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.
Please note that in students' OEA application, they are asked to complete a FERPA information release that is unrelated to any FERPA release they have signed with the University. Whoever the student lists on their OEA FERPA form is able to call or email our office and ask for certain specific information regarding the student, their program information, program fees, etc. If the student does not list anyone on their OEA FERPA, or if a family member or friend calls and asks for this information and they are not listed on the student's OEA FERPA, we are legally unable to communicate specific information about the student or their program with that individual, even if that individual is listed on the student's general FERPA release on file with the University. We encourage students to share the information about their OEA application and that the OEA has communicated to them (including the pre-departure orientation) with family members that may play an active role in helping the student prepare for their study abroad. Additionally, a good deal of the information about which families tend to be interested is available on the OEA website.
Please review our Billing Information page for details on submitting payments due to the OEA.
UNC Charlotte faculty, staff, and students traveling on study abroad programs have access to the
AlertTraveler phone app for the duration of their study abroad experience. AlertTraveler is an extension of the OEA portal which provides you with alerts about safety and security related events near you (according to your itinerary) and contains professionally provided, up-to-date information about countries and major cities around the world.
Benefits of the app:
Access country information to stay up-to-date on issues that may affect your travels
Receive real time alerts when an emergency may affect you while traveling
The University will be able to send check-in requests to you during emergency situations to make sure you are safe and provide assistance as needed