UC International ProgramsUniversity of Cincinnati

UC International Programs

Education Abroad Information for Parents

The Benefits of Study Abroad

Study abroad is one of the best ways students can develop: great independence, maturity, and self-confidence; the flexibility to adapt quickly and creatively to unexpected developments and changing circumstances; and the ability to interact effectively with people from a wide variety of cultural backgrounds. More and more, in our increasingly global economy, leaders in business, government, and academia are recognizing the importance of U.S. students gaining international experience, and becoming globally competent citizens and employees. Study abroad is not only fun and exciting --- it is an excellent investment, both short-term and long-term, in your child's future.

How Can You Help?


Keenen Maull, Service Learning, Guatemala

Perhaps one of the hardest things for parents to do is step back and let their son/daughter take responsibility for the complex task of preparing for the study abroad experience. For many reasons, it is important for you to step aside and let your child take responsibilty for planning the experience. You should be available and ready to lend your child help, advice, and support, but it is critically important that you let them take primary responsibility for planning the experience.

Know Before You Go: A Key Resource

UC International Programs provides a Know Before You Go packet as well as a frequently asked questions page on our Web site. We urge students and parents to carefully read all of the information provided. Try reading these materials before you call the international office with questions: many of your questions may be answered in the materials prepared by them. If you still have questions after reading through the materials provided, the advisors are happy to answer them for you.

Managing Expectations: Before

What can parents reasonably expect from a good education abroad program?

  • Well-organized mechanics and smooth coordination between the host institution and the providers.
  • A timely and courteous response to questions when things go wrong, or when there are unexpected delays in the process.
  • Effective and timely communications between students, parents, home and host institutions, and/or third-party providers.

What are some "unreasonable" expectations?

  • That students can walk into a study abroad office and be quickly told what an "ideal" experience will be. The process of selection is a complicated and highly individualized one. Advisors can help guide students in this process, but they cannot offer a "one-size-fits-all" solution to the question of where to go or what to do.
  • An absolute guarantee of your child's safety while abroad.
  • That the accommodations, meal plans, etc. will be similar to those on a package tour, or even the home campus. In many places accommodations will be very simple, and not similar to home. Isn't that part of the idea?
  • Instant response to routine, non-emergency questions from program advisors or providers, even after business hours and on weekends.