Parent & Family Resources
Welcome to Northwestern University's Global Learning Office.
We firmly believe in the power of study abroad to help students connect across difference, develop crucial skills in adaptability, resilience, and intercultural awareness, and broaden their understanding of the world. We offer a wide variety of study abroad program structures, lengths, terms, and academic focuses to meet students’ diverse needs and goals. These credit-bearing global learning opportunities form a crucial part of the Northwestern experience and help prepare students for success in an interconnected world.
As the parent of a college student, I am personally experiencing the joys and challenges of supporting my student as they balance responsibilities, navigate new obstacles, and make decisions as an independent young adult. I want to ensure that Northwestern parents and families feel supported as their student pursues study abroad opportunities, and I also understand that a student's decision to study abroad often involves their parents/guardians or the entire family.
Below, you will find resources about various aspects of the study abroad experience. We encourage your students to contact us with any questions or concerns as they prepare for their study abroad experience.
Director, Global Learning Office
Study Abroad Benefits
Study abroad is much more than travel. Study abroad enables students to earn college credit while gaining valuable experience in their field in an intercultural setting; form important connections with faculty, staff, and students from other parts of the world; and develop a wide variety of career-related skills valued by employers and graduate schools. Students who study abroad earn $7,000 more in starting salaries and are more likely to secure a job after graduation (IES Abroad).
Study Abroad Considerations
Health & Safety
The health and safety of study abroad participants is our utmost priority. The Global Learning Office collaborates with Northwestern's Office of Global Safety and Security and University Study Abroad Committee to regularly review and continuously monitor all study abroad programs to ensure safety, security, and overall quality standards are met. Additionally, all students who study abroad are required to carry GeoBlue Global Health Insurance (or the equivalent), which covers emergencies, mental health care, prescription medications, routine medical care, and more with zero deductible and no co-pays.
The Global Learning Office is committed to making study abroad possible for all students, regardless of their financial situation. Financial aid applies to study abroad, and many scholarships and fellowships are also available. Students are encouraged to meet with a study abroad financial aid adviser to discuss their specific financial situation. We've compiled additional resources and student experiences for students with high financial need.
With proper planning, Northwestern students in all majors and minors can study abroad for academic credit. Students are required to meet with their academic adviser as part of the Northwestern study abroad application to ensure their study abroad plans work well with their academic goals. Study abroad need not delay graduation; some students even come out ahead on credits after a term abroad. Students can contact returnees in their major to learn how they made study abroad work.
For an in-depth resource on providing support to your child as they navigate the study abroad process, download A Parent Guide to Study Abroad, created by the Institute for International Education (IIE) and the American Institute for Foreign Study (AIFS). The handbook is available in English and Spanish.