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Sklenar Center

Information for Parents

In addition to satisfying course requirements to graduate on time from Birmingham-Southern College, studying abroad helps students develop their communication and language skills, personal independence, cultural sensitivity and adaptability, and their resume. The Sklenar Center encourages parents to become informed on Birmingham-Southern College's study abroad programs and to support their son or daughter before, during, and after studying abroad. Parents are invited to attend the study abroad session on BSC Family Day to receive information and ask questions regarding international study, and this Web site also serves the purpose of informing parents and providing resources. Other important Sklenar Center webpages to visit for parents are the FAQ page, Travel Health, Safety, and Emergency Procedures page, and the Resources and Funding page.

Types of Programs and Payment Options

BSC students have a wide range of study abroad options and may choose the program that best fits their academic, personal, and financial needs. The programs vary in academic focus, housing options, level of student independence, and cost. View the Sklenar Center Brochure to learn more about the types of exchange offered to students and the different payment options.

Need-based financial aid is applicable to all programs, however merit aid is only applicable toward some. Outside scholarships and need-based Sklenar Center scholarships are also available to students who qualify. For more information on scholarships, visit our Resources and Funding page. Though each student's financial aid package and chosen program fees differ, studying abroad usually costs the same, sometimes even less, than attending Birmingham-Southern College.

Credit Transfer

All majors may study abroad. Courses taken abroad count toward students' major, minor, general education, and/or elective requirements. Study abroad fits into the normal 4-year degree and courses appear on the transcript. The Sklenar Center and faculty advisors work together with students on the Transient Course Form, establishing a course schedule and credit amount before the student departs.

“Pre-departure Topics for Study Abroad” Course

This ½ credit International Studies course was recently developed to prepare students for international study and is mandatory for all semester and year-long study abroad students. The class is team-taught by Anne Ledvina and professors from various faculties at BSC. Students study and research cross-cultural communication, cultural identity and sensitivity, adaptation and culture shock, their future host country, and other topics. Summer students join the class for certain sessions prior to departure.



Preparation for re-entry into the United States is especially important for parents as well as students. It takes time for students to re-adjust to life in the United States, at Birmingham-Southern, and with their friends and family. Most students grow academically, personally, and emotionally while abroad and need to find ways to incorporate this new part of themselves into their former environment. In addition, friends and family members sometimes find it difficult to understand this process. For these reasons and others, reverse culture shock can be a surprise to some students and parents. The Sklenar Center helps prepare students for re-entry in the Pre-departure Topics for Study Abroad course, and parents are encouraged to view the Parent's Guide to Surviving Re-entry. This guide, created by the School for International Training (SIT), is an excellent resource.

Other Resources and Contacts

--Study Abroad: A Parent's Guide , William W. Hoffa, 1998, 112 pp. NAFSA: Association of International Educators. Available from NAFSA Publications, 800.836.4994.

--Anne Ledvina
Associate Director of the Sklenar Center for International Programs
Box 549038
(205) 226-7722