Studying abroad will certainly be a defining period in your student’s life and we understand that you may have a range of feelings about the upcoming experience. You and your student are likely excited at the opportunities that lie ahead, but at the same time, there may also be some nerves about being oceans apart.
You and your student will undoubtedly have many questions from before they depart to after they arrive at DIS. Start by encouraging your student to check their email for DIS information and materials prior to departure. Your student will continue to receive communication via email during Arrival Week sessions and throughout the semester.
You will also find a wealth of resource information at your fingertips on this site. Some good places to start are:
DIS Copenhagen Semester
DIS Stockholm Semester
DIS Summer (Stockholm and/or Copenhagen)
Tips on Supporting Your Student While Abroad
There are some things you can do as family of a student going abroad to help maximize your student’s experience and promote further independence:
- Your student may need and/or ask for help in preparing for their experience abroad. Instead of offering to do something for them (fill out paperwork, call our office, etc.), empower them to do the research they need to complete the task themselves
- If your student contacts you from abroad and is upset, unhappy, etc. it may make you worry – as you feel there isn’t much you can do to help them. Direct them to our on-site Housing & Student Support Offices (read more about the DIS Copenhagen resources here and read more about the DIS Stockholm resources here), as we have staff focusing on all areas of the student experience (academics, housing, study tours, to name a few) and our staff is used to speaking to students that may be having a difficult time adapting. Questions, concerns and problems will be handled and addressed much more quickly if the student goes straight to our on-site staff
- Though it is difficult, we recommend that students only speak to their parents once every week or two. More frequent communication can actually be detrimental, as it can cause your student to miss home and may keep them from trying to solve problems on their own. Keep your conversations focused on what your student is doing and learning, and not about what they are missing out on back home. Distance will encourage greater independence, which is trait all study abroad students need to be successful. Set up a communication expectations plan with your before they depart
- Expect a difference when you pick your student up at the airport after a semester abroad. A semester abroad should be an eye-opening experience and some of these experiences may have influenced your student. They may return with different values, new interests, new goals, a new haircut, etc. They may also experience reverse culture shock, where they will start to compare the U.S. to Scandinavia. This usually only lasts a short time. Use this time to learn from your student’s experience. Allow them to make these comparisons and go through this readjustment. They will need your support, interest, and understanding