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Resources for Family and Friends


Where to Start 

  • The first step for students is to complete the Rams Abroad 101 module to orient themselves to the study abroad process. From there, they should take a look at our programs that match their interests and academic and financial needs. Major Advising Sheets are a helpful resource. 
  • Students can meet with an education abroad adviser to clarify the application process, discuss next steps to prepare for study abroad, and even help process which programs are suited to their interests. Students should also meet with their academic advisor to discuss the best term to study abroad, as well as courses, to stay on track with their VCU curriculum plan. 
  • Begin learning more about how financial aid and scholarships apply to study abroad. 
    • Visit our Using Financial Aid page to learn more about Federal, VCU and external funding for your student’s study abroad.
    • Explore VCU and External scholarship opportunities that your student may apply for. 
    • Connect with a financial counselor to discuss your students specific aid package.

Application Process

  • Once a student completes their planning with their study abroad and academic advisors, they are ready to apply. Take note, if the student is traveling to a U.S. Department of State Level 3 country, they will need to petition through GEO and then register their travel if approved.
  • Once accepted to a program, the student must register with VCU. The student’s study abroad adviser will be their primary contact to complete this registration process.

Pre-Departure Preparations

  • Financial Aid & Scholarships
    • Visit our Using Financial Aid page to learn more about Federal, VCU and external funding for your student’s study abroad.
    • Explore VCU and External scholarship opportunities that your student may apply for. 
    • Connect with a financial counselor to discuss your students specific aid package.
  • Health & Safety 
    • Your students safety and health while studying abroad is of utmost importance and VCU offers extensive information and resources on this topic on our Health & Safety page, where you can also stay informed of current travel policies and resources and learn more about our Insurance plan with CISI.
  • Visas/Passports 
    • Visit our Health & Safety page to learn about the application process for Visas and Passports, find additional resources from the State Department, and what requirements are necessary. 
    • GEO is offering one free U.S. passport-style photograph to VCU students on the first Tues. from 1 - 3 p.m. and the 3rd Wednesday from 9 - 11 a.m. of every month. Sign up for a 15-minute time slot here. Sign-ups are first-come, first-serve
  • Flights
    • If your student is not an experienced traveler, they should check out the First Time Traveler’s identity page. If looking to book a flight, we recommend using StudentUniverse to find affordable flights to your student’s destination. 
  • Identity & Culture
    • Your student’s identity plays an important role in how they experience and process their study abroad experience. Take the time to view our Identity and Diversity page so that you can support your student while abroad. 
  • Course Approvals
    • Your student will get their study abroad courses pre-approved to transfer back to VCU for academic credit. Learn more about the credit transfer process
  • Pre-Departure Orientation
    • The VCU Education Abroad team leads a pre-departure orientation each term to prepare students for their study abroad.
    • We also offer a pre-departure orientation for parents and family - can you expect an invitation to that in the months prior to your students departure.

While Abroad

  • Make sure your student knows every manner in which to contact you, don't forget to consider their time zone. Take the opportunity to download communication applications like Skype, Marco Polo, Facetime (Apple only), and Whatsapp that are available for free on your smartphone or computer. 
  • Work out a schedule to contact each other regularly. A consistent and familiar voice helps develop routine in unfamiliar places. And don’t worry if a call is not made at the right time; study abroad travel can be unpredictable, so have a plan to check in via email in case a call is missed. 
  • Be a voice of support! Listen to their stories and ask questions to encourage their engagement abroad.


  • Students process their study abroad experiences differently, and you have the important job of listening to your student tell the stories from their experiences. While it is impossible to know in advance how students’ process their study abroad trip, you should anticipate your student undergoing change as their perspective and world view broadens. View our Returnees page to anticipate available resources for your returning student.  
  • Ask your student meaningful questions and encourage them to ask challenging questions of you. Remind them of campus resources that can bring them into contact with study abroad peers and advisers who are prepared to listen to their stories.
  • VCU Career Services hosts advising services, assessments, and training on how returning students can more effectively feature their study abroad experience in their resumes, cover letters, and interviews.

Additional Resources