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Parents & Family

 
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Middle Tennessee State University is very committed to helping students enhance their education through international experiences. Study abroad can be a reality for any student at MTSU regardless of major or financial situation. We hope this page will address any questions or concerns you may have about study abroad.

If you have any further questions about study abroad, please see our FAQ’s page or email educationabroad@mtsu.edu.

 
Director Katherine Kovar Katherine.Kovar@mtsu.edu
Advisor Melissa Miller Melissa.Miller@mtsu.edu
Coordinator Lisa Eddy Lisa.Eddy@mtsu.edu

Campus Address
Peck Hall 207

Mailing Address
Middle Tennessee State University    
Office of Education Abroad
1301 E. Main St., Box 127
Murfreesboro, TN 37132
U.S.A.

Office: 1-615-898-5179
Fax: 1-615-494-7639
educationabroad@mtsu.edu

Office Hours:
Our office is typically open during the following times, but please call ahead to be certain.  If you need to speak to a specific person, please make an appointment.
Monday - Friday 8:00am - 4:30pm.


We hope that you will support your student's plans to study abroad, an activity which should be considered an integral part of their college experience and their life experience, rather than an extra cost or burden. There are many benefits to an extended international experience, including:
 
Personal growth
When students are outside of their "comfort zone" they have to learn to adapt to their environment and to think on their feet. Typically this results in increased self-confidence, maturity, independence, problem-solving skills and communication skills.


Curriculum enhancement
Students may choose to study subjects that are not available at MTSU, or to look at the subjects they're familiar with through a different lens, influenced by their professors and peers in their host university.

Expanded worldview
Students typically learn more about their home country while studying abroad and come to understand their country's place in the world and their own place in the world as individuals. Living outside their home culture for a period of several months or a year gives them an opportunity to realize their own cultural assumptions.

Preparation for a global career
Whether a student ends up working for a domestic U.S. company, a huge international company or even working abroad, there will be some time when they interact with people from another country or culture, and studying abroad prepares them for that. The personal growth skills that students gain from studying abroad - such as independence, problem-solving, communication, cultural awareness and experience working with diverse groups - are very attractive to employment recruiters.

Once-in-a-lifetime opportunity
After students graduate and enter the workforce full-time, it is unlikely that they will have the opportunity to live abroad for an extended period of time. They may have opportunities to travel abroad and visit places as a tourist, but it will be harder to get the depth of experience that one can get from studying abroad for months at a time.

Fun and academically stimulating experiences
Studying abroad can also stimulate students academically. Frequently the things that they learn in the classroom, such as foreign languages or history, can be immediately applied in the streets of their host country. That experience of "living what you're learning" can be fun and can stimulate students to achieve even after they've returned to MTSU.


Study Abroad Costs
Most study abroad programs charge an integrated program fee, which includes fees, tuition and housing. Meals may be included in the program fee, but sometimes they are not. When comparing programs, you may want to research what is included in the program fee and, if necessary, factor the additional cost of meals into the total cost. Depending on the type of program (and the student's financial aid package), this program fee may be more or less than what the student typically pays for a semester at MTSU. As a general rule, locations with a high cost of living (such as Australia or London) will usually be more expensive than smaller cities or locations in developing countries. Students may also want to consider when to study abroad as a financial decision. Typically it is more affordable to study abroad during the semester, replacing your semester of MTSU tuition with a study abroad program fee rather than adding on additional summer tuition dollars. Students can typically apply federal financial aid and MTSU scholarships toward their study abroad program.

Additional Expenses
A study abroad program fee typically includes tuition and housing (sometimes meals are included in this price, but sometimes they are not). The day-to-day incidental expenses that they have at MTSU (books, food/drink) may be more or less while they are abroad, depending on where they are studying and on the current exchange rate.

Students will also need to find a way to pay for the travel to their host country. Typically airfare is not included in program fees. Many students will want to travel within their host region as well. You may want to discuss in advance the financial and safety issues that arise when students are interested in traveling in their host region.

Another area that can be costly is communication. If your student is calling friends/family back home frequently or is spending a lot of time in Internet cafés, they may spend more money (and time) than they realize on keeping in touch (and may miss out on exciting opportunities in their host country!). Please discuss with your student your financial expectations for their study abroad experience BEFORE problems arise!


Preparations for Study Abroad
You may want to read the Getting Started and FAQ’s sections of our website with your student to learn more about what the study abroad process entails. Familiarizing yourself with the different types of Programs can prove beneficial as well. If you wish to learn more about the country your student is going to, please consult the country page on the US Travel site for practical information. You may also wish to buy a guidebook for that country or region or to read about its history so that you can learn along with your student.

Your student may go through some emotional highs and lows during their study abroad experience. This is a common reaction to living in a foreign culture, known as "culture shock." Usually this takes the form of a U-curve, where the student arrives very enthusiastic, then goes through stages of frustration at cultural differences, but ends up learning how to integrate these differences into their worldview, ending their experience on a high note. If your student's reaction seems extreme, please urge them to talk to their study abroad program director or in-country contact, who may be able to recommend some tips for getting over culture shock or can arrange for professional intervention.

If you will be visiting your student during their study abroad time, we recommend waiting until at least halfway through the study period, if not the end. By that time, your student will have had some time to adjust to their host culture and should be knowledgeable about their host country so that you will have your very own tour guide!


More Information
One of our program providers, CIEE, has produced a series of pamphlets with useful information on various topics. The Parents section may be of interest to you. Additionally, our professional organization publishes a handbook called What Parents Need to Know!, which is available for purchase from their website.

The Institute for International Education recently released a new publication called A Parent Guide to Study Abroadwhich can be downloaded directly from the website.

If you would like more information on specific study abroad programs or have further questions, please contact our office at (615) 898-5179 or educationabroad@mtsu.edu