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Parent, Family, & Supporter's Guide to Study Away

The Global Opportunities (GO) Program prepares students to study away by providing advice and guidance about study abroad options, and the academic, financial and cultural issues associated with GO programs. While your student is an excellent resource for information regarding their study away program of choice, we understand you may have many other questions concerning their GO Programs. Below is a list of the most frequently asked questions parents, families, and supporter's have had about GO Programs.
General Questions
Q: What is GO?
A:  Our Global Opportunities (GO) Program is a central curriculum requirement unique to Susquehanna. Introduced in fall 2009, it grew out of the faculty's desire to challenge students in their understanding of and engagement with cultural difference.

Mission Statement: The GO Program guides Susquehanna students, faculty, and staff in cross-cultural experiences that academically engage them in our diverse and interconnected world.  

Learning Goals: Through completion of an off-campus cross-cultural immersion experience, students demonstrate a complex understanding of culture that enables them to:
1 – Recognize and reflect on their own culture, their ethnocentric assumptions, and differences/similarities between cultures.
2 – Recognize and articulate ways that their own identities and actions may be understood differently in various cultural settings.
3 – Describe how their cross-cultural experiences help them understand issues in different cultural contexts.
4 – Articulate how their own intercultural growth can enrich their personal development, academic development, and career readiness.
The GO requirement is flexible so that it can accommodate students’ needs. Students may participate on a Susquehanna GO Short Program (2-6 weeks during winter or summer break, led by Susquehanna faculty/staff), a GO Long Program (a traditional semester study away program), or a GO Your Way (two or more weeks in an internship, volunteer work or independent research in a cross-cultural setting) to fulfill their GO requirement. Student’s should consider their personal, professional and academic goals and discuss their GO options with their faculty advisor and the GO Office.

Q: Are there any exceptions to the GO Requirement?
A:  Every Susquehanna graduate completes the cross-cultural requirement through a GO Program.  Some students may need specific accommodations but there are GO options for every student.  If your student needs specific support or official accommodations, it is important to work with the GO Office and the Center for Academic Success as early as possible in the planning of GO. 
Q: My student has never been out of the country. What immigration documents do they need?
A: Due to the Real ID Act, students flying domestically will require a Real ID or a passport starting May 2025.

All students traveling abroad will require a passport. Additional information about the application and renewal process is here. Passports should be valid six months after their return date from studying abroad. 

Visa requirements vary by country and length of stay.  Students will be informed of the necessary documents by their program during the application process. We highly recommend that once a student has applied for a GO program, they should not delay in applying for or renewing their passport. GO is unable to provide visa assistance so it is important that the student connect with their program directly. 
Q: Are there GO program options in the United States?
A:  Yes. There are currently three GO Short programs in the U.S., and additional domestic programs are in development.  Several students have completed GO Your Way projects in the U.S. 
Q: What kind of student support is available abroad?
A:   All SU and SU-partner programs have been vetted to ensure that they can provide assistance and support for Susquehanna students while on their GO programs.  GO Short programs are led by trained SU faculty and staff who are able to support students while on the program.  All GO Long and some GO Your Way Programs have on-site staff who are knowledgeable about the destination of study as well as the challenges students face when studying abroad. Prior to departure, students are required to participate in a credit bearing GO prep course focused on cultural engagement. Each semester we hold various workshops and have resource materials that serve to adequately prepare them for their time away. Students will also participate in an on-site orientation when they arrive at their program to assist with their understanding of academic and cultural differences as well as practical and logistical concerns.
Q: Can I visit my student while they are on their GO Program?
A:  For a GO Long program, we suggest discussing with your student when their preference for a visit would be. The GO Office strongly recommends that family visits do not occur until the mid-way point of a student’s experience. This allows your student to get adjusted in their new setting and they will be able to share with you places they’ve enjoyed, sites that are significant to them and introduce you to their new friends.  Please note, some programs do not allow for overnight guests in students’ accommodations. 
Visiting students on a GO Short and GO Your Way program is not possible. Some families choose to join their student after the program has ended.
Q: How can I communicate with my student while they are abroad?
A: We suggest establishing a plan for regular phone or e-mail contact. Please be aware that daily communication can delay the process for your student adjusting to their new culture.  There are a variety of ways to stay in touch:

Cell phones: Most students purchase pay-as-you-go mobile phones or devices while abroad.  Another option is to bring the phone the student uses in the U.S and get a local or pay-as-you-go SIM card in their study abroad country.  Be aware that some phones are region locked and won’t accept SIM cards in countries outside of the US.  You can find out if your phone is region locked by taking it to your cellular service provider store.  In many countries, there is no fee for incoming calls but outgoing international calls are expensive.

iMessenger, Whatsapp, GroupMe, Viber, WeChat, Tango, Line and Google Video Chat:   All of these programs support free text, call and video chat internationally when using wi-fi. Skype allows users to make telephone calls over the Internet to other Skype users free of charge and to landlines and cell phones for a fee.

Mail: Your student will be informed of their mailing address and will be able to tell you where and how packages and mail should be sent.  Please be aware that some institutions in other countries charge students a fee for receiving international mail. 

*Please note that Internet access varies by location, in many locations Internet access may not be as reliable as it is in the U.S. Some programs do not have free internet in the accommodations but it is available at either the university or the program’s study center.
Health and Safety
We hold our students’ health and safety in the highest regard. All programs provide information about required immunizations as well as local health and safety conditions. Security is a priority in both the accommodations and classroom environments. Along with the thorough review of health and safety concerns conducted by the GO Program, the students are informed of how they may ensure their health and safety while participating in the program.
Q: What health insurance is available to cover my student while s/he is abroad?
A: All Susquehanna students are required to have insurance coverage during their study away program.  This is different depending on the program type, duration and program provider. 

All students are automatically enrolled in the university's EIIA international emergency insurance. EIIA insurance covers emergency medical care, evacuation, and repatriation. If a student needs to use EIIA' international emergency insurance, they should also contact, as outlined in the What to Do in an Emergency during GO - Students page. 
*Students participating on a domestic program in the United States or outlying territories must secure and present proof of medical insurance before departure to the Global Programs office. 

Some domestic insurance plans will cover students during their international travel - please contact your personal insurance to find out about your coverage internationally. 

GO Long and GO Your Way students participating on a 3rd party program provider program should contact their program provider directly for insurance coverage information. Most 3rd party program providers automatically include insurance for the program within their fees. 

GO Long students participating on SU-in programs may be required to enroll in specific insurance for VISA purposes; this information will be provided to the student during the application process (the semester prior to departure). Students who require ongoing medical care (i.e. pre-existing condition) may choose to enroll in a short-term International Insurance for their time abroad. The SU contact for enrollment is Francia Moyer ( There is an additional fee for this short-term coverage; the fee was approx. $60 per month (as of Fall 2022). 

Q: Will my student need to receive any immunizations?
A: Immunization requirements vary by country. Your student may be informed by their program what immunizations are necessary for their particular location. We recommend that students contact their primary care physician and look at the CDC website for information on required and recommended immunizations.  For more information on country specific immunizations, please visit the  

Q: How does Susquehanna make decisions about its study abroad programs?
A: As part of normal protocol, we continuously review information from the U.S. Department of StateCenter for Disease Control (CDC)World Health Organization (WHO), Risk Management and Security Advisors, news accounts, and our local partners in all countries where our students travel. GO staff receives real-time updates regarding health and safety within the countries where we send students. We also are in at least weekly contact with our in-country partners.

Q: What training is required for students and program leaders before departure?
A:  The Office of Global Programs coordinates the following:
For GO Short students:
Student take a program-specific preparation course before departure with the program leader.  The SU faculty and staff program leaders have been trained on health and safety protocols prior to departure.  All students are given general country specific health and safety information during the course.  
For GO Long/GO Your Way students:
While students take a Preparation for Global Opportunities course focusing on general approaches to culture; they receive travel health and safety information during a required in-person training prior to departure. The professional staff leading the health and safety trainings have prior experience in risk management. 
Q: What if there is an emergency while my student is away?
A: The word “emergency” is broad in meaning; it can include any number of situations and number of individuals. Because of this, the GO office defines an emergency as the following: illness/injury requiring emergency medical personal, assault/mugging, sexual assault, arrest, missing persons, death, natural disaster, civil unrest, and catastrophic incident.

For emergencies and non-emergencies, students have received information specific to their program. Students should follow the guidelines outlined during the health/safety training and their orientations on site as well as "What to Do in an Emergency during GO - Students".

Families should follow "What to Do in an Emergency during GO - Families".

Q: How should my student keep updated on current emergency events and travel warnings during their program?
A:  Students should be in communication with their program contacts, as well as local news sources. The US State Department’s Smart Travelers Enrollment Program (S.T.E.P.) sends registered travelers information about emergencies in country.
For GO Long/GO Your Way students:
All GO Long and GO Your Way students are required to register themselves with the U.S. State Department's Smart Travelers Enrollment Program (S.T.E.P.) before departure and for each side trip during their time away, so that regular updates regarding safety and health abroad can be sent to them directly.

For GO Short students:
All GO Short students are registered with S.T.E.P. by the GO Program.
Q: What communication is required of my student while on program to SU?
A:  Students are asked to follow the specific steps below while on program:
  • SU students are required to alert the GO Program and their program provider of all regional travel plans during their GO program (side-trips) BEFORE departure by logging back into their GO application and completing the side-trips form. If students are unable to access the form, they should send an email to with their side trip location, dates, transportation, accommodation and contact number.
  • As noted during the health and safety training, when there is a safety or health incident in a student's region, country or city, they are required to check in with their host university and email the GO Program at ( to let us know that they are safe. 

Q: Who is the on-site contact for my student while away and what information is generally provided on site?
A: Each program has an on-site contact who is readily available to aid the student in case of an emergency however, the GO Program is available to, and in contact with, our students periodically during their time away.
For GO Short students:
GO Short program are led by faculty and staff and they are available 24/7 to the student on-site.  All programs have an orientation upon arrival, which covers logistics, culture, and health and safety on-site.

For GO Long students:
GO Long programs have on-site providers and staff who work directly with the students and provide emergency assistance, if needed.  All programs have an orientation upon arrival, which covers logistics, culture, and health and safety on-site.

For GO Your Way students: 
Student who participate in a GO Your Way program facilitated by a provider or hosted by a university will have the same resources as GO Long students. Self-designed GO Your Way students must share their itinerary with GO Program before departure and follow the guidelines as outlined in the health and safety training.

Please contact the GO Program directly by emailing or by phone 570-372-4697 with additional questions or concerns.  
The GO Office considers our students’ health its top priority. Security is a priority in both accommodations and classroom environments abroad. GO Office staff are available to answer questions concerning health and safety and students will be provided detailed information about health and safety abroad in the required pre-departure programming.
Q: Will the courses my student takes abroad count for credit at SU?
A: Yes. While studying away is a personally and professionally rewarding experience, it is first and foremost an academic program. The GO requirement includes a pre-departure and return course that count for a combined 2 credits.  These courses are taken the semester prior to and after the program respectively.
GO Long students complete a pre-approval process the semester before they depart to determine if the courses they take will count for major, minor, Central Curriculum credits or as an elective. Department Head approval is necessary for the courses to fulfill major/minor requirements. SU will transfer only the number of credits they earn (e.g. exactly the number of credits that appear on the transcript) in courses where a C- or higher is earned.  Most GO Long transfer credit will not affect a student’s SU GPA.
GO Short programs are experiential learning modules that go during either winter or summer breaks.  Students do not receive credits for GO Short programs. 

GO Your Way- Some of these programs include courses that can transfer back for SU credit.  Others are experiential learning modules, research projects or volunteer experiences with no associated credits.
Q: If a student does a GO Long and is away during SU registration, how do they register for courses in the next semester?
A:  GO Long students will be e-mailed to remind them of the registration deadline and to give them information on registering. A copy of the course schedule is available on the Registrar’s myNest site for them to access. Students should work with their advisor about their academic plan. 
Q: What is the financial impact of study away?
A: For all approved GO Long programs, SU charges SU tuition and fees and students continue to have access to state and federal aid, as well as Susquehanna need-based and merit aid.  There may be additional scholarships available for their study abroad semester, GO Program has a list of study abroad scholarships available. Students are billed the program’s room and board fees in place of SU room and board. These costs vary by program. Travel to the study site is an additional expense. There are budget sheets for each program on the online brochure that will outline estimated billable and non-billable expenses for GO Long. These are updated prior to the commitment deadline for GO Long students. We recommend discussing this with your student to confirm program expenses. 
Students participating in a GO Short or GO Your Way program to complete the cross-cultural requirement are eligible for need-based aid (the GO Grant), based on a completed FAFSA and Expected Family Contribution. The Student Financial Services calculates the GO Grant during their first semester at SU.  GO Grants may be applied to cover a percentage (0-75%) of the program fee of any GO Short program. Please see the GO office for more details on how this GO Grant would apply to specific GO Your Way programs. The GO Grant is available once a student has an account through Students may only use the GO Grant one time. 
 Q: How does billing work?
A:  Students on approved GO Long programs are billed by Susquehanna University: SU’s tuition, activity and health fees, the amount of housing charged by the study away program and board (where applicable, some programs do not have set costs for board (meals) and students pay as they go).  Fees are billed to your Susquehanna student account on the regular SU billing schedule.  

Additional costs that are not billed by SU include airfare, students’ personal expenses, textbooks, visa and immigration fees, and any additional program fees for special courses, trips, or supplies.  Students are responsible for paying their application fee to the program, a deposit once they are accepted and a housing deposit (if applicable) to their program provider.  The program deposit will be credited to your Susquehanna student account at the time of SU billing. The housing deposit will be refunded by the program following its completion.

If a student withdraws after the commitment deadline, they are responsible for any withdraw fees from the host university/program and the SU $500 withdraw fee.
For GO Short programs the program fee is placed on the student’s Susquehanna account. GO Short billing occurs mid-semester during the semester prior to travel. If need-based aid (a GO Grant) has been awarded by Student Financial Services, it will appear as a credit on the account.

If a student withdraws after the commitment deadline, they are responsible for a Susquehanna issued $500 withdraw fee plus any non-refundable expenses that were made on their behalf, calculated as of the date of withdrawing from the program.
GO Your Way students receive a budget sheet from GO which provides estimates for their program costs. If need-based aid (a GO Grant) has been awarded by Student Financial Services, it will appear as a credit on the account. Most GO Your Way expenses are the responsibility of the student.  If the student participating in a program that SU has a billing agreement with, the program fee will be placed onto the student account. 

If a student withdraws after the commitment deadline, they are responsible for any withdraw fees from the host university/program and the SU $500 withdraw fee.
Housing – GO Long
Q: Where will my student live while they study away?
A:  Housing options vary widely; students may live with carefully-screened host families, university residence halls, apartments or housing managed by their program provider.  Students may live with other Americans, international students or students from the host country. The semester prior to departure, students will inform their program provider of their housing preferences.
Q:  Where will my student live when they return to SU?
A: The semester prior to departure, students are informed of their options and how to communicate their preferences to SU’s Office of Residence Life, which assists students in securing housing for their return.
How to Stay Involved
Talk with your student:
Through the GO Program and their program organizer, your student has been provided with the necessary information regarding application procedures, applying for a passport and/or visa (if applicable), housing, course transfer, etc. Consult with your student about questions you have about the program.  
Your student has the ability to add your email address to their GO Application, which will allow you to be copied on emails they receive. This is something that your student must complete.
Ask questions:

While your student should be your first contact for information about their study away plans, if you have questions our office can assist you with, please contact us!
Global Opportunities (GO) Program
514 University Ave
(570) 372-4697