UMD: A Globally Connected University
Parent & Family Resources
Parent & Family Resources
Dear parents and family members-
Welcome to the University of Maryland Education Abroad community! We recognize the important role you play in shaping your student’s future and we invite you to consider how study abroad may be an integral component of your student’s undergraduate experience. As a parent of a recent UMD graduate who studied abroad, I can personally attest to the support my son received from his advisors and his college to work a study abroad experience into his four-year plan.
Studying abroad is about so much more than improving an individual’s future. It's also about shaping the future of nations and of the world we all share. These programs build partnerships and friendships that help us reach beyond national borders to find collaborative solutions to the great challenges of our time.
Our goal in Education Abroad (EA) is to ensure that you and your student will feel that study abroad is safe, accessible, and an essential investment in their future. We want to encourage you to be part of your student’s journey and decision-making and have identified resources to help answer questions you may have about the process.
I am confident that through our collective support we will encourage all UMD students to “think outside their borders.”
Dr. Leeanne Dunsmore, Director
Roles and Resources
While we need students to sit in the driver’s seat of the study abroad experience, we recognize that a strong community of support is essential for success. Students rely on parents, family members, friends and others to help them make informed decisions and be confident about the journey ahead.
We hope you will access resources available on our website and consult with our professional staff so you can confidently invite conversations with your student around their goals for study abroad and lend your insight and guidance each step of the way.
In addition to publicly available information, study abroad students also count on a range of additional resources and services:
- Study Abroad 101 and General Advising at the beginning of the process
- Professional advising services with regional and program experts on EA’s advising team before, during and after the study abroad experience
- MyEA - an online application portal where students complete materials, communicate with EA staff and access program-specific information
- Support from UMD’s Office of Student Financial Aid, including advising on how financial aid packages apply to study abroad cost of attendance and the processing of aid to cover eligible costs for study abroad
- Identity & Affiliation programming and resources to support students in thinking about how their social identity/ies can influence, impact, or be impacted by a study abroad experience
- Pre-departure and on-site orientation programs
- EA’s Risk Management Program, including the comprehensive international health insurance policy and crisis response for the duration of the program
At its core, study abroad is an enriching academic experience. UMD students satisfy degree requirements and stay on track for graduation while gaining a global perspective in their field of study. It’s easy to navigate our 400+ program options filtered by “Course Topics Offered,” and the Study Abroad Course Database presents syllabi and course evaluation information to help students integrate study abroad into their 4 year plans. EA and academic advisors work side by side with students during the program and course selection processes so that before going abroad, each student has a detailed academic plan and understands how credits earned abroad will apply.
Study abroad is an investment with academic, professional, and personal benefits that will last a lifetime. Proper financial planning is an important step in your student’s journey abroad and is achievable with support and resources from EA. We promote financial literacy to help students and families understand the cost of attendance for study abroad, which can often be comparable to the cost of attendance for a term in College Park.
UMD makes it easy to apply a student’s existing financial aid package towards study abroad. Financial support is also available through scholarships, including EA’s generous scholarship fund that awards $850,000 in need-based awards each year, and external awards including the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship for Pell Grant recipients. Education Abroad and colleagues in the Office of Student Financial Aid and the National Scholarships Office are well informed about these opportunities and available to coach and assist students through each step of the process.
Traveling overseas involves planning, and our experienced team is well equipped to assist students throughout processes such as obtaining travel documents, making flight arrangements, packing, coordinating housing, and arrival on site.
One of the first steps is getting a valid passport. This means an active passport with an expiry date that is at least 6 months after the end of the program. The passport application and renewal process are straightforward but can take up to 8 weeks so we recommend getting started with this process right away.
EA covers many other travel logistics in our pre-departure orientation program, which includes online materials and in-person sessions led by faculty and EA’s professional advising staff.
Health and Safety
Student health and safety are among the highest priorities for Education Abroad. We have a robust risk management program designed to equip students with health and safety tools and resources to be safe and savvy travelers and make healthy choices throughout their time abroad. Prior to departure, all students attend an in-person orientation that provides them with health and safety guidance and what to do in an emergency. Additionally, all students are enrolled in comprehensive international insurance and have access to a wealth of resources that direct them to local health professionals.
While we know that thoughtful planning and preparation prior to travel can mitigate many risks, we recognize that unforeseen events occur. We are equipped to respond quickly to health and safety incidents and are continuously monitoring information we receive from trusted, well-established resources about situations and conditions that might impact the health and safety of our students abroad. This includes giving UMD students access to AlertTraveler, an app that connects them with real time information if there is an incident affecting their location and allows them to directly connect with UMD crisis response staff in an emergency.
Student Experience Abroad
Once abroad, the student experience is shaped by a variety of factors—host culture, housing, program structure, and social identities. EA prepares students for a smooth integration into life in their host country and sets them up to navigate their diverse experiences abroad as they continue to build their own cross-cultural competence.
While program structure varies, on-site support is integrated into all of our programs to aid students throughout their study abroad experience. All students have an on-site contact and participate in an on-site orientation upon their arrival. UMD students also benefit from the continued support of campus faculty and staff in College Park, including their EA advisor who is available throughout the term to answer questions and offer guidance.
Education Abroad communicates directly with students, to ensure they have the information and support they need throughout the study abroad process. As university professionals, we adhere to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), a federal law that protects a student’s privacy in regards to their educational records. Due to these guidelines, we cannot disclose information such as admission data, billing, financial aid, housing, schedules, etc. without a student’s written consent. We realize that you may need information in these categories and encourage you to connect with your student directly to discuss your questions and concerns.
For more information on FERPA and student privacy, please visit the University of Maryland Registrar’s website. Additionally, the Office of Parent and Family Affairs can help you stay connected and engaged throughout your student’s UMD experience.