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Parents' Guide

When a Wofford student decides to study abroad, the interest, help and support of a parent is essential to the success of this endeavor! We thank you for your part in making this life-changing opportunity a reality. As we prepare for the students' semesters overseas there will be a number of issues that we would like to address.

Wofford College considers study abroad an integral part of the academic experience. Therefore all courses taken abroad on an approved program will count as electives. If students wish to have a particular course count towards a requirement, they should consult their advisor for major/minor requirements and the Registrar for general education requirements.

The Wofford College Financial Aid Office makes every effort to work with students to apply all appropriate aid to the approved study abroad program. Students should contact the Financial Aid Office with regards to their individual financial aid package.

These two features of the Study Abroad program allow a student to continue their academic program without interruptions while keeping the expense associated with overseas study reasonable. The Office of International Programs will work with each student to find the most appropriate program. We ask students to plan their overseas studies and make sure that the selected programs meet their academic, linguistic and cultural interests.

Parents' support and involvement

At Wofford we believe that parent involvement in the student's study abroad experience is essential to the success of our program. We encourage parents to support their sons and daughters as they prepare for the experience overseas and especially when they return. While technology is making it easier for parents to stay in touch while their student is overseas, this contact also makes it more difficult for the student to focus on adapting to their new environment. We encourage students to explore the local cultural and social resources and constant contact with family and friends may be distracting.

From the very beginning the Office of International Programs will encourage students to take responsibility for this important event. From selecting a program to planning an academic program, from applying for a passport to completing the visa application, the student should start developing the necessary skills to cope with exactly the kinds of situations that will arise while they are overseas. It is wonderful to have parents who encourage and support the student, but the ultimate responsibility for fulfilling these requirements must rest with the individual student.

Preparation on Campus
If your son or daughter plans to study abroad, you will be sent a Study Abroad Guide for Families, ordinarily late in the semester. We will address some important issues associated with Study Abroad and your role as a parent as a co-educator in this process. This mailing is part of an ongoing series of orientation events designed to prepare and assist students in studying abroad.

Students are asked to attend the following as part of Ongoing Orientation:

  • General Study Abroad Fair attended by the Study Abroad Consortia representatives.
  • Visa and Forms Orientation Session
  • Alumni Advising
  • Study Abroad Nuts and Bolts - the logistical pieces of studying abroad
  • Health and Safety meeting
  • Study Abroad: What to Expect - a cultural orientation
     

Study Abroad
Recent studies in intercultural experience have shown distinct phases of adjustment for virtually every participant. We encourage you to read the section on Culture Shock to familiarize yourself with the phenomenon and to anticipate and identify the symptoms associated with it. You should not be surprised or distressed to find out that the adjustment to another culture is difficult for your son or daughter, however, the rewards of an overseas experience far outweigh the initial discomfort that a student might feel.

While the students are abroad the Office of International Programs will offer a number of services. Registration will be done online. If there should a problem with this, the Office of International Programs will register on behalf of students abroad if they have completed the necessary paperwork and have no holds on their account.

The study abroad correspondent will collect first class mail and forward it to the official program address overseas, however, we do ask that students suspend magazine subscriptions. This person will also collect letters, photographs and stories for publication in the newspaper.

While AwayIn case of an emergency at home while your student is overseas:

  • Contact your student’s abroad organization
    CCCS Contact:
        413-222-2173
    CIEE Contacts:
        1-888-268-6245
    IES Contacts:
       
    Dean of Students at 1-800-995-2300 during business hours
        1-800-953-0171 after hours
    DIS Contacts:
        Copenhagen: (011-45) 4096-9894
        North American Office: 1-651-323-7306 or 1-612-626-8009
    SIT Contact:
        1-802-258-3212 or 1-888-272-7881
    Middlebury Contacts:
       
    Please refer to their online list
     
  • Amy Lancaster, Asst. Dean of International Programs, (864) 597-4026 / lancasterae@wofford.edu. If you need to reach someone after office hours, please contact the Wofford College Public Safety Office at (864) 597-5350 or 597-4911 in the case of an emergency, who will always know how to reach the Administrator on call.

Emergencies Abroad
The consortia are continually in contact with the Office of International Programs to keep us informed of any concerns, as well as updating us on their emergency procedures.

If you have any questions or concerns about safety procedures, please review the following websites which include emergency contacts for the organizations:

IES: https://www.iesabroad.org/IES/Parents/Student_Safety/safetyAbroad.html
CIEE: http://www.ciee.org/health_safety.aspx
DIS: http://www.dis.dk/Safety/index.php
SIT: http://www.sit.edu/studyabroad/2289.htm
CCCS: http://www.cccs.com/index.php?id=485
Middlebury:
http://www.middlebury.edu/academics/sa/healthsafety/
 

Return Home
When students return home after studying abroad there are other issues which families may face. Parents often feel anxious as they anticipate their child's return. We often hear students say that returning home was much more difficult than going abroad. There will be a period of re-adjustment, but this can also be the time when, while recounting stories and sharing photos, the real significance of the experience becomes obvious.

It will help if you recognize that your son or daughter will not be exactly the same person who left several months ago. Not every student will change in the same way, and not all changes are permanent, but you might prepare for some of the following possibilities. Anticipate some changes such as a new hair style, a new way of dressing, maybe even a weight gain or loss. Sometimes you will notice that your child may have a craving for different foods. This situation offers an ideal opportunity to share the international experience by preparing some new dishes. Occasionally your son or daughter may have difficulty finding the right words in English. Students who make a sincere effort to immerse themselves in a new language will have developed key phrases that they use in certain situations. Above all you will find that your son/daughter wants to talk about the experience. A common complaint among study abroad returnees is that people ask them, "So, how was studying abroad?". . . and expect an answer in ten words or less. Take the time to listen, not just during the first day but for weeks or even months.

Return to Campus
As part of Ongoing Orientation, students are welcomed back to campus at the Welcome Home Dinner during which they share their experiences overseas with the Wofford Community. Moreover, the Working, Volunteering, and Teaching Abroad session offers students information on opportunities abroad after graduation and tips for capturing their international skills on their résumé. Study Abroad Alumni are also asked to serve as advisors to future participants of the program.

We are confident that study abroad will be one of the most memorable parts of your student's experience at Wofford.