Resources for Families
So, your student has decided to study abroad.
Congratulations! This is an experience that we hope will be fulfilling and transforming. And, thank you for supporting your student through the planning, participation, and return from their study abroad program. We strive to serve as a resource for families like you, providing the information and support you need to help your child as he or she prepares to study abroad. We are eager to work with you to provide your student with the most rewarding study abroad experience possible.
We encourage you to communicate with your student so he or she is fully aware of your interest and concerns. You also may contact the International Center at (413) 748-3215.
What to Do Before Your Student’s Trip
Emphasize the importance of planning ahead. Students need to schedule time with various groups on campus, such as their advisor, the Office of the Registrar, coaches, financial aid officers, or others.
Explore the options.
Discuss the options with your student to determine how well individual programs, services, and environments fit your student's academic needs, personal goals, linguistic preparation, interests, and expectations.
Do your research.
Look into the area where your student is considering study. Learn more about local conditions and travel precautions through the Bureau of Consular Affairs and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And, if you have questions, don’t hesitate to ask us.
Consider the pros and cons.
Chat with your student about the likely advantages and disadvantages of studying abroad in a particular program or destination.
Ask your student if he/she meets all of the eligibility requirements, including any prerequisites for courses abroad, academic performance, and behavioral expectations.
Understand the costs, financial assistance, and scholarships.
Review the program costs and what they cover, anticipated personal expenses, and the availability and process for financial assistance.
Encourage your student’s attendance at orientation.
Remind your student of the importance of his or her participation in the pre-departure orientation program offered by the International Center at Springfield College.
Once your student has selected a specific site, it’s important to be sure that you receive, review, and understand the following information about your student's program.
- Program Structure: type, location, duration, size, facilities, and staffing
- Academic Credit: how it’s earned, courses available, how it’s applied toward a degree
- Living Arrangements: home-stay, residence, independent living
- Orientation: pre-departure program on campus and upon arrival in country
- Safety and Responsibility: security measures, precautions, local conditions, contingency plans, and emergency procedures
- Health and Wellness Resources: recommended precautions and required immunizations, local medical care, program services, and referrals
- Support Services: academic, social, emotional, health and wellness, and special needs
- Cost: program fee, what the fee covers, and how to pay
- Travel Arrangements: how to make them and important program dates
What to Do While Your Study is Abroad
- Maintain communication with reasonable frequency but not on a daily basis.
- Keep the program calendar in mind. If you haven't heard from your student, it may be because he/she is on a program excursion or traveling during a break.
- Stay in touch with the program sponsor concerning security precautions and conditions abroad.
- Monitor online information and advisories from the Bureau of Consular Affairs.
- Respond to mail from Springfield College.
- Contact the International Center should you or your student need assistance with any aspect of the program abroad or matters on campus.
- Keep a journal of events and celebrations that occur during the semester or year to share with your student when he or she returns home.
- Consider a visit during the program break, when classes are not in session. It’s helpful to give your child time to adjust in their new routine.
What to Do When Your Student Returns
- Expect your son or daughter to have a period of transition upon return, sometimes as long as the period he or she was abroad.
- Continue your enthusiasm for your son or daughter's experience in the months after he or she returns home. Show interest in the photos, stories, and memories to help keep the experience, the reflection, and the learning alive.
- Encourage your son or daughter to volunteer to be a resource for future study-abroad students.