Students may also decide to unlock their smart phone and use a local provider, or purchase an international plan. Whichever option you choose, it is very important that our staff be able to contact you in the event of an emergency back home or abroad. Please make sure to enter your cell phone or a different phone number in which you can be reached in case of emergency, into BentleyAbroad.
Enter all emergency contacts into your cell phone, such as the Office of International Education, Bentley Campus Police, on-site emergency phone numbers and so on. Emergency numbers differ for each country (usually not “911”), so learn the appropriate number for your destination.
Most host institutions have a computer facility that is accessible to study abroad participants. However, the facilities may not be as state-of-the-art or as readily available as computer facilities at Bentley. Often, you must pay for paper when using academic computer labs or photocopying machines abroad. You should take your laptop computer with you abroad, but you must have an adapter for the power system. You should check with Client Services regarding power requirements for your equipment. Adapters should be purchased before departure.
For students in possession of a Windows notebook supplied by Bentley, you should run the Study Abroad Activation Utility before leaving campus. (This does not apply to Mac users). This utility will convert your MS Windows and Office licenses, so your notebook will remain functional while abroad. If you do not run this utility prior to leaving campus, the Windows Operating System and MS Office Software on your computer will stop working after an extended period of time being off of the Bentley network. If you are reading this message after leaving campus and you forgot to complete this important step, please contact the Help Desk at 781-891-3122 or GA_HelpDeskResponse@bentley.edu.
If you have issues with your computer while abroad:
For hardware issues:
Please realize that Bentley is available to assist you with your computer related issues. However, due to shipping costs for which you are responsible, turnaround time, and customs clearance, sending your computer to Bentley for repair is not advisable. For guidance on how to troubleshoot hardware issues, please contact the Computing Services Help Desk by email or 781-891-3122.
For virus, software, and other assistance:
The Bentley University Help Desk is here for you even when you are thousands of miles away. Visit the Computing Services site, call at 781-891-3122, or simply send an email to email@example.com. If there appears to be viruses or malware on your notebook, these can usually be eradicated with Forefront which is already installed on your notebook. Please ask for assistance if you are unsure how to proceed.
Email is the official means of communication at Bentley. Therefore, you must check your Bentley account or forwarded account regularly. All students will have access to email facilities while they are abroad. However, it may take a few weeks to set up your email account, and you will not know your email address until then.
Travel away from host city
If you plan to travel while abroad, inform your family back home and your on-site coordinator. Leave them a copy of your itinerary or, at the very least, tell them when you are leaving, where you are staying and when you plan on returning. Make sure that your family, on-site coordinator and friends have your cell phone number or the phone numbers of places you will be staying. This information is vital in reaching you in case of an emergency. Update your profile on the U.S. Department of State web site if you will be traveling outside your host country.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
For most students, studying abroad may involve changes in lifestyle and require more financial planning. Even if you do not already budget your money in the United States, you should begin doing so to prepare for your Study Abroad program. Before departure, find out exactly what is and is not covered in the program fee. This will help you calculate how much will be needed for other purposes. Keep in mind that the cost of living varies from country to country, with currency fluctuations, and according to your personal lifestyle, so it is important to plan a budget individually. Some major expenses which you will need to account for include housing if not included in program fee, meals, local transportation, travel, mobile phone, books, personal items, and entertainment. Here are some helpful budget tips to get you started:
- Determine costs of daily expenses in the host currency. Refer to your program’s page on the International Education website and Cash Passport.
- Make weekly and daily budgets and stick to them. Adjust up or down in light of initial experience upon arrival.
- Quickly learn the value of the local money in relation to the U.S. dollar.
- Be alert to discounts and use student discounts with your student ID or the ISIC card.
- Take advantage of less expensive alternatives whenever possible. Cook meals (especially breakfast) and use student cafeterias, saving restaurants for special occasions.
- Plan entertainment and recreation around the availability of free, inexpensive and discounted events — on campus or in the surrounding community.
- Shop in street markets or major chain supermarkets, which are less expensive than convenience stores.
- When traveling, stay in hostels or in modest bed-and breakfast accommodations as opposed to hotels that cater to tourists and business travelers.
Bank cards and credit cards
Prior to departure, contact your bank to identify the international ATM networks that offer the lowest transaction fees for cash withdrawals abroad. Some large banks with international relationships offer no fees at certain ATMs. You should also inform your bank and any credit card companies of your upcoming travel plans. Give them details of your host country and any other countries that you might visit, as well as the length of time you will be out of the country. This should prevent holds from being placed on your account due to suspected theft or fraud. Make sure to note the daily maximum withdrawal limit.
The following website provides a useful tool for converting currencies from all over the world.
Please feel free to use this helpful budget template when planning your semester budget. Formulas have been entered in many of the cells to make your calculations easier.
You can view a complete list of eligibility and evaluation criteria for programs abroad here.
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.
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.
The Office of International Education strives to accommodate every student. Please contact your Education Abroad Advisor to discuss specific needs.
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.
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.