PARENTS & GUARDIANS

Welcome to BCA Study Abroad! We understand that choosing a study abroad program is a big decision that demands your time and attention. Our central office staff is here to answer your questions, alleviate any concerns, as well as share our passion for studying abroad. You can reach us under the ‘Contact’ tab. We look forward to hearing from you!

WHAT DOES BCA OFFER?

BCA Support

BCA has resident directors at each program location, many of which have served for ten years or longer. The director is there to greet your student upon arrival, assist with course registration, lead a BCA culture class and excursions, and much more. Whether your child is feeling homesick or needs medical attention, the resident director is there to help.

Focus on Health and Safety

BCA carefully considers the safety of the locations where we send students.  We take precautions to ensure the security and well-being of students while studying abroad and keep informed about events in each of the countries where we have study centers. BCA draws from extensive experience to continually improve its programs to meet the latest health and safety standards. The following are some of the ways that BCA works to maximize the safety of all study abroad program participants.

On-Site Orientation

Upon arrival students have an on-site orientation during which they are provided with an introduction to daily life at their specific site, which includes information on dining, public transportation, academic expectations, independent traveling and surrounding attractions. The orientation sessions also emphasize what precautions to take on site and the importance of good decision-making when it comes to personal safety.

Travel and Medical Assistance

BCA provides international health insurance and emergency evacuation services for all summer, semester and year students through CISI. CISI has chosen top-notch assistance providers who can offer unmatched global expertise and highly skilled multilingual staff to ensure our students have access to immediate high quality support in the event of a medical or security emergency. CISI has doctors and translators on staff, providing toll-free, 24/7 worldwide access to benefits, providers, and emergency assistance for everything from a lost passport to an emergency evacuation.

For details regarding the coverage provided to BCA students, please review the BCA policy brochure.

Additionally, once enrolled, students can log in to CISI’s online participant portal to gain access to helpful links and resources tailored to their program:

  • Links to U.S. Embassies
  • Consular information sheets
  • Country profiles
  • CDC health and vaccination information
  • English-speaking doctors by country
  • U.S. State Department travel warnings
  • Safety and travel tips

A Valuable Experience

BCA offers comprehensive programs for students. The program fees cover the major aspects of study abroad experience – from tuition, housing, on-site assistance, educational excursions, international health insurance and more. As a small non-profit, we are very concerned with keeping our costs low while striving to offer as many services and benefits as possible. We offer a need-based scholarship for those who do not receive financial aid to study abroad from their college or university. Although study abroad can cost more than what you are paying at home, the benefits that your child receives through the experience are worth every penny!

Global Education with a Social Purpose

BCA is dedicated to the core values of peace and social justice. As educators, we are convinced that no genuine understanding of global issues can be gained without a strong intellectual grounding in the histories, societies and cultures of the region in which our students pursue their studies. Furthermore, we believe that student learning in all of our programs depends heavily on meaningful direct contact with local people whose lives are entwined with and affected by the issues we aim to understand. We partner with community-based agencies, ngo’s and non-profits around the world to support the health and well being of people in need. BCA students often work with these valued partners and extend their skills and talents through internships, service and field placements

Academic Quality

Many of BCA’s programs have been in place for decades. Through the years, our overseas educational partners have come to know us as treasured members of their own campuses. Each program site is affiliated with a university or language center of comparable quality and rigor to many American universities and colleges. We also believe in learning beyond the classroom and offer opportunities for field placements, internships and service placements for interested students.

55+ Years

BCA sent its first group of students to Marburg, Germany, in 1962, the same year that the Peace Corps was founded.  In those early days of study abroad, students focused on learning a language and lived on site for a full academic year. Today’s study abroad offerings are much more varied – by location, by length of time abroad and by academic study. BCA’s extensive history in the field of international education carries with it a strong commitment to program quality and customer service no matter the duration or location of the program.

PARENT FAQ’S

 General Study Abroad Questions

BCA Study Abroad is one of the nation’s oldest independent organizations committed to promoting cross-cultural understanding and academic excellence through college study abroad programs. Rooted in the values of peace and justice, BCA’s programs include opportunities to study peace and justice issues on site. Our programs also incorporate an understanding of histories and daily life through cultural immersion and group excursions. Our on-site resident directors run orientation programs at the start of each semester that provide an overview of host culture, history and, in some cases, language instruction, to help students prepare for their study abroad experience.

Studying abroad presents students with the opportunity to engage in new cultures, enroll in courses that provide a new understanding and leave the world in which they are familiar. As they are pushed beyond their imaginations, students will understand their strengths and weaknesses and have a better sense of self. In addition, students experience new cultural and social perspectives as well as academic differences that aid them in developing goals for the future. BCA is committed to providing students with the resources to become responsible global citizens.

 Health & Safety

BCA provides international health insurance and emergency evacuation services for all summer, semester and year students through CISI. CISI has chosen top-notch assistance providers who can offer unmatched global expertise and highly skilled multilingual staff to ensure our students have access to immediate high quality support in the event of a medical or security emergency. CISI has doctors and translators on staff, providing toll-free, 24/7 worldwide access to benefits, providers, and emergency assistance for everything from a lost passport to an emergency evacuation.

For details regarding the coverage provided to BCA students, please review our health and safety page.

We realize that you may be concerned about your student’s safety while so far away from home. As a study abroad provider for more than 50 years, we continue to draw from our extensive experience in structuring safe and rewarding study abroad programs. To that end, our staff, both in the United States and abroad, is trained and knowledgeable about safety procedures and emergency management. We stay informed about current events in our study abroad locations and communicate with parents when needed.

During on-site orientation, all students are provided with information regarding local emergency and non-emergency medical providers that can be used if needed.

Additionally, students can contact CISI, our international health insurance provider, for a number of health services. This includes assistance scheduling doctor’s appointments, as well medical referrals, medical monitoring, prescription drug replacement, and payment assistance/claim reimbursement for covered medical expenses. CISI services are available 24/7 throughout the length of a BCA program (even outside of the program location). All students receive CISI insurance card with emergency contact information as well as access to the online portal with additional resources.

Finances

BCA does not offer financial aid, however, we do have a limited number of scholarships available each semester, which are awarded based on demonstrated financial need and the quality of the BCA application submitted, specifically the stated goals for studying abroad, references and overall academic history. Read more about the scholarship here.

Many U.S. colleges and universities allow students to use school-awarded scholarships when studying abroad. Any financial aid from a student’s school is transferred at the school’s discretion. When institutional aid is permitted for study abroad use, it may mean that the cost to study abroad is about the same amount your student would pay in tuition, room and board at the home college or university. Students should consult with the financial aid office for further information and advice.

Fees directly billed to students are due prior to U.S. departure. If it is necessary to defer payment until financial aid is disbursed, these arrangements can be made by calling us at 717-361-6600.

Most students prefer to maintain their U.S. bank accounts and withdraw money using an ATM card. Be sure to let your bank and/or credit card company know that your son or daughter will be abroad for a few months. Prior to departure, call your financial institutions with the dates and location of the trip abroad. Many banks have implemented strict anti-fraud measures, and overseas charges can trigger a security alert that can temporarily freeze accounts pending verification of charges. You should also ask your bank for a phone number to call in case you encounter any problems.

Pre-Departure

Most BCA Study Abroad students choose to take the group flight arranged by BCA through its travel agent. Once enrolled, students receive group flight information as soon as it is available. One advantage of the group flight is that all BCA resident directors and staff meet group flights at airports and transport students to the orientation sites. If a student declines to take the group flight and makes his or her own travel arrangements, the resident director will not be available to meet the student at the airport, and the student will be responsible for travel to the orientation site. Students who decline the group flight and travel on their own are asked to send their itinerary to the BCA central office no later than two weeks prior to their departure date.

Most students naturally wish to take advantage of this opportunity and travel independently once abroad, which is encouraged. However, independent travel will depend on each student’s study abroad location and course schedule. If time permits, a student can arrange to travel before the program starts or after the program concludes. During the semester, a student may plan travel, but will need to plan trips around coursework or other activities on site.

Visa status is determined by program destination. Some countries do not require a Visa if a student is studying for less than 6 months, whereas other countries require a Visa for even a short-term stay. Visa information is available on each student’s on-line BCA account. Consult with your child to determine the specific Visa instructions for his or her program. BCA provides guidance for all students when they apply for Visas, but it is the responsibility of the student to ensure that proper arrangements are made to secure the Visa in a timely manner.

After acceptance and enrollment in the program, students receive information that contains a mailing address for their use. For some programs, this mailing address is their dormitory and for others it is the BCA office. Internet is readily available at most sites through university computers, BCA office computers, and sometimes through dormitory access. In addition, you should discuss phone calls with your student and what method works best for your family. Some students choose to purchase cell phones once in the country, others choose to use calling cards. Skype©, an online phone connection which can be easily downloaded to a computer, is a popular option for many students.

PARENT & GUARDIAN WEBINARS

Do you have questions or concerns about your child studying abroad? Join our BCA Central Office staff for a webinar catered just for you!