Parents & Families
Thanks for taking the time to learn more about Dartmouth off-campus programs! More than half of all Dartmouth undergraduate students participate in an off-campus program before they graduate and we are delighted your student wants to be a part of one of these uniquely tailored experiences.
First and foremost our office makes every effort to ensure that your student is at the center of all decision and information processing that is required in order to participate in an off-campus program. Therefore, we encourage you to speak with your student about their decision to study off-campus. Please encourage your student to communicate directly with our staff regarding your questions or concerns. That said, we put together an overview of the study abroad process, included some helpful links, and a few resources such as tips for parents and family to give you a better idea of how you can best support your student before, during, and after they study away.
What is an Off-Campus Program?
Off-campus programs are designed to complement a student’s undergraduate coursework while also giving them a new context in which to study. The hallmark of Dartmouth off-campus programs is that we have carefully chosen and faculty have thoughtfully created programs that not only compliment on campus academics but also seamlessly match the unique characteristics of the D Plan.
The Value of Study Abroad
Study abroad is a life-changing experience for many students, opening their eyes to different ways of life and promoting understanding and tolerance. Research shows that students who study abroad have better grades, more confidence, and are more likely to graduate from college at higher rates than students who do not study abroad.
Despite these studies study abroad participation across the country still remains at less than 10% amongst undergraduates. Therefore, it is a wonderful opportunity for your student to distinguish themselves and develop critical skills that will make them more competitive in the job market.
LSA and LSA+
Dartmouth's Language Study Abroad (LSA) and Advanced Language Study Abroad (LSA+) programs have been developed in response to the College's commitment of understanding, and communicating with, people of other cultures. To this end, Dartmouth maintains programs in a number of countries. Undergraduate students live with local families on most LSA and LSA+ programs. Life with local families gives students a personal context through which they gain access to the culture as a whole. Studying the language, literature and civilization gives them an intellectual grasp of historical and contemporary cultural patterns.
FSP and DSP
Foreign Study Programs (FSP) principal objective is an in-depth experience of the life and culture of the country through the substantive courses as well as through social interactions with the local people. Like their language-based counterparts, these programs offer undergraduate students opportunities to study other cultures and disciplines in depth as well as to gain new perspectives on our society. FSP’s in the language departments offer advanced study of the country's language, literature and civilization and are designed for students that have equivalent or advanced language skills as compared to an LSA program.
A wide array of Foreign and Domestic Study Programs (DSP) are conducted primarily in the English language. These programs are designed to take advantage of resources unique to the host country or off campus location in the United States.
Dartmouth has exchange programs with other educational institutions, both in the United States and in other countries. Undergraduate students participating on exchange programs are directly enrolled at the partner institution, enabling them to have a university experience very similar to that of a student of the host institution.
While undergraduate students are strongly encouraged to participate in a Dartmouth-sponsored program, occasionally some students take a leave term, and independently seek out an alternate program. These are not Dartmouth-sponsored programs led by Dartmouth faculty with courses that are a part of the Dartmouth curriculum. Therefore undergraduate students who elect to pursue this option and wish to receive transfer credit are required to provide an academic rationale for such study that meets certain standards established by the Committee on Instruction.
Students may transfer up to a total of four (4) credits to Dartmouth throughout their academic career. A transfer term fee is assessed for the term, regardless of the number of courses transferred. Dartmouth financial aid is not available for transfer terms. Undergraduate students may check with a financial aid counselor regarding their situation in the event they may be eligible for loans. Undergraduate students may be asked to provide a copy of approved forms to the Financial Aid Office.
Detailed transfer credit information can be found on the Registrar's Office website.
Health and Safety
We make every effort to inform students of how to make an off-campus program as successful and enriching as possible but much of this success is attributed to communication. Students are asked to inform their Faculty Director and our office of any needs they may have prior to departure so that we can best support their mental and/or physical well-being while they are away from Dartmouth. In some cases, we may even be able to refer them to professionals who can assist in creating an action plan to support their needs off campus or help them become better informed of the resources that may or may not be available to support them off campus to help them determine a program that best fits their needs.
All students are required to fill out a Health Form post acceptance and prior to departure. The form is entirely based on self-disclosure so we highly encourage students to be as thorough as possible. If there is something you feel your student should note on their form please discuss that with your student well in advance of their off-campus program. In addition, we have Health and Safety Guidelines that are shared with Faculty Directors, Students and Family’s. For more information please visit our Health and Safety section.
In addition to working with students to best plan for their health and safety abroad we also host a Health and Safety Meeting for all outbound students each term. The Health and Safety Meeting topics include but are not limited to: Basic Safety Tips for All Travelers, Guidelines for Health & Safety, Pre-Departure Health & Well-Being, Student Accessibility Services, Scheduling a Travel Consult, Heath Insurance, International SOS (ISOS), Pre-Departure Research and Planning, Packing & Travel, STEP – Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, On-Site Health & Safety, Mental Health, Food & Water, Alcohol Consumption, Nightlife, Diversity Abroad, Sexual Respect & Title IX Resources, and Money Matters.
Dartmouth College has contracted with a company called International SOS (ISOS) to provide worldwide travel and medical assistance and evacuation services for all study away participants (abroad and domestic U.S. programs). This is NOT HEALTH INSURACE but rather a support network that provides services. The services provided by International SOS range from telephone advice and medical/dental referrals to full-scale evacuation by private air ambulance. The ISOS network of multilingual specialists operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year from ISOS Alarm/Assistance Centers around the world. The ISOS membership, provided by the College, is a resource to assist you with a variety of difficulties that could arise while abroad. ISOS plan coverage is designed to supplement the policies, procedures and support staff, which
Dartmouth College already has in place. Some services may include a fee. A reference to ISOS fees is located at: http://www.dartmouth.edu/~rmi/rmstravel/
ISOS can assist you in identifying and making appointments with accredited physicians, hospitals, pharmacies and more, worldwide. They can assist with questions and health planning even before you go abroad.
ISOS also provides Dartmouth travelers with medical, security, and travel information online to assist you in making informed decisions about your health and safety. Accessing this information is easy through the ISOS website. ISOS’s travel information includes:
- Email Alerts - Automated medical and security information emailed to members when critical advice changes
- Country guides - Medical and travel information on countries is available online
- Travel Security Online - Comprehensive travel and security information including risk ratings on countries and cities
The Dartmouth group membership number is: 11BSGC000018.
If you need immediate assistance that is not locally available while you are travelling or while you are attending the program, please contact the International SOS Assistance Center in Philadelphia: +1-215-942-8226 (collect calls are accepted).
More information about the ISOS program can be found by visiting the following web site: http://www.internationalsos.com.
Please note that ISOS is not a health insurance program.
24 Hour Emergency Assistance
If there is an emergency off-campus or even an emergency that you would like to communicate to your student that has happened at home you can call our office during regular business hours Monday-Friday 9am-4pm EST at 603-646-1202 or after hours you can call Safety and Security at 603-646-4000.
For emergency assistance during an off-campus program we advise students to get immediate help by dialing the local equivalent of 911. To find the local emergency phone numbers, go to travel.state.gov/destination and search for the country-specific information. Students should then notify their on site contact such as their Faculty Director who is available 24/7. If the emergency is medical in nature students should contact their insurance provider and if they need assistance with locating a hospital in country they can reach International SOS at +1-215-942-8226 (collect calls are accepted) and provide the Dartmouth group membership number: 11BSGC000018. Other important contacts include the students home embassy and we always encourage them to stay in touch with you, their family, to stay up to date and informed of their well being.
Choosing to pursue an off-campus program is a wonderful compliment to the undergraduate experience. In some cases, it may be a students first time traveling overseas and for others it is an opportunity to explore an unfamiliar environment. Students often discover a lot of unknowns and acquire skills that aren’t necessarily developed in a traditional on campus setting. Some of the most common benefits noted by Dartmouth students are confidence, increased language acquisition, and ability to navigate new environments. Despite all of the wonderful opportunities off-campus programs facilitate it doesn’t mean they come without challenge. For those students going abroad or exploring an entirely new culture there will, likely, be a roller coaster of emotions you will experience during your time off campus. People often refer to this period of adjustment as culture shock.
Culture shock can be described as consisting of at least one of four distinct phases: honeymoon, negotiation, adjustment, and adaptation. Symptoms often include: Extreme homesickness, feelings of helplessness/dependency, disorientation and isolation, depression and sadness, hyper-irritability, may include inappropriate anger and hostility, sleep and eating disturbances (too little or too much), excessive critical reactions to host culture/stereotyping, hypochondria, excessive drinking, recreational drug, dependency, extreme concerns over sanitation, safety (even paranoia), and being taken advantage of, loss of focus and ability to complete tasks.
Returning to Dartmouth after a term (or multiple terms away) can be challenging for your student who might have trouble re-adjusting to campus life and re-assimilating into US culture. After studying away, your student might have different goals, academic or career plans. They might also want to consider taking advantage of other opportunities at Dartmouth or abroad.
Take Action: You can play a very positive role in your student's transition back to campus by taking a personal interest in actively listening and learning about his or her abroad experience abroad.
Financing Off Campus Programs
Dartmouth makes a significant effort to ensure that off-campus programs are financially accessible to all students. That said, each program has a budget and each location has different out of pocket expenses. For Dartmouth sponsored programs tuition and expected family contribution are the same as for an on-campus term. Financial Aid awards are adjusted to reflect the actual cost of the exchange term. However, students will receive no more scholarship assistance than they would have received for a term at Dartmouth. However, billed costs from the College will be lower for programs that require room and/or board charges to be paid at the study-abroad site. Although financial aid recipients are given aid to cover all of the required costs of the program, students are responsible for purchasing their own plane ticket and, in many cases, meals. Often this means that part of the expected family contribution is used towards these costs rather than for tuition. For help sorting out who pays what and how, a visit to the Financial Aid Office is often advisable.
For more detailed information visit the Financing Your Program page.