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Families of Current Students

For Parents of Students Studying Abroad

Grand View recognizes the important role that parents, guardians, and spouses play in a student’s participation in an off-campus study program. Study in a new community can be exhilarating, challenging, and often has some of the most lasting impacts on a student's education both academically and personally. Browse the resources on this website to help support and encourage your student before, during, and after their experience. If you have additional questions about off-campus study programs, please contact Dr. Mark Daly at mdaly@grandview.edu.

A Parent Perspective

I just wanted to give a short testimony ***as a mother*** on my daughter’s college study abroad program, in her senior year of college.

Our family comes from a small town in Iowa.   I will have to admit the idea of my daughter going to Florence, Italy all by herself to live, and participate in a college curriculum was pretty scary for me.  My daughter, Stephanie, is a very grown up, and sensible young lady.  My only fears for her safety were from the unknown circumstances she would encounter in a foreign country.

The distance, and lack of immediate access getting to our “almost grown” children should something happen; is the most frightening part of this experience!

LDM’s program does lend a tremendous amount of security to a student wanting to have this great cultural experience.  We had several choices for living arrangements, so you can pick what makes you and your student feel more comfortable.  I was very worried about communicating with her; however we were offered different options for the students to acquire international calls, which of course we did. Just knowing she could call us in case of an emergency was a great comfort in itself. Skype was also great; we could visit with her while seeing first hand she was still physically fine!!   The school will organize several trips for weekend excursions that are supervised and very safe.  Students can choose to go separately or with friends.  The school is very helpful and I felt my daughter learned so much about foreign cultures. Stephanie has made some great, lifelong friends while in Italy.  They share a bond that is only between them all having had the same experiences of a lifetime together.

My daughter is now a world traveler!  She can navigate the metro train systems in several counties, get safely from foreign airport connections, transfer from bus to train, and back to plane yet again...  I was fortunate enough to witness this myself as she took me for a tour of Florence and guided me to Barcelona, Spain when I came to visit on her very last week there.

I would recommend this experience to anyone that has a college student with an unquenchable thirst to experience the world’s cultures. Your college student will come home so much wiser, and these experiences make  great impressions on future employers!

With all said and done.  I am sincerely glad that Stephanie did follow her dream and study abroad… 

Thank you,

Connie, A Grand View Parent

A Letter to Parents

Dear Parents,

Should your son or daughter study abroad if the opportunity presents itself?  My answer, ABSOLUTELY!  Both my wife and I studied abroad while we were in college…something she had always planned to do, while for me, I stumbled into it quite by accident.  The college we attended had a well-developed study abroad program that was very much a part of the campus culture.  I had never considered studying abroad before attending college, but as I began to hear the experiences of other students who traveled and participated in the abroad programs my interest increased.  My wife (then girlfriend) studied in Wales for a semester and traveled throughout much of Europe.  Following her European experience we studied together for a term in Mexico. During this time we were able to experience a new culture and interact with individuals from local communities.  In a word, our study abroad experiences were TRANSFORMATIONAL!

Years later, our oldest son approached us during his sophomore year of college and asked us if he could study abroad in Wales during his junior year. Our answer…ABSOLUTELY!  As a parent, the highlight of our son’s study abroad experience was the opportunity to travel to Wales at the end of his term and spend time travelling as a family. We invited our son to plan out the itinerary and show us the highlights of his travels and experiences.  He arranged all of our transportation, booked the majority of our accommodations, and shared with us his favorite sites. What we saw during this experience was how our son matured as a young man.  He gained deep respect for different cultures and people as well as new ways of seeing and understanding life from a different perspective. He developed confidence and growth that comes from the challenges of navigating life and travel on your own.

If I had to answer why I say yes to study abroad, here would be my top reasons:

  • Gain new understandings of yourself and others by stepping outside of your routine environment.
  • Stretched to clarify your own values and see the needs of the larger world around you.
  • Increase your ability to live in another culture for an extended period of time, unlike a short-term vacation, which allows you the opportunity to become part of that culture and to develop meaningful relationships with the people of the country.
  • Gain a greater appreciation of difference as well as grow in appreciation of the things you can take for granted back home.
  • Grow and mature as a person in significant ways that just can’t happen, but for the experience of studying abroad.
  • Gain firsthand experience in handling and budgeting your money, a skill that can easily translate into becoming a well-rounded adult.


Kent S., Grand View Staff

Value of Studying Abroad

Globalization in Today's Domestic Workforce
Students who participate in off-campus study programs develop marketable career skills beneficial to future job searches or graduate school applications, and are far better prepared for the demands of the twenty-first century than students who do not study off-campus. Participation in a study abroad or study away program can be a defining element to every student’s degree and invaluable to your student’s career aspirations. Off-campus study experiences enhance career preparation by teaching cross-cultural and workplace skills critical for students as they connect and work with people around the world. Key job skills of value to today’s employers include adaptability, international awareness, leadership, and independence. These are competencies directly fostered by learning and living in another culture. Employers realize the extraordinary benefits of off-campus study programs and desire graduates with these experiences. The Office of International Studies offers a variety of internationally (study abroad) and domestically based (study away) off-campus study programs that engage students in opportunities to enhance their learning beyond the classroom and gain cross-cultural competencies.

Studying abroad offers some very clear benefits for graduates:

  • 84% felt that studying abroad helped them build valuable skills such as foreign language skills, cultural training, tolerance for ambiguity, adaptability, communication, and more
  • 50% felt the overseas experience helped them get their first jobs
  • 90% got into their first or second choice of graduate or professional school (IES Abroad)
  • Study abroad is linked to retention and on-time graduation

Self - Sufficiency
Living in another culture deepens intellectual and personal maturity, fosters independent thinking, builds self-confidence, and shifts global perspectives. During participation in a study abroad or study away program, students will encounter challenges that provide opportunities for increasing self-sufficiency and independence. As students successfully navigate challenging situations, they will learn how to adapt and make decisions quickly. Daily experiences may challenge your student’s long-held beliefs as they discover many surprising differences and similarities between their native culture and that of the new community. These experiences provide an invaluable education as students gain a deeper understanding of themselves, the culture in which they are living, and the diversity of lifestyles and beliefs in the world. Participation in an off-campus program will be a time of challenge, growth, independence, and adventure, both academically and personally, that your student will remember for a lifetime.

Communicating With and Visiting Your Student

Upon your student’s arrival to their off-campus program site, do not be concerned if you do not hear from them immediately. Access to phone and e-mail is not as easily accessible as it is in the United States. Once your student is settled into their new environment, establish a plan for communication. Regular phone or e-mail contact provides an opportunity for parents and students to catch up and share experiences as well as offer support and re-assurance. Daily communication is not recommended; students need to separate themselves from their home support networks and engage in the local culture.

Keep in mind students often call or email home during moments of low morale, rather than when they are busy and things are going well. These reactions are part of the normal process of studying abroad. It is important for parents to understand what their child is going through and to be patient and supportive as their student adjusts to the new culture.

Calling Home
United States mobile phones do not usually work overseas. If you plan to use your phone to communicate, contact your long distance company and inquire if they offer special services or offers if you identify one country as a frequently called one. Depending on the country and your student’s budget, purchasing or renting a cell phone abroad may be an option. Another option is to purchase a calling card with reduced rates for the country in which your student is visiting. Many telephone companies in the United States offer international calling cards and pre-paid international phone cards.

Skype is a free, downloadable software application that allows users to communicate through video or voice calls over the Internet. Skype users can add money to their account in order to call landlines or cell phones internationally at very low rates. Users need either a web-enabled video camera or microphone for their computers. To download the application or for additional information, visit www.skype.com.

Visiting Your Student
Work with your student before his/her departure if you plan on traveling to see your son or daughter. Arrange your visit to coincide with their vacation schedule or after the program has ended. It is highly recommended that you do not visit your student during the last week of their program since they will be in the process of saying goodbye and busy with final program activities. Keep in mind holidays and vacation times may differ between the United States and your student’s host community.

Stages of Study Abroad

To learn more about the stages of studying abroad, supporting your student and additional resources please click HERE.

Money Matters

To learn about financing your student's trip and monetary matters please click HERE.