Publication Date

1999

Abstract

Many universities in the United States involve parents in their child's college career. Parents are encouraged to attend college preview days where the school puts a great deal of effort into ensuring that questions about the college experience are answered. Parents are encouraged to join parent clubs where they join together to express support for their child in college and become involved in the issues facing their child's campus. T-shirts and sweatshirts proclaim xyz university "Mom" or so-and-so college "Dad". Many parents bring their child to college to help him or her move into dormitory rooms or apartments. Many parents also assist in completing financial aid applications and even applications to colleges. When a student moves into the dormitories, or into an apartment at school, many parents are there to help. They tour the dormitory or check out the neighborhood in order to get a better sense of where their child will be living for the next 10 months. In the case of the residence halls, no one stands at the door to say to the parent, "You can only get a look inside if your child wishes." In sum, colleges and universities actively inform and involve parents in the process of preparing students. Studying overseas, I would argue, holds as significant a place in the child's academic career as that first day of moving to college. The parents' participation in preparing for this life-changing activity, though, is less defined than it is when the child is preparing for college. It has been difficult to determine to what extent parents do participate in preparation for a study abroad experience. Most frequently, parents call study abroad advisors when they are confused about some aspect of study abroad, i.e. program payment, transfer of credits, housing, etc.

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