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For families of MU students studying abroad

How soon should my student begin thinking about and planning for studying abroad?

Study abroad advisers suggest that students begin thinking about studying abroad about a year in advance. This gives students time to carefully consider and prioritize important components of a study abroad experience, including course offerings, financial aid availability and other funding opportunities, program length and housing options. For an overview of study abroad at MU, students are encouraged to attend a Study Abroad 101 session.

How do I know which study abroad program is best for my student?

Each MU student has a unique set of academic needs, cultural interests and other priorities. MU offers more than 250 study abroad programs in about 50 countries. The three main program types are:

  • MU programs are administered by the International Center or another MU academic unit and may be affiliated, direct-enroll, exchange, faculty-led or internship programs. These are generally the most cost-effective options and, in most cases, institutional, state and federal aid are applicable to program costs.
  • Non-MU programs are administered by universities or organizations not affiliated with MU. Student should review the guidelines for assessing a non-MU program and contact the sponsoring university or organization for additional information. Financial aid may not apply.
  • Independently arranged international activities is the category for students who have made individual arrangements to go abroad and obtain academic credit for activities that would otherwise not be credit-bearing. These activities may include internships, independent study, practicums, clinicals or research, and are generally arranged through the students' academic department.

What are the options for financing study abroad?

It is important to take into consideration all of the costs involved in a study abroad program. Federal, state and institutional aid can be applied to most programs. Study abroad scholarships are available through the International Center and other MU academic units, and most affiliated programs offer scholarships, some of which are specifically designated for MU students. There are numerous scholarship opportunities to fund study abroad offered through external organizations, including the U.S. government. Students are encouraged to attend a Financing 101 session to learn more about financing study abroad.

Does my student need to be fluent in the host country's language to study abroad?

No. Many programs do not require any foreign language background. There are several programs in English-speaking countries, as well as many English-language programs in non-English-speaking countries, particularly where the host country's language is not frequently taught at U.S. universities.

How will study abroad courses transfer back to MU?

Students are guaranteed to receive credit for courses they successfully complete abroad at a degree-granting, accredited university. How the courses will transfer back toward their MU degree program is determined through the process of completing the Course Proposal for Study Abroad, which is part of the study abroad application. If a student is enrolled in specific MU courses while abroad, the grades will appear on their transcript and count toward their MU GPA, which is the case for most faculty-led programs. If the courses taken are offered through a foreign university or affiliated program, grades earned abroad will not count toward the student's MU GPA.

Will my student's anticipated graduation date be delayed by studying abroad?

No. With careful planning, students can remain on track to graduate on time. Students should start planning early and work closely with their advisers to design the best course of study based on their degree requirements.

How will the International Center help my student prepare for their study abroad program?

All students participating on an MU study abroad program are required to complete an online general pre-departure orientation provided by the International Center. Orientation topics include health, safety, cross-cultural adjustment, financial aid and travel tips.

What assistance will the International Center provide to my student when they return from study abroad?

Students are encouraged to contact the center for assistance in transitioning back home after studying abroad. The International Center coordinates events to help students connect with others who have studied abroad and to share their experiences with the campus community. In addition, the center works with other campus offices, such as the Career Center and Fellowships Office, to assist students in leveraging the skills gained through their study abroad experience to apply for jobs, graduate school or scholarships.

Additional resources

Online resources

Hard copy resources