Study Abroad Resources for Families

Through study abroad programs, your student will gain insights into different cultures and advance their skills learned in the classroom, all while making memories that will last a lifetime.

WSU offers over 100 semester and summer study away programs as well as many short-term faculty-led programs.

These programs all meet the Standards of Good Practice established by the Forum on Education Abroad, so you can rest assured that your student will be in good hands while traveling abroad. 

Study Abroad programs prove to be very beneficial to students, giving them:

  • An expanded worldview and enhanced interest in global affairs
  • Global networking, building friendships and connections
  • Cross-cultural communication skills
  • Increased flexibility, adaptability, confidence, and independence as a result of navigating unfamiliar situations
  • Practical knowledge of a specific culture and language

If you’re interested in learning more, the US Department of Education’s International Strategy highlights why these things are important in our increasingly global society. 

You can also read some statistical information on study abroad and employability. In addition, you can explore the US Department of State’s Parent page.  

Planning for Costs

We understand that cost may be a big concern when your student is studying abroad. There are options for flexible, affordable payments.

Students are registered at Winona State for the time they will be abroad, which means that they can use funds from a 529 account to pay for their study away.

Students eligible for the tuition waiver benefit may only apply it to WSU faculty-led programs since these are credits granted by WSU. It may not be applied to semester programs since those credits are transferred into WSU as transfer credit, not resident credit.

Use the Cost Estimate Worksheet (PDF) to discuss cost and the budget layout with your student.

Financial aid applies to the cost of a WSU-approved study away program.

The Study Abroad Office will complete a tentative budget for your student’s program that estimates the total tuition, room & board, transportation (including airfare), fees, health insurance, and other allowable expenses.

The WSU Financial Aid Office will then recalculate your student’s financial aid package based on the revised cost of attendance and go through financing options with your student.

There are scholarships available for study away programs from national and local sources. These scholarships range from $500 to $5,000.

Your student should note which scholarships he or she is eligible for, and when to apply. You can also discuss the various scholarships and application strategies with Scholarship Coordinator Renee Stowell at

Billing varies by study away program. Any study away costs charged to a student’s Winona State account follows the same payment deadlines as if on campus.

With faculty-led programs, the entire cost of the program is billed directly to your student’s WSU account. Each program will have specific billing timelines.

With semester programs, tuition and program fees are typically billed directly to your student’s WSU account. The student will be responsible to pay for any additional costs such as room and board, books, and supplies directly to the program by the program’s deadlines.

Preparing for Departure 

All Winona State study abroad students are required to complete Pre-Departure Orientation that covers academics, health, safety, finances, and cultural adjustment. 

Passports & Visas 

A passport is required for travel to international destinations. Your student may apply for a new passport through the WSU Study Abroad office. 

Learn more about passports or contact our office at 507.457.5081.  

Your student may also need a visa for permission to enter a country. This is usually a stamp inside the passport book.

Visa requirements vary by country and are typically related to the length and/or purpose of the trip.


Staying healthy abroad means much the same as staying healthy in Winona or at home. But there are several issues we advise students to be aware of in advance.

Staying Safe Abroad

Winona State takes great care to select and monitor the programs in our portfolio, all of which have staff who are very knowledgeable about the host culture and can serve as resources in a time of emergency.

We also urge students to take personal responsibility for their own safety. During the pre-departure orientation programming, Study Abroad staff advise on precautions to take while abroad as well as becoming informed about local culture and customs.

Students on a semester study abroad programs are provided with a Personal Emergency Action Plan Template (PDF) and asked to complete it for their own use abroad. Students on faculty-led programs walk through emergency plans during their pre-departure class meetings. 

We encourage you to discuss emergency plans with your student. It may even be helpful to work through the Personal Emergency Action Plan template together with your student prior to departure.

Travel Advisory Levels

While there is risk to any travel, the US Department of State issues country-specific Travel Advisories to provide Americans advice on safety abroad. 

View country-specific advisory information by selecting from a map or searching by country name.

Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions

This is the lowest advisory level for safety and security risk.

Students can participate in faculty-led programs and semester/summer away programs at Level 1 destinations.

Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution

Be aware of heightened risks to safety and security.

Students can participate in faculty-led programs and semester/summer away programs at Level 2 destinations.

Level 3: Reconsider Travel

Avoid travel due to serious risks to safety and security.

Students must petition to participate in a semester/summer away program at a Level 3 destination.

There are no faculty-led programs to Level 3 destinations.

Level 4: Do Not Travel

This is the highest advisory level due to greater likelihood of life-threatening risks.

Students are not permitted to participate in any programs at Level 4 destinations.

Keeping in Touch

With options like WhatsApp, Facetime, and Zoom, it’s easy to stay connected with your student while abroad. 

However, you should keep in mind that international data can get expensive. Check with your provider and research the cheapest ways to use a cell phone abroad.

Also, if your student is constantly connected to you or others back home, they aren’t out experiencing their host culture. Remind them to put down the phone and interact with people on-site. 

FERPA & Student Data Privacy

In accordance with the Federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, Winona State Study Abroad and the university may not release student information, except in the case of an emergency.

The Study Abroad Office can provide parents with general information regarding study away programs, but information specific to a particular student is protected. We are committed to preparing and supporting your student for studying abroad and encourage you to talk with your student throughout the study away process.

If they choose to, your student must give permission for our office to discuss their information with you. Learn more about student data privacy practices at WSU.

Contact the Study Abroad Office
Study Abroad Office

Maxwell 105

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