Parent & Family Information For Study Away

Welcome to Global Education at Colorado College! Thank you for supporting your student's interest in study abroad and study away. The Center for Global Education & Field Study at CC welcomes students of every academic interest, identity, year in school, linguistic ability, and financial means to find a study away experience that enriches their academics, exposes them to new ways of learning, and integrates into their Colorado College experience. Well over 70% of CC students study abroad or away during their four years at CC, participating in over 150 different program opportunities in 57 countries, so your student is in good company. 

We have designed this section of our website to provide information and an understanding of the academic adventure your student has before them, and to provide guidance and suggestions to help you support them along their way. 

The Center for Global Education & Field Study staff work with students as our primary advising constituency, especially regarding academic advising for off-campus study, thoughtful goal-setting for their study away experience, program selection, and all application processes.

We offer multiple events and opportunities for students at all stages in the planning process throughout the year, to help each one consider thoughtfully which program(s) they might like to take part in during their time at CC, and to provide them with complete information about the steps they need to take to bring their plans to fruition. We find that through attending a group advising workshop (“Planning Your Study Away,” offered blockly), our Study Away Fair each semester, corresponding info sessions with specific programs, and then through individual, in-person meetings one-on-one between a students and Global Education staff or faculty directors if desired, a great foundation is laid for the study away advising relationship.

Following all of these student-centered steps, we then see it as the student’s role to communicate with their parents and other supporters of their study abroad plans directly, to inform them of what we’ve worked on and worked out, and to communicate where they would like to ask for support.  

Through this student-centered direct advising approach, our goal is to help generate a sense of self-authorship for your adult student to prepare to both navigate and take ownership of their own educational experiences around the world, with agency and learning along the way. We are here to offer them support throughout this process. When approached intentionally, study away substantially enriches the Colorado College experience. We love working with students as they discover and deepen their own interests through new environments, modes of learning, and cultures—it’s not uncommon to see a student return from a semester or block away transformed with greater academic engagement, maturity, and purpose. 


While our primary contact, and constituent, in all study away matters is the Colorado College student seeking to participate in a study away experience, we do understand that parents and family often have questions.  We encourage all parents and family to speak first with their student.  Through our office, partner organizations, our faculty study away leaders, and our extensive website, students receive a broad range of information about their program during the pre-departure period.  This includes information about billing, aid, credit transfer, academic fit, medical and safety, and logistical planning information such as flights and programmatic components.  We understand that this information does not always filter back to the families of our students, but as the student is the primary constituent for the study away program, we believe it is always preferable that they be the first source of information or conduit of information to families. 

When we are contacted by family members of a CC student, our office has a policy of requiring the inclusion of the adult student on any communication related to their own study abroad or study away experience, in support of our student development and advising philosophies above.

For this reason, after initial contact by a parent, guardian, or family member, we may opt to shift a conversation from a phone call to email correspondence. This allows us to chronicle the information provided, to include the adult student in all conversations, to respect the role of the student as our primary constituent, and to protect the student's FERPA and HIPAA rights.

Please be aware students continue to be enrolled at Colorado College while studying off-campus; therefore, all FERPA and HIPAA regulations continue to be implemented for participants at all stages of the study abroad and study away experience.

While we are happy to discuss Colorado College policies, programs, and practices with parents and family members and to help direct you to policy information on our website, we cannot discuss any student-specific information, including enrollment information, financial arrangements, or academic progress, with anyone beyond the student without written authorization granting FERPA clearance to the individuals within the conversation. We will also include the student on the resulting communications as well.

Why should your student be considering study away as part of their academic preparation and their career at CC?  And why should you encourage them to explore their options?   While we could give you a much longer list of why we think that study away is an essential component of the CC experience and a vital tool for any student's future, we limited ourselves to five of the biggest reasons why study away could be a difference maker for your student.  Year after year we hear back from alumni who deeply value their study away experience and who see that it helped them achieve their goals both at the college and beyond. So, here is our Top 5 list for why study abroad makes sense for all students. 

1. Global Perspective is in Demand
Regardless of a student's field of study or future career path, the ability to work with a diverse community of people, representing different cultures and backgrounds, is essential in today's workforce and that of the future as well.  A globally-informed education helps CC graduates work, study, and engage with a diverse global population of co-workers, supervisors, employees, clients, patients, students, or partners.  Study away provides students with perspective on themselves and the world they will inhabit, and helps develop one of the most in-demand skillsets in today's marketplace.  According to NAFSA, the largest association of study abroad professionals, "A 2014 survey of 800 U.S. business executives found that 75% of the companies indicated that a global perspective was important for their staff, and 80% believed their overall business would increase if more of their staff had more international experience." (link)

2. Study Away is a Resume Booster
The key to getting your foot in the door in many careers is to find ways to distinguish yourself from others in the pool of applicants. While study abroad is the norm at Colorado College, with nearly 80% of graduates participating, it is not nationally, where only 5% of college students can list study abroad among their college accomplishments.  Highlighting a study away experience on one's resume can be an excellent tool for opening new directions in an interview, or for highlighting skills and knowledge that may be unique in the marketplace.  It also opens the door to narratives that capture the attention of employers -- stories of independent learning, exploration, and problem solving that drive home the skills that organizations are looking for in recent graduates. 

3. Study Abroad improves GPA, Completion, and Retention Rates

The numbers are in and several studies have confirmed that study away helps students maintain their academic status, improves graduation rates and retention of students, and improves overall academic success for students across a variety of demographic groups, including first-generation college students, STEM majors, students receiving need-based aid, Pell Grant recipients, and students from under-represented minority backgrounds.  Study away can foster new interests, strengthen resiliency, and provide focus for students that may have struggled with where they wanted their education to take them.  You can review the results of these various studies on the NAFSA (National Assoc. of Foreign Study Advisors) webpage

4. Study Abroad Improves Language Learning
It is probably not a surprise that many students use study abroad to either complete language requirements or to advance their language proficiency to new levels.  The immersive nature of study abroad, often bolstered by housing within families and shared classes and social time with local students, brings the language into "real world" contexts, provides ample opportunity for practice, and introduces students to the language as it is actually used within a culture, and not a dry mechanical process seen only through textbooks, grammar practice, and artificial in-class conversations.  Whether language is the primary motivator for a student or just one element of a study away experience, study abroad can be the gateway to both fluency and cultural competence. 

5. Study Abroad Can Heighten Self-Understanding
While most students anticipate that study away will bring them to a better understanding of the people and cultures they will encounter, they often undervalue another important facet of learning: learning about themselves.  Study away can enlighten students about themselves, their capabilities, skills sets, and ability to learn. It can boost independence, resiliency, and self-confidence.  It can also help students see their own culture and experiences in a new light.  Experiencing different ways of living, different perspectives on life, and different points of view can open students' eyes to their own life journey, their own experiences, and how they might chart different paths in their lives.  It is not uncommon for students returning from study abroad to talk as much about their insights into themselves or their home culture as their insights into other places, peoples, and cultures.  This is often one of the most rewarding impacts of study abroad, that students feel more capable, more confident, and better prepared for challenges in their lives. 

There you go.  Five strong reasons why study away may well be one of the most impactful, transformational, and beneficial aspects of a contemporary college education.  We at Colorado College believe strongly in the power of study away to help students develop, grow, and learn.  We believe it is a valuable piece of any student's education, regardless of major or career goals.  We do all we can to make access to study away experiences available to all students, and to match each student with the program that will best meet their own educational and personal goals.  So, if your student asks you about the opportunities, or wonders if it is right for them, we hope you will encourage your student to explore what is possible, to make informed decisions about where to go, what to explore, and how to best incorporate study abroad into the full picture of their educational path. 

There are several areas of predeparture planning and preparation where parents and family can be of great assistance as students anticipate departure and participation in a study away program.

Encourage your student to read everything their program sends them, to respond to any forms required in a timely manner (especially related to visas or passports), and to attend any and all predeparture meetings on campus for CC-led programs, or online/on Zoom for their many of our partner programs. Sstudents will directly receive a broad range of information about their program during the pre-departure period.  This includes information about billing, aid, credit transfer, academic fit, medical and safety, and logistical planning information such as flights and programmatic components. We understand that this logistical information does not always filter back to the families of our students, but as the student is the primary constituent for the study away program, we believe it is always preferable that they be the first source of information or conduit of information to families, and we encourage you to ask your student directly.

If your student is participating in one of our CC Partner Programs abroad, many program websites have country and city-specific information and handbooks (in great detail) that can also help answer many concerns or questions in this preparation phase. Some of our partner program websites also have special sections for parents.  

All study away programs led or sanctioned by CC provides students with travel and health coverage, whether through our own provider or through the partner organization and their insurance provider.  Make sure your student knows and understands how their health insurance abroad will work for the program they’ve chosen, and what resources at CC can continue to support them while away. 

Most travel and health coverage provided for study away is limited to the dates of the official program, so students who wish to travel independently either prior to, or following their study away program should be encouraged to purchase their own short-term travel and health coverage to cover all dates of their independent travel.  The same is true for any family members who choose to visit students while they are participating in study away or during independent travel. 


While most expenses related to study away, items such as lodging, local transit, and group excursions, outings, and meals, are included within the program charges for a study away program, there are always additional expenses which students should plan for and for which a budget may be required to ensure that students do not expend all of their available funds prior to the conclusion of their program.  Perhaps the most common issue we see with students and funding is tied to a lack of pacing when it comes to use of their personal funds, leading to splurging at the onset of a new program, but then a subsequent lack of funds available for the final days or weeks of a program.  Some of the most common add-on expenses we see for students include:

  • meal funding for independent meals (eating out, cooking in, shopping for foodstuffs, etc.)
  • independent travel (weekends away, side trips, post-program travel)
  • independent activities (social and independent activities not included in the program)
  • purchase of clothing, souvenirs, and articles needed for living abroad

Working with your student on a weekly or monthly budget can be a great help in ensuring that they have adequate funds for the full duration of their study away experience.  


While study abroad is often a transformative, engaging, and exciting part of a student's college career, it can also be stressful, challenging, or difficult as students deal with a lot of uncertainty, discomfort, and confusion as they try to make sense of new places, new cultural norms, and new personal feelings of belonging, isolation, and insecurity.  There is a lot of learning that occurs from the cultural and personal challenges of studying abroad, but there are times where students may feel overwhelmed by all that is new or confusing to them.  

Students may turn to you, often expressing a desire to return home or to return to campus.  We encourage you to speak with them about the reasons they chose to study abroad, their motivations and goals, and the reality that great growth and learning can come from discomfort and confusion. It is also encouraging for students to hear that these feelings of confusion and "otherness" (lack of belonging) are quite normal in study abroad and do improve with time and greater engagement with the local culture.  Reminding students of past successes with difficult obstacles, or encouragement to set short-term goals for themselves, can be really helpful as students work their way through the difficult patches associated with study away.  Your encouragement and support can help students make the decision to work through their difficulties and find the positives in their experience abroad. 

Students who express concerns for their physical and mental health should be encouraged to speak with resources available to them on-site, whether that be through the program sponsoring institution or the CC faculty and staff who are traveling with them. Delaying care due to concerns about perception or cultural difference can make an easily treatable condition become more difficult, so if a student expresses concerns about their health, please ask them to seek support from the resources available to them as soon as they are able. 

Sometimes students focus most on the immediate, logistical planning steps around studying away, and are surprised by some of the cultural adaptation shocks they may encounter when they actually take off. Parents and family can be helpful in both encouraging and being aware of some of the transition steps your student may go through, both when they head off to their new location away, and also when they return home.  

We recommend the cultural transition overview and parent support steps offered on our study abroad partner program IES’s very good Parent Information Page (from which this adjustment curve for study abroad image is taken, below). S-curve-of-adjustment.png

Colorado College faculty lead a variety of study away programs across the globe year-round, including single CC Blocks Away during the academic year and in the summer, and CC Semesters and Half-Semester (two-block) programs in both the fall and the spring. These are exactly what they sound like: a Colorado College course, taught by Colorado College faculty and sitting squarely in the curriculum of the college, but offered somewhere other than on our Colorado Springs campus. All CC Faculty-led Study Away programs are Colorado College credit, no transfer required, and all are taught by CC faculty and filled with fellow CC students, perfect for both the new traveler and the experienced globetrotter. 

In addition to the CC Faculty-led study away programs, the Global Education team maintains pre-approved partnerships with 150+ semester and year away Partner Programs around the world, all aligning with Colorado College's goals for a high quality liberal arts education in the global context. These come in various forms, to meet many different student goals and needs.  

  • DIRECT ENROLL & EXCHANGE: Students fully immerse themselves into a new campus, and take classes alongside local peers and other international students, across a very wide spectrum of academic disciplines. Examples of these would be our exchange programs with universities in Germany, IFSA’s university partnerships, and the yearlong General Course at the London School of Economics. 
  • TOPICAL OR THEMATIC PROGRAMS: There are also a range of topic-specific programs tailored to focus primarily on one academic discipline, for example the Budapest Semester in Mathematics program, the ISDSI International Sustainability & Development Studies Institute in Thailand, or the School for International Training (SIT) whose thematic semesters each focus on a specific Critical Global Issue.  
  • MULTI-DISCIPLINARY STUDY AWAY PROGRAMS: Finally, there are many programs designed specifically for the enrollment of students from U.S. colleges abroad. These programs often offer courses across many disciplines, opportunities to study with a mix of U.S.-based and local faculty, and customized excursion and field opportunities. Courses may be taught at a program center, at a local partner university, or a hybrid of both. Some examples of this final type of semester away include the programs offered by IES Abroad, College Year in Athens, DIS, or the School for Field Studies.  

Whatever the model, wherever the location, these programs are thoroughly vetted by Colorado College for academic rigor and quality of student care.  Courses are pre-approved via our internal Summit application system for study abroad for transfer back to Colorado College, so that students know that their coursework from studying away will move them towards their degree from CC.   

On all semester and year away programs, students work with the Global Education staff and their campus academic advisors to ensure that they are prepared for departure, that the courses selected are good choices for their academic goals, and that the timing of their experience does not disrupt their 4-year graduation

Colorado College strives to make study away accessible to all students, at all levels of financial need. The logistics of how the costs and financial aid works for study away depends on the kind of program your student is pursuing. Colorado College offers a range of study away options from summer courses to individual blocks during the academic year, half-semester (2-block) and full-semester (4-block) faculty-led programs and nearly 150 partner-led semester and year-long options.  Each model has its own unique financial structures and options for financial aid for those who qualify. There are also external scholarships that students are encouraged to apply for, regardless of the type of program they are participating in.

INDIVIDUAL BLOCKS: Each individual block has a program fee to cover the on-site expenses of being away from campus. This cost is in addition to the standard on-campus expenses for the semester (tuition, room, board, etc.), however, for students who receive need-based aid to attend Colorado College, there are aid awards which can cover up to 90% of both the program fee and the anticipated airfare cost for a student to attend the off-campus blocks. 

SUMMER BLOCKS: Summer blocks are financed in the same model as Academic Year Blocks, with one exception.  Summer also has an additional charge for the summer tuition fee.  However, most students use their "Wild Card", a college grant that wipes away the charge for any student's first summer course at CC.  This grant removes the summer tuition charge, leaving only the program fee, which again can be reduced with a Block Away aid award of up to 90% cost coverage. 

CC-LED HALF-SEMESTERS:  For students who live on campus and have a full meal plan, there are no additional fees charged for the College's 2-block half-semester programs  Students who live off-campus will be billed the equivalent costs of the funds which the program receives from on-campus housing and meal plan participants. This typically ranges from $900-$2,500 total.

CC-LED FULL-SEMESTERS: Students who attend a CC-led semester program such as CC in Berlin, CC in Latin America, CC in France, or the TREE Semester will pay a program fee equivalent to standard room & board to help cover the housing, meal, airfare, and other on-site expenses of the program. This program therefore does not cost more than the same semester at our Colorado campus. 

PARTNER-LED SEMESTER OR YEAR ABROAD:  Colorado College uses a "Home Tuition Policy", which means that all students who join approved partner programs will pay the Colorado College tuition charge and not the tuition charge advertised by the partner organization. In lieu of CC room & board charges, the student will also be charged the program provider's program fee (room & board in most cases).  For a further understanding of the Home Tuition Policy, please visit our Semester Billing & Aid website (linked in buttons at the bottom of this page. 

Please use the buttons at the bottom of this page to guide you to the right information for the program type that your student is considering for their study away experience.  

Colorado College views student safety as a top priority as we design, authorize, and affiliate with study away opportunities both within the United States and across the globe.  We work with partners who are industry leaders in the study away space and who adhere to the safety and student well-being guidelines set forth by the Forum on Education Abroad and the National Association of Foreign Study Advisors (NAFSA).  

The college requires safety review of all destinations for both faculty-led study away programming and student-led independent research projects abroad. To determine safety we utilize the most up-to-date information available from the U.S. Department of State; the Centers for Disease Control; parallel governmental sources in Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia; and our contracted international risk-management specialist, International SOS.  

While there is no absolute guarantee that any destination, whether in Colorado, the United States, or across the globe, will be free from crime, health risks, or other safety concerns, we believe that our safety reviews, and the safety recommendations provided to students, enable us to offer a wide range of study away opportunities that provide a safe learning environment.  As part of our orientation process we work with students to understand the risks of travel, the best strategies to mitigate risk and minimize that they might encounter violence, crime, or health risks while away, and to provide up-to-date assessments of their travel needs. 

Additionally, all students traveling either on a CC-led study away or one of our pre-approved partner programs is covered by extensive travel and health coverage to ensure that any disruption to their travel, or any medical or mental health concerns can be appropriately addressed.  While every program, and every destination is different and may pose different health and safety challenges, we are confident that our faculty leaders and our partner organizations are well-prepared and well-resourced to assist students with any safety, medical, or mental health concerns that may arise during their study away experience. 

We welcome you to explore our information on health, safety and insurance, as well as to use the resources linked below to the U.S. Department of State and CDC to obtain site-specific and study away specific guidance related to safety and well-being while traveling internationally. 

One good place to start is the State Department's Information on Study Abroad, available here:

We have also included several quick links at the bottom of this page to various travel safety resources. 

This is one of the most frequent questions we hear from families when a student decides to study away.  The answer, of course, is yes, but there are some important pointers and guidance we would like you to be aware of as you consider joining up with your study away student. 

  • During a study away program, students do have a lot of responsibilities: to attend classes, excursions, guest lectures, presentations and group meals, as well as to complete projects and assignments as they would for any on-campus course.  Their time during a program, particularly shorter, faculty-led programs, can be quite structured and visits during a course of study can be a distraction.  It is rare, for example, on a 1-block faculty-led program for students to have entire weekends free as weekend dates can often be used for day trips and other more extensive excursions.  For this reason, and because we do want a student's attention to be on the course/program itself while it is in session, we discourage parents or family from traveling to join a student within the dates of their program. With longer programs such as semesters away, there are often breaks or vacation periods built into the semester, but with shorter programs that is very rare. 
  • Many students may extend their time overseas beyond the end date of their program, and those post-program days would be an excellent time for a family visit. Not only do you then have a built-in guide who is already familiar with the location, but your student is freer to spend time with you and serve as your local expert.  If the timing of a possible trip does not align with time when a student is outside the dates of their program, we would ask that you and the student prioritize their academic course and the program over spending time with visitors.  Your student will, of course, have some free time, but will also have responsibilities for study outside of group meeting times.  By visiting during a break or after the conclusion of a program, you avoid these conflicts of interest between the student's course of study and their visitors. 

  • Visitors, whether they be friends or family, are not official participants in the study away program, which means that they are not permitted to stay in the student's housing, travel in group transportation (buses, for example), shadow the group for excursions or events that are within the program, or otherwise "join" the program.  There are significant liability issues and, in many cases, contracted services which are limited only to the official CC participants of a program.

  • Students on all CC Study Away programs are provided with ample travel and health insurance coverage (either by CC or from the sponsoring partner organization).  This coverage is limited to the student and to the dates of the program.  We therefore highly recommend that students purchase short-term travel & health insurance for any additional dates of travel and that any visitors also purchase their own coverage.  
  • While students receive ample orientation prior to any study away program, they are not necessarily location experts, so we always recommend that any visitors seek visa, travel, and health and safety advice specific to their own unique needs and capacities before meeting up with students. A good source for information on any destination is the U.S. Department of State's country profile page, which can provide information on visa requirements, safety, and travel health. The CDC is also a good resource for predeparture health planning for all travelers. 

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Report an issue - Last updated: 02/29/2024