Information for Families

What is Off-Campus Study / Study Abroad?

At Bates College, we use off-campus study and study abroad interchangeably. Students are able to study in another country or on a few options in the US. Generally, study abroad is an academic year or semester in another country taking courses on a program or at a local university. Depending on the type of program, students may take courses alongside locals or they may take courses with other US college students.

Why should I encourage my student to study off-campus?

Studying abroad helps students develop many personal, professional, and academic skills. Families will often report that their student returned from a semester abroad more independent, self-assured, with a stronger sense of purpose, and an ability to be flexible. In a competitive job or graduate school market,  off-campus study can provide a helpful edge for students looking for their next steps. Many employers and graduate schools are looking for individuals who will be successful in a cross-cultural environment, and study abroad can be a good example of that.

When does off-campus study happen?

Students are able to study on an Off-Campus Short Term course as early as their first year. These courses change from year to year and are developed by Bates faculty. These courses are a great first study abroad experience for the student who hasn’t traveled on their own before.

Generally, students study abroad for a semester during their junior year. But they’re able to study abroad for a full academic year during their junior year as well as during the fall of their senior year.

How does my student plan for off-campus study?

Since a high percentage of Bates students study abroad, it is probably already on their radar. During their first year they should focus on their major interests and language study. During their second year there will be many events that they’ll be invited to attend and they’ll also have individual advising appointments with Center for Global Education staff. Our planning timeline may be a helpful resource.

Are there financial implications for off-campus study?

During a semester or year abroad, students are charged for housing, tuition, and other costs by the program or institution abroad. There will be other costs such as flights, visas fees, and in-country travel to consider as well.  Students do not pay the Bates single fee while they are abroad.

Financial aid is available from Bates for students who qualify and will be based on the costs of their program off-campus. Additional scholarships are available from programs and national organizations that the Center staff will advise students about.

All students studying off-campus are subject to an Off-Campus Study Fee charged by Bates, which is 7% of the Bates Comprehensive Fee for that semester/year.  Bates financial aid does address the Off-Campus Study fee for qualifying students.

More details on finances are available at:

How does my student prepare for off-campus study?

Preparing for a term off-campus takes many forms. There will be group meetings at Bates, individual advising, and support from their future host program or institution. The key for students is to plan ahead (especially when applying for visas), read everything thoroughly, and meet deadlines. We suggest that you ask your student to share their preparation information with you as it will also helpful for you to know this information and to guide them through the process. If you or your student has any questions while preparing, please reach out to us.  If your student does not have a passport, they should apply for one as soon as possible.  The U.S. Department of State provides information on how to apply for a passport.

Will my student be safe while away from Bates?

Bates chooses the programs and locations for study abroad very carefully and the Center for Global Education regularly monitors US State Department Travel Advisories. That being said, safety is never a guarantee while traveling and what is considered safe in one location may not be what we consider safe at home. Thorough research, talking to the program/institution, reading local news sources, and reviewing online forums is the best way to prepare for a new location and to stay safe while away from home or campus.  You can find more information regarding safety and security here.

How does health insurance work while my student is abroad?

It is absolutely essential that your student has comprehensive health insurance while abroad. The Bates insurance that many families subscribe to provides such coverage.   More information about health insurance and emergency coverage can be found here.

Where can I find more information?

If you’re on campus at any point, we welcome you to stop by the Center for Global Education in Roger Williams Hall. More information and resources are available on this website including a list of the approved study abroad programs.