Information for Parents

The process of pursuing a study abroad program is an exciting experience for students and their families, and the SUNY Cortland International Programs Office wishes to thank the parents of study abroad students for providing support in making the opportunity to study overseas a reality. International Programs is available to assist students and their families throughout the study abroad experience, and is happy to answer any questions and address any concerns pertaining to student experiences. We encourage parents to explore this Web site and learn more about navigating a studying abroad program.

Questions Frequently Asked by Families

Where can my son or daughter go abroad?

Students may participate in any Cortland or SUNY program.  Throw a dart at a map – odds are there is a SUNY study abroad program offered where it lands!  There are a wide variety of programs in traditional study abroad areas like the U.K. and Australia, as well as in areas more “off the beaten track.” Over 1,000 study abroad programs are available throughout SUNY. Go to the International Programs website for program options.

When can my son or daughter go abroad?

SUNY Cortland students are eligible to go abroad as early as the first winter session of their freshman year or the following summer session.  Students who wish to study abroad for a full semester should be a second semester sophomore, junior or senior as semester programs require a certain level of maturity and independence.

Education students, usually go abroad for the spring semester of sophomore year because they often must spend their junior and senior years completing education required courses and field experience.  Education students who prefer to study abroad later in their college career can apply to participate in Cortland's Student Teaching program in Australia where they satisfy one portion of their student teaching requirement abroad.

What courses can my son/daughter take while abroad?

This depends on the program, but a wide variety of courses are available to choose from. Your child should meet with his/her academic advisor as soon as possible to create an academic plan for studying abroad.  Many of our international partners offer a full array of subjects, while some programs are tailored towards a particular field of study. Reserving courses with broader requirements such as electives, liberal arts & science classes, and some GE courses can open up more study abroad program possibilities.  Prior to going abroad your student will meet with their academic department to have their course choices approved as Cortland credit.

How can I find out if my son or daughter needs any vaccinations or medications?

Students should always check with their doctors and the Centers for Disease Control for the health steps they are required to take before going abroad. Students who need to take regular medication must bring sufficient medication for the duration of their trip abroad with a doctor's note briefly stating why the medicine is prescribed to the student. 

Does my son or daughter need special health insurance?

The SUNY Overseas Health Insurance policy is included in the Cortland programs study abroad program fee. Information regarding the policy will be released in August 2018, as SUNY has recently switched insurance policies to United Health Care.

How do I know that my son or daughter will be safe?

The International Programs Office places the highest level of priority on the safety and security of our students who are participating in our study abroad programs.  Office staff conducts pre-departure orientations for all Cortland-sponsored study abroad programs which include information on health, safety, and security concerns as well as offer advice on how to prepare for the cultural differences they will encounter during their time abroad.

Each of Cortland's international programs has a relationship with on-site staff available to deal with emergencies. In addition, International Programs receives up-to-date information in the form of travel warnings and travel safety information updates from the U.S. Department of State.

All students are required to register with the U.S. Department of State’s STEP (Smart Traveler Enrollment Program). STEP allows your child to enter information about your upcoming trip abroad so that the Department of State can better assist them in an emergency. STEP also allows Americans residing abroad to get routine information from the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

Keeping our students safe is a team effort.  Talk to your child about common sense safety precautions and review with them the U.S. Department of State website for students abroad at

What happens if there is an emergency?

Students abroad are required to carry with them at all times a completed Permission for Emergency Treatment form that identifies emergency contacts abroad and at home.  If there is an emergency, the student and/or parent should contact the SUNY Cortland International Programs Office as soon as possible to assist students in addressing emergency situations.

In case of emergency, please contact International Programs at 607-543-2209 during business hours (M-F, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.), or on our emergency cell phone at 607-543-0774 outside of business hours. Should your son or daughter contact you first during an emergency, we please ask for your assistance in

What should my son /daughter need to do in order to obtain a visa?

Students must have an up-to-date passport, valid for at least six months after the end date of the program.  As each country differs with visa requirements, students should consult with their study abroad advisor and the host country consulate website for visa requirements.  Students should apply for a visa (if required) as early as possible.

Please note that most countries do not permit students to work while studying in the country as a visiting student.  If permitted, students are not encouraged to work as work for short term is often difficult to find and students should be focusing on acclimating to a new academic system and culture.

How much does it cost to study abroad?

Costs can vary depending on program type, length, and number of credits taken.  Some study abroad programs actually cost less than studying at Cortland and some can be considerably more.  Semester programs which offer exchange are some of the most affordable. 

What bills are we responsible for paying?

SUNY students who participate in SUNY study abroad programs remain enrolled at their home college and pay tuition for the duration of their program at the appropriate SUNY tuition rate.  All students will be billed for the international program fee by the administering SUNY campus.

A detailed budget and breakdown of program costs can be found on each SUNY study abroad program web page.

Are there scholarships available for study abroad?

Numerous scholarships are available to help off-set the cost of studying abroad.  Students are encouraged to research their eligibility and apply for both scholarships available to Cortland students as well as national scholarships available to all United States citizens.  Each year SUNY Cortland awards over $20,000 in scholarships to Cortland students studying abroad through any SUNY institution.

Will my son or daughter still receive financial aid while abroad?

Students who are eligible for financial aid will continue to receive aid while they are abroad as long as the student is enrolled in a minimum of 6 credits for a summer program or a minimum of 12 credits for a semester program. All credit taken must fulfill degree requirements, and financial aid cannot be used for courses taken towards a minor. Students must make an appointment with their financial aid advisor prior to registering for their study abroad program to discuss disbursement dates and financial aid amounts. Students on scholarships funded by a non-SUNY school or organization should contact the scholarship provider directly to determine if the scholarship can be applied to overseas study.

How can I be sure that my son or daughter has taken care of all necessary preparation to go abroad?

The International Programs Office has compiled a checklist of items for students and their families to consider prior to traveling overseas.  This checklist should be used as a guideline to ensure that students are fully prepared for their study abroad experiences.

International Programs Office

Mary Schlarb, Director

Old Main, Room 219
P.O. Box 2000
Cortland, NY 13045
Phone: +1-607-753-2209
Fax: +1-607-753-5989

International Programs Office

Fall 2020 Office Hours: 9 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Walk-In Advising Hours: 11 a.m. -   1 p.m.

Remote Advising Hours: 1 p.m. -     2 p.m.

Monday - Friday

Generation Study Abroad Logo