Parents: Supporting Your Student
Supporting Your Student
Family support is a crucial factor in the success of your student’s study abroad experience. Though incredibly rewarding, international education can bring about new emotions and anxieties that might be difficult for some students to process. By following these tips, you will be able to help your student effectively prepare for and handle the challenges ahead.
Before they go
The process of studying abroad is all about empowering students so they can develop a sense of responsibility and ownership for their program. When your student decides to study abroad, you will undoubtedly have a lot of questions. Parents are welcome to attend the initial scheduled Education Abroad meeting with their student, but we encourage you to send any remaining questions you have with your student. This communication system helps students understand the importance of self-sufficiency and prepares them for the challenges and opportunities that studying abroad will present.
While they’re abroad
Living and studying abroad is a huge adjustment, and every student responds to the changes in a different way. If your student is abroad for an extended period of time, they will likely face culture shock, which can bring on a rollercoaster of emotions. They might be incredibly homesick and call you multiple times a day, or you might hear from them less frequently than normal. Don’t be alarmed if your student starts exhibiting unusual behavior. You can provide support by listening to their stories and concerns and also encouraging them to get out, explore, and enjoy their new temporary home. Learn more about cultural adjustment here.
When they return home
Returning home is sometimes an equally challenging adjustment. Your student might have started to feel at home in their host country, discovered new interests and ideas, and re-evaluated their future plans. All of these experiences can make it difficult for students to return to “normal” life and reconnect with friends and family. Again, don’t be alarmed if your student is acting strangely or having a hard time acclimating to life at home. The best thing you can do is give them time to adjust, listen to their stories, and show you understand how impactful studying abroad was for them. Learn more about the complex phenomenon of reverse culture shock here.
Another great way for your student to process and make the most of his or her experience is to attend the Nebraska Lessons From Abroad Returnee Conference. This annual conference allows students to meet peers who have studied abroad, learn how to maximize their international education for professional purposes, and network with employees of internationally focused companies.