Parent and Family Guide
Supporting Your Student
Loved ones often ask what they can do to help their student with the study abroad experience. Below are suggestions for supporting the pre-departure, while abroad, and re-entry aspects of the study abroad process.
- Review safety and health information. Help create a management plan for any mental or physical health conditions. Re-visit the conversation on responsible use of alcohol and dangers of drug use abroad.
- Help your student develop a money management plan. Review the provided program budget with your student. Talk through developing a weekly or monthly budget, and help them forecast expenses for food, experiences, and travel. Look up the exchange rate together and the cost of living in the host country.
- Discuss how you will stay connected. What methods will you use (Facetime, Whatsapp, email, etc.), frequency of communication, and use of social media. Remind your student not to post anything vague or alarming on social media that can cause concern until they make contact.
- Review the CISI or program insurance information with your student. This may be the first time they have had to review and understand their coverage. Students are automatically enrolled; they simply need to print out their card.
- Discuss their goals. What do they want to get out of this experience? What opportunities might they take advantage of while abroad to help build their resume and skill set?
- Remember the U-curve. Support your student as they experience the range of emotions that comes with adapting to a new culture and remind them it is normal. If you think your student is experiencing something outside the norm or an emergency, contact their on-site provider or our office! You know your student best.
- Consider visiting. If you are, talk through the timing of your visit with your student. Breaks or during finals may include extra program activities or academic requirements. Visit a travel clinic, register with the state department, and obtain international health insurance. Regardless of travel plans, consider obtaining a passport in case of emergency.
- Foster ownership for their experience. Loved ones often receive the first phone call during challenges or difficult times. Encourage your student to reach out to the proper resources for support and for help with resolving questions or concerns.
- Send a care package. Sometimes seeing the handwriting of someone you love is the best!
- If you think your student is experiencing something outside the norm, contact their on-site affiliate partner in case of an emergency or contact our office for additional guidance. Needed? Combined with first bullet
Listen patiently. Your student will be overflowing with stories and photos after their return. Ask questions to help them reflect on their experience. How did study abroad change them? Remember, they may experience a new range of emotions once home.
Encourage them to attend a post-return event. Check our event calendar for opportunities on-campus events such as a workshop with Career Development on marketing the study abroad experience. Explore other engagement opportunities in your community such as cultural festivals.
See our Returning Home guide for more information.