PARENTS

Frequently Asked Questions

Pre-Departure Process

Can I see my student’s application? 
Parents do not have access to their student’s account information or application. Students must apply directly through the Alliance online application portal. Your student can, of course, choose to show you the application portal, but that is between the two of you.

Is there a way I should be helping with the application process? 
The best ways you can help your student apply to study abroad with the Alliance is to ask them what level of support they need from you, and then provide that support! Every step of the study abroad experience, including the application, is an opportunity for your student to develop independence and build life skills, including marshalling records and supporting documents and writing their application essays. Parents can help in that process by encouraging students to research the steps of the process and follow through, rather than taking short-cuts or trying to do it for them.

Who can I contact with questions?
Don’t hesitate to reach out to our capable Program Advisor with your questions!

Kerry Springer / kspringer@ifsa-butler.org / 317-940-9336, ext. 4248

 

Billing and Financial Aid

Who do I contact about my bill? 
Your student’s school may ask the Alliance to bill your student directly, or they may prefer that your student pay your school’s tuition and fees instead. You student will receive instructions from their Program Advisor on which process applies. Questions about your statement can be directed to:

Becki Niccum, Student Accounts Supervisor / bniccum@allianceglobaled.org
Phone: 317-940-3077 / Fax: 317-940-9762

Can financial aid and/or student loans be applied to semesters abroad?
Your student will need to work with their financial aid officer to apply their financial aid and/or student loans to their bill. Please refer to our Payment Information page for more information.

 

Medical Questions

Does my student need to see a doctor before they study abroad?
Your student will be asked to complete a basic medical form as part of the application process – which does not require a doctor’s visit. However, we recommend that all students visit their general practitioner or a travel doctor ahead of time to discuss health concerns, such as pre-existing conditions, prescriptions, malaria prophylaxis, and vaccinations as appropriate. Depending on your student’s individual medical history or medication regimen disclosed on the basic medical form, your Program Advisor may request a signed physician form.

Which vaccinations will they need?
Students should consult the Center for Disease Control’s website for recommended vaccinations for their destination and stay, as well as make sure all of their standard immunizations are up to date. Similar to American universities, students are asked to provide the dates of all standard immunizations on the basic medical form in order to be able to participate in the program, including Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR), Polio, Diphtheria, and Tetanus.

My student takes prescription medication. Can they obtain refills in country?
While certain over the counter and prescription medications are readily available abroad, others are not. We recommend that students bring a full supply of any prescriptions for the duration of their stay, and supporting documentation (doctor’s prescriptions) to ensure that there are no issues clearing customs. 

Can I mail my student a prescription refill?
Mailing medicines overseas is not recommended, as the likelihood of confiscation during transit is high. If for any reason your student does not bring a full supply of their prescription (or their stores are lost or damaged), Alliance staff will assist in obtaining a local prescription.

What happens if my student falls ill in China or India?
It is fairly common for foreign visitors to have some sort of illness in the course of their stay, whether it is a case of traveler’s diarrhea, a cold or flu, heat rash or a respiratory complaint. While unpleasant, it’s generally a simple matter of their body adjusting to foreign bacteria, a new diet or a different climate. Program staff will advise students on what to do if they get sick during orientation and will help them find a doctor if necessary. Most of the time, rest and following the doctor’s orders with regards to medicine and diet will help alleviate students’ health issues.

 

Travel Visas

Will my student need a visa to go abroad?
Yes! All Alliance students must have a valid Student Visa to participate in our programs. Students will need to secure a student visa prior to studying in India or China. The visa process is very time sensitive, and students should allow for one month of processing time before leaving the U.S.

Who secures their visa? 
Students are responsible for securing their student visa. The Alliance’s Program Advisor will help to guide your student through this process, but students are responsible for turning in all related applications and fees to the relevant companies and consulates themselves. We encourage students to work through a third-party company that will shepherd their application through the visa application process. Students going to China and India should apply through Travisa.

My student is already studying abroad or is planning to start their travels early. Can they obtain a visa from anywhere?
We strongly encourage students to apply for their visas from their home country. Students who have chosen to apply abroad face delays, difficulty processing and ultimately, risk failing to obtain a student visa, which jeopardizes their participation on the program. Visa sponsorship letters may or may not be recognized by foreign consulates that are unfamiliar with the concept of American undergraduates studying abroad in India or China. Students who are currently abroad should plan to return to the US for the month prior to the program start date to secure their visa.

What if my student is an international student studying in the U.S.A.?
International students should consult their Program Advisor at the Alliance and international student advisor at their home institution to discuss their visa application.

 

Flight Arrangements

How and when should my student book a flight?
The Alliance does not offer group flights. However, the Alliance offers airport pickup for students arriving within a designated pickup window. For more information on booking flights, visit the Travel Arrangements tab of our Accepted Students pages. Students must book their flights by July 1 for the Fall Semester and by December 1 for the Spring Semester. Summer students must book their flights by April 1.

Please note that there is a required group flight for students participating in the Manipal program and Varanasi program in India.

How will I know that my student has safely arrived?
The Alliance sends out an email notification to all parents once all students have safely arrived in country. Due to the differences in flight arrival times, this notification will not correspond to your student’s individual arrival time. The Resident Director and Program Advisor are in close contact as students are arriving, monitoring any flight delays or issues that arise in transit.

What if my student’s luggage gets lost in transit?
This is something that your student should be prepared to handle in the airport. If their bag does not arrive at baggage claim, they must find the appropriate person in the airport and fill out the paperwork to send it on to the program site. Students must not exit the airport without addressing this issue.

 

Money Matters

How much money does my student need for India or China?
The answer to this question depends on your student’s personal spending habits and lifestyle preferences. Select your student’s program from our Program Fees page to access a breakdown of estimated personal expenses for their individual program. In addition to pre-departure expenses like airfare and visa fees, the biggest spending categories in–country are food and drink, local transportation, in-country travel, communications and shopping (clothing, souvenirs, gifts, etc.). Managing their money during their semester abroad is another opportunity for your student to develop a key life skill.

Does my student need to take local currency with them before they arrive? 
We recommend that students take approximately $50 USD with them to get started abroad. This money can be changed in the airport, or students may choose to change it before they leave the U.S.

What about credit cards or ATM cards? 
Students should make sure that their bank knows they will be traveling abroad. Many debit cards can be used to withdraw local currency at ATMs, although fees may apply. Cash advances to credit cards can also be used, but due to the high interest rates, this is not recommended. Please continue on to these pages for more information on money matters in India and money matters in China.

 

Staying in Touch

Will my student be able to call or email me from China or India?
Yes. Within two weeks of their arrival, your student will have an internet connection and personal cell phone. Cell phones are provided by the program, but students may bring their own unlocked phones if they choose. Students must purchase their SIM cards, and program staff make every effort to provide these facilities as soon as possible, but occasionally these are delayed by factors outside of our control. Local cell phones can receive international calls for free, but international calls and texts do carry higher charges. Often, students and parents will use Skype to make their phone calls or have video chats. We suggest that families discuss a communication plan before their student goes abroad about the frequency/types of communication.

Please keep in mind that if you hear from your student and they are upset, ill, or homesick, what they most need is someone to listen to them and empathize with their feelings. While the study abroad experience is often life-changing and memorable, it is not always comfortable. Alumni most often report they are most proud of having learned that they can survive and thrive on their own.

Try to take a step back before you leap in to problem-solve or advocate for your student. Encourage your student to reach out to program staff on the ground for pragmatic assistance if it’s needed, as they can most often connect students with appropriate resources. Everyone at the Alliance – from our Program Advisor in the U.S. to our local Resident Directors and Program Assistants – wants to help your student succeed! Empowering them to self-advocate for their needs and solve problems is an important step in the study abroad experience.

What do I do if I can’t get in touch with my student?
If you have reached out to your student several times over a 24-hour period, using several methods (phone, email, Facebook, etc.), we suggest that you call or email their Program Advisor. They can contact the Resident Director on your behalf to ask that your student contacts you as soon as possible.

Again, keep in mind that your student will have a full schedule and will be anywhere from 12-15 hours ahead of your time zone. There may be many innocent reasons for a lack of contact, whether it’s a lack of money on their cellphone, running out of their internet data plan, a busy day of class or sight-seeing, being asleep when you call, or simple forgetfulness. However, if you have any reason to believe that your student’s lack of contact is a serious indicator; do not hesitate to reach out to us during business hours or call our 24/7 Public Safety number at 1-317-940-9396.

 

Crisis Response

What do I do if there is a crisis in China or India that I hear about on the news?
The first step to take when you hear worrying news about the country where your student is abroad is to look at a map. Is the event taking place near your student’s host city?  India and China are huge countries, and often events may take place in one region that do not affect your student at all. You can always reach out to your student to see if they’ve been impacted in any way, or send a question to the Program Advisor.

What do I do if there is a crisis in China or India in my student’s host city? How do I contact my student?
If there is a crisis that impacts our students, the Alliance crisis management protocol goes into action. Your student’s Resident Director will make contact with all students, ensuring their safety and asking them to contact you. They will also contact staff in the U.S., so we can communicate information to you on the website and via email. Please keep in mind that during some crisis situations, phone lines and internet providers may go down and communication will be difficult. If you have any questions in a crisis situation, please contact your student’s Program Advisor or our emergency hotline. 

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