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Family Resources

The Office for Education Abroad recognizes the important role you as parents, guardians, or family members play in supporting your student through the process of participating in an education abroad program.

MSU has been a national leader in international education for decades and it is our mission to provide valuable, high-quality and academically-sound programming to our students. Our dedicated staff looks forward to assisting your family through this journey.

Benefits of Education Abroad

In today's global society, an international experience has become an essential component of higher education. Education abroad enriches your student's academic experience by combining their studies with unfamiliar experiences.

They will live in interesting places, visit historically and culturally significant sites, examine artifacts they have only read about, and interact with a diverse population. Many students return having gained the following skills/benefits:

  • Heightened interpersonal and communication skills
  • Deeper understanding of other cultures
  • Becoming more adaptable, assertive, and independent
  • Closer relationships with fellow students and faculty
  • Confidence and self-assurance
  • New or verified career goals
  • Foreign contacts and networking connections
  • Readiness to participate in further international and new organizations/activities

Check out our program offerings


Student Budgeting

Before students begin looking at education abroad programs, we encourage them to calculate their current expenses to get an idea of their budget. It is important to compare ALL of their current costs to come to MSU for a semester. This includes:

  • tuition
  • books and class materials
  • food (meal plans)
  • housing
  • transportation
  • school supplies
  • daily incidentals

If your student receives any financial aid, calculate how much they receive to pay for the semester.

Deduct this amount from the costs you just calculated to come to MSU. This will give you the out-of-pocket-costs your student has each semester.

If your student works during the semester to help pay for school, calculate how much they earn each semester. Be sure to note that your student will most likely be unable to work while they are abroad because student visas generally do not allow it and the cost to get a work visa is more expensive then what they would be able to earn.

Scholarships and Financial Aid

The Office for Education Abroad offers scholarships to MSU students applying to any credit-bearing education abroad program. Some scholarships are based on a combination of academic performance and financial need; others are based exclusively on academic performance. Some scholarships have additional requirements.

Scholarships offered by the Office for Education Abroad

Additional scholarships are also available from on-campus sources such as MSU colleges, departments, and support units, as well as external sources such as national scholarships.

Other sources of scholarships for education abroad


Students may withdraw from a program at any time, but their withdrawal must adhere to the guidelines identified in the Statement of Responsibility which they signed at application. Withdrawals must be in writing from the student.  Phone calls are NOT an acceptable method for withdrawing from a program.

Refunds depend on when a student withdraws and will be subject to the Office for Education Abroad's Refund and Charge Policy

The Office for Education Abroad will help students consider alternative options if they cannot participate in their program of choice. Please encourage your student to visit our Advising Center for assistance. We are here to help!


Passports and visas

Once a program has been selected, students should apply for a passport if they do not already have one. Visit the U.S. Department of State website for the latest information on passport application and renewal policies. The MSU main Library also offers passport services to students. Walk-in and scheduled appointment services are available.

In addition to a passport, some programs may also require a visa.  Students should wait until they have been admitted to the program or received direction from the Office for Education Abroad before applying for a visa. Please visit the U.S. Department of State page for visas and for more information. 


Depending on the type of program your student has chosen, they may be making their own flight arrangements. Hold off booking any flights until your student has been accepted into their education abroad program and has received assurance that the program dates are confirmed. When booking, take into account the layover time, connections, and arrival times at the destination.

For Faculty-Led summer programs, your student will receive arrival instructions from program leader. For other programs, your student should check with the host institution or the Office for Education Abroad for arrival information.

Health and Safety

MSU is one of the few institutions in the country to employ two full-time persons dedicated to overseeing health and safety concerns, and responding to emergencies abroad involving students, faculty or staff. The Office for Global Health, Safety, and Security works closely with the Office of Study Abroad, the Risk and Security Assessment Committee, the University Physician, and colleges/ departments to prevent or minimize the impact of risks to MSU students and employees traveling internationally.

 OIHS supports the safety of Spartans traveling internationally by:

  • Providing 24/7 emergency assistance.
  • Monitoring international events and global public health concerns.
  • Developing emergency and crisis management protocols, travel guidelines, and the best health, safety and security practices.
  • Training program leaders and assistants in these protocols and best practices.
  • Offering mandatory pre-departure orientation and guidance for students going abroad.
  • Assessing risk for education abroad programs.
  • Coordinating international health insurance and political unrest/natural disaster evacuation insurance.
  • Informing university policy related to international travel, including the Travel Warning Waiver process.
  • Maintaining international health insurance and evacuation coverage.


Stay in touch

It is important to note that your student may not be able to communicate with you consistently while abroad. Students will be busy with classes or immersing themselves in the foreign experience – so do not worry if you do not hear from your student every single day. However, there are several options for communicating with your student during their time abroad:

  • Facebook
  • FaceTime
  • Google Hangout
  • International Phone Plans
  • Skype
  • Viber
  • WhatsApp
  • Zoom


It is not uncommon for students to become homesick during study abroad programs. However, homesickness can be part of the learning and growing process for your student. Please see the links below with useful information and tips on how to help your student.

Top Ways to Reduce Homesickness While Abroad

Homesickness While Studying Abroad

How to Avoid Feeling Homesick While Studying Abroad Over the Holidays

How to deal with Homesickness