While They're Away
Students might experience difficulties or frustrations within their first few weeks abroad. Things that used to be routine might take much more effort in a foreign country. If your son/daughter calls or writes to you about these difficulties, you should keep in mind that you’re not expected to solve the problems; they just need to vent. Don’t get troubled if all you hear is complaints and frustrations. Your child is also undoubtedly having many fantastic experiences as well. As time goes on the frustration will go away as your child gets used to the flow of life in their host country.
Even if you’re regularly in contact via phone or internet, you should consider sending mail. Students appreciate letters and postcards and they especially love care packages from home. This can go both ways too, ask your son/daughter to send you postcards!
It’s nice to be able to have some sort of visual of your son/daughter’s living arrangement. Ask them to send you pictures or a video of where they’re living so you can better picture their living space. Ask them to describe their daily routine to you or about their favorite shops, restaurants, or hang out spots.
Homesickness happens to everyone. It happens to kids going to summer camp or someone starting a new job. Obviously, a student studying abroad might encounter homesickness to one degree or another while away. Below is a chart that shows what your student might go through while abroad. You need to recognize what your child might be going through and do your best to understand and help them through it with encouragement. The worst thing you could do is get them a ticket home!