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Parents + Guardians

(New Zealand)
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(Australia)
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Your student has made the exciting decision to study abroad as part of their university education! You may be asking yourself, why?! Students study abroad for a variety of reasons:
  • Learn about a new culture or further explore their own heritage
  • Gain skills that employers value such as adaptability, flexibility, independence, cross-cultural communication, etc. Studying abroad also shows employers that your student was willing to take a risk and go outside their comfort zone
  • Gain further language comprehension
  • Complete requirements for their major/minor
  • Learn in an international classroom setting and gain further understanding of what it means to be a global citizen
Following through with study abroad automatically places students into an elite group of college graduates. Recent reports show that about 11% of U.S. undergraduates can claim a study abroad experience as part of their academic career. By comparison, about 22% of UW-Eau Claire students study abroad. The Center for International Education (CIE) provides support for students studying on UW-Eau Claire programs through the entire process.

Parents, family, and friends are very important supporters of students' international experiences. While federal law prevents the CIE from sharing information about particular students, you are encouraged to browse the resources available on this site and to talk with your student.

Planning Process:

Remind Them to Complete All Items
Students apply for their study abroad program four-nine months in advance. Program requirements and eligibility vary and those details can be found on each program's brochure page. Your student will have items during all phases of preparation, to complete on their BlugoldsAbroad Account and/or for their host university/organization. It is important that your student complete everything in a timely manner. They will receive email reminders, so please encourage them to check their email.
Pre-Departure Orientations
The CIE holds an initial program meeting shortly after acceptance where students receive academic and budget planning resources. During the semester prior to departure, students are required to attend an in-person orientation session. Orientation is only for students, but you are encouraged to discuss questions with your student, so they can be sure to get those answered. In addition, throughout the semester leading up to your student's departure, your student will have online orientation items on their BlugoldsAbroad Account and they'll receive regular emails from the the CIE.
Encourage Your Student to Take the Lead on Planning
The CIE is a student-centered office. We understand that parents/guardians can play a big role in helping their student prepare, but all communication will go directly to your student. Should you have questions, please use your student as the family representative and direct questions through them. Learning to take the lead on their experience now will better prepare them for when they're abroad. Encourage your student to do their own planning and to reach out to their Study Abroad Coordinator if they have questions.
Budgeting
Each program brochure page will have a detailed estimate of costs students can anticipate. Cost estimates DO NOT include personal travel your student may decide to do during their free time. More resources about budgeting, financial aid, scholarships, etc. can be found on our How To Fund Your Experience page. Information regarding our withdrawal policies, refund polices, payments, etc. can be found on our Understanding Program Costs page. 
Study Abroad Handbook
The Study Abroad Handbook is a resource designed for students but parents/guardians often review this information as well. Please encourage your student to read it thoroughly and have them follow up with their Study Abroad Coordinator if they have questions or concerns. 
Other Resources on Our Website


Discussions to have with your student:

Once abroad, students are going to deal with many new and unfamiliar issues, and we find if they take responsibility for their program information prior to departure they are better equipped to succeed abroad. We encourage you to talk with your student and ask them to share information they have received with you. This process is a wonderful exercise to help your student become an independent adult.
Arrangements for Spending Money On-Site
Your student will get information on money and budgeting right after acceptance, during orientation and in the Study Abroad Handbook and program guide. It is important that your student understand where their money is coming from and how they will pay for items. Cost of living could be very different, so encourage them to do research and plan for this. Most students will use credit cards, ATM cards and cash when abroad.

If you are able to financially support your student, discuss how money will be transferred. Planning ahead can ease anxiety over money-related issues. 
Communication Plan
Staying in touch with your student is important, but communication may not be as frequent as you are used to at home. When they first arrive, it may take a day or two for them to figure out WiFi/internet access, or to get the appropriate SIM card for their phone. In addition, students who are in constant contact with home may have a challenging time adjusting to and really immersing themselves in their new environment. Agree upon a reasonable communication plan with your student, and if you plan to use Skype, Zoom, WhatsApp or other app-based communication networks, be sure everyone knows how to use them before your student gets abroad.
Health and Safety 
Your student will receive health and safety information at orientation, through the Study Abroad Handbook and their program guide, and on their BlugoldsAbroad Account. All students studying abroad will be enrolled in an international insurance policy that is required by the UW-System. You can read more about that here. All students will be asked to complete a Self-Disclosed Health & Disability Questionnaire. If your student has a health condition or disability that needs support,when they're abroad, they should disclose on the questionnaire and a Study Abroad Coordinator will reach out and begin those conversations. Information about the insurance and other health/safety resources are on our website under the Health + Safety section. parents visiting
Visiting Your Student
If you plan to visit your student, we encourage you to do so after the program. Confirmed breaks are another possibility, but break dates are sometimes not known until after the terms begins, and students may wish to travel with other students on breaks. Your student will know the dates when the CIE knows the dates. Your student will be required to stay engaged in all of their academic responsibilities even if they have visitors. The majority of our partners do not allow overnight guests in student accommodations so you should plan on booking your own accommodations. You will also want to make sure you research what, if any visa(s) are required for your travels. The CIE staff doesn't advise on family/friend travel to visit a study abroad student, but travel agencies can be a great resource.


Your Student is Home!

Welcoming your student home will be a very exciting time! While it will be great to have them home, your student may have a hard time adjusting, also known as reverse (or re-entry) culture shock.

Re-Entry Adjustment Support
  • The best way to support your student is to actively listen and encourage them to discuss their experiences abroad and how they are feeling now they are home. 
  • Remind them that what they're feeling is 100% normal. If they are really struggling, seeking professional support from a therapist could be very helpful. 
  • Don't expect them to be their old self and jump right back into life before their experience. Your student will have made discoveries about themselves that they will be working through
  • Know the re-entry process can be ongoing - it isn't over in one week/one month/etc.
  • Encourage them to stay connected with friends they met abroad
  • Give them space to grieve the loss of being abroad
  • Help them find ways they can get a taste of different cultures to continue that exploration and learning (i.e. new restaurants, festivals, documentaries, foreign films, etc.)
  • Encourage journaling, blogging, vlogging, etc. 
  • We created this site to further support your student