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For Parents

Choosing to study abroad is one of the best decisions a student can make, and we are thrilled your student is preparing for a semester, academic year or short-term study of new experiences, cross-cultural immersion, academic rigor and significant personal growth.  

Coastal Carolina University, along with over 180 other US educational institutions, has joined in the Generation Study Abroad initiative through the Institute for International Education to develop and support novel resources to increase significantly our students’ participation in study abroad.

Please talk with your son/daughter about studying abroad. Though we do everything we can to make the study abroad experience educationally and personally rewarding, the single best thing you can do to get your student ready is to talk about plans, expectations, resources and commitments. Encourage your student to dive headlong into it, but also make sure your student is that prepared for the realities of a different culture, with different expectations, attitudes and cultures.

Frequently Asked Questions

As a significant event in your student’s life, the prospect of studying abroad naturally raises a lot of questions for parents. We’d like to help with answers to the most common ones.

What are the benefits of studying abroad?

Students develop crucial life skills, maturity, and independence, and academic and professional attainment. Students returning from study abroad tell us:  

“In addition to the education I’ve received and all of the fun and wonderful experiences I’ve had, I also feel like I’ve changed as a person.  I feel more mature and more focused.” (Courtney Mullis, English Major, Fall 2014, Paris, France)

Our student survey indicates that the top reasons our students want to study abroad are:

  • travel and see new places
  • personal enrichment
  • greater awareness of world cultures
  • enhance job skills, increase job opportunities
  • increase independence and self-confidence

When should my student start planning to study abroad?

College students typically study abroad their second or third year for a semester and/or academic year, but the process should start well before then. Offerings including short-term programs (potentially available to freshman), and academic advisors and the study abroad office can help navigate the process as early as the first year.

A good way to start planning is to have your student download the free eBook, entitled A Student Guide to Study Abroad, published by the Institute of International Education (IIE) in partnership with American Institute for Foreign Study (AIFS) Foundation and made available to CCU students because Coastal Carolina University has joined IIE’s Generation Study Abroad campaign to help more students to be able to study abroad. You can download your free copy of A Student Guide to Study Abroad from any computer, phone, or e-reader.  Just have your student go to and select the file format that works best. Packed with user-friendly "how to" information offered in a fun and engaging style, A Student Guide to Study Abroad includes 100 practical, easy-to-follow tips and more than 200 real-life stories from students, advisers and professionals.  Written by three leading study abroad and career experts, this guide makes it clear that study abroad is more flexible, affordable and accessible than ever before, and that there is a study abroad option for just about everyone. The guide addresses the needs of all students as it offers targeted advice for students from diverse backgrounds and different fields of study, and addresses practical considerations related to topics such as disabilities, race and ethnicity, sexual orientation, and financial need.

Typically, how long are study abroad programs?

Programs last anywhere from one- week to a full academic year. Summer and semester-long programs are most popular. International internships can last for as short as a few weeks to as long as six months.

Does my student need to speak another language to study abroad?

No, students do not need to know another language to study abroad. Eligibility requirements for each program will indicate whether courses are taught in the host language.

Will the credits my student earns while abroad transfer to back to CCU to count toward his/her degree?

Yes, but students participating in a semester/academic year or affiliate program MUST check with OIPS before choosing a study abroad program, as requirements vary and pre-approvals of the courses to be taken abroad are required by your student’s college.  Courses not passed with an equivalent grade of C or better will not transfer into CCU degree programs.   We use World Education Services (WES) to identify equivalences. Visit their website at to determine what that means for the country in which your student is interested. 

All short-term study abroad programs through CCU are already offered with CCU credits attached to them and/or provide clearly noted preapproved transfer of credits from partners abroad.

Will my student graduate on time if he/she studies abroad?

Yes, with careful and early planning.  It is critical that your student consult with the study abroad office and his/her academic advisor to ensure courses needed are offered.  It is equally important that your student earn a C or better in the course(s) to ensure transfer credit.

You and your student might also consider our short-term program offerings, as many of the programs include specific pre-approved courses that satisfy specific degree requirements.  By participating in a short-term program and taking courses offered at a reduced tuition rate, your student may easily stay on academic track.

Where will my student live while abroad?

Housing options include carefully vetted homestays, student apartments and/or residence halls, and vary by program.  We work with the cooperating institution (for long-term programs) and with our faculty leaders and providers (for short-term programs) to make sure that ALL housing is safe, affordable and welcoming.   

How much does a study abroad program cost?

In general, the costs to study abroad are comparable to normal college or university costs. Programs range in price based on duration and location. But unlike programs in the USA, students are often not able to work for pay while abroad.  In cooperation with our institutional partners abroad (for long-term programs) and faculty leaders (for short-term programs), we prepare for each program an anticipated cost sheet, which is reviewed by the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships to determine eligibility for additional financial aid. This document is also a useful planning tool to help your family determine what to expect for that specific program.

Is financial aid available at CCU for my student’s expenses to study abroad?

Financial aid toward study abroad programs is available, but each student’s eligibility varies so it is important to seek the advice of the Financial Aid Scholarship Office. CCU also offers more than $30,000 in internal scholarships to support study abroad opportunities. Additional external scholarships are also available, including those for students receiving Pell Grants.  

Is it safe for my student to study abroad? 

One of the chief concerns students and parents have as they begin looking into studying abroad has to do with safety and security beyond the borders of the United States. While no one can guarantee the safety of students in any location (the United States or any other country) or eliminate all risks from traveling and studying abroad, Coastal Carolina University is committed to taking all reasonable steps to ensure that students are not placed in locations or situations that expose them to undue risk.

To that end, we carefully monitor the U.S. State Department travel warnings and public announcements and communicate with our overseas partners about safety and security concerns or issues. Further, we carefully monitor recommendations made by the Centers for Disease Control regarding health concerns worldwide and recommend that students follow these recommendations for their study abroad destinations. In addition to monitoring security, safety and health issues and concerns worldwide, we require that students be insured with health and travel accident insurance coverage (emergency, evacuation, repatriation). Each and every student who plans to participate in a study abroad program MUST participate in pre-departure orientation sessions which include information on safety, health, legal and cultural conditions in the host country. 

We’re Here For Your Student!

Regardless of the program your student ultimately selects, the Office of International Programs and Services is involved in each step of the study abroad process from initial inquiry to processing the transfer credits and everything in between…and after.