Parents and Guardians

Welcome! Family and friends are a vital part of the study abroad process, from the decision to study abroad through planning, preparing, participating, and returning. We in the Study Abroad/NSE Office appreciate the contribution you make to a successful experience abroad and we hope you will enjoy sharing the study abroad adventure with your student. Studying abroad has become not only common, but is a key component in a complete academic program. It can be the most life-changing and lasting aspect of a student’s education. While we believe that each student is ultimately responsible for his or her experience abroad, we want to provide the very best preparation and support possible. We are pleased to have you join us in this endeavor! Please note that a lot of the information contained in these pages is focused towards study abroad periods of a semester or more. For OSU college-based programs, the faculty leader for the course will be the best source of information regarding the requirements, rules, and special needs for students participating in these programs.

Benefits of Study Abroad

Academic
Students are able to develop skills in problem solving, gain a new perspective on their area of study, take classes they wouldn’t be able to take at OSU, develop foreign language skills, gain geographical and historical knowledge, and be exposed to a populations who process information differently than they do.
Professional
Through study abroad, students gain a strong sense of direction for their future career, make professional contacts, take advantage of internships and volunteer opportunities, and gain valuable skills that will set them apart when they are applying for jobs in the future.
Personal
As a result of study abroad, students develop confidence and a stronger sense of independence, improve flexibility and creativity, and gain a new sense of appreciation for what they have in the US.
Cultural
Students increase their interest in other cultures, develop intercultural competence and communication skills, and become more aware of and sensitive to other cultures back on the OSU campus and in the US.

How to Help

Pre-Departure

  • Finances

    • Comparing costs allows students to choose a financially feasible program and helps students and parents accurately assess what a program will cost, utilize current resources, apply for scholarships and other sources of aid. Here is a worksheet that helps a student compare the costs of a study abroad program and a semester at OSU.
    • Help your student create a budget for their time abroad.
  • Research your student’s host country

While They Are Abroad

  • Communication

    • Establish a plan to communicate with your student once he or she arrives in the host country. Give them some time to figure out how to communication with you. Take time differences, travel time airport to host university, new phone system, internet available, and travel fatigue into consideration, it may take a little time for your student to first connect with you to let you know they have safely arrived.
    • Be supportive of your student’s independence and opportunity for personal growth. But do have an easy way for your student to contact you while abroad and that you establish an easy way to contact your student. If a student chooses to travel independently during the study abroad program, he/she is expected to tell the program contacts the location and return date of his/her travel.
    • The OSU Study Abroad Office is required to adhere to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Please make yourself aware of the rights of you and your student and prepare accordingly.
  • Check out this information on culture shock and other student resources.

Returning Home

Studying abroad can be transformative. In most cases, parents will notice more self-reliance and maturity. Sometime, especially when a student has studied abroad for a semester of longer, returning home can be unsettling. Encourage your student to use study abroad to benefit their future job hunt, as well as to tell stories, show photos and engage with other study abroad alumni who can share the enthusiasm of that experience. Check out these re-entry resources provided to your students.