Students With Families or Dependents

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Studying abroad or away is what many students consider to be a highlight of their academic experiences! We here at UCSC Global Learning would like to make these opportunities as accessible as possible for all students, including those who have families and dependents to take care of while they study abroad or away. You, as a parent, guardian, caretaker, spouse, or a combination of any of these markers have just as much a right to enjoy this experience as well as any other student. Let’s go ahead and explore the resources that can help make this dream to study abroad or away a reality. 

Getting Started 

To get started, just like any other student looking to engage in an intercultural education experience, you should:

  1. Make an academic plan to see where you can best fit a study abroad or away program in your graduation plans and goals.
  2. Create a Profile in the Global Learning Portal where you will receive information and resources based on your identities and needs. This Student Profile is also a requirement that needs to be done prior to application to any study abroad or away program.
  3. Fill out the Program Explorer to help you brainstorm what you want to get out of this study abroad or away experience.
  4. Consider the different program options.
  5. Once you pick a couple of programs that you are interested in, you should do some research about the program’s accommodations for participating as a student with a family or dependents who will be coming along with you. 
  6. Speak to a Global Learning Advisor about the different programs you are considering and the accommodations or services you are seeking. Another really great way to gather insight about a program you are interested in is to request to be connected with a study abroad or away alumni, someone who has already done the program you are interested in and could potentially offer you further insight. 
  7. Request a financial estimate for the program or programs you are interested in, if you receive financial aid.
  8. Create a budget sheet including any extra costs anticipated to support your family or dependents. 
  9. Make a decision about which program would best fit your personal, professional, and academic goals while supporting your family or dependents. 
  10. Apply to your program by the deadline! Each program will have its particular set of application instructions, be sure to check these requirements ahead of time and give yourself at least one month to turn it in. You have from the time of the application opening date until the deadline date to turn in the application. 

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Considerations About Program Terms and Types 

Advantages and Drawbacks of Summer Programs

Summer programs could be a great opportunity for students who have school-age children that will be coming along with them on their study abroad or away program. Why is that? School is out and if your family comes along too, they can go sightseeing while you are busy with your study abroad or away program academics and activities. However, one drawback for summer programs is that financial aid may be limited to mostly loans or unused aid from the previous academic school term. 

Advantages and Drawbacks of Semester or Year-Long Programs 

Committing to long term programs, such as those that are semester-long or year-long would be a great idea for those who are looking to establish more long term stability and not have to relocate so often. This is especially important for Students with Families or Dependents who will have to find their own housing. You would have a better chance of finding places to rent for your family to live in if you plan on renting for longer amounts of time. However, you might need to take into consideration the impacts that long time away from home might have on your family members or dependents. 

Advantages and Drawbacks of Quarter Programs 

Quarter long programs could be great for students with a family or dependents who think that a shorter-term away would best fit their needs. However, participating in a quarter program might be slightly disadvantageous when it comes to looking for housing for your family or dependents, as property owners tend to look for long-term renters. However, if your program permits, you can always consider booking your stay in a hotel, hostel, or Airbnb. 

Some Disadvantages of Multi-site programs

Multi-site programs, or those of which you would spend some time of the program in one location and then some time in another location, could be great if you are looking to spend time in more than just one location site. However, this might be more tricky for Students with Families or Dependents to care for while away. If the locations are in different countries, you might have to assure that all of your family members or dependents have the appropriate visas for each of the locations. Also, you might have to find your own housing under a short amount of time in each of the locations. Not to mention that you would have to relocate not once, but however-many times there are multiple sites for your program locations.

UCEAP Resources for Students with Dependents

These are just some thoughts to consider while you are exploring options for the program that would best suit your personal, academic, and professional goals while supporting your needs as a Student with a Family or Dependents. Though it is ultimately your decision about what program you would like to participate in, UCEAP has the following two resources you can review to make an informed decision about UCEAP’s program options:

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Health Insurance

Per the Affordable Health Care Act, all people permanently residing in the U.S. must have health insurance, even while they are out of the country. If you don’t have health insurance, you may be charged a fee. You must continue receiving coverage either by UC Ship or a private health care provider. This insurance will cover you only while you are in the U.S., though it is required by federal law to have it even while away from the country. Each family member or dependent going along with on your study abroad or away program must also have domestic health insurance coverage. 

International Health Insurance

While you will have a domestic health care coverage plan, you will also have an international health care plan. You have the option of receiving the one provided to you under your program provider or seek your own by another third-party provider. Do note that your international health care will only cover your health care needs while outside of the U.S. Each family member or dependent going along with you on your study abroad or away program should also have international health insurance coverage.

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Questions for Students with Families or Dependents to Consider When Choosing a Program


  • Are there programs in the location I want to go that are accommodating to families or dependents?


  • What will the weather be like during my study abroad or away?
  •  What weather-appropriate gear should I pack or buy for my family members or dependents? 


  • What extracurricular activities will be expected of me during my study abroad or away program? 
  • Can my family or dependents come along with me on these extra activities?
  • How might these activities affect time with my family or dependents?


  • Is the medication I need to support my family, dependents, or myself legal in my study abroad or away destination?
  • What are the protocols and paperwork needed to have this medication taken with me? 
  •  What do I need to have my doctor or health care provider prescribe me with enough medication to last me for my study abroad or away program? 
  •  What are my options if I need more of the same medication for me or my family or dependents? 
  • Where and how should I pack this medication?


  • How might my identity as a student with a family or dependents be perceived while away? 
  • How might this affect my everyday interactions with others? 

Dietary Needs

  • What are the dietary norms in my study abroad or away location? 
  • If my family,  dependents or I have particular dietary restrictions or needs, how will that be perceived and supported?
  • Will I have access to the foods I need in order to sustain the dietary needs of my family, dependents, or myself?

Cultural Differences

  • How will my family be perceived and received in my study abroad or away location?
  • What are some cultural differences concerning family life that I should be made aware of? 


  • Will I be placed in a housing situation that will meet my accommodation needs? 
  • Will I be allowed to find my own housing situation? If so, will I have assistance searching for housing?

Host Institution 

  • Will the host institution offer my accommodation needs for my family or dependents, such as daycare, for example? 
  • What are the protocols and paperwork needed to have staff and professors recognize my accommodation needs?
  • Are there any organizations or clubs or resources as to where I can find community with other students with families or dependents? 

Costs of additional accommodations and support

  • How will my financial aid packaging accommodate these additional costs, or are they expected to be paid out of pocket?
  • Are there additional resources such as aid, grants, or scholarships I should look into to help fund these additional costs? 

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Independent Options for Students with Dependants

Independent Programs are study abroad options that are administrated outside of the UC system. Many times, these programs have more flexibility in terms of the accommodations they can offer to students traveling with dependents. The IP options below work with students on a case by case basis to help identify the best program options. However, it is important to note that UCSC students cannot take financial aid on IP and students must apply for transfer credits from these programs. To start inquiring about how you can participate on the below programs, please contact the Non-UC program email provided under each program. After you’ve identified a program, you will need to follow the steps outlined on the Independent Programs page. 


Students may bring a dependant abroad while studying with AIFS, however, the student would be in charge of finding their own housing and care options for their dependant. Dependants are not able to attend program activities. 



Students may bring a dependant abroad while studying with API, however, the student would be in charge of finding their own housing and care options for their dependant. Housing costs are deducted from the total cost to attend. Dependants are not able to attend program activities. 



Students may bring a dependant abroad while studying with CIS-Abroad, and CIS-Abroad can best accommodate these students in locations that offer apartment accommodations. Students would need to be prepared for a change in price for these options and would be in charge of finding care options for their dependants if needed as dependants are not able to attend program activities. Please find a list of recommended semester programs for students with dependants below. All students should contact CIS-Abroad regardless, to ensure that the program they are interested in can accommodate their specific requirements. 



Students may bring a dependent abroad while studying with ISA. With preparation and planning, it is possible for a participant to successfully complete a program with an accompanying dependent. ISA will work with the participant during pre-departure to advise on our limitations and their responsibilities and the participant may be asked to complete additional paperwork. 

In an effort to best assist the participant, please email


Students may bring a dependant abroad while studying with USAC, however, students need to reach out to USAC right away to identify the most suitable options. Students must be prepared to pay additional fees for housing for their dependants, as well as finding their own care options if dependants need them. USAC has been successful in the past in accommodating students with families in programs in Costa Rica. 


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Resources and Student Perspectives

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Last modified: May 06, 2024