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Parents’ Guide to Study Away

A Parent’s and Guardian’s Guide to Study Away
The Global Opportunities (GO) Program prepares students to study away by providing advice and guidance about study abroad optionsGO Logo Horizontal, 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 and guardians 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: Students complete a cross-cultural experience that contains preparatory, experiential, and reflective components that enables them to:
  1. Demonstrate a complex understanding of culture including the ability to develop a working definition of culture
    1. Articulate awareness of differences and similarities between their culture of origin and the one in which they are immersed.
    2. Define and recognize ethnocentrism and ethnocentric assumptions.
    3. Demonstrate critical awareness of their own cultural values and identity.
  2. Recognize how their attitudes, behaviors, and choices affect the quality of their cross cultural experiences.
  3. Reflect on their personal growth, social responsibility, and the value of active participation in human society.GO emphasizes the learning that takes place on campus before and after the cross-cultural experience.
 
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 Own 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: My student has never been out of the country. What immigration documents do they need?
A:  All students traveling abroad will require a passport. Their passport should be valid six months after their return date from studying abroad. Students can consult the GO Office as well as use the website below to find required documents and local passport processing offices where they can submit application materials for the passport application: https://passports.state.gov/
 
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 been accepted to a program, they should not delay in applying for or renewing their passport.
 
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 Own Way projects in the U.S. and there are limited GO Long options available that may count for some students. 
 
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 Own 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 as well as various workshops 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: Are there any exceptions to the GO Requirement?
A:  Every Susquehanna graduate completes the GO requirement.  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 Achievement as early as possible in the planning of GO. 
 
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 GYOW 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.

Skype, Facebook Messenger, 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
 
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 their health insurance cover them abroad?
A: All Susquehanna students are required to have insurance during their study away program.  All students are automatically enrolled in the university EIIA insurance.  This insurance covers emergency medical care and evacuation.
*Students participating on a domestic program in the United States or outlying territories must secure and present proof of insurance before departure to the Global Programs office.
 
GO Long/GYOW students participating on a 3rd party program provider program, should contact their program directly for insurance coverage information, as more specific insurance may be required for VISA purposes.

Students participating on SU-in programs may be required to enroll in specific insurance for VISA purposes and this information will be provided to the student during the application process.  However, students who require ongoing medical care i.e. pre-existing condition may choose to enroll in GEO Blue Insurance for their time abroad. The fee is approximately $250 per semester (as of 2018). 

Q: Will my student need to receive any immunizations?
A: Immunization requirements vary by country. Students traveling to Europe, Australia and New Zealand typically do not need any immunizations.  Your student will be informed by their program what immunizations are necessary for their particular location, or to look at the CDC website for information on required and recommended immunizations.  For more information on country specific immunizations, please visit the https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/list/.  

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/GYOW 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: How should my student keep updated on current emergency events and travel warnings during their program?
A:  The US State Department’s Smart Travelers Enrollment Program (S.T.E.P.) sends registered travelers information about emergencies in country.
For GO Long/GYOW students:
All GO Long and GYOW 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 their program leaders.
 
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 APPLY TO GO application and completing the side-trips form. If students are unable to access the form, they should send an email to goprogram@susqu.edu 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 (goprogram@susqu.edu) 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 GYOW students: 
Student who participate in a GYOW program facilitated by a provider or hosted by a university will have the same resources as GO Long students.  Self-designed GYOW students must share their itinerary with GO Program before departure and follow the guidelines as outlined in the health and safety training.
 
Academic
 
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 typically do not receive credits for GO Short programs. However, there are 2-3 GO Short programs that are longer and the students will take and transfer courses during their time away.

GO Your Own Way- Some of these programs include courses that can transfer back for SU credit.  Others are experiential learning modules, research projects or volunteer experiences.
 
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 SharePoint/MySU site for them to access. All students need to have their advisor lift their registration hold and then register through WebSU before the deadline.
 
Financial
 
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.  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.
 
The GO Program has a list of study abroad scholarships available. An estimated cost sheet for each program is also available online. This cost sheet includes an itemized list of estimated expenses for budgeting purposes. We recommend discussing this with your student to confirm program expenses.
 
Students participating in a GO Short 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 Office notifies students of these grant awards, which are a percentage of the cost of whichever GO Short program they choose.
 
Go Your Own Way students are also eligible for the GO Grant percentage listed above, with a maximum award amount of $2000.
 
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.
 
When a student is accepted to a GO Short program and confirms participation, a non-refundable deposit ($500) and then the rest of the program fee is placed on the student’s Susquehanna account. If need-based aid (a GO Grant) has been awarded by Student Financial Services, it will appear as a credit on the account.
 
GYOW students submit a budget sheet to provide estimates for their program costs, which is reviewed by the GO Office and Student Financial Services. If need-based aid (a GO Grant) has been awarded by Student Financial Services, it will appear as a credit on the account.
 
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
goprogram@susqu.edu