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Study Abroad

For Parents

A Condensed/Carthage version of “What Parents Need to Know!” by Janet Hulstrand.

A Little Bit of Help Goes a Long Way

  • Perhaps one of the hardest things for parents to do is to step back and, for the most part, let the student take responsibility for the myriad and complex tasks for preparing for the study abroad experience, and to attend to all the necessary details.
  • Yet, this is one of the best ways that you can set your child up for a successful study abroad experience.
  • It is really important that you let them take responsibility in the planning and follow-through in the preparation stage.
  • IMPORTANT: you should be available and ready to lend your child help, support and advice, but it is critical that you let your student take primary responsibility for planning the experience.

How Safe is Study Abroad?

  • According to the Interassociational Advisory Committee on Safety and Responsibility in Study Abroad, “most study abroad professionals believe that study in a foreign county is no more dangerous that study in the United States.”
  • No study abroad program, no matter how professional, experienced, or responsible, can guarantee the health and safety of participants.
  • Make sure to visit for the most up to date information and travel warnings for the intended country of study.

Helping your Child Prepare…

Step 1: Selecting a program: finding the right academic, financial, and personal fit.

Below are the questions that you should be asking through the beginning stages of your search.

  • How long is the program? When is it being offered?
  • Are there work, internship, or service learning opportunities abroad for the development of my career?
  • Are there prerequisites? Do I have to speak the language? If so, what is the proficiency level?
  • Who awards the credit and how will it count to my degree?
  • How much does it cost?
  • Is financial aid available for study abroad?
  • Are accommodations made for students with special needs?

Step 2: Preparing for Departure: Monitoring your Child’s Progress

  • Make sure your child is working with Erik Kulke ( to ensure that credits and program selection are sanctioned by the college.
  • The student must take a course at Carthage before their study abroad experience (MLA 2200).

Step 3: Paperwork, passports, visas, etc.

Many of the required forms require quite a bit of time to complete (especially with regard to the visa process). Make sure they are among the first things done.

  • Health Issues: Again, check to see if there are any specific medications or vaccines your child needs before leaving. Also, ensure that your student has talked with their doctor if they are on a prescription medication, to discuss a plan of action while abroad.
  • Travel Arrangements: Make sure your child is aware of bag restrictions by the airlines (number and weight of bags). Most airlines provide this information on their website.

Step 4: Financial Matters

  • Contact the program prior to departure to determine whether or not you should have money exchanged before you enter the country (Professor Kulke encourages all students to have the equivalent of at least $100 in local currency prior to flying to their study abroad destination).
  • Do research on costs in host country and try to budget the day to day expenses.

Step 5: Helping Your Child Make The Most Of The International Experience

  • Support your child through culture shock and/or homesickness
  • Wait and see if it improves before making any sudden decisions
  • Urge your child to be the one to find the solution and seek assistance if necessary
  • Remind your child that they went abroad to experience something different: and that sometimes “different” is uncomfortable

Step 6: Helping your child through the delicate reentry stage

  • Urge them to join “Adventurers Anonymous” on campus; “Adventurers” is the study abroad group that provides an outlet for students to discuss their time abroad and handle reverse culture shock together
  • Just like when going abroad, the student is likely to experience the same shock when coming back to the U.S.
  • To help, simply listen, show genuine interest in their stories. Urge your student to incorporate their experience into their everyday life. There are multiple outlets on campus for your student to share their experience, urge him or her to find them.
  • Expect change, and expect the change to be positive
  • Expect that your child may take a while to readjust to life at home
  • Acknowledge and appreciate the tremendous changes your child may have gone through since they left home
  • Quick Facts

    • Carthage is named a Best Midwestern College by The Princeton Review (2021), a designation given to only 25 percent of four-year schools.

    • The Tower, Carthage’s newest residence hall, provides some of the best views on campus — if not in the Midwest! In addition to #carthageviews of the lake from seven stories up, residents enjoy suite-style living and two floors of shared campus spaces for gaming, cooking, group meetings, or quiet studying. Learn more about all housing options.

    • You’re going to need brain fuel. Grab a morning coffee and a snack and Starbucks or Einstein Bros. Bagels. Later, meet friends at “The Caf,” where the specials change daily but the staples are constant, or swing through “The Stu” for wings, a burrito, or a sub. A new option, Carthage Cash, even covers some off-campus meals.

    • More than 90% of Carthage alumni report that they have secured a job or are continuing their studies six months after graduation. Visit The Aspire Center.

    • 91% of employers say critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving skills matter more than your major when it comes to career success. Learn more about how the liberal arts prepare you for a successful career.

    • Lots of schools wear the four-year label. Carthage stands behind it. More than 90% of Carthage graduates earn their degrees in four years. Learn more

    • Oscars. Emmys. Tonys. Golden Globes. The playwrights we’ve brought in have them. Each year, the Carthage Theatre Department commissions an original script by a renowned playwright for its New Play Initiative. Carthage students then work with the writer to stage it. 

    • Carthage has ranked as a top Fulbright producer for four of the past five years. Read about Carthage Fulbright winners.

    • Things look new at Carthage because they are. Our science center, student union, athletic and recreation center, and numerous residence halls have all been constructed or newly renovated in the last 15 years.

    • Carthage offers majors, minors, and concentrations in more than 50 areas of study, from marketing to neuroscience, nursing to music theatre.

    • Our Summer Undergraduate Research Experience offers select students a research budget, one-on-one mentoring with a professor, and 10 weeks of analyzing, deciphering — and getting paid.

    • So the lake is kind of a focal point, but there’s a lot more to love about our campus — like the fact that our more than 80-acre campus is also an arboretum and wildlife sanctuary. Focused on keeping campus lush forever, we plant between 50 and 75 new trees every year from a variety of species.

    • Carthage was founded in 1847. That’s more than 170 years of leaders, makers, and go-getters going out and going forth. Read more about Carthage’s rich history.

    • More than 90 percent of students receive financial aid. Carthage awards more than $20 million in scholarship and grant assistance. That includes $5.5 million in competitive scholarships in business, mathematics, science, languages, the fine arts, leadership, and overall academic strength. Learn what’s available.

    • Abraham Lincoln was an early Trustee of the College, and U.S. Secretary of State John Hay was a Carthage alum. The two still have a proud place on our campus. Spend some time with them in our Sesquicentennial Plaza. On warm days you’ll find professors leading their classes here.

    • Come to Carthage; hear yourself think — think … think …
      Legend has it that Sesquicentennial Plaza holds a perfect echo. Just stand with both your feet on the “1847,” face Straz, and start talking. “You’re the only one who can hear you, but you’ll be crystal clear,” promises English and theatre alumna Mikaley Osley.

    • Our Great Lake provides Carthage students with some amazing views. Think classes on the beach, lake views from the lab, and sunrises from your dorm room. “I love waking up in the morning with the sun shining off the lake. Nothing compares to the view in the morning,” recalls biology and neuroscience major Ann O’Leary.

    • Carthage awards up to 35 Presidential Scholarships each year, which range from $25,000 up to full tuition. Learn more.

    • For a full decade, NASA has selected Carthage students to conduct research aboard its zero-gravity aircraft. Lately, the stakes have risen. A team of underclassmen is grinding to prepare a tiny but powerful Earth-imaging satellite for launch to the International Space Station. Learn more about the space sciences at Carthage

    • Carthage is the only college or university in the Midwest where every freshman takes a full-year sequence of foundational texts of the Western intellectual tradition. Learn about Intellectual Foundations.

    • With a student-faculty ratio of 13:1, your professors will know who you are. They will also know who you want to be — and how to get you there. Meet our faculty.

    • There are more than 130 student organizations on campus, from Amnesty International to Fencing to Frisbee, Chem Club to Stand Up Comedy. See how easy it is to get involved.

    • True story: There are more than 27 art galleries, a dozen museums, and nine theatres within 25 miles of Carthage. Some highlights: The nationally recognized Racine Art Museum, the world-renowned Art Institute of Chicago, and the Milwaukee Art Museum. Learn more about our location.

    • What’s better than one professor? Two professors. What’s better than two professors? Two professors from totally different fields teaching a single class. There’s debate. Discussion. Differing perspectives. This is where the magic happens. That’s why every student takes a Carthage Symposium.

    • You can’t hide here — not with only 17 other students in the classroom with you. That’s going to be rough some mornings. But later, when you’re able to argue your point of view thoughtfully, express your opinions succinctly, and meet challenges head-on, without fear … Yep, you’ll thank us.

    • Carthage is ranked in the Top 5 in the country for student participation in short-term study abroad. Every J-Term, hundreds of students travel all over the world on faculty-led study tours. Imagine a month in Sweden, Rome, Cuba, Senegal, India, Japan …