Sending your student abroad
As a parent, you will have questions as you prepare to send your student to study abroad in a new place. This section of the web site aims to explain what you should expect and suggestions for preparing for this experience.
International Engineering Studies & Programs offers opportunities to study in more than fifty different programs and in a variety of languages, including numerous options in English. Your student can get international experience, learn about a new culture, and practice language skills (if applicable).
The value of studying abroad for the job market
In today's global economy, companies increasingly seek leaders with the demonstrated ability to work with people of various cultural backgrounds and live successfully in a variety of countries. Study abroad can provide the structure for students to acquire these skills and give them an edge over the competition in the job market. The distinction of having studied in a foreign country can give your student a significant competitive advantage in the job market.
- 86 percent of companies report a need for managers and employees with international knowledge.
- One in six U.S. jobs is now tied to international trade.
- Students with international experience gain an advantage in the job market.
During the time students spend overseas, they will encounter unexpected situations that will allow them to develop self-sufficiency and independence. Daily life, opportunities to take weekend trips to different cities and traveling before or after the program will teach valuable lessons. By the end of the program, most families notice a definite change in how independent and responsible their student has become.
It is also important for students to learn what it means to be a member of their own culture. They may find themselves challenging long-held beliefs. They will discover many surprising differences and similarities between their own culture and that of the program site. Students should be prepared to encounter criticism of American foreign policy and consider what their response will be, and all these experiences help them reflect on their own identity.
Your student will learn:
- Decision making and problem solving in novel situations
- Cultural sensitivity, experience communicating across cultural difference
- A better understanding of U.S. and other cultures
- Confidence in his or her own abilities
- A better sense of self
You are to be congratulated on helping your student engage in this adventure, and you should provide him or her with the resources needed to succeed, including giving your student the space to learn independence and to develop and practice new skills, while being encouraging and understanding of the kinds of changes that your student will experience.
It is completely understandable that you may experience concerns about your student in terms of safety, health, and emotional challenges, and your student will indeed have cultural difference to contend with, and challenges to face. Nevertheless, thousands of students study abroad successfully, and learn from the challenges they face to emerge stronger, more capable, and more confident. You can read more on how to understand your student's experience abroad.
It is important to understand some basic information about homesickness and culture shock that will affect your student. Given the time needed to travel and settle in to a new place, you may not hear from your student immediately after his or her arrival in the host country - or you may get an anxious phone call or e-mail concerning the almost inevitable challenges of the initial settling-in period. Homesickness is common in the beginning, and is not a cause for alarm, and all students - regardless of maturity, disposition, previous experience abroad, or knowledge of the host country - experience some degree of culture shock, which can be characterized by periods of elation, frustration, adjustment and even depression.
Remember that an adjustment period is normal, and learn more about culture shock.
We hope you are proud of your students' choices to study abroad during their undergraduate careers. It will be a time of challenge, growth and adventure that they will remember for a lifetime.