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Tips for Parents and Family

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Here are a few things you can do to help support your student studying abroad. It all starts with sitting down with your student and going over a few important items before he or she departs.


Arrange how you will communicate and how frequently (phone, email, text etc.)

  • Know the time difference between the US and your student’s destination. What is the long distance country code?
  • Keep in mind that if you haven’t heard from your student, he or she may be on a program-related excursion or traveling.
  • Encourage your student to maintain regular contact with Stanford and BOSP regarding academics and administrative issues abroad.
  • Discuss any plans to visit your student while abroad with your student first and keep the following in mind: important program dates, visa restrictions, as well local program field trips (which may be planned by our BOSP program center staff abroad only a month in advance).
  • Help your student think about what he or she wants to get out of the study abroad experience, as well as some of the challenges he or she might face.

Take Action: Come up with a communication plan.

Health and Safety

All students participating in BOSP programs are required to have health insurance.

  • If your student receives coverage through your health insurance provider or Cardinal Care (Stanford’s student health insurance plan), ensure that you are fully informed about what is and is not covered overseas.
  • Students must have international coverage for medical treatment, medical evacuation and repatriation of remains.

Take Action: View important information on our Health Insurance page and contact your own private insurance company to ensure your student has the required coverage.

Important Documents

Take Action: Keep a copy of your student’s airline itinerary, passport, I-20 and visa (if applicable), International Student I.D. Card (ISIC card), and credit card(s).


  • Talk with your student about budgeting funds before departure.
  • Familiarize yourself with the exchange rate and cost differential of the country in which your student will be living.
  • Consider establishing a power-of-attorney or other legal agreement in order to take care of financial arrangements at home while he or she is abroad.

Take Action: Help your student create a budget for studying abroad.


While we encourage you to be in contact with your student, please be aware that living abroad has its ups and downs. After leaving home, your student will be transitioning through a range of emotions that are similar to those he or she experienced when arriving at Stanford as a new student. It is important for parents to understand what their student is going through and to be patient and supportive as he or she adjusts to the new culture. Adjustment is not accomplished in just a few days; it is an on-going process. It is exactly these challenges that constitute a rewarding and memorable study abroad experience.

Take Action: Familiarize yourself with your student’s host country and cross-cultural resources such as our Tips and Tricks for Traveling so you can support your student with the transition to life abroad as well as returning home. Listen and ask questions; your student will want to talk a lot about their abroad experience!