Parent Resources

A Note to Parents:

Now is the time to make this critical investment in your son or daughter's future. More and more students are realizing the short and long term benefits of studying abroad during their college career.

Deciding to send your child on an overseas program is a big decision.

For many students, this will be the first time they spend a significant length of time away from their parents, let alone travel overseas. However, for those parents and students who are willing to take up the challenge of a study-abroad program, the rewards are immense.

Study abroad offers the ideal vehicle for parents to support their children in the growing up process. It offers the student a unique opportunity to learn in another culture, within the security of a host family and a host institution carefully chosen to allow the transfer of credit to an NIU degree. Students studying a foreign language will perfect the accent and greatly expand their vocabulary--a skill retained for life. Making new friends, and travel and decision making, are also key parts of the study abroad experience.

Eligibility requirements for study abroad

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NIU's Passport to the World 

  • NIU encourages its students to study abroad as part of their educational objectives.
  • NIU is formally affiliated with, or directly sponsors, many study abroad programs and exchanges.
  • All NIU-approved programs through the Study Abroad Office may allow transfer of credit.
  • NIU will accept financial aid for all programs from students who are eligible for financial aid. Tuition waivers do not apply, but other aid, such as grants and loans, may.

Your son or daughter has expressed an interest in Northern Illinois University's study abroad programs.  The Study Abroad staff congratulates them on this decision and is here to help in dealing with any of the administrative issues that may arise while your son or daughter is off campus. Parents play an important role in helping their children decide about study abroad; however, you will need accurate information. You may want to purchase a guide to help you through this process. Study Abroad: A Parent's Guide is a resource published by NAFSA: Association of International Educators. You can order it through their web page:

In this interdependent world, the value of spending some portion of an academic career in another country is widely recognized. The competence, sensitivity, and personal growth students acquire through study abroad are crucial in their preparation for a career. Most of the students who have had an experience overseas say that this living and learning time has been the most enriching and beneficial part of their lives.

Study abroad can help your son or daughter bring focus to a career search and even give him or her an edge when looking for a job after graduation.

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Costs and Financial Aid

You may think that study abroad may be too expensive for your son or daughter and that he or she cannot afford this opportunity. Contrary to what most believe, almost all students can afford to study abroad if they plan well. Early planning is the key to a successful study abroad experience.

Costs vary according to the program. Specific information about each program's costs is available from the Study Abroad Office.  Generally SEMESTER study abroad program costs include tuition, room and board, and required student medical insurance and can range from $5,000-$15,000, depending on the program. NIU ADMINISTERED (FACULTY DIRECTED) study abroad program generally include tuition, room and board, required student medical insurance, land transportation and personal expenses and can range from $2,500-$7,000, depending on the term and the type of program. Program costs, however, are not the only expenses associated with studying abroad. Airfare, personal and travel expenses, passport and visa fees, and books and supplies are generally not included in program costs, so these must be taken into account as well. For a detailed budget, visit the International Programs Business Office.

The most important step is to establish a budget to help you decide the right balance between program value and the money available.

Financial aid may make study abroad affordable.  Many scholarships, federal student loans, and state grants that are normally applicable to campus programs can be applied to study abroad program costs. NIU tuition waivers do not apply. We encourage all NIU students to meet with the International Programs business manager to discuss financial aid possibilities.  Please contact The Study Abroad Office for a flyer regarding scholarships.

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Types of Programs Available through Northern Illinois University

NIU is formally affiliated with, or directly sponsors, many study abroad programs. Those programs that are approved through the Study Abroad Office may allow transfer of credit to an NIU degree. Regardless of the type of program, all students apply through the NIU Study Abroad Office and remain registered at NIU during their study abroad experience.

Students can choose among several ways to study overseas. Staff in the Study Abroad Office can help students select from the following options.

NIU Administered Programs (Faculty Directed) - Summer/Winter Sessions

NIU faculty members and academic departments organize NIU study abroad programs for undergraduates, graduates, students-at-large (SALs), and professionals. Students will earn NIU credit (usually 3 to 6 hours) in NIU courses, and remain registered at NIU while abroad.

While some programs are residency programs, others are travel seminars that introduce students to various countries and their cultures.  Most faculty directed program are offered during the summer session. Some are offered during winter break (December/January).

NIU administered programs offer a lower-cost alternative to the usual semester or academic year study abroad experience.  All NIU administered programs are lead by NIU faculty members. Students and faculty will have the advantage of a significant international experience that enriches the international flavor of NIU campus courses.

Semester/Academic Year Programs – Fall, Spring, Summer, Academic Year

NIU approves many carefully selected study abroad programs operated by other institutions in different countries. The Study Abroad staff strives to balance freedom of choice with the quality of programs available to NIU students.

These programs offer opportunities for meaningful study and life in an environment that provides American style support services. Foreign study centers arrange these programs for a group of U.S. students.

Academic Internships

Academic internships allow students to progress toward their academic degree while earning practical experience in the field. Internships provide work experience in a realistic environment. They are available during the summer or the semester.

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General Guidelines

Grade Point Average: Generally, if students are in good academic standing, they may be eligible to study abroad and earn credit toward their NIU degree. Students must also meet the grade point, foreign language (if any), and other requirements of the program that they would like to attend.

Academic Credit: Before departure students must find out with certainty if NIU will approve for credit the courses that they will take overseas. It is very important that they have thorough academic advising before their departure. Study abroad should be considered as an opportunity to expand intellectual and cultural horizons by living and studying in another culture

Choosing a Study Abroad Program: Early planning is the key to a successful study abroad experience. The earlier students begin planning, the more effectively they can work it into their curriculum. The Study Abroad staff encourages students to begin thinking about study abroad during their freshman year.

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Your Contact at NIU:

Study Abroad Office
Williston Hall 417
DeKalb, IL 60115

Telephone: 815-753-7399 or 0700

The NIU Study Abroad staff will be happy to answer any questions you may have, address your concerns, and guide you in the right direction through this experience.