As your family member prepares to study abroad, we understand that you may have many questions as you assist them with arrangements. An important point to note is that they are also preparing, simply in a different manner. While they have nerves or excitement, you may be feeling the same but as a parent or guardian it is entirely different.
Eventually, you will be watching from afar as they embark on their journey. This is often part of the process of your family member becoming independent. More often than not, they will return with a sense of independence they gained from being somewhere culturally different than their home. While safety is often a worry, other thoughts such as paying for study abroad can be an issue. Below we have provided a few tips and links on how to navigate the entire process as a parent or guardian.
Encouraging your family member to be proactive will help ease your mind about the study abroad process. It is important that your child is well prepared before they depart. Doing a bit of research about your family member’s destination is always a good idea. We are always here to help with any questions that may arise. Click here for more information about Learn International Policies and Procedures.
Tips for parents and guardians – Positives about your student studying abroad
Does your loved one have proper health insurance while abroad? Often the school or study abroad provider will provide information on how to go about getting international health insurance. If your home university does not provide health insurance we use CISI for students, please visit here for more information:We require all students to have health insurance.
Staying In Touch
Flights & Travelling
Make sure the correct dates for flights are booked. This is sometimes done through the university your loved one is enrolled in but often students are encouraged to do so on their own depending on their program.
If your loved one is traveling independently on the weekends it is important that they let you know. It is mandatory that your loved one tells us where they are going if they are traveling on the weekends. For these trips, your loved one can register on STEP.
STEP is a program for US citizens and Nationals traveling or living abroad who want to receive information from the Embassy about safety conditions and to help contact you in emergencies such as: a natural disaster, civil unrest, or family emergency. See if your home country has a similar registry and consider signing up.
Visas, Passports, Immunizations:
Currency & Banking
Here’s some additional materials which you may find helpful when your loved one goes abroad:
- Do I need a Visa?– If you’re unsure if you need a Visa check here. Enter your country of citizenship and see if there is a Visa requirement in the country you intend to study.
- U.S. Visa travel information– If you are a U.S. citizen and are unsure about a travel visa this is a good tool to see if the country of study requires one.
- E.U. Visa travel information– If your loved ones country is part of the E.U. please use this as a guide for Visa information in the country of travel.
- Common Concerns– A parent’s/ guardian’s guide to study abroad.
- Help for disadvantaged loved ones -Interesting article about helping minorities or low-income students study abroad.
- Hesitations about sending your loved one abroad- A good read if you’re debating sending your family member abroad to study.
- STEP: Smarter Travel Enrollment Program, a free service to allow U.S. citizens and nationals traveling and living abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
- Registration of Canadians Abroad: a free service that allows the Government of Canada to notify you in case of an emergency abroad or a personal emergency at home.
- USA Study Abroad-Information for parents/guardians about studying abroad with government resources.
- U.S. State Dept– Websites of U.S. Embassies, Consulates, and Diplomatic Missions.
- First generation study abroad students– Studying abroad as a first generation university student.
Contact Learn International in case of emergency
All programs have a 24/7 contact which your loved one has in-country in case of emergency. They will receive this number at their orientation.
If you feel there is an emergency contact Learn International by…
If your loved one worked with a study abroad office at their home institution, please also contact them if you are unable to get in touch with any of our staff.
How to help your loved when they return from studying abroad:
There are many feelings, emotions, and thoughts that return with students after they study abroad. One of the most common is reverse culture shock. This is when a student returns from experiencing a different culture for a long period of time and they are adjusting to life back in their home country. Here are some ways you can help your loved one ease into their return back home:
- It is important to be engaged in your loved one’s experience. Showing interest in their international education journey is important to their well-being upon their return.
- Encourage your loved one to be involved on their campus with their study abroad office.
- Often there are opportunities for students to share their experiences with other students.
- Upon returning your loved one may have a new approach to their independence. It is important to let them flourish.
- Allowing your loved one to embrace their new found independence can only be empowering to them.
- You can encourage them to journal about their experiences and also get back into a routine, exercise etc. which will help them adjust, if they’re having a difficult time.
- It is good to encourage your loved ones to visit their career center on campus to update their resume.
- If your loved one is having a particularly difficult time, encourage them to link in with other study abroad alumni or talk to a professional counselor.
Please note: We do honor confidentiality laws; therefore, for participants over 18 years of age, we cannot discuss personal, academic or medical information without prior written consent from the participant.