ACCENT encourages parental support of the study abroad experience, but each student is ultimately responsible for the success of his or her program. The first step – enrollment – is one of the most challenging and rewarding parts of the process, and can help students develop the independence they need to live and study abroad.
Preparing for Departure
- Allow your student to be the main researcher of study abroad programs and the program’s main contact.
- Carefully read over all ACCENT materials and familiarize yourself with payment dates and policies.
- Make a copy of your student’s passport and banking information to keep at home in case of emergency.
- Discuss budgets, health, and safety with your student. Learn about your health insurance company’s policies on overseas healthcare.
- Set up a time for your student to contact you to let you know he/she has arrived safely.
While your son/daughter is abroad
- Don’t expect to hear from your student every day – and don’t call them every day. Students tend to pull away from the home network while immersing themselves in a foreign culture.
- Don’t react immediately to unhappy phone calls – students often vent to parents and then resolve situations on their own.
- If you plan to visit, try to come during the middle or end of the program, after your student has acclimated and can confidently show you around.
Once your son/daughter returns
- Be patient and supportive, as many students suffer from reverse culture shock upon re-entering the U.S.
Above all, be patient and flexible. Your son or daughter will be faced with the challenges that accompany living in a foreign country and experiencing a new culture. Give them time to adapt and embrace their overseas home.