Other Pointers for Parents: Before, During, and After the Study Abroad Experience

Prior to Your Son or Daughter's Departure

·Familiarize yourself with the format, goals, and philosophy of the program on which your son or daughter is about to embark.

·Talk about your son or daughter's goals and expectations in studying abroad.

·Talk about any fears or apprehensions s/he may have.

·Ensure your son or daughter that s/he has your support.

·While offering limited assistance, encourage your son or daughter to take responsibility for pre-departure logistics and paperwork.

·Read the pre-departure information the program or university sends.

·Help organize your son or daughter’s finances while abroad.

· Make sure that your son or daughter has adequate health insurance coverage.

· Confirm as soon as possible that his/her passport is valid and extends at least six months beyond the end of the program.

·Check in periodically with your son or daughter to confirm that s/he is gathering the necessary paperwork to secure a visa, if required.

·Investigate the possibility of securing a power of attorney on your son or daughter’s behalf so that the processing of documents in his/her absence will be easy

When Your Son or Daughter is Abroad

·Encourage independence and self-reliance.

·Do not accompany your son or daughter to the host country at the start of the program.

·Understand that all students will experience culture shock and that this may have a significant impact on what your son or daughter is communicating to you about the experience.

·Allow your son or daughter the time and space to develop a support network abroad rather than relying totally on the one back home.

·Avoid too frequent e-mail or phone communication, which can interfere both with language learning and with integration into the host culture.

· Avoid visiting while the academic program is in session.

When Your Son or Daughter Returns Home

·Recognize that your son or daughter had a life-changing experience and that, while you may have remained more or less the same, s/he is probably not the same person s/he was before going abroad.

·Let your son or daughter share the experience with you as much as s/he wants.

·Understand that your son or daughter may experience re-entry culture shock and that this can be even more intense than the original culture shock on arrival abroad.

·Gather information for yourself and them regarding the re-entry experience. SIT Study Abroad has a helpful resource:
Surviving Re-Entry: A Handbook for Parents of Study Abroad Students Returning Home:

Though written for parents of students who studied on SIT programs, the handbook has useful information applicable to any program.