Information for Parents

I Don't Know Anything About International Travel

Whether you are a seasoned international traveler, have never flown or fall somewhere in between, you are probably feeling both excited and anxious for your study abroad student. These feelings are natural and healthy as long as you don't let them get the best of you! From the start, you and your student need to understand that studying abroad requires a lot of paperwork and follow up at different levels: SUNY, host institution, and maybe the host country's government. Studying abroad is not a trip for which you "sign up and go." It is a learning experience that should help your student better understand how people and goods flow and interact internationally on a level beyond tourism. Having this exposure will give your student important hands-on experience that is necessary in today's world. We find that many study abroad parents end up gaining a new global perspective too without ever leaving home!

Preparation Is Key!

You can avoid a lot of confusion and anxiety, and will feel better about your student leaving the U.S., if you take the time to research program logistics, costs, and who is responsible for what ahead of time and not at the last minute. Every program is different, and every country is different. You should not assume that things there will be like they are here, or that the role of the Global Education Office is to make the host institution run and operate the same services as in the United States. You should also prepare to do a lot of learning. There is only so much planning you can do. The best way is plan to be flexible! We highly encourage you to make an appointment with our office, or give us a call as soon as your student mentions the idea of studying abroad!

Help Prepare, Don't Take Over

You should also be careful not "to take over" your student's program. Learning on study abroad programs results from the student initiating the process, following through with instructions, arriving in the host country, and returning home with stories to tell. While as a mature adult, you probably are more capable of understanding the information and consequences of not meeting deadlines than a young adult, you should push your student if necessary, but also make sure that your student is being responsible for her or his decision to study abroad. If your student is half-heartedly approaching the program and waiting for someone else to take care of the necessary pre-departure steps, then maybe your student is not ready to travel alone to a foreign country? There are students who do go abroad personally unprepared for the challenges they will face. They arrive looking for the fun places their friends who went there last semester talked about, but are confronted by a more normal life consumed mostly by schoolwork and then become homesick.

Communicating with Study Abroad and Exchanges

When a student applies to a program, all correspondence is sent directly to the student. U.S. federal law mandates a release of information to be signed in order for us to discuss information students submit to us to third parties, including parents. We do have a standard form that we send all students asking them for the contact information for anyone to whom we can release information. If you want us to be able to discuss your student's file with you, please make sure that your student returns this form and we will be glad to forward you copies of acceptance letters, information and instructions. Not every student has parents who are involved in their lives financially and emotionally. We understand the necessity for you to have access to information if you are the one paying, but we also have to take certain measures according to the law for the security of peoples' privacy.

And What About...

While this page is for you as a parent, it by no means addresses all your concerns and questions. The rest of the information on our website is also for you. Please take the time to read through the pages. If you don't like using the web or simply want to have paper copies of the information available here on hand, please contact us and we will be glad to send you program catalogs!

 

Questions, Comments, Suggestions?

If you would like more information about study abroad and exchange opportunities at SUNY Plattsburgh, please contact us at:

Global Education Office
101 Broad Street
Plattsburgh, NY 12901

Phone: (518) 564-3287
Toll-Free Phone: (800) 388-6784
Fax: (518) 564-3292
Email: geo@plattsburgh.edu

Location: We are on the second floor of the Kehoe Administration Building on the SUNY Plattsburgh campus.