How to Support Your Student Abroad

Studying abroad will certainly be a defining period in your daughter or son’s life but we understand that you may have conflicting feelings about the upcoming experience. You and your student are excited at the opportunities that lie ahead but at the same time, there is some hesitation about being an ocean apart.

DIS Resources

You and your student will undoubtedly have many questions before departing and while they are studying abroad with DIS. Start by encouraging your student to read the handbooks and emails sent to him or her before their departure for DIS, as well as during Arrivals Week sessions and throughout the semester.

However, you will also find a wealth of resource information at your fingertips on this site. Some good places to start are:

DIS Copenhagen

DIS Stockholm

Tips on Supporting Your Student While Abroad

There are some things you can do as the parent of a student going abroad to help maximize your son or daughter’s experience and promote further independence:

  • Your son or daughter 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 by encouraging them to do the research they need to complete the task themselves
  • Encouraging independence before your student goes abroad will make it much easier for them to flourish in a new country. Before your son or daughter departs, talk through both of your expectations of them while you are abroad, and encourage them to take advantage of our on-site staff for questions, concerns, problems they may encounter once here
  • If your son or daughter contacts you from abroad and is upset, unhappy, etc. it will 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, as we have staff focusing on all areas of the student experience (academics, housing, etc.) 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 harmful, as it can cause your student to become homesick and keep them from trying to solve problems on their own. Keep your conversations about what your son or daughter is doing and learning, and not about what they are missing out on in the U.S. Distance will encourage greater independence, which is trait all study abroad students need to be successful
    Expect a difference when you pick your son or daughter up at the airport after a semester abroad. Sure, they may have a new hairstyle and new clothes (and hopefully no new tattoos), but they may have some more profound changes in store for you. A semester abroad should be an eye opening experience and some of these experiences may have influenced your son or daughter. Students may return with different values and new interests. They may also experience reverse culture shock, where they will start to compare the U.S. to Denmark. This usually only lasts a short time. Use this time to learn from your son or daughter’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 Danish telephone number

Sending Mail to DIS Copenhagen

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:

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

For most items, list the contents of a 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 they open the package and estimate a higher value, your son or daughter will be charged customs’ duty and note that this can often be costly!

If you need to insure a package that is more valuable, you’ll be required to declare a higher dollar value. This will affect the customs duty charges in Denmark, 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 Danish authorities along with the laptop or iPod you sent for a birthday. For the most up-to-date information, contact the International Trade Commission at 1-800-872-8723. Always explore different options for mailing packages (e.g., through the post office, UPS, FedEx, etc.) but please be aware that FedEx and UPS will only ship new goods. If you plan to ship used clothes, etc., you must use the U.S. postal service. In most cases, it is actually easier and cheaper to use the U.S. postal service.