For Parents

Boston University Study Abroad offers many kinds of programs, from professional faculty-directed internships, to direct enrollment in a foreign university, to community service, fieldwork, and teaching.

By electing a certain type of program, your son or daughter chooses the way in which he or she will encounter and experience a culture. In an internship program, students combine academic coursework with a placement in a business, agency, or organization, directly involving themselves in the local work life. In other programs, students may enroll in a foreign university and become part of the local student community. There are also programs that allow students to combine coursework with active involvement in nonprofit service or field research.

Our programs give students the opportunity for academic and personal growth, to challenge themselves and to experience the world from a new perspective.

On-Site Administration

Directors appointed by Boston University oversee the administration of most of our programs. The directors are present throughout the year to provide academic counseling, to represent Boston University in the determination of academic policies, and to serve as liaisons between the American and host educational systems. On-site staff assign housing; organize the academic, cultural, and social components of the program; oversee health, safety, and security considerations; assist students with their adjustment to their new environment; and place students in internships. All sites have local coordinators and/or host university administrators who are available to assist the students.


Students are registered for program courses through Boston University, and earn Boston University credit. As part of the program application, students obtain an advisor’s approval for their program participation. All students should discuss with their academic advisors how the study abroad courses fit into their overall academic goals and degree requirements.

Non-Boston University students should investigate the transfer credit policies of their home institutions before embarking on a program of study off campus. After program grades are submitted, a Boston University transcript is sent to students whose home school is elsewhere. It is the home institution that determines how courses are transferred. Course information and syllabi are available to assist academic officials in the transfer credit process. Details can be found on the program-specific pages of this website.

We expect all students to be fully engaged in the academic program. Attendance at class sessions and course-related events is mandatory. In case of absence for illness or for a planned religious observance, the student should communicate with the program’s resident director. All course requirements must be completed before the student departs the program site.

Parent Right to Data and Communication with Parents

Boston University Study Abroad adheres to the University’s policy regarding communication with parents under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act:  FERPA.

In keeping with University policy, BU Study Abroad considers students to have primary responsibility for keeping their parents or guardians informed about their progress at the University including their enrollment in a BU Study Abroad program. To this end, all program-related information and instructions will be sent directly to the student. We encourage students to share this information with their parents or guardians.

Students and their parents are encouraged to review the University’s FERPA policy. Here you will find an explanation of the circumstances under which the University will communicate with parents or guardians. Such communication will depend upon whether the student has provided written consent and will be limited to the situations described.

Enrolled students, including visiting students, may grant consent to disclose information online by accessing the Boston University Student link. Instructions on accessing the Student Link will be sent to the e-mail address listed on the visiting student’s program application.

Pre-Departure Preparation, Visas, and Deposits

Information about visas, when required, will be sent to students upon acceptance into a program. Students have also received an online module which goes over general pre-departure information as well as received program-specific pre-departure information. You can ask your son or daughter to share this information.

To secure a place in the program an accepted student will complete several forms. Please check with your son or daughter if you would like to review any of these forms. In addition to completing the acceptance forms, students must submit a $450 non-refundable program deposit. This deposit will be credited to the student’s Boston University account and will be applied toward payment of the program fee.

Students with Disabilities

Students who require reasonable accommodations in order to complete the requirements of the program must contact our office in writing within two weeks of their acceptance.


If you are planning to visit your son or daughter, please schedule your visit to take place during a weekend, holiday, or scheduled program break, or after the program ends. Your son or daughter may not miss classes, examinations, or attendance at his or her internship or other required program event while you are visiting. Please do not visit during the first and last two weeks of the program, so you can allow your son or daughter time to reflect upon adjustment and re-entry issues.

Return Home

“Re-entry” is the process of readjustment to the home culture. In some cases it may prove to be more difficult than the adjustment to life in a foreign country. Your son or daughter will have adapted to a new way of life and may find it difficult to fit back into former roles. Students may be concerned with how family and friends will react to their new attitudes and behaviors, how they will adjust to being back at their home campuses, and how they will keep in touch with host families or friends made abroad. Parents can help their son or daughter readjust to life at home by discussing their feelings upon re-entry and by encouraging them to talk about experiences abroad.

Health & Safety

Parents’ concern for the safety and well-being of their children abroad is natural and shared unequivocally by Boston University. During the course of a semester or year abroad, Boston University makes a concerted effort to ensure students’ safety, while not unnecessarily restricting their exposure to the country they have chosen as a place to study and work.

This effort is headed by Boston University Study Abroad staff at home in Boston, and by our professional, resident staff abroad. In most cases, resident staff consists of a director and one or more additional full-time staff, among whose responsibilities are the health and safety of their students. It is a part of their job to be in ongoing contact with the students, as well as with the U.S. embassies, local universities, departments, and other appropriate bodies in our host cities, and the BU Study Abroad staff in Boston.

When students arrive at their destinations, part of their on-site orientations consists of presentations on health and safety issues, simple precautions they can take while there, and more detailed information on handling issues of security, safety, illness, injury, and emergencies. The role of the resident staff is stressed throughout the orientation. During the semester, the Boston staff is in ongoing communication with each of our program offices, and we carefully monitor the economic and political situations of the host countries via contacts abroad as well as announcements issued by the U.S. Department of State and other public information sources. At the same time, we work with the directors to keep track, in an unobtrusive way, of the health, safety, progress, and well-being of our students.

In addition, each program office has developed a plan for dealing with events and situations affecting individuals and the group. These precautions vary from country to country depending on the availability of communication, transportation, and political systems, and include such resources as networks of doctors, dentists, and health care facilities, contact persons, emergency plans established for resident Americans by the U.S. Department of State, and evacuation plans.

We do not take these precautions to pamper our students or to restrict in any way their ability to enjoy fully their time abroad. The value of study abroad depends in large part on the experience of difference, not similarity, to what we are familiar with at home. Rather, we consider health, safety, and security part of our primary responsibility to our students.


Program Fee

The costs of our programs vary. For some programs, the Program Fee is comprehensive, covering tuition, housing, airfare, food/board, books, excursions, overseas medical insurance and emergency travel assistance coverage. For other programs, the Program Fee may cover tuition, housing, internship placement, overseas medical insurance and emergency travel assistance coverage only.

To assist with planning,  budget sheets are provided for each of the programs.  The budget sheets provide details of the Program Fee that will be billed by Boston University, and contain information about expenses not billed by Boston University.


It is always helpful to discuss a budget in advance of program departure. The student should plan to bring money to cover personal expenses, and any other costs not included in the Program Fee. Expenses will vary depending on the student’s own standard of living and how much traveling, shopping, and dining out he or she does. The currency exchange rate is also a factor to be considered. You may also find our budget worksheet to be an important planning tool.

Student Accounts

Invoices are issued by Boston University Student Accounting Services, and reflect the Program Fee in the form of two charges, a “Program Tuition” charge and a “Housing/Student Services Fee”. The invoice may reflect other account adjustments, such as a medical insurance charge and/or waiver.

Student Accounting Services sends an e-bill invoice for applicable charges to the student directly. Billing occurs in July for Fall programs, in late November for Spring programs, and in May for Summer programs.

Boston University students follow their normal schedule and procedures for billing and account settlement.

Non-Boston University students are expected to settle their student accounts in full by early August for Fall programs, mid-January for Spring programs, and early May for Summer programs. A specific settlement date is provided on the e-bill. Official documentation of pending loans, grants, etc. may be submitted toward account settlement. Please visit the BU Student Accounting Services website for more details.

Certain colleges request special billing arrangements in which their students make payments to the home institution, which in turn pays some or all of the Boston University Study Abroad fees directly. Non-Boston University students should check with their  home institution study abroad office or financial aid office to determine whether a special billing arrangement applies.

Financial Assistance

Generally, Boston University students remain eligible for all types of financial aid awarded on campus, with the exception of Federal Work-Study awards and certain grants (Charles River Housing Grants) that require students to live in Boston campus housing. Tuition scholarships are based on the tuition portion of the program fee.

Non-Boston University students who wish to use their federal aid towards a Boston University study abroad program should contact the financial aid office of their home institution. In the event that a home institution is unable to process federal aid for a BU program, students may address inquiries about federal financial aid to Boston University Financial Assistance.

Grants and Scholarships

Boston University Study Abroad awards a number of off-campus study grants and scholarships to eligible students. The awards are based on demonstrated financial need and/or academic merit. Non-Boston University students may apply for any term. Boston University students may apply for summer only. Get more information and application forms.

Withdrawal from the Program

It is important that you familiarize yourself with the Boston University Study Abroad Policy on Refunds.

Students who decide to withdraw from a program after confirming their acceptance must notify Boston University Study Abroad in writing immediately. (This includes students who decide to withdraw before the program start date.) Any adjustment of charges will be made in accordance with the Boston University Study Abroad Policy on Refunds. The program deposit is non-refundable.

For personal or academic reasons, a student may decide to withdraw from the program after the term has started. If the student expresses a desire to return home, we urge him or her to get in touch with on-site staff. Difficulties in cultural adjustment often can be resolved without resorting to returning to the US. Although withdrawal may be, in rare cases, the best alternative for a student, the student should carefully consider all aspects of the situation (personal, academic, and financial) before deciding to return home.

Note Boston University Students: Withdrawal from a program does not constitute withdrawal from Boston University. Boston University students who wish to withdraw from the University or take a Leave of Absence must make arrangements through the University Service Center in addition to withdrawing from the program.

Contact Information

Boston University Study Abroad
888 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA  02215

Our Boston office is open regular business hours (9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday).

After business hours in the event of an emergency involving a student currently overseas please call: 617-594-3215.

Frequently Asked Questions
Request a Catalog