How to Prepare for Your College Kid’s Study Abroad Experience

  • Kelsey Tharp
Aug 13, 2018

You’ve just gotten the call: Hey parents, I found out that I was accepted into that study abroad program. I’m leaving in June and I’ll be back in December. I’m going to need …

As they lay out the details of the program, you stop listening. All you know is that they’ll be exploring new lands, thousands of miles away, mainly reachable through Wi-Fi. 

Yikes.

Though it’s scary to think about your college student living in another country, know that they’ll be having an adventure of a lifetime. While they’re abroad they’ll be making international friendships, expanding their worldview and, not to mention, making themselves look good for future employers. Ninety-seven percent of study abroad students found a job within a year of graduating. 

Each year more than 300,000 college students study abroad, so you’re not alone. Thousands of parents are currently in the process of doing everything it takes to get ready to send their children off to France, Japan, the U.S. and everywhere in-between. 

Here are a few things to consider while preparing for the upcoming journey:

1. Money


Expenses add up in foreign countries—especially countries where the local currency is worth more than your home currency. If you’re worried about your student having enough money, try helping them out with a few pre-trip purchases. New luggage, sturdy walking shoes and plane tickets (if you’re feeling generous) go a long way. 

2. Safety

Is your student prepared for life in another country? Depending on their travel experience they may need some coaching. Even a more experienced traveler could benefit from a bit of advice—taking a two-week vacation is very different from living in another country for six months. It can be difficult to know who to trust when you’re still learning to understand a new culture. Here are a few basic tips. 

You can also use Liaison® Student Series travel insurance from Seven Corners to make sure your student is ready for serious situations. This provides them with comprehensive medical coverage and 24-hour travel assistance—everything they’ll need just in case of an emergency. 

3. Communication 

There are a wide variety of solutions for overseas communication. Facebook Messenger, Skype and Google Hangouts are only a few of the Wi-Fi-based applications that will get the job done. 

Another option is buying SIM card from the country they’re staying in. It’s cheap and will allow you to reach them at any time via the same mobile device they use at home.

Sending a care package is also a great way to stay in touch. When your child’s been gone for a few months, they may start craving things from back home, like their favorite candy or even something as simple as peanut butter. It shows that you’re thinking of them, which is comforting on days they’re feeling extra homesick. 

4. Packing

Make sure your student remembers the essentials: important documents (passport, study abroad paperwork, proof of insurance, visa), medications, their laptop, etc. This site has great suggestions for what to pack.

One of the more important, and often overlooked, things is packing light. Things like blankets, pillows and kitchen accessories can be purchased in their new country and donated at the end of their trip. These items take up unnecessary space that can be used for souvenirs and clothes for when they return.

5. Planning a visit 


If your student is willing to have you, this is a great opportunity to take an amazing vacation. Wait a few months into their study abroad before you go though—this gives them time to learn about their country, so they can properly show off their new home. 

                                    

And, there you have it! You’ve got the study abroad basics. In the meantime, make sure to take a few deep breaths and be supportive of your budding traveler.
 

About the Author

Kelsey Tharp

Kelsey Tharp is a content marketing specialist with Seven Corners. In her free time she enjoys reading, writing, spending time with friends and daydreaming about her next vacation. At home, she’s surrounded by her dog and three cats pretty much at all times.

Read more of Kelsey’s blogs

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