Parent/Student Roles

Photo taken in Greece by Julie Gregg.

Parents are very important supporters of students' international experiences. We encourage parents to browse the resources available on this site and to communicate with your student to better understand the process involved in studying abroad. You may want to review information about the program your student has selected as well.

The Office of Study Abroad Programs is student-centered. We purposefully strive to communicate with and send all correspondence to students. Students are the individuals who will be abroad and are responsible for themselves in a new country. While we are pleased to meet with parents and family members to answer questions, in many cases, we cannot share information out of respect for FERPA student privacy regulations. We encourage parents to funnel questions through your student, having him/her serve as the family representative. When sharing your questions with your student, discuss why you have questions about a particular topic and what implications different answers could have. This process helps your student reach the next stage of maturity and become more independent.

Strategies for a successful study abroad process and experience include being patient and flexible, turning in required documentation on time (or ahead of schedule!), communicating proactively with their Study Abroad Advisor, Academic Advisor(s), counselors, and family members about their goals, questions, concerns, and specific needs.

To avoid unnecessary academic, financial, or immigration problems, students need to take the time to learn the requirements of course selection, language proficiency, budgeting and billing, student visas, and policies on program withdrawal, housing, airfares, etc.

The benefits of learning abroad are both academic and developmental. Pre-departure responsibilities (including application completion, course articulation requests, researching health and safety abroad, and learning about grade and credit transfer) help students exercise problem-solving skills that they will need to rely heavily upon once they are abroad, as well as to cope with the challenges of the "real world" after they graduate. Sometimes a student's question won't be answered directly, but instead they'll be referred to a website or an email. This is good practice in using resources available to them to find answers, handling ambiguous situations and deciphering indirect communication, all of which they will encounter while abroad. Students are proud of what they can accomplish on their own, and often surprise themselves with the numerous opportunities for personal, professional and academic growth that takes place before, during and after their study abroad experience.