Office of Study Abroad and Outreach

Information for Parents & Caregivers

Studying abroad is an important component of educating future professionals. Deciding to study abroad requires research and preparation. The support of parents and family in this regard is really important. For questions or concerns, please contact our office.

Why Study Abroad?  

Studying abroad provides the opportunity to experience life in another culture and gain skills that would be invaluable in today’s world. Students completing a study abroad program return with a more mature perspective of themselves and a better understanding of the United States’ role in the world today. Study abroad alumni make new friends from many countries and also have the opportunity to learn a foreign language or improve existing language skills.

Successful completion of a study abroad experience makes a great impression on your student's resume. Having international experience is a big plus when entering the job market and being evaluated by potential employers. 

Programs and Opportunities

There are many exciting opportunities to learn while traveling abroad. From experiences in Asia to courses in Central America, through short term experiences to a whole semester abroad, you can learn by experiencing life and interacting with people from different cultural backgrounds.

Studying Abroad gives you an opportunity to experience what you would normally learn within the boundaries of a classroom by exposing you directly to the realities that are usually discussed in text books. Biology, natural resources, cultural diversity, recreation, all become real and present. To learn more view programs abroad.


Financial Support is available to help your student pursue a life-changing study abroad experience. There are many options available to fund study abroad. Students can make an appointment with the Study Abroad Financial Aid Advisor or with any member of the Office of Study Abroad and Outreach to successfully navigate this part of the planning process.

Health and Safety

Traveling abroad is an extraordinary and exciting experience but requires care and some planning. For participation in study abroad programs, all students are required to obtain:

  • health insurance with worldwide medical coverage
  • emergency evacuation coverage (no matter the country), and
  • repatriation coverage

If student carries the WIU health insurance, he/she will be covered for all of the dates of your travel with the study abroad program. If they do not carry WIU student health insurance, then can either sign up for WIU insurance for their study abroad term or purchase a supplemental policy through IMG.

Some countries may face various health and safety concerns to be aware of. Info is available online via the US State Department.

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA)

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) is federal legislation in the United States that protects the privacy of students' personally identifiable information (PII). The act applies to all educational institutions that receive federal funds, including Western Illinois University.

Additional info regarding FERPA and disclosure requirements by faculty & staff are available via a guide from WIU's Office of the Registrar. 

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