How to Support Your Student Abroad

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.

DIS Resources

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

Read more about DIS Copenhagen Housing & Students Support Offices here

Read more about DIS Stockholm Housing & Students Support Offices here

  • 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

Calling Abroad

To place a call from the U.S. to Denmark:

  • Dial 011
  • Dial 45 (Denmark’s country code)
  • Dial the 8-digit Danish telephone number

To place a call from the U.S. to Sweden:

  • Dial 011
  • Dial 46 (Sweden’s country code)
  • Dial the 8-digit Swedish telephone number

Tips for Sending Mail to Your Student

If your student can purchase the item abroad, it is likely most expedient and hassle-free for them to do so.

If you need to send your student items, list the contents of the package as “used personal belongings” (e.g.; clothing, textbooks, etc.) so that it can be cleared through customs. The sender should declare a $0 dollar value for the package to avoid customs duty charges; however, if customs officials open the package and estimate a higher value, your student will be charged customs’ duty (note: this can often be costly!)

If you need to ensure a package that is more valuable (electronics, for example), you’ll be required to declare a higher dollar value. This will affect the customs duty charges abroad, which can vary greatly but may be as high as 30-40% of the value of the package. It is the receiver’s responsibility to pay this before the package can be released, so your student may receive a hefty bill from the local authorities along with the items that you send. They will not be able to receive their items until the custom’s bill is paid. Consider if it is worth sending your student an expensive item given this fact. Note that you can not mail medication to Scandinavia.

There are many different options for mailing packages: U.S. Postal Service, UPS, FedEx, DHL, etc. The cost will vary based on your timeline, as well as the size, weight, and origin of the package. Most websites can give you a price estimate.

While it may be tempting to send your student a perishable treat or flowers for a birthday or other holiday, the DIS Student Life Information Desk cannot guarantee delivery to your student. Therefore, we recommend sending a card or digital gift instead.

Sending Mail to DIS Copenhagen Students:  

If you plan to mail a package or letter to your student currently studying at the DIS Copenhagen location, it can be sent to the DIS main address below. Someone will be there to sign for packages during opening hours, and all students have personal mail folders for smaller items. It is your student’s responsibility to check their mail folder, but they will be emailed if they receive a package.

(student’s name)
c/o DIS Copenhagen
Vestergade 7
DK- 1456 Copenhagen K

Sending Mail to DIS Stockholm Students: 

It is best to send mail to your student at their local Swedish address, which your student should be able to provide you with.