A Study Abroad Guide for Families


      We live in an increasingly international environment, where we must be able to appreciate those different from ourselves in order to work and thrive in the twenty-first century.Business and industry increasingly seek people equipped to live and work with others different from themselves. The experience of studying abroad helps students enrich their world perspective, as well as develop self-confidence and competitiveness.


      Making friends from another country, experiencing daily life in a different place, and studying under a different educational system provide access to another culture in ways that tourists seldom enjoy.A lifelong connection to another country and its people often begins with a semester abroad.


      Students learning a new language find the motivation and opportunity to practice language skills. However, most programs do not require a second language.


      Students can learn more from a course on ancient Rome when surrounded by Roman ruins and also when exposed to current aspects of the host culture, such as business, politics, economics, the environment, education, health care, or criminal justice.

  • Although the third college year is the traditional time for studying abroad, more students are traveling during their sophomore or senior years.

  • The right study abroad program depends on the students’ objectives, their major, and their background and experiences. Some student can only participate in a program that offers a specific set of courses needed to fulfill requirements at URI.

  • URI accepts credits from virtually any program affiliated with an accredited American institution.

    We think that the best choice for most students is to select one of the programs affiliated with URI. These options include:

    • One-to-one International exchange programs
    • Affiliated Study Abroad Programs
    • Consortia Study Abroad Programs
    • National Student Exchange Programs
  • Study abroad programs exist in all price ranges. Some cost the same as a semester at URI. That is not to say that students who wish to go anywhere will be able to do so for the same cost as attending URI, but there are URI-affiliated programs to meet everyone’s budget.

    • Federal aid can be used to support study and internships abroad.
    • Special URI grants and scholarships may also be used to study abroad, although some restrictions do apply.
    • We recommend that students consult with the Office of Financial Aid early in their planning.
  • As most families realize, no one can guarantee safety anywhere, and students need to take the same precautions when they are abroad as they do at home.

    All URI-affiliated programs include an on-site program director or advisor who pays special attention to health and safety issues during Orientation and during the program.

    The safety and well being of our students are always a primary concern of all programs.

    Although many programs are in or near large cities, some of these cities are far safer than American cities. Families should be aware that “disturbances” are often overly dramatized by the media, and that like in the United States, problems occurring in one part of a country do not necessarily transfer to other parts of the same country.

  • Studying abroad requires a certain degree of flexibility and openness to new experiences. Moreover, it requires a willingness to suspend judgment and to try to understand what is unfamiliar.

    Above all, it requires a sense of humor.

  • Unless the student is in an enclave with other Americans, virtually everyone who studies abroad experiences some degree of culture shock. Culture shock goes in stages.

    Initially, the student may be disoriented, stressed, and often lonely. Some students might get a mild illness like a cold or want to come home almost immediately.

    Eventually, things settle down and the student develops a balanced view of the country. Then, they return home-where, again, they are disoriented, lonely and want to go back!

  • Typically, students visit the Resource Room in the Office of International Education on the third floor of the International Center, 37 Lower College Road, to identify a program in which they are interested and to gather more information about it.

    They follow with an appointment with an advisor who will guide them in completing the application process.

    After admission into a program, students are given all necessary paper work required by URI and the program of choice.

  • Grade Requirements:
    Most programs require that a student have a 2.5 grade point average.

    Students must pay a program deposit or an application fee and an off-campus study fee to register for off-campus study for the semester in which they plan to be Away.

    Financial Aid:
    Students must make necessary arrangements with Financial Aid to have their financial aid applied to their program charges.

    Medical Insurance:
    URI and host institutions require that all students show proof of having accident/sickness insurance. They can enroll in the University offered plan or have a comparable one.

    Credit Transfer:
    Students must obtain from the OIE an Off-Campus Registration Form along with a Prior Approval From. They use the latter to obtain “prior approval” for credit transfer from their advisor and academic dean. This ensures transfer of credits.

    Pre-Departure Check List:
    All students must complete this form and file it with the office.

    Study Abroad Workshops:
    Study Abroad Workshops are comprehensive meetings that provide students with information they need to prepare for their sojourn abroad. These workshops are offered throughout the academic year.

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