At Mississippi College, we understand that studying abroad can be a very exciting, but sometimes daunting, prospect. To help you explore your options, we have provided a list of frequently asked questions, both for students and for parents.
If you have any further questions that are not addressed below, please do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org | 601-925-3976, or come and visit us at the McMillian Center for Education Abroad, located in the Leland Speed Library, LRC Area, Room 124.
For Students | Frequently Asked Questions
Who is eligible to participate? Can I study abroad as a night student or online student? What about graduate students?
All MC students, regardless of major, are eligible. You will have to take the online orientation module (on Canvas) and meet in person for program-specific orientation meetings prior to departure. These program-specific meeetings vary by destination. Graduate student cost will be different due to cost variance in tution. Some programs do not grant graduate credit. This should be approved prior to application.
Are the study abroad course credits 'MC credits', or do they transfer into MC?
For all Mississippi College programs, students enroll at MC and register as if they were taking courses on campus. The courses that they will actually take abroad correspond to course numbers offered here on campus. That way, students earn MC credit while learning abroad. There is no risk in losing credits through transferring hours.
For our partner programs (affiliates, exchanges), students enroll at MC and take classes abroad at the host university. These classes must first be approved at the departmental level with the Certification of Courses form, then approved by the Registrar's Office. Many times, there is an MC equivalent course that can be used. Other times, the course will come in as an elective.
Does the program include excursions to other cities?
Many times excursions are part of the MC program cost. The university understands that learning also takes place outside the constraints of the classroom. If not included with your program cost, each host school sponsors weekend trips with all international students for a minimal price. Students may also choose to travel independently to other cities in the country.
Where do students live?
Students studying abroad have many options. For the language programs, students are required to live in a home-stay environment. This may be a single parent and child, a married couple, a retired couple, or many other options. The school carefully selects the home-stay families and visits throughout the semester. If there are problems with housing, requests for changes are made with the university. For other programs, students abroad may live in residence halls, flats, hotels or B&B set ups, depending on the logistics of each situation.
How much does the program cost?
Each program varies, but in general the cost is comparable to studying on campus at MC, living in the residence halls and eating with a meal plan. The program costs include tuition at MC, expenses abroad for housing and meals (if staying with a family) and excursions if they are part of that program. Some programs include the international airfare, while others do not. Specific details about program costs (airfare, visa, etc.) are discussed in advising meetings with the MacCenter Director.
Is financial aid available?
For all MC programs, financial aid is available and MC scholarships do apply like a normal fall or spring semester. MC scholarships never apply in the summer or short term programs. External funds, such as grant and loans, also apply for any program. Students should contact a financial aid counselor for details and specific questions relating to aid received.
How and when do I apply?
For application deadlines and next steps, see Study Abroad: Next Steps.
For Parents | Frequently Asked Questions
- How safe is it for my child to go abroad?
While nothing is 100% risk free, the programs at MC are safe. Each program has a yearly assessment which includes safety as a top item of concern. Additionally, we receive updates from OSAC (the Overseas Security Advisory Council operated by the US Department of State) concerning safety abroad. If any program destination is tagged higher than a Level 3, we assess the risk and postpone the program. As part of the orientation and pre-departure information, safety is discussed with students. They are given real life situations and trained in the best response.
- What happens in the case of an emergency? Is there medical coverage?
Each program has an emergency procedure. This information is provided in the orientation and pre-departure sessions. This includes, but is not limited to, contacting the director abroad and calling the Director of the MacCenter at MC. Further protocols are followed depending on the emergency. Every student is required to have medical insurance while abroad. This cost is part of the overall program fee.
- How can I help my child manage risk while abroad?
You as a parent can begin talking to your child about the dangers of traveling alone, the use of alcohol and/or drugs, and about the importance of maintaining mental and physical health. Teach them about common sense travel norms like protection of valuables/cash, how to properly use an ATM, avoidance of dark streets at night, and what happens when they “go out” away from the group at night. This might include: not accepting food or drink from strangers, protecting their beverage while out in a restaurant or club, being aware of their surroundings, and the forward nature of some cultures abroad.
- While abroad, will my child be treated unfairly by the host culture?
While your child will be treated fairly and equally by MC, this may not always happen abroad, depending on the host culture. Women and minorities might feel that they are being treated differently from time to time. We do everything to minimize that risk as a group. Investigate the host culture to better prepare and have conversations with your child. Make sure to emphasize to your child the importance of communicating with the director abroad about any issues that may arise.
- How much involvement should I have in this process?
You can certainly help in the planning stages, getting a passport, and determining the financial part of the experience. Get your child to start thinking on a global scale: watch the national news and keep up with world events, monitor events on campus and make international friends, and investigate the culture prior to departure. Once your child has decided to do the abroad program, you should insist that he/she do the application and all steps that lead up to departure. This teaches them the discipline and independence they will need for the whole experience. It will always be good to confirm that forms have been turned in, but more importantly, to reassure them that being a little scared is normal. Encourage them to maintain the right attitude and remind them of the “why” they are going abroad.
- How can I stay connected while my child is abroad?
Being connected is easier than ever! Your child will have access to the internet while abroad. This makes emailing, texts, and even calls, free. We encourage students to use app-based calling systems like WhatsApp, Viber, Skype, or other ways to stay connected. We do encourage less contact in general with your child so that he/she can be fully immersed in the new culture. Stay in touch, but not too much!
- What about getting money to my child abroad?
The easiest way to keep money “controlled” is to set up a new shared checking account with your child while abroad and designate it for the abroad account. Your child can begin saving for the abroad program in advance. In addition, you can make deposits into that account if money is needed. If you prefer, you can also do wire transfers, but these are more expensive and generally require a special office, like Western Union, to receive the funds.
- I have heard that reverse culture shock is real. How do I help my child when he/she returns home?
Yes, coming back home is often a hard transition for some families. Your child has changed in many ways through their experience, some superficial, some more substantial. Students often return home more independent and with a strong desire to travel again in the near future. Often the things of home that were so special before, like grandma's fried chicken, might not have the same place for them. Your child will want to tell you about the new things that he/she has experienced. Please listen and encourage them to share. Often the return home is frustrating for your child because everything has changed, their perspective has changed – both for things at home and things abroad. Try to encourage your child to think beyond just the experience, and to identify the skills gained abroad which can be transferred into real life for the future.
How to Apply
For further steps on when and how to apply to study abroad, please visit Study Abroad: Next Steps.
We would be happy to assist you with anything questions you may have. Please contact us at email@example.com.