We understand that parents have questions and concerns about their students going off-campus. Please know that we are here to help.
A Parent's Guide to Study Abroad
The Institute of Education Abroad and the American Institute For Foreign Study (AIFS) put together a great resource book for parents. It is available for free (as a PDF download) in English and Spanish. The guide covers the following topics:
- Clarifying the value of studying abroad
- Identifying the right study abroad program
- Figuring out the financials
- Staying safe and healthy abroad
- Preparing for success abroad
- Offering the appropriate mixture of support
- Helping your child leverage the experience for personal and professional success
You can check out the guide on the Institute of International Education's publications page: A Parent's Guide to Study Abroad
Affording an Off-Campus Experience
If going off-campus is a priority, there is generally a way to make it affordable. Early planning helps students make cost-effective program decisions, and it also helps them prepare through personal savings, scholarships, and financial aid.
For all approved programs for guaranteed financial aid transferability, students pay their Lake Forest College tuition plus a program fee. This fee varies by program, and GEO will help students find programs that fit their budget needs.
Though many programs are comparable to the cost of attending Lake Forest College, there is a great deal of variation in costs between programs, and student and their families should carefully consider all of their options before making a decision.
For all programs on our approved list, financial aid will apply. Additional scholarship aid may also be available through national competitions like Gilman or Boren, as well as the program provider. GEO staff will work with students to help them compare their options and offer assistance on their scholarship applications.
Benefits of an Off-Campus Experience
Studying off-campus is an opportunity to not only explore another place in the world, but also to gain many skills that will significantly enhance your studies and career. Some of the potential benefits of going off-campus include:
- Gain a competitive edge for resumes or graduate applications
- Obtain hands-on work experience in a multicultural context
- Relate classroom lectures to real-world situations
- Develop and improve language skills
- Gain an international perspective of the major
- Experience another culture – and develop a greater awareness of your own
- Become more self-confident and independent
- Expand cross-cultural communication and problem-solving skills
Other studies, such as the GLOSSARI project, have shown that adding an international component to one’s degree is directly related to graduating on time (within four years) and having an improved focus and GPA upon return.
We take this subject very seriously. We constantly evaluate the academics, service, and quality of life available in the off-campus programs offered by our study abroad program providers.
Each of our students is required to participate in a pre-departure meeting, covering issues of cultural adjustment, health, safety, and security abroad. We work with students to understand both the risks they face and the resources they can use when needed.
Risks are inherent in any study abroad program. We discern and broadcast risks so students can take the necessary precautions, and we alert parents to issues when necessary. However, there are events that are outside our control and responsible behavior by your student lessens the risks associated with being abroad.