Parent Guide to Study Abroad

Thank you being supportive of 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.

Study Abroad FAQs for Parents


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.
Health & Safety

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. 

Support Abroad 

The level of support available to students while they are abroad depends on the Type of Program they are participating in. Faculty-led programs will have a GVSU professor on site throughout the program to assist the student on a daily basis. Partnership programs will have an international office which the student can get support and services from. Non-GVSU students will either have an office or an individual on-site to answer questions. At all times before, during and after the program, students are welcome to contact the Padnos International Center for support. 

Safety Info

Benefits of 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.

Skills Developed 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

Why Study Abroad

PIC staff members are happy to speak with and/or meet with parents to answer questions. Contact the Padnos International Center

Page last modified August 14, 2023