Parents' Guide

Welcome to BBA International Programs!

As a parent, it is often very exciting and sometimes nerve-wracking when a student studies abroad. Will my student be safe? How can we afford study abroad? How do we keep in touch?

These are among the many questions that will be asked during the planning stages of your student’s study abroad experience. Perhaps a question you may be asking yourself is “How can I help?”

This part of our website is designed as a tool for you to help your student get the most out of his/her study abroad experience. It is important to remember that this entire process is a learning experience for your student, and your student should be the one doing the work. Who better than you knows how talented and accomplished your student is? Surely your student can tackle this, too, even though much of it will be new and complex. There are very few instances in which a student will not be able to manage this planning.

It is very important that your student also shares with you the planning and logistics of the study abroad program. Your son/daughter will be your best source of information concerning these details. Your encouragement and support will be very important in ensuring a positive experience for your student.

Please explore the links on this page to learn more about some important issues concerning study abroad, including budget, communicating with your student when he/she travels, and much more!

Student Preparedness Expectations

Congratulations! Your student is about to embark on a life-changing adventure that will allow him/her to learn and grow academically, professionally, and personally, while having fun, making friends, and traveling all over the world. A semester abroad is often the highlight of a college career, and impacts students long after graduation.  

BBA International Programs office is here to facilitate this process, and provide support for your student. It is important that you and your student understand that completion of program requirements is the student’s responsibility, and s/he should be the point of contact with our office.

BBA exchange programs, by their very nature, require students to be highly responsible, independent, and able to solve their own problems with the help and many resources available.

Indeed, until the student leaves, participation status in the exchange program is considered “conditional.” The student demonstrates the above traits by following instructions, completing all the pre-departure materials for Goizueta and the host institution, obtaining a visa, and attending the mandatory send-off meeting we provide. Students must successfully go through this process themselves regardless of how demanding their regular course load, internship search, and extra-curricular activities are.

The period of preparing to go abroad is a vital part of the experience. This allows students to become familiar with the resources available to them, how to use them, and to become familiar with their host country’s culture and partner school's support staff.

If students cannot do this on their own, they will not be prepared to cope while abroad, and are not ready for a BBA exchange program.

The Role of Parents

Parents who contact Goizueta regarding routine study abroad information made available directly to students (housing, courses, budget, visa, airfare, traveling, etc.) will be asked to check with their student about all matters concerning their program which do not constitute an emergency (serious medical, safety or legal issues).  We welcome calls about unusual circumstances as well as situations in which a student has made an initial resolution attempt and then requested help. Students are always welcome to call, drop-in, or email us themselves, too.

Please encourage your student to take care of various issues like insurance and travel arrangements mostly on their own. It is most helpful to offer your assistance, but wait until asked to provide help. Students these days are usually capable of booking airline tickets, researching living costs and currency conversions, reading websites to learn visa application procedures, and taking care of phone calls to doctors and others on their own. It is imperative that the student fills out all the necessary forms him/herself because of legal issues and federal student privacy laws.

A helpful parent will suggest that the student:

  • Read and complete the pre-departure checklist

  • Purchase required international insurance coverage

  • Research on– and off-campus housing options

  • Arrange airfare

  • Check travel advisories and immunization/inoculation suggestions for their host country at http://travel.state.gov (This site also has tips specifically for women traveling alone and for study abroad students)

  • Fully utilize the resources provided, including contacting previous participants and current exchange students for details and first-hand information

  • Make paper and electronic copies of important information and documents, including passport, visa, airline tickets, credit cards, prescriptions, and insurance policies, to name a few.

With the health, safety, and best interest of our students in mind, it is imperative that only students with the proper preparation participate in our exchange programs. Therefore, we promote the students’ ability to manage routine matters.

In the event of an emergency, please contact:

Valerie Molyneaux, Director, BBA International Programs

Phone: (404) 727-4294

We welcome calls about unusual circumstances as well as situations in which a student has made an initial resolution attempt and then requested help. Students are always welcome to call, drop-in, or email us themselves, too.

Educate Yourself

The University of Minnesota has written a helpful article for parents discussing pre-departure preparation, things you can do while your student is abroad, and post-return help for your student. We also suggest exploring the travel, health, safety and country resource links on the BBA International Programs website for more information.  

Budget Help

Help your student construct their study abroad budget, remembering to account for their own personal lifestyle and habits. Remember that cost of living is different for different countries. Our Money Matters section under Study Abroad may be a helpful resource for this conversation.

Emotional Support and Encouragement

Students can be apprehensive about study abroad if parents and family members constantly remind the student how much “We’ll miss you!” Try to concentrate on the positive things, like how many new, exciting experiences the student will gain. Plus, this may be the perfect reason to take a vacation abroad!

Make sure your student knows that you want them to make most of the arrangements so that the entire process can be a learning experience.

The Planning Process

This page provides parents with an overview of what your student is doing to prepare for his/her study abroad experience. Remember, letting your student do this work themselves (with your help as requested) is important to ensure a positive learning experience, and provides adequate preparation for them to manage these issues while abroad.

Helicopter Parents

Parental over-involvement is a recognized issue in higher education, including study abroad, and can create uncomfortable or potentially detrimental situations for students.  

Parents who want to help might end up doing too much for their student.  Often, questions that should be handled by students are being asked by parents. This inhibits students' learning and autonomy, and does not allow students to learn how to rely upon themselves, which can create problems both now and especially later when the student is overseas.

Pre-Planning and Researching

Your student will attend a Study Abroad Info Session to get basic information about the opportunities and different program types. These presentations are offered each semester. Students can come into our office to talk in person about their study abroad plans.  

Choosing a Program and Location

With the help of one-on-one counseling, your student will decide where he/she will study as well as what kind of a program works best (exchange, summer program, etc.) based on his/her individual situation, academic and professional goals, major and personal interests.

Meeting with BBA International Programs

Your student will meet individually with the director of BBA International Programs discuss his/her plans and ask any questions they might have.  Students can make as many individual visits as they wish.

Preparing to Study Abroad

Additional in-person meetings with the BBA International Programs team and other students take place during this stage, including the Study Abroad Send-Off. This meeting includes help with budgeting, travel and safety information, cultural preparation, and guidance on several other topics.

Leaving and Studying Abroad!

All of your student’s hard work and planning (coupled with your encouragement and support) will finally pay off as your son/daughter embarks on the experience of a lifetime!

While They Are Away

Two common experiences of the world traveler include Culture Shock and Homesickness. Please read these descriptions to see how you might help your student cope with these issues.  

Culture Shock

Making a major transition in life requires some period of time for adjustment to the new circumstances. Even moving to a new city, changing schools or jobs - anything that alters a student's accustomed patterns of thought and behavior can cause some "transition shock," which can be mild or severe depending on the circumstances.

The term "culture shock" was coined to describe a specific type of reaction that can occur when people travel abroad or confront ways of life substantially different from their own. Culture shock is caused by the stress of entering and adjusting to an unfamiliar culture. It has been called an "occupational hazard" of travelers and is a well-documented side effect of encountering cultural difference. To some extent, the degree of culture shock experienced varies depending on how different the country is in contrast to your own, combined with the level of education that your student has gained about his/her host country and its culture. Of course, personal factors and your student's goals for traveling abroad will influence how quickly and appropriately they can "fit in" and, therefore, the level of culture shock they will feel.

Source: Adapted from http://www3.uop.edu/sis/culture/

Homesickness

Homesickness, it's universal. Psychologists call it "separation anxiety" and few people are immune. It is experienced by the kindergartner going off to school, as well as the business person starting a new job. Similarly, a student studying abroad may encounter homesickness to varying degrees during their study abroad experience. These are the steps that your student will usually go through to cope with homesickness. Recognize these steps and support your student throughout. The worst solution is to buy them a one-way ticket home!

To cope with homesickness, students will...

Admit that they have it. Much of what they know and can rely on is back home. Homesickness is a natural response to this sense of loss. Talk about it with an older sibling or friend who has gone away from home. It takes strength to accept the fact that something is bothering them and to confront it. Bring familiar items from home to their new location. Photos, plants, even stuffed animals help to give one a sense of continuity and ease the shock of a new environment. Gain familiarity with their new surroundings. Walk around. They will feel more in control if they know where buildings, classes, and services are. Invite people along to explore. Making friends is a big step to alleviating homesickness. Want to hear about life back home, so write them reports of your family's activities and new experiences. Let them know you'd like to hear from them, too. Plan a date to go home and make arrangements. This often helps curtail impulsive returns and keeps them focused on their goals in staying. Examine their expectations. We'd all like to be popular, well-dressed, well-organized, well-adjusted. Well, we're not. Setting a goal of perfection is the most predictable way of creating trouble for your student. They need to laugh at their mistakes. They're learning! Seek new opportunities. As scary as it is to see all those people, all those classes, all those buildings, all those choices, they will provide opportunities to meet people who like what your student likes. Encourage your student to take classes that they are interested in and to get involved in their favorite activity, or try new ones. Do something. Don't wait for it to go away by itself. Buried problems often emerge later disguised as headaches, fatigue, illness, or lack of motivation. Be cognizant of the health status of your student while he/she is abroad.

The BEST way to help your student overcome homesickness is to be encouraging!

How We Help

The BBA International Programs office is dedicated to helping students effectively prepare for their study abroad experience before departure, during their time overseas, and upon their return to Emory.

Before Departure

One-on-one advising, including personal, academic and career goals, and financial issues. Send-off support with a checklist of all of the things they need to do, advice from past students, contact lists of Goizueta and hosted exchange students, host school information including websites and program dates, health and safety materials. Informal meetings with students who have already studied at the same host university, exchange students from the host university who are currently at Goizueta, and the other Goizueta students who will study at the same host university (as applicable). Study Abroad Send-off: A discussion of safety/health, culture shock, practical travel information, administrative questions, credit and grade information, and securing pre-approval for their study abroad courses. The host university sends students information regarding their application procedure, course selection, any possible housing assistance, and contact information.

While Students Are Abroad

Orientation upon arrival at the host university, managed by the host university BBA International Programs maintains email communication to help ensure the proper and timely transfer of credit, and students abreast of what they need to do to register for the following semester's classes (when they're back at Emory). We are here if they have any questions or concerns. Mid-semester check-in with all students to see if there are any issues or problems with which they need assistance, and to send an electronic time capsule of the goals they set for themselves.

Post-program evaluation

Meet individually, at student request, to discuss courses, grades, and process study abroad credit.  Discuss their experiences abroad, as well as any concerns they had regarding safety/health, the onsite orientation, course registration, the teaching/grading styles, housing, traveling, transferring credit, reverse culture shock, and advice on how to use their study abroad experience to help with their resume and job interviews. They also provide feedback on how they think we can improve what we tell future students.