Study Abroad FAQ

For many students, studying abroad offers a once-in-a-lifetime experience to travel and learn firsthand about another culture. For parents, it can raise many questions. Feel free to contact the International Office to talk more about the study abroad experience at ODU.

For Students

  • Students who study abroad are able to earn academic credits at ODU while experiencing a different culture. It does not hold a student back from their current goal: to earn a degree. Travel after graduation often provides less depth of learning, is less convenient and can be more expensive.
  • Study abroad can provide students with a new sense of independence and confidence after having overcome some of the challenges often faced while abroad, such as adjusting to a new culture, learning a new language, navigating a new city, etc.
  • Study abroad experiences indicate to employers that a student is able to be successful in environments where adaptability is necessary. A study abroad experience can be something that makes an individual stand out from other career applicants, and can give a student a competitive edge when applying for internships or full-time positions post-graduation.  

 In order to be a study abroad student with ODU, students must:
  • Have completed a study abroad application with all supporting documents by the deadline and be accepted by the International Office at ODU
  • Be in good academic standing at the time of application and remain so through departure date.
  • If participating in a co-sponsored program through our partner organizations, the student must have pre-approval of course credits from his/her academic advisor
  • Have completed any course pre-requisites (language requirements, etc.)
  • Transfer Students must have been at ODU for at least one academic year before departing for a study abroad experience
  • International students are able to study abroad, however, they must see the Director of the International Office in order to discuss this option.  

  • The deadline varies for each program. Please see the details page for the program you are interested in.

  • An ODU-Sponsored Program is a study abroad experience that is completely organized and executed through Ohio Dominican. These programs have ODU faculty and staff that lead the program in order to create a fun and interactive learning environment for the students.
  • A Co-Sponsored Program is one that is organized and executed by an external partner of ODU. ODU hand selects the Co-Sponsored Programs it chooses to endorse and will arrange for credit transfer before a student’s departure. Co-Sponsored Programs will often have participants from other U.S. and international institutions. ODU professors and staff will not accompany students on these programs, however, there is support for students while they are in their host country that is provided by the external partner with which ODU is working. 

  • For most semester programs, students are able to apply most or all of their federal and state financial aid toward their experience. This includes Federal Pell Grant, Ohio College Opportunity Grant, Federal SEOG, Federal Stafford and Parent Loans.
  • All financial aid arrangements must be made prior to leaving for the semester abroad.
  • For short-term programs (such as summer programs or faculty-led programs), you should consult with the Financial Aid Office to research your options before the program. It may be possible to borrow federal loan programs if you are earning 6 or more credits for the short-term program. There will be some institutional scholarships for students participating in faculty-led programs.  
  • Regardless of the program, students are responsible for all other program fees, deposits, insurance, airfare and overseas excursions unless otherwise noted. It is the student’s responsibility to make financial arrangements regarding these fees with the study abroad agency prior to departure.  
Here are some resources for finding additional funding:

  • A student must apply and be accepted by the International Office at ODU into an approved study abroad program.
  • A student must meet with the Financial Aid Office prior to leaving for study abroad program to arrange his/her financial package. 
  • A student must maintain the equivalency of 12 US credit hours (minimum) while overseas to maintain full-time student status and financial aid eligibility. 
  • If the student leaves the ODU campus before financial aid is disbursed for the term the student is studying abroad, he/she must make arrangements with a financial representative to handle the financial aid and/or scholarship checks coming through the ODU Business Office.  

  • Each ODU-sponsored program will have an account set up through the Business Office and all student participants will pay their program fees into this account.
  • Students will be given payment dates and amounts from the International Office and must make all payments in the Business Office. The student needs to let the cashier know which program he/she is participating in. 
  • Students will be required to pay a non-refundable deposit to secure their spot in the program. The remainder of the program fee will be divided up into multiple payments for the students. 
  • If the program is for academic credit, ODU tuition will be charged to the student as normal tuition would.  

  • If you are participating in an ODU-Sponsored Program, you will be enrolled in a supplemental travel and health insurance package that has been hand-crafted by ODU staff for the purpose of study abroad.
  • Once accepted into a study abroad program, you will receive a description of benefits and covered medical expenses along with an insurance card prior to his or her departure. You should carry this insurance card at all times while overseas.You will also receive information about your plan via email that you can share with family members.
  • If the student is participating in a Co-Sponsored Program, he/she will not be automatically enrolled in an ODU supplemental travel and health insurance program. Most likely, the Co-Sponsored program will include at least health insurance.
  • Students studying abroad in Co-Sponsored Programs can talk to the Director of the International Office about travel insurance and/or health insurance if not covered.   

  • For students who are engaging in long-term study abroad (a semester or more), it would be advisable to find a cell phone that works internationally. There are several different options for this and prices vary, so it would be wise to do some research before deciding which option would be best for your student. 
  • Many U.S. phones do not work on the same frequency bands that are used abroad. If you phone is able to be used abroad, you may need to ask your phone provider to turn on these capabilities. Be sure to ask about calling rates because though activating a phone in the U.S. is easier than finding a cell phone abroad, international calling rates are often significantly more expensive that domestic calling rates. Texting also has different costs when used internationally as opposed to domestically.
  • Students might have the ability to purchase or rent a cell phone for the duration of their time abroad from a company that is located in their host country. This is often less expensive, though it can offer a little added stress, as your student will need to navigate their first few days in their host country without a cell phone.
  • The ability to rent or buy a cell phone depends on the country. Some countries will not allow international students to purchase monthly cell phone plans. Many domestic cell phone plans students acquire are pre-paid. 

  • Arrangements for housing must be made with Residence Life prior to a student’s departure for study abroad.

  • Each student who studies abroad MUST have a current passport. Applications for passports can be picked up from and returned to U.S. post offices. 
  • Depending on the duration and location of a study abroad experience, some students will also need to acquire a Visa. This process may be complicated (though should not deter students from participating in a particular program).
  • If your student is unsure about whether you need a Visa and how to get one, visit the International Office for more information.

  • Be sure to request an official transcript to be sent from your host institution to Ohio Dominican. This will ensure that ODU will have record of how you performed while studying abroad and will ease the process of transferring credits. 

For Parents

  • Yes, you can visit your student but you will need to make separate accommodations at a hotel and will not be able to stay with your student.
  • It is highly encouraged that if you are going to plan a visit, that you do so toward the end of your student’s trip. This will help your student learn to adjust to his or her new environment and decreases the chances of homesickness. It will also provide a better experience for you, as your student will be better equipped to suggest restaurants, activities and sites to visit in his or her host country. 
  • Make sure to schedule your visit after your student has received his academic schedule for the term so that your visit does not conflict with exams, mandatory field trips, etc.

  • Be supportive and encourage them to find the program that is best suited for their personal, academic, and career goals. 
  • Assist them in making travel arrangements and taking care of all necessary paperwork including fee payments and passport and visa (if necessary) applications.
  • After your student has applied, encourage him or her to watch for important information via email regarding his or her application status, international healthcare information (if applicable), etc.
  • Be informed about the study abroad opportunities available at ODU, yet respect that your student and you may have different ideas about which programs might be best.  
  • Talk to the Deanna Shine, the Director of the International Office, about any questions or concerns you may have. Contact her at (614) 251-4646 or

  • There are many options for staying in touch with your student while they are abroad. Skype and Google can be used for video and/or audio talke for free if both parties have the programs on their computers.
  • If your student does not bring his or her own computer abroad, there are cafes where students are able to pay a low fee to use a computer and the Internet.
  • Because of time zone differences, email and text is a good option for staying in touch. 
  • In order to call your student on the phone, you will want to make sure that you are using the correct international calling code. Visit to learn the codes.

  • It's natural to get homesick even if your student has traveled before but you play an important part in their adjustment to living abroad.
  • First, encourage your student before and after their arrival in their host country to find ways to meet friends. There are often opportunities for students to meet other students in the same program or in their classes in their host country. This will help your student adjust to life in a new country and given him or her peers that understand and are going through the same process.
  • It is also important that you are conservative with your amount of communication with your student. Have fun conversations about what he or she is doing, but do not engage in conversations that are excessively long. This can sometimes be difficult as parents, as you are undergoing the transition of maintaining a long-distance relationship, however, a student’s homesickness will be exacerbated if they are concentrating more on speaking with friends and family back home rather than meeting new people and succeeding in classes.
  • Show your support for your student but gently push them to take advantage of the amazing opportunity to live abroad and encourage them to take full advantage of it.

  • A student’ transition back to the U.S. varies greatly depending on the individual. It is not uncommon, however, for students to experience some difficulty in adjusting back to their home culture.
  • Students who have studied abroad may return with different attitudes regarding their culture, other cultures and their place in the world. This is okay. Study abroad students have been exposed to new experiences and are sometimes changed by them, either intellectually or personally.
  • Students to return to the U.S. after studying abroad sometimes have negative feelings toward aspects of American culture. It is important that you are patient with your student while he or she adjusts and understand that these feelings should not be taken personally. It should also not be assumed that a student’s negative feelings may ever completely go away, however the student will likely find a place again in American culture after some time has passed.

Some students find it difficult to find other students who have had transformational experiences abroad and may feel as though others cannot relate to their new perspectives on the world.

If your student wants to maintain international learning experiences, suggest they:

  • Talk with the International Office about helping with study abroad orientations
  • Get to know international students at ODU
  • Read online newspapers from their host country
  • Begin planning for future trips abroad, whether that be another study abroad, work, internship or personal travel experience
  • Consider how he or she can incorporate what they learned into his or her future studies or career