Attending college is a wonderful time of transition for students as it represents a period of growth from childhood to adulthood. Additionally, pursuing a study abroad experience is an important step for students in order to further develop independence, maturity, and an understanding of their place within a global context. Parents and families serve a vital role in supporting their students through the study abroad application and preparation processes. Students often look to their families for advice, encouragement, and assistance as they prepare to study abroad. There are many ways in which you can assist your student before, during, and after their study abroad experience.
Encouraging Student Responsibility
Studying abroad is an impactful experience that our students often describe as “life changing”; but it also comes with many responsibilities prior to departure including applying, completing pre-departure requirements, making payments, attending orientations, and communicating with the Office of Education Abroad (OEA) and other stakeholders. Once abroad, students are responsible for keeping up with their academics, personal well-being, and keeping themselves safe. Ultimately it is your student who will embark on this new experience and be spending a significant time overseas in a new host culture. As such, the OEA places responsibility directly on students to complete all necessary requirements and will communicate directly with students through their UNC Charlotte email account. Students who take full ownership of their study abroad experiences often reap the most benefits.
You can assist your student in preparing for this experience by:
- Asking your student to share with you any and all information shared by the Office of Education Abroad
- Reviewing resources provided to all students available on the OEA website.
- Discussing and setting expectations for financial considerations and affordability of a student abroad program before they apply. Then discussing a realistic budget for personal expenses and personal travel while abroad.
- Asking your student questions and encouraging them to ask questions of their advisers. If you have any concerns about your student’s study abroad plans encourage your student to do the research, find out the answers, and return to you with additional information.
- Supporting your student while abroad by encouraging them to advocate for themselves with on-site staff if they need assistance.