If you were fortunate enough to have an education abroad experience yourself as college student, you are almost certainly aware of and appreciate the many personal, academic, and professional benefits to be gained by studying abroad. If not, you may have some reservations and concerns, along with enthusiasms and excitement, concerning your child’s upcoming international experience.
Perhaps one of the hardest things for parents to do is step back and, for the most part, let the student take responsibility for the myriad and complex tasks of preparing for the study abroad experience, and to attend to all the necessary details. Yet this is truly one of the best ways you can set your child up for a successful study abroad experience. For many reasons, it really is important for you to try to step aside and let your student take responsibility for most of the planning and follow-through in the preparation stage of they study abroad experience. You should be available and ready to lend your child help, advice and support, but it is critically important that you let him or her take primary responsibility for planning the experience.
You may enjoy doing some of this research together, talking about your child’s plans, goals, dreams, and objectives as you do so, but please resist the temptation to do all the work for him or to allow your own ideas about what an ideal study abroad experience would be to interfere with their sovereignty over this experience. She is about to embark on a major step forward in her journey toward independence. She will need to know before she gets on the plane that she has been responsible for taking the sets to get herself that far; that she she has the personal resources she needs to continue to take good care of herself while she is abroad; and that she can follow through in a mature and responsible way when she is back home.
In addition to the pages in this section, we encourage you to check out the Student FAQ for answers to some of the most common questions we receive.