group of U of M Students in front of a windmill in Spain

Student Parents

    Student Parents are Welcome in the Learning Abroad Center

    The Learning Abroad Center works in conjunction with the Student Parent Help Center to assist student parents who are considering participating in an experience abroad. 

    Things to Consider

    While an international experience is a viable option, there are some things to consider when planning to take your child or family with you:

    • The age of your child may affect resources available on-site as well as the child's option to participate in program activities.
    • Extra costs will be incurred if family members come abroad with you. Some potential examples may include international health insurance, visas, immunizations, housing, child care, and flights. Amounts vary depending on location. These additional costs are not covered by financial aid.
    • You are likely to have extra planning responsibilities such as obtaining international health insurance, visa, housing, and other necessities that may be provided to you by the program, but will likely not be provided to your child or family.
    • In each instance, the student's particular case will need to be reviewed for final approval with the appropriate program sponsor. 
    • While studying abroad, students often form close bonds with fellow participants as well as host country nationals. Many student parents have experienced these rich connections. At the same time some student parents have found that responsibilities to their family have taken precedence over connecting with fellow participants and host country nationals. 
    • Many study abroad programs have overnight excursions included in the program. It may not be feasible to bring your child or family on these excursions. 

    A Few Scenarios

    There are many ways to plan your experience abroad. Here are two scenarios for bringing a child that have worked for other students:

    • One student arrived at the program without his daughter. While he was getting oriented and finding housing and child care, his parents were taking care of his three year old in the US. About one month into the program, his parents arrived to visit and brought his daughter. His daughter then stayed with him for the rest of the semester. 
    • Another student brought her husband and daughter on a short term program. The program had a housing option that made it possible for them all to stay together. The student went to class while the husband took care of their daughter. 

    Cultural Attitudes

    Depending on the cultural context, as well as your own personal context, there will be a variety of responses to you traveling with a family or child. Being a single parent will be perceived differently in other cultural contexts and may vary if you are a man or woman. This is something for you to reflect on, and perhaps seek input about, before your experience abroad. 

    Additional Financial & Logistical Considerations

    Housing

    The best case scenario would be that the program provider would be able to provide you with housing. If their regular housing is not a possibility (it may be in dorms or another location that cannot accommodate children), then it may be possible that the program provider would be able to help you find appropriate housing. Alternatively you may have to find housing on your own before the program begins. If there is no on-site support to assist you or the on-site resources are not able to locate other housing. 

    Flights

    You will need to purchase tickets for your child or family. It is likely that your family will not be able to participate in the group flight because it may already be factored into the program fee.  

    Passports, Visas, & Immunizations

    Each family member will need a passport and a visa for entry into the country. Depending on the country, immunizations may also be needed. Program providers usually assist in obtaining a student visa for the program participant. Depending on the length of stay and country where you will be visiting, the visa for your family may be easy or hard and expensive or inexpensive to obtain. You will need to acquire these visas on your own. Also, some countries have other requirements for entry when minors are involved and not traveling with both parents. Be sure to thoroughly check on requirements.

    Schooling & Child Care

    You will need to provide schooling or child care for your child while in classes if you do not have another family member with you on the program. This will incur extra costs. Also, the level to which the program provider can assist in finding child care or entering your child into school will vary depending on location. The best case scenario is that they have child care services nearby or are affiliated with a school for your child to attend. Alternatively, you may need to locate the services or school on your own. You may be eligible for Child Care Assistance Grants through the University of Minnesota Student Parent Help Center. Contact the Student Parent Help Center for details.

    Funding Sources for Student Parents 

    • The Student Parent Help Center may offer scholarships and funding support for student parents on study abroad programs. 
    • The Learning Abroad Center offers scholarships and has many resources to research scholarships. 

    Next Steps

    1. Attend a Learning Abroad Center First Step Session and create a Profile.  
    2. Register at the Student Parent Help Center
    3. Research program options
    4. Schedule a Program Selection Advising appointment to discuss program options with a Learning Abroad Center adviser - let them know you are planning on bringing your child or family. 
    5. Choose a program and apply.