Parents & Family FAQ

General Questions

What exactly is education abroad?
Education abroad is an educational opportunity for NMSU students to complete components of their university degree program outside of the United States. Education abroad programs may include taking courses abroad, interning abroad, foreign language study, or conducting research at a foreign institution. Students can choose education abroad opportunities that vary in duration, field of study, location, etc.
What if I have more questions or need more information?
Be sure to speak with your student first, as they may have the information you are seeking. If you have any further questions, please contact NMSU Education Abroad at educationabroad@nmsu.edu or 575-646-5107.
What other resources are available to parents and families?

Selecting a Program

Will study abroad prevent my student from graduating on time?
With proper planning, many students study abroad and graduate on time. Students earn credit toward graduation requirements for most courses taken abroad. By frequently consulting and meeting with academic advisors, students can even study abroad for an entire academic year without affecting their graduation date. Some students study abroad multiple semesters and still graduate on time.
What is the best time within a degree program to study abraod?
Your student should study abroad when it best fits their academic planning. Students may not study abroad during their freshman year and most students study abroad during their sophomore or junior year. Have your student contact their academic adviser for recommendations on when studying abroad is possible. Note that studying abroad during the final semester at NMSU is not recommended and can delay a studentโ€™s official graduation date.
Opportunities to study abroad are also available to graduate students. Many NMSU education abroad programs are available to both to undergraduate and graduate students.
How can I see what programs are available?
Use the Education Abroad Program Search to see what programs are available. Click on โ€œAdvanced Searchโ€ to expand your search parameters.

Cost & Funding

Is studying abroad significantly more expensive than attending NMSU?
Study abroad programs may cost more than in-state tuition, but when factoring in such expenses as housing, food, and insurance, the cost of many education abroad programs can be similar to the cost of studying at NMSU.

Short-term and summer programs are almost always cheaper overall than semester programs; however, semester and year-long programs typically provide a lot more value per dollar spent because students can earn two or three times as many academic credits.

What types of financial aid or scholarships are available?
Federal, state, and/or institutional aid (e.g. Pell Grants, institutional grants, Stafford loans, PLUS loans, etc.) can be applied to the cost of education abroad programs. Review the Financial Aid section of the website for further information. Students who need additional funding beyond their Federal Student Aid eligibility may want to consider Private Loans. Researching Private Loans should happen as soon as possible, as they do require an application and credit check to be completed with the lender selected.

Numerous Education Abroad scholarships provided by NMSU, program providers, the U.S. government, and other external sources are available as well. Review the Scholarships section of the website for a list of scholarship opportunities.

Preparing to Go Abroad

What should I know about booking flights?
Review the Book a Flight section of the website for flight booking guidelines.
How can my student prepare to manage their health while abroad?
All students participating on a study abroad program are required to complete a Health Evaluation at the Aggie Health and Wellness Center or with their PCP prior to going abroad. The student will share pertinent information only with their medical provider, who will make any recommendations based on their assessment.
Are there any websites that can provide information on the country and culture that my student is travelling to?
Taking time to learn important historical and cultural information about your studentโ€™s study abroad destination is important. Below are some resources that provide country-specific information.

    • U.S. Department of State โ€“ Visa, passport information, country data by destination. Find Travel Advisory and Alerts for any countries you will be visiting.
    • Center for Disease Control – Health and immunization information.
    • CIA World Factbook – Provides information on the history, people and society, government, economy, geography and more for 267 world entities. World Travel Facts and One-page Country Summaries sections offer a quick overview of each.
    • Lonely Planet โ€“ Travel guide, buy the book or use their online resources. Learn about your city from seasoned world travelers. Their โ€œIN DETAILโ€ section provides helpful information, from the best places to visit, history and more.
    • Rick Stevesโ€™ Europe โ€“ Travel guide for Europe. Books, TV episodes (on demand), and online resources available.
    • OANDA Currency Converter โ€“ Track exchange rates for your countryโ€™s currency. Alternatively, you may prefer to download a currency converter free app on your phone. Pro tip: download the currency you will be using to the app of your choosing, so you can quickly calculate the conversion even when you are offline.
    • Foreign Newspapers – A directory of popular foreign newspapers

Health & Safety

How does NMSU promote safety through education abroad programming?
Education Abroad staff members understand that preparing for and participating on an Education Abroad program can be at once exciting and overwhelming, so we provide support and guidance to students in all stages of the journey. However, we also require that students take an active role in preparing for their experience abroad, and we expect them to be responsible and complete all necessary steps prior to departure.
Will my student have health insurance while abroad?
Comprehensive medical insurance is required for all education abroad program participants. Please visit the International Health Insurance section of our website for more information.
Who should I contact in case of an emergency?
Please visit the Emergencies Abroad section of our website for information about who to contact should a serious problem arise while your student is studying overseas.

Life Abroad

How can I communicate with my student while they are abroad?
It is important to note that your student may not have constant accessibility to communicate with you. Students may also be busy with classes, participating in program activities and excursions, or traveling. So do not worry if you do not hear from your student every single day. If your student is engaged in the host culture and study abroad experience, he or she will likely contact you with less frequency.

It is important to discuss plans for communication with your student before they leave the country. The first step is to plan when and how your student will contact you upon arrival to their host country. Please note, your student may not be able to contact you as soon as their flight arrives in their host city. It may take several hours for your student to deplane, go through customs, and collect their luggage before they are able to contact you.

It is also important to have a system in place for getting in touch in case of an emergency. What is the best way for you to get in touch with your student and vice versa?

There are several options for communicating with your student during their time abroad:

Is it okay to visit my student overseas?
Absolutely! Many families choose to visit their students while they are studying abroad, this is a great opportunity for you to learn about where your student has been studying for the last few weeks or months. We recommend that families plan to visit their students towards the end of their program so that they have time to get to know the city and have a list of things to show you when you arrive!

We also urge families to be cognizant of the program schedule, academic assignments, final exams and planned group excursions. Your student will need to fully participate in the program and should not expect to be excused from obligations on-site when families visit. Additionally, families typically may not join official program activities.

What options does my student have for managing and using their money while abroad?
Decide with your student how to access money for both everyday financial needs and emergencies. For the most part, students studying abroad secure cash by withdrawing money from an ATM using the debit or cash card they already use in the United States. ATMs are readily available all over the world and a studentโ€™s current debit or ATM card can be used abroad as long as the card is in the Cirrus or PLUS network (check the logos at the back of the card).

We also recommend that students have access to a credit card in their name for large purchases and emergencies. If your student has never applied for a credit card, they may need your assistance with this process. Research the different credit card providers and be sure to learn if there are any fees to use it abroad and obtain a pin that they can use to withdraw money from ATMs.

Make sure to inform your bank that your student will be using his or her credit and ATM card abroad to avoid deactivation of the cards for irregular use. Check with the bank to determine the daily limit of funds received. Many U.S. banks also charge a transaction fee every time the card is used on a nonbank ATM. You might want to inquire if this fee could be waived when your student is studying abroad or check with your bank to see if they partner with any international banks where this fee is waived. It is also a good idea to confirm the withdrawal limit. If the withdrawal limit is low, it may be worthwhile to request an increase.