Welcome Family Members
Dear family members,
Thank you for lending your support to an experience that may be one of the most exciting and significant events of your student's collegiate life. Studying abroad provides students an opportunity to engage with the world’s languages, cultures, and communities; explore issues of global concern; and better understand themselves within the context of the United States and the broader global community, all while earning academic credit toward completion of their KU degrees. We are so pleased that your student is exploring or has chosen to participate in an international academic program through the KU Office of Study Abroad.
KU study abroad advisors will work closely with your student thruoghout the application and admission processes and in preparation for their international experience. Admitted study abroad students will receive an electronic copy of our Study Abroad Pre-Departure Guide which addresses academic policies governing study abroad students; cultural difference and adjustment; health, safety and emergency management; and practical information relevant to the study abroad experience. In addition, students are provided materials specific to their programs and their destination countries, as well as links to additional resources available online, including the U.S. Department of State, Centers for Disease Control, and the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). Students also attend two pre-departure orientation sessions: one conducted by clinicians from the Watkins Health Services Travel Clinic (or a personal physician) and one conducted by the Office of Study Abroad. We ask that students discuss the information presented through these materials and at these sessions with their parents/guardians. We also encourage you to browse these resources and others available on our website and talk to your student to better understand the program in which they will be participating and the process, responsibilities, and benefits of study abroad.
As your student prepares for international travel, I want to assure you that the health, safety and security of students is of the utmost importance to everyone in the Office of Study Abroad. It is our highest priority in the development and implementation of education abroad programs. OSA staff members monitor safety and security alerts and updates on a daily basis for all of our program locations worldwide, consulting both private, institutional and governmental global security sources. Information is disseminated to students abroad as necessary, to ensure they are aware of events that pose a risk to their health or safety, such as a planned demonstration or protest, transportation strike, or the issuance of a consular warning. All student travelers are also asked to download the AlertTraveler App to the mobile device they will be taking with them on their study abroad experience. AlertTraveler provides students with country-specific information for their program location, as well as real-time alerts on events or incidents which may affect travel, health, or safety in the student’s location. Lastly, all study abroad students are covered by AIG Travel Guard Global Assistance Services, which provides assistance and support to students in a variety of unexpected or emergency situations. Dedicated OSA staff members are on-call and available to students and their families, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for emergency support.
As the date of your student's departure approaches, I would encourage you to consider getting a passport if you do not already have one. In the past, we have had times when a student has become ill or has been injured and the presence of a parent was desirable. While these types of incidents are uncommon, it’s certainly advisable to be able to join your student, if needed. Information on applying for and obtaining a U.S. passport is available at https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/passports.html. If you have a passport, please review your document to ensure it will remain valid for a minimum of six months following the end of your student's study abroad program.
Please bookmark this page as a handy quick reference while your student is abroad. If you have particular questions or concerns you would like to discuss, I urge you to contact our office.
KU Office of Study Abroad