Greetings Parents! We can imagine that you have a lot going through your mind now that your son or daughter has decided they want to study abroad-away! Rest assured that they are in good hands not only at Misericordia University but at our partner institutions abroad-away. Misericordia University carefully selects its affiliated programs based on a great variety of factors including: safety and security, academic integrity, and support for the student while abroad-away. It is important to note that students not only receive support from our partners abroad-away, but from the Study Abroad-Away Office at Misericordia University.
The Study Abroad-Away Experience
You can be certain that the experience of studying abroad-away will be a life-changing one for your son or daughter and it would not be unusual for it to have an impact on you as well. Your student is going to benefit from their experience in many ways. It will shape the way they view the world and their own country, and will provide them with skills that will last a lifetime. Additionally, future employers will look upon your son or daughter’s study abroad-away experience as a very attractive asset that they can bring to the organization.
The following are just some of the skills and abilities students develop while studying abroad-away:
- Students are better able to adapt to new and different environments
- Students develop different sets of problem solving skills
- Students develop a greater understanding and appreciation of cultural differences
- Students develop the ability to communicate effectively across cultures
- Students gain a greater sense of independence
- Students become one of approximately 10% of American students who study abroad before graduating from college
- Students increase their self-confidence
- Students become more accepting of new challenges
Safety and Security
It is important to note that Misericordia University takes the safety and security of your son or daughter very seriously. We do not believe in putting our students in harm’s way and, to that end, monitor safety and security issues world-wide on a daily basis. We carefully choose our educational partners abroad with an eye towards safety, security, student support and academic integrity. Additionally, we enroll your son or daughter in an insurance program that covers them for routine medical care, emergency medical care, and emergency evacuation in the event of a medical emergency, political unrest, and natural disasters.
Things to Think About: Practical Matters
There are a number of things that you can do to not only prepare yourself for your son or daughter being abroad but also for your son or daughter. Preparation for the departure as well as for the time abroad will serve the entire family well. Consider the following practical matters:
- Learn as much as you can about the study program, university, city and country where your son or daughter will be studying. Having thorough knowledge makes it easier for you to manage your emotions while your student is away. Having the knowledge can allow you to vicariously share the experience with your son or daughter.
- Make sure that your student has a current passport. The passport should be valid for at least 3 months after the planned return to the United States.
- Ensure your student understands what other travel documents they may need in order to travel to their study destination or to be able to stay there legally. The Study Abroad-Away Office can help determine what your student will need.
- Work together to establish a budget for your son or daughter while they are abroad.
- Speak with your bank about what your student's needs to do to be able to use their ATM and credit card abroad. Ask about fees associated with using the cards; ensure their cards have a security chip and that your student has the pin code. This is the system used most often for purchases abroad, especially in Europe.
- Learn what the currency exchange rate is so you understand what things really cost abroad. This can be done online at xe.com
- Secure travel insurance. Note that this is different from health insurance. Travel insurance will recover costs from travel delays, lost luggage etc. Your student’s personal belongings might also be covered under your homeowners’ insurance while they are abroad.
- Make sure your son or daughter has a medical and dental checkup well in advance of their departure.
- Set up a regular communication schedule with your son or daughter. Remember to factor in differences in time zones.
- Gather all of the information you and your student might need while he or she is away, including:
- The Misericordia University' Campus Safety 24-hour number at 570-674-6300
- The telephone number for the U.S. Consulate or Embassy nearest your student's study site
- The telephone number of the U.S. Department of State's Office of Overseas Citizen Services (1-888-407-4747)
- Insurance carriers telephone numbers and policy numbers
- Your student's credit card numbers and expiration dates/security codes
- Your student's passport number and expiration date (it is a good idea to photocopy the information page of the passport)
- A duplicate lost passport kit (your student should take one abroad as well) containing: two passport photos, official copy of his or her birth certificate, photocopy of passport’s information page, signature, and visa pages
- Devise a plan to deal with emergencies (abroad or at home)
There are a few things that you should think about and do before your son or daughter departs for their study destination. Understand that your son or daughter will be experiencing things that they never have before, and as a result, they will certainly undergo some stress. In fact, everyone will undergo some sort of stress and the only difference is the magnitude of stress they feel and how it is manifested.
It is worth noting that students are full of energy and excitement when they arrive at their study destination. Like any new thing, the excitement will wear off and the reality of where they are and how far away from home and familiar things they are will set in. Expect that you will hear from them! It can certainly be difficult hearing about your son’s or daughter’ woes and not being able to step in and do anything for them, but be assured that things will get better for them as they adjust to their new environment.
So what can you do about this before they depart? You can assure your son or daughter that you will be available to support them whenever they contact you. You can assure them that you will not dismiss what they are feeling and will continue to support them through the tough times as well as through the good times. You can also prepare yourself for the difficulty you might well have not being able to do anything concrete to help your child out.