Study Abroad - For Parents
Congratulations to your student for deciding to study abroad, an experience that we hope will be fulfilling and transforming! And thank you for supporting your student through the planning, participation, and return from their study abroad program. Springfield College strives to serve as a resource for parents, providing the information and support you need to help your child as he/she prepares to study abroad.
If you have questions about the experience, we encourage you to communicate with your student so he/she is fully aware of your interest and concerns. You may also wish to review our Web site, or contact the International Center at (413) 748-3215.
We are eager to work with you to provide your student with the most rewarding study abroad experience possible. Thank you again for your support, and best wishes for a great study abroad experience! Information for Parents
Before they go:
- Planning Ahead: Emphasize the importance of planning ahead. Students need to schedule time with various groups on campus, e.g. their advisor, the Office of the Registrar, coaches, financial aid officers, etc.
- Values and Goals: Help your student identify and clarify values and goals for the study abroad experience.
- Options: Understand the options available to your student. Discuss the options to determine how well individual programs, services, and environments fit your student's academic needs, personal goals, linguistic preparation, interests, and expectations.
- Advantages and Disadvantages: Discuss with your student the likely advantages and disadvantages of studying abroad in a particular program or destination.
- Participation Requirements: Ask your student if he/she meets all of the eligibility requirements, including any prerequisites for courses abroad, academic performance, and behavioral expectations.
- Costs, Financial Assistance, and Scholarships: Review the program costs and what they cover, anticipated personal expenses, and the availability and process for financial assistance.
- Pre-departure Preparation: Emphasize the importance of your student’s participation in the pre-departure orientation program offered by the International Center at Springfield College.
- Risks: Understand that studying abroad involves risk regardless of where your student studies. Emphasize the importance of responsible behavior while abroad. Gather information about concerns and evaluate them carefully. Learn more about local conditions and travel precautions through the Bureau of Consular Affairs and the Centers for Disease Control.
Once your student has selected a specific site, it’s important to be sure that you receive, review, and understand the following information about your student's program:
- Program Structure: type, location, duration, size, facilities, and staffing
- Academic Credit: how it’s earned, courses available, how it’s applied toward a degree at Springfield College
- Living Arrangements: home-stay, residence, independent living
- Orientation: pre-departure program on campus and upon arrival in country
- Safety and Responsibility: security measures, precautions, local conditions, contingency plans, and emergency procedures
- Health and Wellness Resources: recommended precautions and required immunizations, local medical care, program services, and referrals
- Support Services: academic, social, emotional, health and wellness, and special needs
- Cost: program fee, what the fee covers, and how to pay
- Travel Arrangements: how to make them and important program dates
While they are abroad:
- Maintain communication with reasonable frequency but not on a daily basis.
- Keep the program calendar in mind. If you haven't heard from your student, it may be because he/she is on a program excursion or traveling during a break.
- Stay in touch with the program sponsor concerning security precautions and conditions abroad.
- Monitor online information and advisories from the Bureau of Consular Affairs.
- Respond to mail from Springfield College.
- Contact the International Center should you or your son or daughter need assistance with any aspect of the program abroad or matters on campus.
- Keep a journal of events and celebrations that occur during the semester or year to share with your son or daughter when he or she returns home.
- Consider a visit during the program break, when classes are not in session. It’s helpful to give your child time to adjust in their new routine.
When they return:
- Expect your son or daughter to have a period of transition upon return, sometimes as long as the period he or she was abroad.
- Continue your enthusiasm for your son or daughter's experience in the months after he or she returns home. Show interest in the photos, stories, and memories to help keep the experience, the reflection, and the learning alive.
- Encourage your son or daughter to volunteer to be a resource for future study-abroad students.