students at mile markerStudy abroad is an enriching opportunity for your student to develop intercultural competence, resourcefulness, self confidence, and an understanding of global systems. Parents and family are a crucial element to their success. Here are ways you can best support your student through the entire process, from exploration to return.

The Lander Study Abroad web pages contain information on each stage of the study away process for students. If you or your student have questions, do not hesitate to contact us!

Explore

Early in the Explore stage, it is helpful for you to engage with you student to help identify the best program from the family’s perspective. Lander offers a wide variety of programs of varying lengths, costs, and requirements. Common considerations include:

  • What are my student’s goals after graduation?
  • What can we as a family afford?
  • What is included in the various programs?
  • What academic credit can my student earn on this program?
  • For how long are we as a family comfortable with the student being away?
  • Does my student have a background in a second language?
  • What health and safety concerns or needs do we have?
  • What additional funding is available to me?

Students who are prepared to discuss these considerations will have a more productive experience planning with their academic advisor and with the Director of Study Abroad. At this stage we also encourage families to check the validity of their student’s passport. If your student does not currently have a passport that will be valid at least six months after their planned return from abroad, encourage them to apply for a new one.

 

For more information, please review the Explore page.

Plan

Once a student’s direction begins to take shape, planning for the experience can begin. Some questions for students to consider during this time are:

  • When is the best time for me to be away from campus?
  • What are the implications of study away on my housing and meal plan when I am away and when I return?
  • Do I need to alter my graduation timeline to incorporate my study away plans?
  • When is the best time to apply for my program?
  • Are there deadlines for scholarships I need to keep in mind?

 

For more information, please review the Plan page.

Apply

Lander offers a variety of different program types, and application requirements are different for each one. Generally speaking, students may only apply for one program at a time for any one specific term. Once the initial Lander application is complete, the Director of Study Abroad will evaluate the application and assign it a status, either Approved, Conditionally Approved, or Revise and Resubmit.

 

For more information, please review the Apply page.

Prepare

Once accepted into a program, students can start to prepare for this transformative experience.

  • Students participating in Semester or Summer programs will enroll in IDSA 201 “Preparing for Study Abroad,” an online course designed to prepare them for interacting in cultures other than their own. The course also covers other pragmatic topics such as passports and visas, money matters, independent travel strategies, journaling, and personal safety, among others.
  • Students participating in a faculty-led Study Tour will attend several mandatory orientation sessions, and may need to enroll in a class associated with the Study Tour.

 

Some questions that families may wish to consider during the Prepare phase include:

  • How will we communicate while our student is abroad?
  • What is our family’s budget for spending money and independent travel?
  • Where is this money coming from?
  • Do we know as much about the host country as we would like?

Don’t forget to ask your student for an electronic copy of their flight itinerary and their passport!

 

For much more information, please review the Prepare page

Abroad

While your student is away, your support is very important. Students will experience highs and lows as they adjust to their new environment overseas. The roller coaster ride of this adjustment is known as culture shock.

Culture shock encompasses the range of good and bad days and experiences that can bewilder both the student and observers. How long and how strongly a student experiences culture shock varies from individual to individual. When your student experiences a bad day during culture shock, encourage them to push through it: to go out and explore the local area, or to try something they’ve never done before.

Journaling is a great way for students to track their emotions and feelings. Suggest that your student write down both the good and the bad while abroad. Remind your student that they are abroad not only to study, but to take advantage of the multitudes of opportunities present in another country and culture.

Students will also experience bumps in the road aside from those related to culture shock. Just as when students come to college for the first time, there may be adjustments or challenges related to things like housing, courses, and friendships. It’s easy for students and families to get frustrated during this time. Please encourage your student to make sure they are using the resources available to them on site—namely the staff—and most importantly of all to remain patient with the process.

Health and Safety

At Lander, the health and safety of our students is always a top priority, not just on campus but on every study abroad program that we offer. Every student that studies overseas receives solid pre-departure preparation in IDSA 201 “Preparing to Study Abroad” and in orientation sessions, abundant information on health and personal safety from the U.S. Department of State and related agencies, and robust support services provided by our overseas partner institutions.

Health and safety matters with which every student becomes familiar include

  • international health and travel insurance,
  • maintaining health overseas,
  • medical treatment overseas,
  • adherence to host country laws,
  • handling money safely,
  • sexual harassment and violence,
  • how to respond to a crisis abroad,
  • how best to communicate with home,
  • as well as other pertinent topics.

Lander’s Office of Student Affairs has produced a brief but information-packed presentation. This presentation identifies and addresses the many aspects of health and safety that concern a student who studies abroad.

 

For more information, please review the Health and Safety page.

Return

Once your student returns from overseas, they will go through a different readjustment period. During this period, your student may experience reverse culture shock.

Reverse culture shock may cause students to compare everything to the location they stayed in during their term away. Students may experience mood swings and be bored at home and at school. The length of the reverse culture shock period depends on the individual, how long they were abroad and how frequently they were in communication with people at home. Your student will gradually adjust to being home again.

Although not required, we strongly suggest students enroll in either IDSA 202 “Reflection on the Study Abroad Experience” or HONS 489 “Honors Reflection Seminar” the semester after they return from overseas. These 1-credit hour seminars guide students as they reflect upon and learn to market the knowledge and skills they gained overseas.

As a parent or guardian, it is important to realize that the student you send away will not be the same when they return. No matter the length of the program or the location, Lander study abroad provides students the opportunity to expand their perceptions and knowledge. Celebrate the changes in your student and encourage them to continue growing intellectually and emotionally.

 

For more information, please review the Return page.

Here are links to other important student pages: