Parents

Dear Family,

There is nothing like sending your student off on the study abroad adventure – as you are no doubt filled with excitement, pride and anxiety! We share your enthusiasm, since we know that study abroad transforms lives, reveals the world to students, and prepares them for the workplace and life. As the Office of International Programs, our goal is to assist your student in having the experience of a lifetime; though, we hope to help you enjoy this experience, too! Listed below are a few suggestions concerning cultural awareness, communication, and safety to assist you through this adventure. Throughout the process, if you should have any additional questions or concerns, please refer to the links above or contact our office

While exciting and wondrous at times, living in a new cultural context can be very difficult. When contacting your student, please keep in mind that “culture shock” is a normal process and also a good sign that he/she is learning about the host culture. Students may be overly emotional at times, so be aware of the challenge he/she is undertaking. Bill Hoffa’s book entitled Study Abroad: A Parent’s Guide is a good resource for parents and families of students studying abroad. Further information can be found at the Association of International Educators (NAFSA) website at http://www.studyabroad.com or http://www.nafsa.org.

In order to keep in touch while your student is abroad, postal mail, telephone, fax and email are all available means. Though prices may vary, services work very similar to those in the United States. We encourage students to contact their families as soon as possible after arrival, but understand that this may not always be possible. We recommend you establish a scheduled means of communication with your student prior to his/her departure or soon after arrival. Planning a day and time at which you will contact (each week, month, etc.) will ensure that both parties are available and remain in contact. To read additional state information and advice concerning safety and travel please refer to the link above.

At this time of heightened awareness concerning security issues, we want to assure you that West Virginia University’s Office of International Programs regularly monitors international security. We inform students immediately of changes in the international security environment. For your own benefit, we encourage you to find the most current State Department notes and warnings at http://travel.state.gov/travel/warnings.html. Students should know where the U.S. consulate is located within their host country, and should exercise good judgment when getting involved in local activities. We recommend you and your child be aware of current events in the world. Further safety and travel updates can be found at the link above. If you should have any additional questions or concerns, please contact our office, oip@mail.wvu.edu or 304-293-6955.

We will continue to work with your student throughout the duration of the program to ensure that he/she is having the best possible study abroad experience. There is much to learn and to discover in the world! This adventure will provide your student with a greater understanding and appreciation for other countries, cultures, traditions and people – it will be invaluable throughout his/her life. Again, if you should have any additional questions or concerns, please contact us.

Best wishes,
West Virginia University International Programs