Thank you for encouraging and assisting your student—not only through the planning and participation process—but also when your student returns from a study abroad experience.
We encourage you to stay connected and be a source of support during what can be both an exciting and challenging time.
It’s important to note that your student may not have constant accessibility to communicate with you while abroad. Students may also be busy with classes or immersing themselves in the international experience, so do not worry if you don’t hear from your student every single day. However, there are several options for communicating with your student during time abroad, including international phone plans, internet cafés, and apps like Facebook, Skype, and Facetime.
Make a Plan
Prior to departure, develop a communication plan with your student. Depending on the location of the study abroad program, your student may have access to a variety of communication options. In many countries, students may easily purchase international calling cards or international phones. In some cases, it’s possible to pre-order such phones (prior to departure) or to add an international plan to your existing mobile phone plan. If your student has internet access in the host institution buildings or other accommodations, texting, emailing, blogging, or video chatting may be a more efficient means of staying in touch.
Family members and others may be concerned, understandably, if they don’t hear from their student immediately upon arrival. However, this is not uncommon. Depending on your student’s destination, additional transportation (e.g., bus or train) may be required once an international flight has arrived. Students may not have phone or internet access in the airport; and these services may take a day or two to set up in the host city, depending on the time of arrival and the availability of access. Before departure day, discuss how and when your student plans to contact you after arrival, so that you will know what to expect. If applicable, request contact information for the person or people your student is scheduled to meet upon arrival. This can be helpful if there are any travel delays or other concerns.