Parent Guide


To Parents and Family Members: 


Thank you for lending your support to your student as they embark on the life changing experience of studying abroad!


The staff at the Barbara H. Padnos International Center facilitates meaningful international experiences for Grand Valley students. More than 700 Grand Valley students complete some kind of study abroad program each year — with most students identifying their experience overseas as not only the best thing they’ve done at Grand Valley, but also the best thing they’ve done in their entire lives.


Why Should Your Student Study Abroad?


Study abroad enriches students on a professional, academic and personal level. Students enhance their competitive edge in the career world, as more and more sectors of our economy involve working with international companies, collaborating or working with foreign teams, or working as part of a multinational or multicultural organization. Gaining meaningful international experience is one of the best ways to prepare for the increasingly global market your student will enter after graduation.


How Much Does Study Abroad Cost?


Study abroad program costs vary depending on the program and location in which your student wishes to study. With research and early planning it can be affordable.  


In addition to the many Scholarship and Grant opportunities for study abroad, any financial aid or scholarships a student already receives at GVSU can be applied to their program. While some are more expensive or similar in cost, 15 programs actually cost less than spending a semester at GVSU.


Safety Abroad


Student health, safety and security is Padnos International Center’s highest priority. PIC staff regularly monitors the latest travel warning information from the U.S. Department of State and has protocols in place should a crisis occur.


Over 270,000 United States students earn credit abroad each year, and the vast majority have a wonderful and safe experience. 


Benefits of Studying Abroad


  • Build a resume and become competitive in the job market
  • Develop a capacity for living in a world that is increasingly diverse, complex, and interdependent
  • Learn about another culture and become more accepting and open-minded to foreign customs and traditions
  • Take on a challenge that will develop valuable skills such as adaptability and independence


PIC staff members are happy to speak with and/or meet with parents to answer questions.


Page last modified November 4, 2013