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PARENT TIPS

So your student has decided to study abroad, and there is so much to know.

Studying abroad poses many questions for students, but quite a few for parents as well. The type of questions that can cause serious stress and anxiety.
Don't worry. It's not as bad as it may seem. And to help you, here are a few tips to get you through this exciting, and sometimes overwhelming, time.

Educate Yourself: Chances are you will feel more secure about your child studying abroad if you do the right research.
• Research the destination country, including its history, culture, customs, laws, social/moral codes, dress and language.
• Along with your student, learn a few of the local words and phrases.
• Read all program literature and any available student accounts of studying abroad.
• Never hesitate to ask questions of your student, the advisor or even a program administrator.

Letting Go: Sending your child to study abroad involves a certain amount of letting go on your part. It can be difficult to do, but to ease it, you should begin the process well before departure.
• Allow your student to make the most of the study abroad decisions - be a guide, not a supervisor.
• Give your student the information and resources he or she needs to make informed decisions.
• Don't expect to hear from your student every day while he or she is abroad, and try to be understanding of it.
• Talk with parents whose children have previously studied abroad and try to prepare for the emotions they say they experienced.

Packing: Help your student with what to bring with him or her overseas. Pack light, but also wisely.
• Pack a few extra photos of your student in case he or she needs to get a new passport.
• If your student wears glasses, get him or her an extra pair or two to take with, particularly if they are prescription lenses. • If your student is taking any prescription medications, be sure to send him or her overseas with an extra supply and a copy of the prescription. Try to obtain a note from the doctor regarding your child's need for the medication, in case of any issues during the customs process.
• Pack a few items of memorabilia from home for your student.

Communication: Keeping in touch with your student while he or she is studying overseas is important for both of you.
• Establish a plan of communication with your student prior to departure. It is important to realize that this plan may need to be altered once your child has settled into a study abroad routine.
• Blogs are an inexpensive way in which to keep in touch. Encourage your child to start a blog while away so that you (and any other family members or friends) can follow along with the adventures. You may consider starting your own blog to keep your student current on what is going on back home.
• Student’s will be equipped with an international cell phone before departure. However when calling international cell phones they are substantially more expensive. Using internet phone services such as Skype are a great affordable way to keep in touch with your student.
• Students and parents should both have a set of emergency contacts with them at all times, including contacts from the school and program.

Finances: Teaching your student responsible ways with which to handle his or her finances is crucial and can begin even before departure.
• Devise a financial plan with your student for the time he or she will be abroad. Write down the expenses you expect your child to have and make a column for "needs" and a column for "wants."
• To limit spending and avoid lost money, teach your student to take money out of the ATM a little at a time. For example, on Mondays, have him or her take out the cash he or she will need for each week.
• Don't begin exchanging currency before your student departs-have him or her wait until he or she reach the destination.

Student Responsibility: Helping your student to enhance his or her sense of responsibility can be beneficial to the student as he or she study abroad, and in general.
• Discuss financial, social and academic responsibility with your student. Let him or her know that much of what is expected of him or her at home will be expected of him or her abroad, and more.
• Encourage your student to resolve her or her own issues while abroad and step in only when necessary.
• Have your student do the bulk of the study abroad research. This will not only empower your student, but will also teach him or her the benefit of thinking ahead and analyzing what is best for him or her as an individual.
• Let your student know that you trust him or her to make the right decisions while studying abroad.

Source: http://www.iiepassport.org/parents/top-ten-study-abroad-tips-for-parents.html