Information for Parents

Welcome to the parents' information page for study abroad at the College of Charleston.  This section of our website has been designed to help parents understand the process of study abroad at the College.  We would also like to illustrate to parents the value of your son or daughter's international experience and encourage you to guide and support them throughout the process.

We encourage you to browse the information offered on our website regarding the policies and procedures of study abroad at the College of Charleston and discuss them with your son or daughter throughout the application process and prior to departure. 

Thank you for your support and best wishes to your son or daughter as they embark on their study abroad experience!


In an increasingly global society, an international component has become an essential part of higher education. The CIE is dedicated to providing support to students studying abroad.  Some of the services we offer include counseling from study abroad advisors with program expertise, a student handbook, pre-departure orientation that all students must attend, and referral to additional resources such as travel clinics, the financial aid office, and foreign consulates.  The CIE keeps in communication with the student while abroad and will try to address issues that impact their academic progress or safety.

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

The CIE firmly believes that parents should be involved in a student's decision to study abroad.  However, the student must make the major decisions and do the work required in preparation for study abroad on their own.  Although we welcome general inquiries from parents, it is ultimately your student's responsibility to see that the required processes are followed.  Due to privacy legislation (FERPA), the CIE cannot release information to any third party (including parents) regarding a student's program of study without his or her explicit consent.

If your student would like to provide his or her consent, they may complete the FERPA waiver and return it to our office in-person or from their College of Charleston email account. This waiver is specific to each office in which it is filed; therefore, a waiver on file in another office on-campus cannot be accepted. Students retain the right to revoke this consent at any time, but must do so by signing the bottom portion of the form.

Selecting a program

As a College of Charleston student, your son or daughter has access to a myriad of opportunities to gain international experience.  The College has sent record numbers of students abroad in recent years, and our faculty and staff have been working to create even more programs offered through the College.  The range of opportunities available both through the College and through other universities or program providers makes studying abroad a possibility for any student, regardless of major and language ability.

The Center for International Education offers two online 0-credit courses through OAKS for students. Students can self-enroll in the Study Abroad 101 course to learn more general information about studying abroad and the program types offered at CofC. Students who have decided to study abroad through an Affiliate program can self-enroll in the Affiliate Study Abroad course.

Students can also meet with one of our trained peer advisors who will be available to answer general questions about study abroad and the types of programs we offer.  Students must follow up with the appropriate study abroad advisor once they have chosen a program. Encourage your student to thoroughly research programs in which they are interested.

If your student has questions, we're here to help! They may set up an appointment with a study abroad advisor, email or give us a call at 843.953.7661.

Application process
Once your student has selected a program, they should complete the application process. More information can be found at the link above. It is important that students take full responsibility for their applications, deadlines, and mandatory meetings.

Approved students

Congratulations! Your student has been accepted into their program. If they do not have a passport that will be valid six months after they return from their term abroad, encourage them to apply for a new passport now. They should also begin to research visa requirements and the necessary steps to obtain one, if needed. Approved students should be working on their enrollment forms (health questionnaire, copy of passport, financial aid documents - if applicable, etc.) and scheduling time to attend mandatory meetings to prepare them for their time abroad. This information can be found on the Approved Students page linked above. 

As your student completes their enrollment forms, encourage them to disclose any information that may be relevant to their time abroad. This information is not used as part of the admission decision or to prohibit a student from studying abroad, rather it allows the CIE to provide the proper advising and accommodations to ensure the student's best opportunity for success.

Returning students

You've made it! Your student studied abroad successfully, but now all they want to talk about is their experience abroad. They may be having a difficult time adjusting back to life at the College of Charleston or home. We're here to help with the transition. The CIE offers many opportunities for students to not only get involved in the international community on-campus, but to market their experience as they search for jobs or internships. Visit our Returning Students page for more information.

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