Pre-departure Checklist for Parents
- Resources: Read the General Handbook: http://www.middlebury.edu/sa/handbooks and any other parent resources; see our web page at http://www.middlebury.edu/sa/parents.
- Encourage your son or daughter to take responsibility for pre-departure logistics and paperwork. Confirm with your daughter/son that s/he has read the General Handbook, School-specific Handbook and has read, signed (electronically), and submitted all of the required forms on their online application website (students can access these forms on our web site: https://studyabroad.middlebury.edu):
- Study abroad program information: Familiarize yourself with the format, goals, and philosophy of the program on which your son or daughter is about to embark.
- Take care of any outstanding financial matters at Middlebury, or their home institution.
- Passport and visa: Your son/daughter should have a passport that is valid for at least six months (sometimes longer) beyond the end date of their program abroad, and, for most countries, students must obtain a student visa.
- Copy important documents: Your son/daughter should make copies of all important documents (e.g., passport, visa, etc.), credit cards and medical records and leave one set at home with you (and take the others abroad).
- Communication: Be sure you have established (and practiced) communication plans (Skype, Google Voice, etc.) with your son/daughter and have determined how (and perhaps how often) you will contact each other.
- Safety and health: Discuss safety issues with your son/daughter. We strongly encourage you to go through the Health and Safety chapters in the General Handbook, and School-specific Handbook with your son/daughter. In particular, please go over the information regarding sexual assault, and please talk about all of precautions students can take to minimize risk. While abroad, students are not as attuned to the non-verbal cues of what may be an unsafe situation in a foreign country, and this (along with other factors) places them at greater risk of assault than when they are at home or on their home campus. More resources on health and safety abroad can be found on our web site: http://www.middlebury.edu/sa/health.
- Power of attorney: Your son/daughter may wish to arrange for "power of attorney" for you to handle his/her financial affairs while s/he is abroad.
While your son or daughter is abroad:
- Encourage independence and self-reliance.
- Avoid communicating too frequently, which can interfere both with language learning and with integration into the host culture. Allow your son or daughter the time and space to develop a support network abroad rather than relying totally on the one back home.
- Later in the semester, you may wish to discuss again health and safety information. There can be an increase in safety incidents and health-related problems toward the end of the semester, when students tend to let their guard down after becoming more familiar with their host country.
- Understand that all students will experience some degree of culture shock and that this may have a significant impact on what your son or daughter is communicating to you about the experience.