Parents. You think your job is difficult when your child is toddling around in diapers, but then your young adult comes up with the crazy idea of studying abroad. Now you’re worried. Maybe you’re worried about finances. Maybe it’s safety. Maybe you’re concerned that your child just isn’t capable of something like this.
These concerns are natural, and the Center for Global Engagement would like to help you alleviate some of these worries. Please peruse the entire website in order to get an idea of what study abroad entails and what the preparations are, particularly the FAQ section. In addition, below are short statements by parents of students who have already studied abroad.
If you have further questions, or would like to speak with the parent of a student who has already studied in another country, contact CGE at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 405-491-6368.
Alan Woodcock, father of Rhea Woodcock
Latin American Studies Program
San José, Costa Rica
“We knew, of course, that that semester would eventually arrive. Our daughter was an International Studies major and we had known for a couple of years that she would be spending a semester abroad. Intellectually, we knew this was a good idea and a great opportunity. Yet, when it comes right down to the actual planning of the trip, it is a little frightening. Our daughter had, of course, been away before and yes, there were stretches of time during the semesters at SNU when we wouldn’t see her for a few weeks at a time. Yet, when you are sending your child (though a twenty-year old child) abroad for an entire semester, you are not quite sure about it. Would she be able to handle the stress of doing class work while living with a completely different family and speaking another language? Would she be totally lost? Would she be safe? When we took her to the airport and watched her go through security, I could only see her as about six years old and I thought, “What have we done?”
What we found was the study abroad program prepared the students well for the semester, and prepared the parents about as well as could be. We also found that my daughter grew immeasurably. She wrote a blog that we shared with friends who always wanted to know when she would update it next. She learned Spanish. She says she is not fluent, but she was able to communicate with a host family on a daily basis, prepare papers in Spanish and interact with the people there. She lived in a different culture and learned to adapt to the unfamiliar. In short, she spent an entire semester growing into a maturity that we could see when she came home. In one sense, I think that the larger growing was by her mother and me. My daughter has become a strong and capable adult; this semester helped us see her in that way. No, she isn’t really the same person that left. She is more willing to question the way the world works and see ways in which it should work better. She is more capable of undertaking large and daunting tasks, because she has spent a semester abroad.
So, the semester abroad has helped develop our daughter into the person that we sent her to college to become. And I think it was worth the stress of sending her to Costa Rica. We recommend it. Yes, it is hard to send them away, but we got back a pretty nifty kid. Of course, now she is thinking of working overseas. That idea will take some getting used to.”
Deborah Hunnicutt, mother of Sarah Hunnicutt
Scholars’ Semester in Oxford
Here’s my advice:
“The fall of my daughter’s senior year saw the fulfillment of a dream she’d had since 7th grade. She was off to study at Oxford University. I was excited for her and thrilled that she had this opportunity. I had little anxiety about her going and our technology today makes this so much easier than it was in the past.
Sign up for Skype. It’s free; Sarah was even able to give me a tour of her dorm, and we were able to communicate quite frequently. However, don’t communicate so frequently that your child doesn’t get to enjoy the experience of living abroad.
Know that the finances will be different. In our case, tuition was considerably higher and Sarah’s financial aid was affected. We were scrambling for funds just days before she left. However, unlike most universities, SNU does apply some academic scholarships to the cost of schooling abroad.
You will need to provide health insurance coverage.
Don’t be anxious. Your child is nervous and excited; they don’t need to pick up on your fears too.
Be sure you are both on Facebook, and then you’ll be able to see all the great photos from your student’s trip.
Know that your student is going to STUDY and a visit from the family is not a good idea.
Encourage your child to find a good church home quickly. Sarah loved the church she found in Oxford.
Even the most mature child will have challenges.
This was a life-changing experience for my daughter. She’d do it again and I’d support her wholly in the endeavor. She was certainly pushed academically, emotionally, and spiritually.”