PARENTS & GUARDIANS
In study abroad,
as in other settings, parents, guardians, and families can play an important
role in the health and safety of participants by helping them make decisions
and by influencing their behavior overseas. Here are a few suggestions
of things you can do to help your child prepare for their time out of
- Obtain and carefully
evaluate health and safety information related to the program, as
provided by University of Notre Dame, the Centers for Disease Control,
the U.S. Department of State, and other sources.
- Be involved in
the decision of the participant to enroll in a particular program.
- Engage the participant
in a thorough discussion of safety and behavior issues, insurance
needs, and emergency procedures related to living abroad.
- Keep in touch
with the participant and encourage him/her to do the same (via email,
phone or letters) Make arrangements for how you will contact
each other. Given the cost of telephoning, it might be best to set
up a regular schedule for e-mailing rather than telephoning. In addition,
you may want to contact your long-distance service provider to arrange
for a calling card or find out the best way to call collect from your
child's destination country.
- Plan together
how you will handle any family emergency that may arise while your
child is away.
- Help organize
your child's finances. Detailed information concerning financial arrangements
is provided in the student handbooks which are passed out during orientation
sessions. Depending on the program location, some monetary instruments
are preferable. Itís advisable to talk with someone at your bank about
how (or if) its ATM card will work and what extra fees there might
be. Setting up a personal credit card with cash advances, or buying
traveler's checks might also make sense. Make arrangements to pay
your child's monthly bills and to file his or her income taxes.
- Make arrangements
to take care of your child's health care needs. Set up an appointment
for a general physical exam, dental checkup, and, for females, a gynecological
checkup. If your child wears glasses or contacts, be sure he or she
has a typed copy of the prescription. Ask your child to talk to the
family doctor about the best way to handle any routine prescription
medications. Make sure your child takes a complete medical record.
- Make sure your
child has insurance for any valuables taken on the trip, such as a
laptop computer, camera, or video recorder. Advise your child not
to take things that aren't replaceable like family jewelry.
- Make sure your
child's passport and any required visas are in order.
- Help with travel
planning. Check out travel costs or book flights. Find out international
regulations on the type and size of luggage that can be carried. Help
pack lightly and avoid taking anything unnecessary.