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Parent-to-Parent Advice

Pre-Departure
  • Lots of common OTC meds are hard to access--send Tylenol, Advil, Claritin...whatever your student usually uses, b/c it might not be available.
  • Send them with one of your credit cards, for emergencies.  Make sure it has a chip, as most of Europe can't accept non-chip cards anymore.
  • My daughter took a whole bunch of pictures with her, including even photos blown up to 8 x 10 of some meaningful wall art. Inexpensive, lightweight, and helped her feel at home without taking up room in the suitcase.
  • Encourage your student to get pre-approval from Trinity for every possible course he/she  might take, taking into consideration the possibility that classes might be full or cancelled.  It is a lot easier to get course credit/requirements met ahead of time than going backwards.
  • Check about medications--either already prescribed, or ones you think your child might need. Some countries have very restrictive policies. Japan, for example.
  • Be sure to apply for any passport, VISA, Homeland Security, FBI fingerprint checks, etc. as soon as your student has received acceptance from Trinity and/or the study abroad company/university. You will need as much time as you can get for these agencies to do all the required items for travel. There will be mistakes, offices closed, and travel may be required to other cities where federal offices are located. This will save you money on expediting documents in the long run.

While Abroad
  • Get a local bank account/ATM.  This eliminates the need for constant conversion fees. Also (according to my daughter) helps them fit in as "locals" rather than stand out all the time as Americans.
  • The health insurance provided through my daughter's program (IFSA-Butler) was phenomenal.  She had a small issue and needed antibiotics while traveling outside her host country, and they followed up with her and with me and provided updates and took care of her.  Check on what is provided, and how it works if they are out of country when they need medical care.
  • Depending on location, jet lag can be severe and debilitating. Our son suffered greatly and feels the first week of the trip was mostly a blur. Have a plan for dealing with it if you think it might be a problem for your child.
  • Once your student has arrived overseas, it can be advantageous to let them figure out how to find food, organize their housing, transportation, etc. Too much intervention may not be helpful or instill confidence in their own abilities. Be there if they need to talk, text, email, etc. but allow them the opportunity to fend for themselves.
     
Post-Program
  • Coming home is hard!!!  Give them space to grieve, to adjust, to recognize that their hearts are now divided, forever.  My daughter spent her summer doing a fellowship at Trinity after returning from study abroad.  It was helpful to her to ease back in to Trinity life.  She sought out friends who had also studied abroad and who understood her very very mixed feelings.
  • We encouraged our son to stay in touch with his amazing host family from time-to-time. I think they appreciated it, and he enjoyed it. Nothing big--just a short text when something major happened in the country to be sure they were ok.
  • Most students will be exhausted and excited when they return home. They will need sleep, peace, privacy, and home cooked meals! It's important to understand that regardless of their experience, they will at some point want to unload their experiences, both good and bad, for you to listen to. It's important that they experience the same freedoms at home as they did overseas. Listen to them and support them.

Trinity Study Abroad would like to thank the following parents for their parent-to-parent advice.
 

Thank you!
Calling all parents!  Study Abroad needs your help!

We are asking parents to share their knowledge about their child's study abroad experience from their perspective.  What were your worries?  What did you need to do to help your child?  When you have a moment, please leave your response on our form

Sincerely,

Andre, Carolina and Sabrina
Trinity Study Abroad