We are excited that your student is considering study abroad. To help support your student, we encourage you to read through this site.
Before we address the logistics, it is important that you and your student understand that going abroad requires a significant number of forms and documents, as well as follow-up at various levels—Tufts, the host institution, and sometimes the host country’s government. It is not a “sign up and go” trip or an extended vacation. It is an academic, experiential, and personal endeavor that should help your student better understand and appreciate other cultures while gaining intercultural skills that will help them thrive. This type of exposure will provide your student with new global perspectives and invaluable hands-on learning to better navigate our globalized world.
There are many misconceptions about study abroad as an extended trip with a light academic load and few responsibilities. While study abroad is a cultural experience, it is foremost an academic one. As a member of the Tufts community, your student is responsible for knowing and following the policies of the University—including the Student Code of Conduct, Academic Integrity Policy, Community Standards, and all other policies detailed on the Student Affairs website—while on campus and abroad.
Please understand that if your student has a pending conduct case, they may be ineligible to study abroad which could have a financial impact (e.g., non-refundable program deposits, visa fees, international flights) depending on how far along they are in the process. The Office of Community Standards handles all student conduct cases and your student should contact them directly should they have any questions or concerns about a pending conduct case or probation.
Please also note that Tufts Global Education is not involved in this process, and we cannot discuss your student’s file with you. If you wish to discuss your student’s file, you will need to speak with your student directly.
Cultivating Student Independence
While your support can be helpful, we expect the student to be responsible for their own decision to study abroad and to take the lead on all communication for their international program. If they are half-heartedly approaching the program and relying on you or others to handle the application process and necessary pre-departure preparations, it may be indicative that your student is not ready to travel alone to another country. Preparation is key to a successful term abroad and we find that those who go unprepared often experience significant challenges throughout the experience. This is a good opportunity for them to exercise and develop the independence and accountability they will need to employ while they are abroad.
You and your student can avoid a lot of confusion and anxiety by taking the time to research the program location, program model, logistics, and costs. Every program is different, and every country is different. You should not assume that everything will be the same as it is at Tufts, or that the role of Tufts Global Education is to make the host institution run and operate the same services as in the U.S. Please encourage your student to reach out to our team early for individual advising. To help with your planning, please consider the following factors:
Housing options, program and university size, onsite support services, academic course offerings, and other services will vary by program. It is important that the student carefully reads the information provided by each program to learn what will be available when they are abroad.
Participants of Tufts Programs Abroad or approved external programs are eligible to receive academic credit from abroad toward their Tufts degree. However, Tufts Global Education does not have the authority to approve individual courses taken abroad to count in any specific way toward degree or major requirements; these determinations are made solely by the academic department(s) through which a student is seeking credit. It is important for your student to carefully review our academic credit policies before registering for courses abroad to ensure that they understand their role and responsibilities in successfully transferring academic credit back to Tufts.
Tufts Programs Abroad participants will be charged the standard Tufts tuition rate for that term, plus a program ‘comprehensive fee’ that covers room and board while they are abroad. Those who already receive Tufts financial aid may continue to receive it while enrolled in Tufts Programs Abroad.
External (non-Tufts) program participants will take a leave of absence from Tufts and will, accordingly, not pay Tufts tuition or room and board, but instead will pay the program provider or university directly for all associated costs. A ‘Study Elsewhere Fee’ will be assessed by Tufts to meet administrative costs associated with study abroad processes. Scholarships and grants from Tufts University will not apply to an external program.
Your student will not be able to travel abroad without a passport and it should be valid for at least six months after the program end date. If your student will need to apply for a new passport or renew a current passport, please do this immediately to stay ahead of lengthy processing times and avoid any complications. We recommend that parents and guardians also hold a valid passport in case of emergency.
In addition to the passport, your student may need to apply for a visa to enter and study in the host country. It is a common requirement to submit the physical passport to the host country’s consulate or embassy as part of the visa application; avoid scheduling any travel during this time as you will not have the physical passport until the visa application has been fully processed and returned to you.
Supporting Your Student Abroad
As students embark on a global experience, they will face new challenges in unfamiliar and distant environments—this is an expected part of experiential learning. We advise students to discuss how they will communicate with family and friends while they are abroad. They may wish to schedule regular calls or video chats in advance given the time difference; however, be prepared that they may not contact you as frequently as they do while in the U.S. This is common as they begin to explore a new country and culture. They need your support, but also the space to truly invest in the experience. It is understandable that parents and guardians may worry about their students’ wellbeing. We suggest that you first check in with your student and encourage them to speak with their local program staff or our Tufts Global Education team. If there is an area of significant concern, you may reach out to our team so we can work together with your student. Please be aware that we may not be able to discuss details and we will arrange a time to meet with the student and family together as needed. If it is an emergency, please see contact information provided below.
Health, Safety, and Security
Your student’s health and safety are of utmost importance to Tufts Global Education. All students enrolled in Tufts Programs Abroad or an approved external program will receive international travel assistance and medical coverage for the duration of their program.
Additionally, it is a law of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts that all students enrolled in colleges and universities in the state must be covered by a U.S.-based sickness and accident insurance plan. If your student is not covered under your plan or another insurance provider, they must be covered under the Tufts University Health Plan.
Please review our Health and Safety page for more information about medical insurance and your student's health, safety, security, and wellbeing abroad.
As part of our pre-departure preparations, Tufts Global Education provides each study abroad student with a copy of our Health, Safety, and Security Guidelines, which includes an emergency contact sheet, detailed insurance information, and a checklist of required pre-departure tasks. We strongly recommend that you request a copy of this document from your student prior to their departure for the program.
It is important that you and your student discuss and document your plan for emergencies before they depart for the program. Please note that you will not receive any information regarding your student unless you are a designated emergency contact.
In the event of an emergency abroad, your student should follow these steps as soon as they are in a safe location:
- Seek immediate medical treatment for an emergency. Call the host country’s equivalent of 911 as necessary.
- Call ISOS (you may call collect) or use the Live Chat function from your cell phone using Wi-Fi.
- If recommended by your program staff, call the local police as soon as possible to report the incident and get help.
- Contact the program director/staff so they can offer support and discuss next steps.
- If appropriate, your student may wish to contact the local academic partner for additional support and resources.
- Tufts Global Education Medford staff, in coordination with your program staff or with you directly, can offer support and resources.
Tufts Global Education
Mala Ghosh, Senior Director of Tufts Global Education
*Only use in case of emergency if you cannot reach ISOS.*
Tufts Global Operations
Additional contact information can be found in the Health, Safety, and Security Guidelines document; please request a copy from your student.
We encourage you to take a look at A Parent Guide to Study Abroad, published by IIE (Institute of International Education) and AIFS (American Institute for Foreign Study). It discusses how you can help support and prepare your student for a successful and impactful time abroad.
Do you still have questions?
We strongly encourage students to take ownership of their experience by asking them to:
- Review the entire Global Education website
- Attend a First Steps presentation online or in-person
- Attend program information sessions
- Schedule a one-to-one advising meeting with our team (after completing the steps listed above)
We also invite you to review these resources. If you still have questions, please empower your student to contact us so we can direct them to the relevant resources within Tufts Global Education, our partners abroad, or other offices on campus.