student with visiting parent

Communicating with your Student Abroad

 

Arrival Day

Parents are often concerned when they do not hear from their son or daughter immediately after arrival. Your concern is natural, but in most cases, students are not able to make international phone calls from the airport. No word is usually an indication that your son or daughter has been caught up in the excitement of being in a new country. Students participating in a Temple program are encouraged to contact their parents (via email, collect call, or international phone card) within 48 hours of arrival. Be assured that the on-site program staff or Education Abroad will always notify parents if there is a serious problem.

Help! My Son or Daughter Wants to Come Home

After the excitement and adrenalin of the first few weeks, most students experience a temporary period of difficult adjustment. Parents should not be overly concerned by this initial wave of negativity or unhappiness. Almost all students experience some form of culture shock during (and often after) an abroad experience.

During this period it is extremely important for parents and family members to offer support and re-assurance, not fuel students’ fear and frustration. Fortunately, most students adapt quite successfully, become more independent, learn a lot about themselves and another culture, and thrive like never before. Of course, if your son or daughter’s experience seems more serious than temporary homesickness, parents should feel free to contact Education Abroad.

Calling Home

Although many telephone companies in the United States offer international calling cards and pre-paid international phone cards, these tend to be more expensive for fewer minutes than if your son or daughter purchases an international phone card from overseas. U.S. cell phones often will not work from overseas. Depending on the country and the student’s budget, purchasing or renting a cell phone abroad might be an option. Temple program participants will receive further information about cell phones during on-site orientation. In addition, many students now use a program called Skype to communicate from abroad.

Parents are often concerned when they do not hear from their son or daughter immediately after arrival. Your concern is natural, but in most cases, students are not able to make international phone calls from the airport. No word is usually an indication that your son or daughter has been caught up in the excitement of being in a new country. Students participating in a Temple program are encouraged to contact their parents (via email, collect call, or international phone card) within 48 hours of arrival. Be assured that the on-site program staff or Education Abroad will always notify parents if there is a serious problem.

Once your son or daughter settles into a routine abroad, we recommend establishing a plan for regular phone or email contact. Deciding to call every Sunday evening, for example, can give parents and students a chance to catch up and to share the experiences of studying abroad. However, we do not recommend daily communication, either by phone or email. In some cases daily communication delays the adjustment process and serves as a daily reminder of what they are “missing” back home.

Should your son or daughter encounter problems while abroad, their first course of action should be to consult with the program director abroad. Staff on site are usually in the best position to help a student resolve any issues. Occasionally, students will first contact their parents but not speak to someone on site. Parents will then contact Education Abroad in Philadelphia, who then will contact the staff overseas. This extra step delays resolution of the problem.

 

Information Your Son or Daughter Should Leave with You

Below you will find the information that students should leave with their parents or a family member before departure.

The name, address and phone number of Education Abroad in Philadelphia.  See our contact page for details.

The address and contact information for the campus abroad, as well as their phone number in housing. Note that mail for students studying at Temple Rome or Japan should be sent directly to the school.

The emergency phone number for the on-site program director, which students receive prior to departure.

Their bank account and credit card information, if they wish for you to access their accounts while you are abroad, as well as their social security number.
A copy of the numbers of their traveler's checks. They should also keep a record of these numbers with them (but not in the same place as their traveler's checks) so any lost/stolen checks can be easily replaced.

Copies of travel documents: passport, visa, ISIC, etc.

Names, addresses, phone, e-mail addresses, and fax numbers of all important University contacts at their home institution for Financial Aid, Housing, Registration, Advising, etc. since clear communication goes a long way to making the transition back to the U.S. smooth and uneventful.

Any documentation that only they can provide that could be needed in the U.S. while they are abroad (such as copies of last year's tax forms for Financial Aid). This type of planning is invaluable and could make a difference in meeting crucial deadlines.
Their return flight information.