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Frequently Asked Questions for Families

Life abroad

  1. Where will my student live while studying abroad?
  2. What is culture shock?

Finances and paperwork

  1. Isn’t studying abroad really expensive?
  2. Is financial aid available?
  3. What is the study abroad administrative fee?
  4. Does my student need international health insurance?

Staying in touch

  1. How can I ship personal belongings to my student?
  2. What if I’d like to visit my son/daughter?
  3. How should I communicate with my student during study abroad?

Student status issues

  1. Will my student’s credits transfer?
  2. Will my student graduate on time?

life abroad

  1. Where will my student live while they are abroad?

    Living arrangements vary by program. Check your student’s program page for more information regarding housing.

  2. What is culture shock?

    Culture shock is a term used to describe feelings of homesickness and other reactions to spending an extended period of time in a new place/culture. It can be characterized by periods of frustration, adjustment, and depression. For more information, please review Adjusting to Life in a New Culture.

Finances and paperwork

  1. Isn’t studying abroad really expensive?
    It depends on the location and duration of the program your student chooses. For some, it will end up being similar in cost or less expensive than a quarter at Northwestern. For more information on specific programs, check out our program profiles.

  2. Is financial aid available?

    Absolutely! Students participating in affiliated programs are eligible for financial aid. Please look at our Money Matters section for more information. 

  3. What is the study abroad administrative fee?
    This is a fee charged to all students who plan to receive academic credit (unless they are studying abroad on some Northwestern run programs or Northwestern exchange programs). This fee is in addition to program charges and covers all services related to the administration of study abroad at Northwestern University. For students on non-Northwestern programs, this is the only portion of the study abroad costs that Northwestern keeps.
  4. Does my student need international health insurance?
    Yes. See our HTH Health Insurance page for more information.

Staying in touch

  1. How can I ship personal belongings to my student?
    If you intend to ship personal items to your student, check with the program first and be sure to have the shipment arrive after your student. Specify that the package contains “used personal items” in order to avoid customs fees. Additionally, if you declare the value of the items, your student will have to pay a percentage of that amount upon delivery.

  2. What if I’d like to visit my student?

    Great! We encourage families to visit their students abroad if possible and if well timed. See Supporting Your Student for more information about visiting.

  3. How should I communicate with my student while they are abroad?

    There are many easy and inexpensive ways to stay in contact with your student while they are abroad. Read the communication information on Supporting Your Student for tips.

Student status issues

  1. Will my student’s credits transfer?
    If your student is approved to study abroad by Northwestern and follows all of the directions listed on our Transferring Credit page, in addition to earning a grade of C or above in their classes, they will be eligible to receive credit at Northwestern for classes taken abroad.

  2. Will my student graduate on time?

    Credits earned on study abroad programs are eligible to count toward degree progress and in most cases should not delay your student’s graduation. Your student should meet with his or her academic advisor to make sure that he/she can study abroad and still satisfy the University Registration Requirement.