Giving the Gift of Study Abroad Will be the Best Gift They Ever Get

By Elyse Oberland, Former ISA Director of Student Outreach and Dominick Luciano, Associate VP of Marketing

Finding “the perfect gift” is something that parents and grandparents think about this time of year. With Black Friday fast approaching, many of you will be lining up early to score deals on everything from jewelry to electronics for your family. But if you happen to be shopping for college-aged family member, don’t miss the opportunity to really invest in something that they will love for the rest of their life: The chance to study abroad.

While study abroad may not have been something you thought about, the experience is often coveted and seen by many ISA alumni as the most beneficial experience of their college career. It helps students become more flexible and patient, brave, inquisitive and ambitious. We understand, the phrase “I want to study abroad” can elicit a myriad of emotions for parents, but being prepared and open to the conversation of study abroad is a great first step in the process. Here are a few things to keep in mind if you choose to give the gift of travel this holiday season:

“Study abroad can be affordable”

Gen Z students are likely already thinking about costs associated with study abroad. You may be surprised to learn that funding is readily available and that there are many affordable program options out there, some even cost less than a term at their home tuition. By pooling funds, parents, grandparents, and other family members can put a college student well on their way to a study abroad program. Short-term summer programs are a great way to have an international experience and, depending on the location, can be very cost effective. At International Studies Abroad (ISA) several intensive-month and summer programs range from $3,000 to 4,000. Additionally, there are hundreds of scholarships, grants, and a wide variety of funding opportunities for these programs. Payment plans help space out costs and often financial aid can even be applied directly to a semester study abroad program.

“A shared sense of adventure is essential”

A Gen Z student with the gusto to want to study abroad is of a different caliber than most. Studying abroad usually means new people, cultures, money, languages, customs, foods, mannerisms, classroom styles, housing and adventures. Despite the challenges of being outside their comfort zone, they’re ready and willing to take on something new and you should be ready to support them along the way. In addition, ISA has full time resident staff abroad, helping them to navigate these cultural nuances. The things they will discover in a short time abroad will leave a lasting impression on who they become, and there’s no better gift than that.

“Safety is not an afterthought, it’s the foundation of the experience”

The safety, security, and well-being of study abroad program participants are of utmost importance to reputable organizations like ISA and efforts are made to ensure the safety and security of participants throughout the duration of their program. Prudent measures verify that all transportation, lodging, medical facilities, communications and emergency procedures are in place worldwide to reduce risk for study abroad participants.

Travel humbles us to learn from others and also to appreciate what we have back at home. Study abroad will be something that stays with them long after they return, and their gratitude for your support will make it even more worth it. So this holiday season, think outside to box and give them the world.

For more information about ISA programs, visit

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