Involved families can provide sound advice and guidance, helping students adjust more smoothly before, during, and after the study abroad experience.
Prior to Departure
- Familiarize yourself with their program—see Our Schools.
- Talk about their goals and expectations for studying abroad.
- Talk about any fears or apprehensions they may have.
- Assure them that they have your support.
- Encourage them to take responsibility for pre-departure logistics and paperwork—see Health and Safety for details.
- Read both the General Handbook and the school-specific handbook, which you’ll find on the country pages at Our Schools.
- Familiarize yourself with our emergency protocols and other safety information—see Health and Safety for details.
- Make sure that they have adequate health insurance coverage.
- Check to confirm that their passport is valid and extends at least six months beyond the end of the program.
- Check 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 for the processing of documents in their absence.
- Help them organize their finances for their time abroad.
While Your Student 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 periods of cultural adjustment (what used to be termed “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 email 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.
- Recognize that they have had a life-changing experience and that 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 adjustment and that this can be even more intense than the adjustment to the host culture they visited abroad.
- Gather information for yourself and for them regarding the re-entry experience.
Please feel free to contact us at any time during the process with your questions or concerns.