Supporting Your Student Through the Education Abroad Process
College is a time when students transition from childhood to adulthood, and traveling abroad is an important step in gaining independence, developing a global perspective, and learning about themselves and their place in the world. Families play a vital role in supporting their student through the program preparation process and there are several ways that you can assist your student through this process.
Encourage Student Responsibility
Ultimately it is your student who will be traveling abroad and living independently in a new host culture on their own for an extended period of time. With this opportunity comes responsibility including completing paperwork, orientations, and tasks prior to departure. Once on site students are responsible for their academics, well-being, and personal safety. You can help your student prepare for this experience by:
- Asking them to share with you information they receive from the Education Abroad office and their program provider/host institution
- Helping them to stay on top of pending deadlines and due dates for materials
- Encouraging them to ask questions and communicate with their advisers throughout the process
- Discussing financial costs of the program when your student starts their application
- The Education Abroad office provides budget sheets for all our study abroad programs. Find out more in the Costs and Funding section of this website.
- Discussing and setting expectations for budgeting personal travel, spending money, and souvenirs for while they are abroad
- Supporting your student while abroad by encouraging them to self-advocate if they need assistance from support staff or program leadership on site
Make Plans to Visit
Your student is going to fall in love with a new city, country, and host culture. They will want to share that experience with you! Many families choose to visit their student while they are studying abroad, this is a great opportunity for you to learn about where your student has been studying for the last few weeks or months. We recommend that families plan to visit their student towards the end of their program so that they have time to get to know the city and have a list of things to show you!
Nevertheless, we also urge families to be cognizant of the program schedule, final exams, and planned group excursions. Your student will need to participate fully and should not expect to be excused from obligations on site when families visit.
Check out our Parent Spotlights to hear from other families who have visited their students abroad.