It is important that your student maintain communication with their faculty director and/or the program provider while abroad. Their faculty director and program provider are the immediate sources of assistance to students in both routine and urgent matters. If students will be travelling on their own for a day or for the weekend, make sure your student informs the faculty director of their plans. They should make sure to research current news and safety precautions for any destination they might travel to.
It is also a good idea to set up your own communication plan while your student is abroad. Establish times that you may talk and how you would communicate. Talk about how to communicate in case of emergency. What kinds of alternative ways can you communicate if needed? If you want them to let you know when they arrive safely in that country, stress the importance of that. Work out your own family communication plan before they depart to their program.
As an official university office, the EXL Office and all Faculty Led Programs abide by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). As such, we are unable to disclose certain student enrollment, financial or academic information to families and parents. Access can be allowed for others through the student’s Oasis system only with their permission. Learn more here.
We highly encourage families and parents to communicate with their students to support them through the study abroad process. However, we encourage students to be the leaders of their study abroad process, by taking ownership of all aspects of travel, academics, and programming. Managing the study abroad process in itself can be an opportunity for growth and be rewarding for students to organize.
It is normal for students to experience culture shock in which their ideas and views are challenged and reshaped as they gain first-hand experience of local culture through daily interactions
As a support, you can help students process their new reality and the range of emotions that come with it, often fluctuating from excited to homesick from one day to the next. Students may need some time to acclimate, this is normal; however if you observe your student having significant difficulty coping with their new surroundings, you can guide them to their nearby supports:
- Their fellow students on the program – encouraging your student to share their challenges may give them an opportunity to connect with others who are feeling the same way
- The faculty director – all FLP faculty directors receive a mental health training before departing on their program, so they can better support students transition into their new community
Support your student as they re-acclimate to normal life at home. It is normal for students to experience reverse culture shock as they process frustration or confusion related to them having experienced so much, yet their home and routines are unchanged. One way to help is to listen to the stories and experiences your student wishes to share.