Parents and Family

Auburn Abroad recognizes the important role parents, guardians, and other loved ones play in a student’s study abroad experience. Our goal is to provide resources to help families learn how to best support and encourage their student before, during, and after the student’s time abroad.

If you have questions about this opportunity, we encourage you to talk with your student and review the resources available throughout our site. If you still have questions, we invite you to contact us.

Frequently Asked Questions from Parents

The experience of studying or interning in another country provides benefits which a student can use in their classes, career, graduate school, and life. As the world becomes smaller, students need to find ways to stand out and to become the best version of themselves. Education abroad provides many benefits including:

  • increased self-confidence
  • proof that your student can take initiative
  • an expanded global network and exposure to best practices in a career field
  • enhanced critical thinking skills
  • flexibility to take on new cultures and challenges
  • academic and resume boost
  • reinforced career choice or exposure to a new career field

Over 1300 Auburn Students go abroad on 112 programs that provide core curriculum, major, and minor courses for Auburn Credit. International internships and consulting projects are also offered in several colleges. All colleges within Auburn University offer programs abroad for their students.

Students from all backgrounds are encouraged to study abroad! There may be some important considerations that your student will need to review. View the resources for Diverse Populations.

Learning about the entire study abroad process can be overwhelming. Begin at the Where Do I Start? page and then come into the office to meet with a peer advisor.

The Money Matters section details considerations for study abroad expenses and links to funding resources both within and outside of Auburn University.

  • DO be supportive of your student’s decision to study abroad. This is an immense decision and will have 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.
  • DON’T try 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.
  • DO 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.

Although each program will have different travel requirements, general information can be found in the Travel Resources section. Students will be informed of site-specific travel details before each program begins.

Student safety is our top priority. In addition to the Health and Safety resources on our page, every participant is required to attend a Pre-Departure Orientation session held by our staff each term.

  • Continuing medical care: If your student is currently under the care of a medical professional, you and your student should discuss the proposed study abroad program’s location, itinerary, and physical requirements with the student’s medical professional to ensure that your student is healthy enough to participate in the program. The medical professional can also assist with verifying that the student’s medical condition would be treated and/or what resources are available at the destination in case care is needed.
  • Receiving accommodations: If your student has an on-campus accommodation, they should discuss their proposed study abroad program with an accommodations counselor in the Office of Accessibility to make sure the program is a good fit. If accommodations are needed abroad, the student should communicate these needs with the study abroad program leader, which can be done by obtaining an accommodation letter from the Office of Accessibility describing the scope of accommodation needs. The study abroad program leader will request the accommodation from the on-site team at the program’s destination and will confirm if the accommodation needs can be met.
  • Maintaining prescriptions: If your student plans to continue taking prescriptions while abroad, speak with the student’s medical professional, insurance company, and preferred pharmacy so your student can plan to bring enough medication with them. Certain prescriptions require a letter from the medical professional describing the medication prescriptions (including the generic name) and the condition being treated.
    • All medication and supporting documentation should be kept in carry-on luggage while traveling abroad.
    • Be aware that certain medications cannot be carried into certain countries. Students will need to do their research about their particular medication.

  • DO 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. Options include:
    • Facebook, Skype, FaceTime/iMessage, Google Hangout, WhatsApp, GroupMe
    • International phone plans. Check with your phone service provider if this is available and make arrangements before you student leaves.
  • DON’T try 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 and may not always have constant accessibility. Try setting a scheduled time to communicate with each other, and be understanding if your student needs to reschedule.

  • The best time to visit your student is after their study abroad program has finished. Your student will be familiar with the location and can be your guide.
  • DON’T 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.
  • Attendance in class and on the internship is very important and will impact your student’s grade. 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.
  • Auburn Abroad’s policy does not allow non-students to stay in student housing. Our program partners on site will strongly enforce this policy.

Some students may experience homesickness while abroad, which is not uncommon and it can happen at any time. These feelings can be part of a learning process that is integral with an international program. Be accessible to you students and visit the resources listed below.

Your student’s safety is very important to us. Students may experience mild illnesses or upset stomachs due to change in food or activity levels. These normal occurrences may pass quickly with rest and over-the-counter medication from local pharmacies.

It is rare for students to be hospitalized. However, Auburn University covers all students, faculty and staff with an International Emergency Travel Insurance plan while abroad. This plan covers outpatient care, hospitalization, and medical and security evacuation. In addition, program leaders complete a Managing International Travel Crises session online and work with their on-site vendors to locate nearby pharmacies, clinics, and hospitals for students.

  • In the case of a student injury or illness, program leaders will assist the student in getting care.
  • If the student is hospitalized, a case will be set up for the student with our International Emergency Travel Plan so that a case manager can monitor the progress of the student. Program leaders will remain in the area and will notify Auburn Abroad.
  • Auburn Abroad will call the emergency/family contacts listed on the student’s Auburn Abroad online application. If a student experiences a serious injury, Auburn Abroad will assist the student’s emergency/family contact with travel arrangements to the student’s location.

DO 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.

Parents and Family Quote

FERPA NOTICE

Much of a student’s education abroad information (admission data, billing, housing, schedules, etc.) cannot be released to parents without a student›s written permission in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Please note that Auburn University may disclose information when necessary to protect the health and safety of a student.

More information about FERPA

SOURCES

Michigan State University

Last Updated: May 21, 2019