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Parents & Families

We get it. Sending your student to study in a country thousands of miles away takes a lot of courage.

Rest assured—as part of the Bulldog family, your student will choose among programs with a reputation for safety and academic excellence, all the while offering the experience of a lifetime. 

Study abroad is one of the best ways students can grow as individuals and as adults. They’ll gain greater independence, maturity, self-confidence, the flexibility to adapt quickly and creatively to unexpected developments, and the ability to interact effectively with people from a wide variety of cultural backgrounds.  

All these skills will help them throughout their personal and professional lives. In our increasingly global economy, leaders in business, government, and academia are recognizing the importance of U.S. students gaining international experience and becoming globally competent citizens and employees. Study abroad is not only fun and exciting—it is an excellent investment, both short-term and long-term, in your child’s future.  

You no doubt have questions. Check out the Parent's Version of the Study Abroad Handbook, which covers several topics including: insurance, communication tips, packing, and safety. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What programs are available and where?

Drake works with accredited international institutions and reputable study abroad organizations to provide more than 200 study abroad opportunities in over 60 different countries. Visit Drake’s application portal to research approved education abroad programs.

Does my student need to know a foreign language to go abroad?

No, knowing a foreign language is not required. While speaking the native language of the host country would likely enrich one’s experience, knowing a foreign language is not a prerequisite to studying abroad.

How much do programs cost, and can my student use their financial aid?

Short-term summer and January-term (J-Term) program costs vary according to location and duration. Semester-long programs are often comparable to the cost of a semester at Drake and financial aid is available. The office of Student Financial Planning reviews each student's package individually. One hundred percent of your student’s Drake grants and scholarships may be awarded to Drake, Exchange, and Affiliate programs. All other financial aid (i.e., federal grants, loans, and outside scholarships) may be awarded as allowable at 100 percent. 

Drake also invites students to apply for need-based Global Learning Scholarships, intended specifically for students studying abroad.

Will my student be safe abroad?

Drake follows a rigorous risk-assessment process for its programs and works only with organizations that adhere to standards for safety and security set forth by the Forum on Education Abroad. In addition, Drake subscribes to an international safety monitoring service that provides worldwide updates. Drake has cancelled programs when security concerns justified doing so and has arranged for students to return home, transfer to other programs, or receive refunds within allowable limitations.

Will the credits earned abroad apply to my student’s program at Drake?

Yes, during the application process students complete a Course Approval Form which is signed by the student’s Academic Advisor and Dean’s Office to confirm how courses taken abroad will apply in the student’s Drake degree. Students can take courses abroad that will fulfill major courses, minor courses, and AOIs ("Areas of Inquiry").

How many Drake students typically go abroad and when is the best time to go abroad?

More than 400 Drake students go abroad each year, usually during their sophomore or junior year. It is important that students work with their Academic Advisor as early as possible to identify the best semester to go abroad.

What support services and resources are available at Drake for students planning to go abroad?

Drake’s Education Abroad Advisor works closely with students to select a program and country that best meets their personal, professional, and academic goals. The Advisor is available through the pre-application process, including preparing students for departure. Typically, on-site staff in-country assist students who are abroad. Drake’s Advisor then welcomes students back to campus after their term abroad is completed, and offers re-entry programming.

Will our insurance cover my student while they are abroad? Will we need to purchase additional or supplemental insurance?

Families should check with their insurance agent to confirm what medical coverage is available for a student that is abroad and how claims will be handled. Based on your family’s circumstances and the program your student chooses, you may also want to consider travel or trip cancellation insurance, renters’ insurance, or supplemental medical insurance. 

Additionally, many of our Affiliate Partners include medical and life insurance as part of their program fee. After your student selects a program, verify if insurance is included. If insurance is included, review what types of events are covered (illness, emergency evacuation, etc.), and at what amount these events are covered.

What can I do to help my student plan for their study abroad adventure?

Urge your student to plan early and talk to an Academic Advisor and the Education Abroad Advisor. Ask questions that focus on goals for studying abroad. Does your student want to improve language skills, have an internship, or delve into family history? Do they want to develop conduct research or immerse themselves in a new culture by living with a host family? Thinking through academic, personal, and professional goals before selecting a program will help enhance their ability to pick the best program for their circumstances and make the most of the opportunity.