Student and parent walking to an orientation event


Your son or daughter has decided to study abroad.

Study Abroad is an opportunity for your child to grow personally, interculturally, academically and professionally. Your interest and support may help immensely.

This guide is designed to help answer any questions you may have about the study abroad experience. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our office at any time.

Parents' Guide

It is helpful to be familiar with culture shock and the effect it may have on your child. Time abroad often begins with a honeymoon phase. During this period, students are generally excited to finally be at their program site. After facing the reality of unfamiliar university procedure, living in a different culture, the daunting task of living in a country where a different language is spoken, and living with new roommates or a local family, culture shock may set in. You may hear tales of frustration as well as delight. In most cases, your son or daughter won't want you to solve the problems, just to listen and be a sympathetic audience.

As a parent, it is difficult to maintain a level of emotional distance to your child's ups and downs. However, part of the experience of study abroad it is overcoming the challenges associated with living in a foreign country. Most students rise to new levels of independence. It is important for parents to avoid the temptation to become too involved.

It is also helpful to be familiar with reverse culture shock. Most students experience some degree of reverse culture shock and need some time to readjust to coming home. In some cases, students may experience a period of depression or a longing to return abroad. If you suspect that your child needs assistance in managing the transition home, UNLV students can access services from Student Counseling Psychological Services. Students from other schools should research similar options available at their home school. Your support, interest and understanding can be very helpful during this phase. It is important to remember than study abroad can be a life-altering experience and negative feelings usually last for a very short period of time. Most study abroad students that the time they spent on a study abroad program was the best part of their college years and it still affects their perspective on life many years later. Students longing to return abroad should consider the myriad of other programs UNLV offers. UNLV has many opportunities for returning study abroad participants.

Rights of Privacy Act of 1974

The Federal Family Educations Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 affords persons who are currently, or who were formerly, in attendance at the university as registered students a right of access to their "education records," which contain information directly related to such persons and the right to challenge the accuracy of their records. The act also restricts to whom the university may disclose a student's educational records without the student's written permission. The university's policy is to comply fully with all provisions of the act, and a detailed statement concerning the rights afforded current and former students is available, at no cost, in Student Enrollment Services. (UNLV Undergraduate Catalog, Fall 2004 - Spring 2006).

While are happy to answer any questions about our programs, the type and amount of information we can release regarding your child's participation in our program is limited. If you would like detailed information regarding your child's payment account, academic status, grades, financial aid, etc... your child will need to provide a copy of a completed "Power of Attorney" authorizing your to act on his/her behalf while he/she is out of the country. Power of Attorney forms can be obtained at most office supply stores, through on-line services or from an attorney.

The UNLV Study Abroad Handbook contains information about passports, visas, budgeting, financial aid, accessing your money overseas and many other topics.

Graduate Research, Independent Study, Independent Research, and International Student Teaching are all programs sponsored independently by UNLV. In these programs, students will receive information from the UNLV Office of International Programs and may receive additional information from the academic department cooperating in their study abroad experience.

Students attending programs offered by UNLV in cooperation with the University Studies Abroad Consortium (USAC) will receive information from both UNLV and . Information will be given on where to return documents. Or all information can be returned to UNLV.

Students who are not already students at UNLV may receive credit for USAC programs through UNLV. Most students who access USAC programs via UNLV are entered into our system as "non-admitted" students. Non-admitted students can still obtain transcripts and credit from UNLV. Non-admitted students are not eligible to receive financial aid from UNLV. Students need to apply for financial aid through UNLV need to apply for admission to UNLV. Students needing to become admitted will apply as regular transfer students and supply all of the required documentation listed for UNLV Admissions. Not submitting all of the required documentation to UNLV will result in admission being denied. Student who fail to become admitted to UNLV are not eligible to receive financial aid from UNLV.

It is the student's responsibility to complete and return all required documents in a timely manner. Failure to do so may result in being administratively withdrawn from the program, not receiving credit for the program, and/or being denied financial aid/and or scholarships. Any required documents must be returned to the appropriate UNLV department at least 30 days in advance (or there may be earlier deadlines for specific forms).

Each student is given contact information for themselves while they areat the program site. You should keep a copy of the contact information, including the phone number and email address of the on-site program director. Many student purchase pre-paid cellular phones or prepaid calling cards at their program site. Many parents check with their long distance phone service carrier to determine the best rate plan for calling the country(ies) the student is planning to visit. Students can contact a student who has previous attended the program by contacting USAC for a list toll free 1-866-404-USAC. Previous participants can advise new students on the easiest and cheapest ways to stay in contact from that particular program site. Students will also obtain information done during the orientation provided when they reach the program site. Parents should not be alarmed if their child does not call them the day they arrive at the program site. Jet lag, time differences, unfamiliar phone systems, the excitement of arriving, and many other things interfere with a student remembering to call home. In our experience, no news is almost always good news. If you are concerned, please contact UNLV International Programs and we will verify that your son/daughter has arrived at the program site.

UNLV requires that all students who study abroad are at least 18 years of age, and therefore, adults. In the event of an emergency, we can only contact you if you are designated as his or her emergency contact. Discuss how you will handle any families emergencies that may arise while your son or daughter is out of the country. It is best to have a plan in place on how you can contact your son or daughter and how they can contact you in the event of an emergency. Remind your child that if there is any type of emergency in a country they visit, you want them to call home immediately.

If you will be providing financial support for your child, you should discuss how much support you can provide, and the when, where and how of providing money to your child.

If your child is a vegetarian or has other specific dietary requirements, it is important to realize that it is easier to maintain special dietary requirements in some countries than others. Happy Cow's website is a good resource for vegetarian travelers. It is helpful to research the country the student will be visiting to find out specific information regarding typical food and availability of specialty foods. In general, when traveling, flexibility is the key to happiness. When flexibility is not an option, research is a good idea.

All students should have a general physical, gynecological (women) and dental exam prior to departure. All necessary or routine medical and dental care should be completed prior to departure. If the student has any special medical needs, have him/her consult with the UNLV Office of International Programs. Our Study Abroad Handbook contains information on health issues, and documentation of prescription medications, as well as Health & Safety Issues while abroad.

If you or your child would like to explore recommended immunizations for their destination(s), information can be found at the CDC's website. The UNLV International Programs staff will not offer medical advice. Decisions regarding immunizations should be made in cooperation with a appropriate medical provider.

International Medical Insurance is required for every student who attends a UNLV sponsored study abroad program. Students participating in USAC programs are covered automatically by USAC as a part of their program. Students not on USAC programs should contact UNLV International Programs for information on UNLV's Mandatory International Medical Insurance. Students cannot substitute private medical insurance for the mandatory USAC or UNLV medical insurance.

It is helpful to be familiar with the baggage regulations for your child's specific airline. UNLV encourages all students to pack lightly and within the airline's baggage limits. If your child cannot carry all of their luggage, all by him/herself, all at the same time, he/she needs to lighten the load. Information on preparation and packing and a Pre-Departure Checklist can be found in the UNLV Study Abroad Handbook. Additional information on security measures can be found at the TSA's website.

Make sure your child understands the policies that will apply to him/her while abroad. Students need to understand policies regarding earning credit, enrollment status, financial aid, fee payment, refund policies, housing, student conduct, etc.

UNLV recommends that all students register with the U.S. Department of State prior to departure.

When contacting your child or on-site program staff, it is helpful to be mindful of time difference.

Your son/daughter must have a valid passport. If a visa is required, students must obtain the visa prior to departure. You should also have a valid passport in case of an emergency that would require you to travel abroad to be with your son or daughter. A passport is is official identification issued by the government of the country where you are a citizen. UNLV requires all students attending UNLV sponsored programs to have a valid passport. A visa is official permission from the country(ies) a student is visiting to be in that country for a specific purpose (tourist or student) for a specific length of time. Visa requirements vary by country. If the student is on a USAC program and a U.S. citizen, visa information is included in Update #2. All other students should contact UNLV International Programs for more information.

You and/or your child should research travel costs. Many USAC programs offer group flights. Students are not required to take group flights. Independent UNLV programs do not offer group flights. Depending on the program, students on groups flights may be picked up at the airport. Arrival instructions will be included in the USAC materials if there will be an airport pickup. Students traveling independently need to make arrangements to get from the airport to the program site.

Airport and Airline Information

It could be helpful for you to have some of the following information:

  • Contact Information For:
    • Your student (if housing has been assigned)
    • On-site Resident Director
    • Home office of the program provider (UNLV International Programs 702-895-3896 - we check our messages daily when the office is closed and/or USAC 1-866-404-USAC or 1-775-784-6569, USAC has a 24 hour emergency number. You can be routed to it via the main number if you call outside of business hours)
    • Study abroad office at the home school (if participant isn't a regular UNLV student)
    • Doctors who have treated your son/daughter in the past
    • Citizen assistance section of the embassy or consulate nearest your student's program
    • U.S. Department of State Office of Overseas Citizen Services
  • Insurance policy numbers and how to submit a clain
  • Your child's credit card numbers and phone numbers to call if cards are lost or stolen
  • Your child's passport number
  • Information on how to replace a lost passport while abroad
  • Program calendar

  • Request an absentee ballot if they plan to vote. You can do this by visiting the Federal Voting Assistance Program's website.
  • Filing income taxes
  • Pay monthly credit card bills
  • Prepare for the next semester at their home school including:
    • Register for classes
    • Arrange for housing
    • Prepare forms to continue financial aid