Deciding to send your child on an overseas program is a big decision. For many students, this will be the first time they spend a significant length of time away from their parents, let alone travel overseas. However, for those parents and students who are willing to take on the challenge of a study-abroad program, the rewards are immense.
Our office works with students to examine the options available for studying abroad, paying attention to their academic, financial, and personal needs. Once students select a program and are accepted, we work to prepare them for the academic and intercultural experiences they may encounter abroad. Our orientation program discusses travel, health, safety, and culture abroad. In addition, we pay careful attention to world events with respect to the safety and security of students abroad.
Study abroad offers the ideal vehicle for parents to support their sons and daughters in learning more about themselves. It offers the student a unique opportunity to learn in another culture, within the security of a carefully chosen host family and host institution. Students studying a foreign language will perfect the accent and greatly expand their vocabulary–a skill retained for life. Students taking science and engineering courses while abroad will exoeruence a unique insight on how those courses impact that country. Past HMC students have echoed that studying abroad has helped them to :
- Make new friends from across the globe
- Become more independent
- Take courses not offered at their home university
- Become more literate in global issues
- Acquire essential life-skills
- Make travel and decision making
The HMC Study Abroad Office recognizes the important role that parents and family 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 international experience. If you have questions about this experience, we encourage you to talk with your student and review the available resources below. If you still have questions, we invite you to contact the office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 909-607-3993.
Preparing to Study Abroad: Tips for Parents
Once your student as been accepted to study abroad we encourage you to work with them to talk about the forms they must complete and arrangements that must be made. This includes travel arrangements, visas, health and safety issues, payments for the program, accommodations, etc. Talk with your student and encourage them to obtain as much information about their requirements.
Understand Policies and Costs
Make sure your student understands the application process, costs, program dates and what is covered in the program fee, as well as policies regarding credit transfer.
Get proper documentation: Check that your student has a valid passport and leaves a copy of that and other important documents, such as flight itinerary and credit card information with you at home. It is also a good idea for you to have a passport in case of emergency and be designated as an emergency contact so others can contact you quickly if the need arises.
Find out About the Destination Country
Encourage your student to learn as much as possible about the destination abroad and read the USU pre-departure booklet. The Culture Gram and State Department consular information sheets provided to your student at the orientation are excellent resources for information about the culture and safety in each country
Plan ahead for ways to keep in regular contact with your student, such as international calling cards, inexpensive phone plans, www.skype.com (computer calling), email, or instant messaging.
Be familiar with the program sponsor’s plan in case of emergency. Your student should also have his/her own emergency plan and should carry their emergency information cards (which includes contact phone numbers and several ways to make contact in case of an emergency) at ALL times. Emergency cards with local in-country information are typically provided by the program provider, however HMC students are also given a personal emergency card to fill out. Students are then instructed to provide a copy to the Office of Study Abroad and their immediate family.
Have the contact information for the Office of Study Abroad handy. We are here to help! [In case of an after hour emergency, students and families may call either the HMC Dean on Call at 909.717.7157 or Campus Safety at 909.607.2000]
Health and Safety
The health and safety of students is a top priority at HMC. While we acknowledge that studying abroad is not without risk, rest assured, we treat safety very seriously. The student and their family makes the ultimate decision whether to go.
HMC requires that each student get an updated physical no more than six months before departure, plus any required immunizations (a dental exam is also suggested). Be familiar with the Center for Disease control website www.cdc.org.
HMC requires each student to have comprehensive health insurance. In some instances, the program sponser will provide this insurance, however it’s not guaranteed. Make sure that your student is adequately covered prior to leaving abroad by completing our health insurance form.
We carefully monitor the U.S. Department of State consular information. As a general rule, HMC does not send students to countries for which a travel warning has been issued; there are some exceptions, requiring additional waivers signed by students and parents. HMC also reserves the right to rescind approval in cases of political instability in a particular country. We invite you to monitor the information individually at: www.travel.state.gov.
- We consult with faculty experts and contacts in Washington D.C.
- We stay in touch with our affiliates and program sponsors.
- Our affiliates are in close contact with their staff abroad and they receive frequent safety updates.
- Staff abroad are in contact with local embassy personnel, local police and faculty experts.
- When your student is abroad, he/she should register his/her passport with the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
HMC requires the International Student Identity Card (ISIC) be issued to all students. Though some Program Sponsors issue these cards,HMC issues cards to students who will not receive a card from their sponsor. Information on the ISIC Card.
HMC Internet Resources Links to helpful web pages.
Students receive a Pre-Departure guide. The guide includes a section on Taking Responsibility for your Safety.
If an emergency occurs in which familes or students wish to contact HMC after business hours, you are welcome to call the Dean On-Call number, 909.717.7157.
What’s Up With Culture – An interactive program to support and enhance a study abroad student’s ability to make successful cultural adjustments both before going overseas and upon return home from study abroad.
Study Abroad Handbook: Advice for Parents (Courtesy of LMU Center for Global Education)
http://www.ciee.org/study/parents/practical-preparations.aspx (Courtesy of CIEE Study Abroad)
“Advice for Parents: Frequently Asked Questions” Article by Bill Hoffa. Published in SAFETI On-Line Newsletter, Vol. 2, No. 1. Winter 2000 – Summer 2001
Before They Go Abroad Article by James McCommons. Published in Better Homes and Gardens, August 2006 (Courtesy of the University of Minnesota)
Surviving Re-entry: A Readjustment Manual for Parents (Courtesy of SIT Study Abroad)
Return Shock: What’s Up With Culture
Returning to HMC