Parents and Family

Studying abroad is an exciting and wonderful experience for students that helps develop their critical thinking skills and sense of independence. However, studying abroad can bring a certain amount of anxiety and stress. The Auburn Abroad staff understands the important role parents, guardians and other loved ones can play in supporting students while they are going through this process and urges you, as loved ones, to review our website to familiarize yourself with the process and what your student will be experiencing.

While we hope that the information presented on our website helps you understand the study abroad process, we understand that you may have additional questions. Please feel free to contact the Auburn Abroad Office for more information.

Things to Do

  • Be supportive of your student's decision to study abroad. This is an immense decision and will have largely-positive outcomes on your student's development as a fully-functioning adult. Your support will be able to quell the anxiety that comes with facing the unknown.
  • Encourage your student to create solutions for issues that arise in the study abroad process. These issues often mimic real-life scenarios that students may face after graduation. Facing them now in a more controlled environment will help them know what to expect later in life.
  • Communicate with your student while they are abroad. There are many free and inexpensive ways to communicate internationally and it helps to have a reminder of home while in a foreign environment.
  • Understand that this experience may affect your student's idea of self. Studying abroad exposes students to new cultures and ideas that may influence your student's overall perception. Additionally, when your student returns home, they may have some difficulty readjusting to American life. This is normal for everyone, and encouraging your student to share their experiences with you can help them through this period.

Things to Avoid

  • Avoid trying to plan your student's study abroad program. Allow your student to plan as much of the program as possible. You may be surprised by the amount of responsibility and maturity that develops from this process.
  • Try not to call every day to check in, and do not worry if your student has not spoken with you in a few days. Students often live on schedules and in time zones that are far different from the standard schedule here in the United States. Try setting a scheduled time to communicate with each other, and be understanding if your student needs to reschedule.
  • Do not go with your student overseas to help them "settle in" to their new homes. While this may seem helpful, it will have negative effects on your student's ability to adjust to life overseas and may exacerbate the effects of culture shock. Additionally, if you visit your student overseas, please do not take them out of class to travel. Foreign universities may not forgive absences for travel causing your student to perform poorly in the class.

Last Updated: May 9, 2012