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Dear Parent/Guardian of a Study Abroad Participant,
Congratulations to your student for deciding to study abroad, an experience that we hope will be fulfilling and transforming. And thank you for supporting your student through the planning, participation and return from their study abroad program.
The University of South Alabama strives to provide the knowledge, skills and tools for students to gain independence, and study abroad as an integral part of this personal and academic growth process. With this in mind, our office staff provides students support in the form of advice from coordinators with regional expertise; pre-departure orientation that all students are expected to attend; and referral to outside units such as the travel clinic, financial aid office, etc.
Once your student has gone abroad, he/she may experience the stress of adjusting to a new location, culture and possible foreign language. All students, regardless of maturity, disposition, previous experience abroad, or knowledge of the country in which they be living, experience some degree of culture shock. These reactions may be similar to the stages your student went through when they arrived at USA and are part of the normal development process. We encourage you to support your student through these stages and to utilize the same coping skills they use in any new situation that creates stress.
Student with Parents
Parents and families can play a key role in helping a student consider program options, prepare to and then participate in study abroad. Study abroad offers students a broader perspective on their studies and on themselves, preparing them for new opportunities and experiences. Returnees from programs tell us: “This was the best experience of my life,” “I have learned a lot about myself and have grown as a person,” and “You learn more by living there than you ever could in a classroom.”  
We are eager to work with you to provide your student with the most rewarding study abroad experience possible. If you have questions about this experience, we encourage you to communicate with your student so he/she is fully aware of your interest and concerns. If, after talking with your student and reading this site, you still have questions, please feel free to contact the Office of International Education.
Thanks again for your support, and best wishes for a great study abroad experience!  

Our first priority is always the health, safety, and security of USA students abroad. We provide extensive information and advice to all students in preparation for their period overseas and we work closely with program administrators abroad on a continuous basis to safeguard the health, safety, and security of participants. We stress to program participants that they must act responsibly in their daily choices and behaviors so as to minimize risks.  
In addition, we encourage you to discuss the topics of personal safety and behavior issues with your student, to keep in touch while he or she is abroad, and to be responsive to this office should we request information or advice concerning the student.  
Recommendations to Families  
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 by influencing their behavior overseas.  
When appropriate, parents/guardians/families should:  
1. Through their student participants, obtain and carefully evaluate health and safety information related to the program, as provided by the Office of International Education and other sources.  
2. Be involved in the decision of the participant to enroll in a particular program.  
3. Engage the participant in a thorough discussion of safety and behavior issues, insurance needs, and emergency procedures related to living abroad.  
4. Be responsive to requests from the Office of International Education for information regarding the participant.  
5. Keep in touch with the participant.  
6. Be aware that some information may most appropriately be provided by the participant rather than the program.  
Please review the Safety and Responsibility section of our Policies section and any links provided there and below for additional information.  

Studying abroad is an investment. Like any other type of investment, it requires planning, careful management, creativity, perseverance and commitment. The personal, academic and professional rewards will last a lifetime. The Office of International Education can help to fully realize the wide variety of scholarship, grant and loan opportunities from other sources to support study abroad.  
The Office of International Education cannot stress enough the importance of early planning. Scholarships are competitive and so the sooner a student begins the process, the stronger his or her application will be. Also, early planning is crucial for understanding financial aid opportunities and, of course, essential for saving additional funds that may be needed.  
Prices and Dates  
  • Please review our Policies section as well as consulting the program guide for prices and due dates. Also, refer to our First Steps section for a costs and fees summary.
How to Pay for Study Abroad  
  • There are numerous ways to help pay for a study abroad experience. Financial aid is available through various loans, grants, and scholarships and is applicable to program costs except in limited instances. Scholarships are available through the Office of International Education as well as other units. For a more detailed guide and explanation please visit our How to Apply section.

The Office of International Education encourages all students to consider making study abroad part of their degree program at the University of South Alabama. And we welcome students of different abilities who meet our eligibility requirements to participate in our programs.  
In an attempt to assist you with what may be a challenging transition from your life here in the United States, we:  
The Access Abroad Web site, developed by the University of Minnesota, also provides resources to assist students with disabilities who wish to study abroad.  
Disability: Making Study Abroad Happen For You
This essay, published by CIEE in pamphlet form through their Knowledge Series, is an overview of how students with disabilities can plan for their study abroad experience in an informed way.
In conjunction with the National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange and Mobility International, the Office of International Education will assist you in finding the appropriate program for you.  
While we cannot guarantee that any or all of our program sites can accommodate your needs or interests, we will do our best at informing you of your options abroad. If you would like to discuss any aspect of the study abroad experience, related to your abilities or otherwise, please contact the Study Abroad Coordinator.  

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Date last changed: October 23, 2012