Parents, please contact ACCENT if you have any additional questions.
- Why should my son/daughter study abroad?
The experience and insight that your son or daughter can gain through study abroad is invaluable to their education and life. It gives them an opportunity to learn a new culture, a new language, and new ways of thinking. Study abroad students become more independent and develop a greater sense of self-confidence. Study abroad can also make a student more valuable to an employer after college, because international experience is considered a great asset and job skill.
- How will my son/daughter get money while they are abroad?
Students will receive a pre-departure handbook detailing ways to access money overseas. ACCENT recommends students have several ways to obtain money, so that options are available in the event of an emergency. Make sure your son or daughter contacts their bank and credit card companies to tell them they will be abroad and for what period of time. This can help avoid a bank putting a hold on their account due to “suspicious” international activity.
- When should I expect to hear from my son/daughter once they have arrived? How will I know they are OK?
Although ACCENT encourages students to call home when they arrive overseas, many students either are too tired or do not have access to a phone immediately. We recommend setting up a time and date with your son or daughter by which they will have called to tell you they have arrived safely.
- How will I communicate with my son/daughter? Should I be concerned if I don’t hear from them often?
While studying abroad, most students’ primary means of communication with home is via email. Students have access to email at the ACCENT Study Center Monday–Friday during regular business hours. Students may also have Internet access in their housing or reasonably priced Internet cafes nearby. Many students buy cell phones once overseas. European cell phones are on a ‘pay as you go’ system and it is free to receive calls. Alternatively, your son or daughter may have a phone in their housing. If so, they will receive more information on how to use their phone upon arrival at their overseas orientation. Keep in mind your son or daughter may not contact you as often as they do from their U.S. college. They will be very busy learning and absorbing a new culture. Many students also separate themselves somewhat from their home support network in order to build a local network and more completely immerse themselves in their study abroad experience. Don’t worry, this is normal, and a good sign that your son or daughter is getting as much as possible out of their time overseas. More information on computers, email, Internet, cell phones, and calling cards is included in your student’s pre-departure handbook.
- Is studying abroad safe? What steps does ACCENT take to ensure my child’s safety?
ACCENT takes students’ safety very seriously and acts in every possible manner to ensure that your son or daughter has a safe experience abroad. Directors of each ACCENT Study Center are in regular contact with the American Embassy in their country, and will update students if a safety situation arises. ACCENT also has a contingency plan in case of emergency. Students receive this information upon arrival and are directed on what to do and where to go in an emergency. It is each student’s responsibility to be aware of safety at all times and to act in a mature and adult manner in order to avoid unsafe situations. Students should be sensitive and adaptable to cultural differences.
- What kind of insurance does my son/daughter need in order to study abroad?
Students should go overseas with comprehensive health insurance. If you are unsure of their coverage abroad, please contact your health insurance company. ACCENT also recommends students look into buying travel and personal property insurance. Upon request, ACCENT will provide you with a list of companies that provide all types of insurance to study abroad participants.
- How can I help my son/daughter deal with culture shock upon arrival?
The first few days in a new country can be disorienting for a student. A strange environment and new situations combined with students’ travel fatigue and jet lag may lead to them feel initially disappointed with their host country. But culture shock is temporary, and the first step in learning about a new culture. Be supportive of your son or daughter, but keep an open mind when they report on their surroundings. Students tend to be emotional upon arrival, before they have rested and adapted. Of course, if there is truly a problem, please encourage your son or daughter to go into the local ACCENT Study Center, where our staff is prepared to help.
- How can I help my son/daughter deal with reverse culture shock upon return?
Before you know it, your son or daughter will be back at home and missing that great boulangerie around the corner, and the friends that became their family overseas. Students go through a period of adjustment upon returning to the U.S., similar to what they experience upon arrival in their host country. Keep in mind that your son or daughter has just had a life-changing experience and may not be ready for it to end. At first they may cling to routines they had while abroad. Be patient and supportive and, most of all, really listen when your son or daughter describes their experience abroad. Let them share their new perspective on the world. Show them that you value how they have changed and what they have learned.
- Can I send my son/daughter a package while my child is abroad?
In most cases, students will be able to receive letters and packages at the ACCENT Study Center. However, receiving packages overseas can be very costly to students. It is best to avoid sending packages, as they may be held in customs for a long period of time and could result in high customs charges. Under no circumstances should laptop computers, medication, or food be shipped overseas. More information on sending mail is located in your student’s pre-departure handbook.