Middlebury Schools Abroad

International Programs &
Off-campus Study Photo Contest

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Parental Support

 

Prior to Your Son or Daughter's Departure

 

  • Familiarize yourself with the philosophy of the program on which they are about to embark
  • Talk about their goals and expectations in studying abroad
  • Talk about any fears or apprehensions they may have
  • Ensure them that they have your support
  • While offering limited assistance, encourage them to take responsibility for predeparture logistics and paperwork
  • Read the General and School-specific handbooks, links to which you will receive prior to their departure
  • Help organize their finances while abroad
  • Make sure that they have adequate health insurance coverage (though Middlebury provides this for students attending Middlebury Schools Abroad)
  • Confirm as soon as possible that their passport is valid and extends at least six months beyond the end of the program
  • Check in periodically with them to confirm that they are gathering the necessary paperwork to secure a visa, if required
  • Investigate the possibility of securing a power of attorney on their behalf so that the processing of documents in their absence will be easy

 

 

When Your Son or Daughter is Abroad

 

  • Encourage independence and self-reliance
  • Do not accompany them 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 they are communicating to you about the experience
  • Allow them 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 they have had a life-changing experience and that, while you may have remained more or less the same, they are probably not the same person they were before going abroad
  • Let them share the experience with you as much as they want
  • Understand that they 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.  http://www.sit.edu/SSA_Other_documents/parent_reentry_handbook.pdf is an excellent starting point.