Office of Study Abroad and Outreach
Frequently Asked Questions by Parents and Guardians
Why should students study abroad?
Because they will experience life in another culture, learn a foreign language or improve existing language skills, become more mature perspective of themselves, gain a better understanding of the United States’ role in the world today, adapt and interact effectively in an unfamiliar circumstances and enrich their resume.
How long is a study abroad program?
It depends on the program. Faculty led courses can last from one week to a semester; while individual programs can last from a semester to a year.
When can/should students study abroad?
Once they are completed 12 credit hours of course work on campus and their GPA is at least 2.5.
How much will studying abroad cost?
Studying abroad can be surprisingly affordable! The cost of the program varies depending on the type, length, and location of the program. A short-term program will typically cost the least, because of the short duration, although costs for faculty-led courses do vary depending on the number of students participating, duration and location. The cost of our semester programs can be comparable to or even less than a traditional semester on campus, however, there will be extra fees to account for like airfare and extra travel in country. It is important to know what is included in the total program cost (Airfare? Housing? Meals? Tuition? Insurance? Other?).
Can financial aid be used to study abroad?
Most forms of financial aid can be applied to WIU programs. A budget will be submitted by the Study Abroad advisor to the Financial Aid Office. The amount of financial aid awarded is based on the actual cost of the program, including travel, living expenses, passport, etc. Scholarships are available. For more information, see the Financial Aid Office website.
Do students need to speak a foreign language?
No. While we strongly encourage students to learn a foreign language, it is possible to take courses that are taught in English (even in countries where English is not the first language).
Is it safe to study abroad?
Much of the safety of the student depends on his/her ability to use good judgment and to make mature decisions. There are always risks with studying abroad, just like there are risks traveling within the United States. Western Illinois University will not allow students to study abroad in places with US State Department travel warnings.
Are students able to travel to other countries throughout the duration of their program?
Traveling depends on the student and the program. Many affiliate programs offer excursions within the country which are included in the program cost. Students on an exchange program may have the option to participate in excursions or travel independently.
How much spending money is needed?
The amount of money needed depends on the length of the program as well as the currency and exchange rate for the destination. Your student’s Study Abroad Advisor will prepare a budget as an estimate of what to expect. It is very important to know what is included and excluded from the program cost. Students are able to use an ATM in most places of the world. It is best to check with your bank ahead of time to see, if current ATM card can be used abroad, what charges may apply, etc. Opening an account abroad is strongly recommended for students studying for a semester or longer, but in some countries that may not be allowed.
Will there be an on-site academic mentor or adviser available?
Students participating in a faculty-led course will have a WIU professor leading the group. Most affiliates and exchange programs will have an on-site advisor/mentor as well.
What type of insurance is required for studying abroad?
All students must have health insurance for the entire duration of their program. Students may either purchase insurance through International Medical Group (IMG) or use the health insurance through Western Illinois University. Additional health insurance may be needed depending on the affiliate or program.
What are the housing options?
Housing depends on the program chosen. Students studying for the summer, semester or year usually reside in a dormitory, apartment, or homestay. For faculty-led courses, students usually stay in a hotel or hostel.