....for talking with your student about study abroad! We hope you look forward to searching for programs together.
At the University of Oklahoma, our mission is to provide students with safe, academic, and personally transformative study abroad opportunities across the world.
Study abroad at OU is divided into five Phases from start to finish. Click the tabs below to read more about each phase.
Why study abroad?
There are a number of benefits to students who successfully complete a study abroad experience!
Employability: Studying abroad can improve foreign language, leadership, self-reliance, and problem-solving skills. The skills gained from studying abroad are beneficial for securing employment or graduate opportunities and thriving in a globalized world post-college.
Personal Development: Study abroad not only promotes greater confidence and self-sufficiency, but also provides opportunity for personal growth, reflection, and learning that goes far beyond the classroom.
Intercultural Competency: Study abroad exposes students to new ways of thinking about both other cultures and their home culture, as well as providing opportunities to learn about cross-cultural communication.
Many of the study abroad programs offered at OU allow students to utilize their tuition waivers, scholarships or financial aid. Students should work with their study abroad adviser, the financial aid office and their scholarship office, if applicable, to make sure they are taking all necessary steps to pick a program that corresponds to their financial aid resources. Additionally, OU and our partners around the world offer many scholarships specifically for study abroad. A list of scholarships is available on the Scholarships page.
Health and safety of our study abroad students is our top priority, and the OU family works together to provide resources to any students who have an issue or emergency abroad. That is why we have implemented several helpful measures, including:
- Mandatory international health and emergency evacuation insurance
- Emergency response protocols, including a 24/7 emergency phone number
- Training for all faculty/staff that lead study abroad programs
- Required study abroad health and safety orientation for students
- Availability of advisers to help students throughout the program selection, application processes and while abroad
Phase 2 begins when your student meets with their OU Study Abroad Adviser or college coordinator for College Sponsored Programs. Students then apply online for their program(s) by the Phase 2 Deadline
The adviser will open the Phase 2 program application for your student as part of the Phase 2 meeting*. Then your student will log in to our software and complete Phase 2 online by the deadline for the program(s) to which they are applying.
Check each program's brochure for application deadlines. Click here to search programs.
**Note - OU Study Centers, Journey programs and the PITF have individual deadlines and some programs have rolling admission. Some College Sponsored programs have a paper application. Speak to the program coordinator or college study abroad liaison if you are unsure of how to apply.
Applications in Phase 2 are for OU approval; students applying for an Exchange or Affiliate Program will have an additional application to complete for the Exchange University or Affiliate Program in Phase 3.
Students are encouraged to share information they receive from Education Abroad or their host program with parents/guardians and family. Please ask your student to share this information with you. Explore our website for more information about our programs. Each program has a brochure page that provides more information, including individualized budget sheets. Search for a program on our website to find brochures about each program.
All students are required to attend one or more pre-departure orientation sessions facilitated by Education Abroad advisors and college staff. These sessions will cover the details of OU policies, academics, financial information, health and safety, cultural differences and culture shock. Besides the mandatory orientation sessions, advisors are available to discuss any questions or concerns a student may have about his/her upcoming time abroad and what to expect in the local culture.
In order to prepare for their program, students should:
Complete all study abroad application materials
Work with their academic advisor to plan for any coursework abroad and how it will transfer back to OU.
Prepare their finances including: notifying their credit card company or bank of their travel and working with the financial aid office and scholarship offices, if applicable.
Complete the pre-departure orientation/s at OU
Read guides and materials to prepare
Research additional materials of their choice to prepare for life in their host country (examples include: online newspapers, historical novels, blogs of current study abroad students).
Research the host culture's views about race, gender, religion, and sexual orientation.
Communicating with OU as a Parent/Guardian
Under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), staff is not permitted to release private student information - even to parents/guardians - without prior written student consent. Please communicate with your student about any information you would like to know about their program.
Helping my student prepare to study abroad
You play an important role in helping your student prepare for and go abroad. Here are some things you can do to support and assist them and be involved in the process:
- Make sure your student is taking care of their visa paperwork. Detailed visa instructions can be found on the consulate website for the country in which your student will visit.
- Assist with flight arrangements.
- Develop a plan for handling any family emergencies that may arise while your student is abroad.
- Encourage your student to complete all the necessary health and safety documents and read all the preparatory materials provided by the university.
- Discuss health, safety and wise decision-making with your student before they go abroad.
- Encourage your student to learn about the destination they are going to.
- Have a communication plan with your student so you know when and how you will communicate with them while they are abroad.
- Plan to communicate with your student while abroad. Support and encourage them throughout the length of their program – their trip will include both amazing experiences and challenging opportunities for growth.
All students on OU-approved programs have the full support of the Education Abroad team throughout the entire process of studying abroad. Education Abroad advisors work closely with the on-site staff for all OU-sponsored programs and are in direct communication regarding any issues or emergency occurring abroad. Advising staff also keep in touch with students via email while abroad and encourage them to be in contact with any questions or concerns. In the unlikely case that there is some type of political upheaval, Education Abroad will coordinate with on-site colleagues and CMI Insurance to ensure our students are safe and, if need be, evacuate them from the country.
In Case of an Emergency:
The College of International Studies has a Director of Risk Management who provides 24/7 emergency assistance, including an emergency phone number, and can connect students abroad with any OU resources they need in case of emergency. Please visit the emergency page of our website for information about how to contact OU should a serious problem arise while your student is studying abroad.
Equating Courses Back to OU Credit
Once the student completes his or her study abroad program, the Education Abroad and Office of Academic Records staff helps to facilitate the course equivalency process (issuing OU credit for coursework taken abroad).
A workshop and dinner event each semester this special 3-part, 1-night-only event is held for returning students to have the opportunity to share their experiences with fellow study abroad students. The first session includes a provided diner in which students can chat and get to know other students who have also just returned from studying abroad. The second session covers reverse culture shock; i.e. common symptoms, how to summarize their study abroad experience, how to re-integrate at OU. The final session is a workshop in which a staff member from Career Services helps students leverage their study abroad experiences professionally in interviews and resumes.
The links below provide additional information on student health and safety abroad. Please let our office know if you have any additional questions or concerns.