Your child has just expressed an interest in studying abroad at Appalachian State. What now?
“Let your child take responsibility before and during the time abroad, but make sure he or she knows you are available for support and that there are key decisions that you need to be involved in.” A Parent Guide to Study Abroad, pg 8
"Studying abroad offers students the competitive advantages and cross-cultural competence that open up a wealth ofimmediate personal and long-term professional opportunities. It can have a powerful impact on a young adult’s life; most who’ve done so say it changed theirlives. Yet only 10 percent ofthe approximately 2.6 million students who graduate with an associates or baccalaureate degree each year study abroad, which means relatively few are truly prepared to compete on a global scale. Our children depend on us to support and encourage them as they prepare to enter the workforce. If you want your child to succeed in today’s competitive job market, do everything you can to help them study abroad and acquire international experience." A Parent Guide to Study Abroad, IIE
This is a great opportunity for you to learn more about your student’s interests and provide support as they go through the process. Be sure to ask them questions; let them know that your door is open for them to discuss their plans with you. We encourage you to:
- Research the country and program your child is interested in. Travel.state.gov and their Students Abroad site are great places to start.
- Have a current passport if your child is traveling abroad for long periods. You may want to go visit them on their breaks.
- Read The Parent's Guide to Study Abroad, free online and produced by IIE.
Appalachian endeavors to balance the value of participation in education abroad experiences against potential risks and crises that may develop. The health and safety of Appalachian personnel and participants abroad are of primary concern to the University and its overseas partners. Senior administrators, education abroad administrators, education abroad program leaders, and host institution representatives abroad share the responsibility for monitoring local and national conditions affecting participant health and safety and providing relevant information to program participants. At the same time, participants themselves are responsible for becoming familiar with all materials provided for their program and for following health and safety guidelines provided by Appalachian and host institutions.
When a concern arises, OIED will post an "alert" on the front page with information you may need. These alerts are archived for future reference.
Each student traveling abroad is insured for medical emergencies and evacuations if necessary. For more information about insurance please visit the Health and Safety section of our website.
Here are some other resources:
- USA Study Abroad Parent Page
- U.S. State Department Traveler's Checklist
- Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)
- State Department Crisis Guidelines
At the beginning of the process there are two key items to keep in mind. First, students should consider how long they want to study abroad. Second, they should consider what courses they need to take.
- If they want to go abroad for a shorter period of time and travel with an Appstate faculty member and other Appstate students, they should look at Short Term Faculty-Led programs.
- If they want to study abroad for longer period to have a more independent experience, they should consider an exchange or affiliate program for a semester.
You can see more about these types of programs, as well as other options like Student Teaching Abroad, on the Guide Me section of our website.
Study abroad can be affordable, with proper early planning. It will take effort, but this work is worth it.
If finances play a factor in your child's decision to study abroad, you should encourage them to:
- Meet with an advisor as soon as possible who can help them find more affordable programs.
- Research and apply for scholarships. Start early!
More information can be found on the Finances section of our website.
While it is important to be supportive in the study abroad process, please also be aware that it is a student’s responsibility to not only learn details themselves but be independent each step of the way. This is a valuable skill to develop and will be especially useful when he or she is overseas. You may feel that you’re aiding your student by taking up some of the responsibilities as he or she may be busy with school, but this can actually hinder their development and ability to handle situations that may come up when they are abroad. OIED is limited in what information we may be able to share with parents due to FERPA laws.
For more information on FERPA regulations, please visit the Appalachian State University Office of the Registrar’s Parent Access to Student Information website http://registrar.appstate.edu/ferpa.html.
It’s also helpful to be supportive of your student once they are overseas, but remember that this is their experience and they should be given the opportunity to explore their new home. Student communication may vary from immediately letting you know they have arrived to not saying anything for a number of days. Please note that sometimes this may simply be due to lack of internet or cell coverage upon arrival.