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 influencing their behavior overseas.
- Be informed about and involved in the decision of the participant to enroll in a particular program.
- Obtain and carefully evaluate participant program materials, as well as related health, safety and security information.
- Discuss with the participant any of his/her travel plans and activities that may be independent of the study abroad program.
- Engage the participant in a thorough discussion of safety and behavior issues, insurance needs, and emergency procedures related to living abroad.
- Be responsive to requests from the program sponsor for information regarding the participant.
- Keep in touch with the participant.
- Be aware that the participant rather than the program may most appropriately provide some information.
The Decision to Study Abroad
You should be as involved as you can in your student’s decision to study abroad. Being involved in the process from the beginning allows you to gain the maximum amount of information about the program, the country in which they will be studying, and the people with whom they will be traveling. It also allows you to ask your student better questions about why they want to study abroad and what they hope to gain from the experience.
Get started by looking over the general study abroad information website.
Use this website to look up the program and get information about the fees, what is covered and the course(s) being offered.
Use this website to look up scholarships available to your student.
Benefits of Studying Abroad
There are numerous benefits to studying abroad. Some of them include:
- Earning credit towards their degree at Kennesaw State University
- Experiencing firsthand what they have learned in the classroom
- Increasing their competitiveness on the job market
- Improving their foreign language skills
- Gain a better understanding of themselves and their own country
For more information on the benefits on study abroad, check out these resources:
The Benefits of Study Abroad by Mary Dwyer and Courtney Peters
Diversity Abroad- Academic, Career, and Personal Benefits of Study Abroad
It is important to our office that your student stays as healthy as possible while they are abroad and come back to you just as healthy as they left. All students traveling with Kennesaw State University will be provided with international health insurance. T.W. Lord provides insurance for many of our programs, information about coverage can be found in their brochure. (T.W. Lord brochure)
Students should be sure to have a full supply of their prescription medications in their original packaging. If any of their prescriptions are controlled substances, they will also want to bring a copy of their prescription with them as well. This will ensure they do not encounter any problems at customs or run out while they are abroad.
Please check with the CDC to see whether or not your student needs any additional vaccinations before departure. If vaccinations are needed, students can visit the Student Health Clinic. Be sure to give at least 3 months’ notice to the Clinic so that they can be sure the vaccinations are in stock and complete the entire series before the student departs. Many vaccinations require several injections spread out over time, so starting early is very important!
Safety & Security
The safety and well-being of students, faculty, and staff participating in KSU programs abroad is our number one priority. The Education Abroad Office (EAO) has established policies and procedures designed to safeguard the well-being of study abroad participants. The faculty directors and EAO monitor the safety and security situation at all program sites. Study abroad program participants abroad are notified via e-mail if the U.S. State Department issues a country-specific warning or announcement.
Before departure discuss the following with your student:
- How to interact respectfully with the host culture
- Obeying the laws of the country as well as KSU regulations while abroad
- How to stay safe: going places in groups, being discrete with money and expensive belongings, and dressing in accordance with local customs
- Look up the country’s safety information online
Please consult the student handbook safety section for more information
Staying in Touch
Our office understands that staying in touch with your student is very important and we want to accommodate this to the best of our ability. However, you should set realistic expectations. Most students do not have the ability to call you the moment they get off the plane, so give them a reasonable amount of time before which you expect to hear from them that they have arrived safely. Additionally, some of our programs travel to rural destinations with spotty internet access and cell phone reception. The faculty director for the program should be able to give your student an accurate depiction of their ability to communicate while abroad, so be sure to ask your student about this before they leave. At minimum, your student should be able to share their program itinerary, flight information, and the faculty member’s emergency contact information with you before they depart.
Contacting our Office
As part of the application paperwork, students are given the option to fill out a FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) waiver. Because your student is considered an adult, by law our office cannot give out any information about the well-being or whereabouts of students participating in our programs unless given explicit consent by the student to do so. Discuss this waiver with your student and stress the importance of putting your name on the waiver to enable you to call our office with questions or concerns before they leave, while they are away, or once they return. Please understand that our office legally cannot release students’ information to any individuals not specifically named on this waiver; this means that if your spouse is listed and you are not, we are able to release information to him or her, but not you.