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Global Gators: Information for Parents

  • Why study abroad?
    • Studying abroad is an important component of your child's education for a number of reasons:

      • Employers are asking for international experience.
        A study abroad program is not only a great personal growth experience, but also a sought after qualification for today's most rewarding career opportunities.
      • Significant personal growth.
        Experience tells us that at least half of what students learn while away at college occurs outside the classroom, and that behavioral patterns learned in college persist through adulthood. Studying abroad is as challenging as it is exciting, and will present your son or daughter with an opportunity to question their ideas, biases, and behaviors, and see themselves in an entirely new context. Research on college graduates shows that those studying abroad are more confident, more engaged with foreign cultures, more likely to travel abroad in the future, more likely to become proficient in a second language, more tolerant of cultural differences and more culturally balanced than those not studying abroad. Some of these differences have been shown to persist for at least 20 years post-graduation. Although it may sound corny or exaggerated, studying abroad is truly a life-changing experience.
      • Cultural awareness.
        Today's professional needs to understand and appreciate how cultural, economic and social differences affect individuals, communities and society as a whole. A study abroad experience provides students with first-hand experience living among and working with people from different cultures.
  • What kinds of programs are available?
    • The UF International Center (UFIC) provides hundreds of study abroad opportunities to UF students on every continent except Antarctica; their searchable database can assist you in finding the right program. The College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) currently teaches 18 programs relevant to agriculture and life sciences, with topics ranging from food production to international commodities markets, wildlife conservation and engineering. The main page of this web site provides CALS program details. Programs range from 10-day study tours to full semester abroad programs.

  • What does my son or daughter gain academically from studying abroad?
    • Most programs offer 3 or more credits and do not require additional tuition payment (tuition is included in the program fee). CALS is the only college at UF to offer a minor in International Studies in the Agricultural and Life Sciences. For the minor, students must complete a total of six weeks abroad and 15 credits of course work, much of which is taken while abroad.

  • Will a study abroad program delay graduation?
    • Not if planned properly. All programs provide degree-accruing University of Florida credits. These are not transfer credits, and appear on the transcript exactly as courses offered in Gainesville. Your son or daughter remains enrolled at UF while studying abroad. The credits earned can be applied toward requirements or electives, depending on the major. The student's departmental advisor, the UF International Center, and the College Dean's office work together to ensure that the credits earned while abroad apply toward the student's degree and do not delay graduation. Most programs take place during spring break or summer, thus they do not present scheduling conflicts with core graduation requirements.

  • How much will it cost?
    • Costs vary widely depending on location, duration, and curriculum, but every effort is made to contain costs. Students travel for less on study abroad programs than they would individually because UF programs obtain discounts on lodging, airfare, and other expenses not available to the public. Short-term study tours, such as the spring break programs, typically cost about $1,500, whereas 4- to 8-week summer programs range from $2000 to $4000. Scholarships are available through the UF International Center, CALS, and other sources to offset the costs for qualified students. Financial aid, including Bright Futures or Gold Seal scholarships remain in effect because the student is enrolled full-time during their travel.

  • Who teaches these courses?
    • Courses are taught by UF faculty, faculty from the host institution abroad, or by faculty from other leading universities in the United States. We collaborate with top universities in the United States and abroad. Our program in Moscow, for example, is a partnership with Moscow State Agro-Engineering University, Cornell, Purdue and Penn State. Short-term study tours are all led by UF faculty.

  • What about safety?
    • Safety is our first concern. Students attend mandatory pre-departure briefings that cover the essentials of personal health and safety while abroad, emphasizing issues specific to the region. The UF International Center regularly conducts risk assessments of all programs, and can cancel programs in the event of unreasonable political or environmental risks to students and faculty. If the State Department issues a travel advisory while your child is overseas, we terminate the program and bring them home. We work closely with our host institutions to make sure that safe, secure conditions will surround the student's stay.

      All students must provide proof of international coverage on their health insurance, or purchase a policy that does provide coverage prior to departure. In addition, all students must purchase Medex insurance at $7 to $50, depending on the length of stay. Medex provides emergency medical transportation to the nearest class A medical facility if your child experiences any life threatening illness or injury while abroad, including transportation in a fully equipped medical airplane. The faculty member(s) leading the program always know where to get emergency medical attention. We provide the student with information about any required or recommended immunizations prior to departure, and most can be acquired through the UF Student Health Service at little or no cost.

  • What about passports and visas?
    • Virtually every country requires a passport for entry, and some require a visa in addition, especially for long-term programs. The Department of State has a web page for passports and visas.