To Consider

As a parent, here are some health and safety thoughts to consider:

  • Is my child currently healthy enough to spend time abroad?

Consider the current mental and physical health of your son or daughter. Time abroad can exacerbate existing issues. If your student has experienced health issues in the U.S., it doesn’t mean that study abroad is not a right fit, but it may be worth thinking of destinations that have better access to health care in case there are health issues while abroad. Talking to your child’s doctor and study abroad office early in the planning stages can help make sure any accommodations that may be needed can be provided.

  •  Has my child shown the ability to make smart decisions in difficult situations?

Traveling abroad requires a certain level of maturity; navigating new airports, learning a new language, and sometimes starting over making new friends. With the different types of programs that exist, it’s best to help your child find opportunities abroad that match their maturity level. For the less mature studying abroad, it may be a good idea to look for programs that include provider support, a host family, and or a lot of contact on the ground with program directors. For those that have experience navigating the sometimes challenging aspects of being abroad, they may be more prepared to embark on a more independent program or living abroad for an extended period of time.

  • Do I believe that this program or experience is important for my child?

At the end of the day, as parents, it’s part of our design to worry about our children.  A big step towards helping them develop as individuals is giving them the space to do so. Sending them to kindergarten was hard, and it may have felt a little like Africa at the time, but you never imagined how it would feel to actually see them go this far. The benefits in store for those that choose to study abroad will eventually overshadow the anxiety of the unknown that you felt before they traveled.  And heck, maybe you can even visit them!