Families Involvement in Education Abroad
Studying abroad is an extraordinary experience for your student by providing opportunities for them to grow personally, academically, and professionally. While sending your loved one abroad is exciting, it may also be intimidating. Education Abroad is here to help by providing information to inform and prepare you for the education abroad process your student will embark on. Family support plays an essential role in the success of their student’s program process and study abroad experience. Please review the following information to effectively help your student prepare for their journey abroad.
Upcoming Programming for Parents and Families
Parents and families are encouraged to participate in the various programs and events Education Abroad hosts throughout the year including our biannual Education Abroad Fair where you can learn more about different partner provider and faculty-led programs, financial aid, and scholarships offered, 101 Information Sessions which detail the education abroad process, pre-departure sessions that ensure students are well prepared for their experience abroad, and much more. Parents and other family members are welcomed to accompany their student to their initial Education Abroad meeting.
Please visit our Programs and Events for all upcoming events.
Financial Aid Resources
Your student may qualify for financial aid to help pay for the costs of an approved education abroad program that counts towards their degree plan. Once your student has a copy of their program’s cost estimates sheet, they should schedule a meeting with our Student Financial Aid office so they may begin creating an award package to help cover program costs. CIEE, CEA, CIS Abroad, and many of our other partner providers have scholarships and grants built into their own programs as well.
To learn more about scholarships and grants we offer, please visit here.
Veteran dependents are able to use their benefits to help fund their study abroad experience, for more information, please visit our Education Abroad page for veterans.
Education Abroad Checklist
The Education Abroad Checklist is available to help your student prepare throughout the entire process. Encourage your student to prepare an Education Abroad folder of their own for their record including but not limited to: copy of application, passport and student visa copies, acceptance letter, copies of credit cards, contact information, flight information, etc.
Accepted, Now What?
Congratulations, your student has been accepted into an education abroad program! This is an important time to encourage your student to maintain regular contact with our office as they prepare for their program. As education abroad programs are part of their education, under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), UHCL Education Abroad may not release any of the following information unless granted written consent by your student. This includes contact information while abroad, student’s program status, grades and transcripts, course and/or schedule information, medical information, and housing. Please talk with your student throughout the education abroad process to ensure you are gaining relevant information in regard to their program.
Your student should have a passport that is valid for at least six months beyond the end date of their program and a visa if required. We recommend at least one family member have a valid passport while your student is abroad just in case of an emergency and you need to travel abroad to be with them. Remember, your student needs to be up to date on all immunizations. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests vaccinating at least a month before traveling.
Research Host Country
Encourage your student to research and obtain as much information about their host country prior going abroad such as health, safety, and legal issues. The more informed you are, the more comfortable you become. Please visit the Department of State's Country Information page and the CDC for further information.
Congratulations, your student has successfully embarked on their program abroad! Please note that students will encounter a range of positive and perhaps challenging experiences abroad. We know that the support of family and loved ones plays a critical role in their study abroad journey which is why we encourage maintaining communication. Calling the U.S. from overseas can be costly, so please review the following resources below regarding alternative communication options available to you and your student:
- How to Communicate (for Free or Cheap) While Traveling Abroad
- 10 Best Ways to Communicate Internationally Without Doubling Your Phone Bill
- How to Stay Connected While Overseas
The transition abroad can be challenging for some students. You may receive a call from your student experiencing an array of emotions, but it is important to recognize that this is normal. Please remain supportive as they adjust abroad. Adjustment is a vital learning experience that will allow your student to grow their personal development skills. If they continue to have difficulty adjusting abroad, please have them consult with an onsite program representative, faculty member, or our office.
Reverse Culture Shock
Your student has successfully completed their program abroad and you have been reunited back home! Although a joyous occasion, it is important to note some students may experience reverse culture shock after studying abroad. Returning home might feel foreign, or no longer feel familiar or natural to them. It is often described as “re-learning how to be American.” The best way to help your student to readjust is by showing genuine interest through listening to their stories and concerns. You want to ensure you ask questions that will remind students that they had an incredible worthwhile experience such as, “What was the best thing about living abroad?” “What was the most challenging?,” “How is daily life different over there compared to Texas?,” etc.
Additional Parent and Family Resources
The links below provide additional information for parents and other family members on how to further support their student throughout the education abroad process. Please let our office know if you have any additional questions or concerns.