1. What is your role as a parent?
As your student prepares to participate in an education abroad program, it may be helpful for you to assist in keeping important information organized and accessible. Some questions for your consideration during this process:
a. Do you and your student understand the international travel medical/evacuation insurance policy and how to make a claim? Consider visiting the HTH website to collect names of English-speaking physicians in the city or town where the program is located, learn how to file a claim, find translations of medicine names, etc.
b. Has your student registered his/her time abroad through the U.S. State Department Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) website? This is a free service provided by the U.S. Government to U.S. citizens who are traveling or living in a foreign country which enables them to be quickly contacted in the event of an emergency.
c. Does one person in the family have a valid passport in the case of an emergency occurring abroad? We recommend that students have photocopies of the ID page of their passport with them when they travel (kept separate from their passport) and leave a copy at home with their family. This accelerates the processing of a new passport in the event that their original passport is lost or stolen.
d. Does your student require any special accommodations due to a physical, medical, behavioral, or learning conditions or disabilities? Make sure that your son or daughter has communicated these needs to her or his Education Abroad Advisor, as well as to the program director or host institution. Students should list any and all conditions or disabilities, including prior conditions that may resurface while abroad, on their Self-Disclosure Form, which is part of the online application process. Most accommodation requests can be met overseas, but advance notice and preparation are important.
e. Has your student been prescribed medication that must be taken on a regular basis? Students should never take any medication out of its original container when traveling and should always carry a copy of the prescription for any medication. Please check HTH for local laws restricting the import of particular medication.
f. Has your student visited the UK Travel Clinic? We recommend that all students visit the UK Travel Clinic to be certain that they are up-to-date on all necessary vaccinations for their host country. Some countries require proof of certain vaccinations in order to enter the country.
2. What is FERPA?
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. Â§ 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funding under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education. University of Kentucky is limited in the information we may provide to persons other than the student, including parents. For details on the FERPA at the University of Kentucky please visit the Registrar's website. As part of the application process, students have the opportunity to sign a consent form allowing Education Abroad at UK to discuss details of the education abroad program to those explicitly named on this form. If your student has signed the FERPA consent waiver and listed you as an Education Abroad Emergency Contact we will be allowed to disclose non-directory information to you in situations of health or safety emergencies. If your student signed the FERPA consent waiver and listed you as an Education Abroad Financial Contact, we may discuss financial information with you. If your student does not sign the FERPA waiver consent form, Education Abroad at UK may still contact you should a significant health or safety emergency arise. The decision to contact parents in such emergency situations will be as determined by Education Abroad at UK administration
3. What kind of support does Education Abroad at UK provide for my student?
Preparing for and participating on an Education Abroad program can be at once exciting and overwhelming, so we provide educational support to students in all stages of preparation. However, we also require that students take an active role in preparing for their experience abroad and expect them to partner with our office in facilitating their participation on a program.
Our education abroad advisors are available to meet with students before they apply to a program to help students to identify programs that fit with their academic and personal goals, and to learn more program-specific information. Additionally, students are encouraged to meet with EAPAs (returned education abroad students) to explore program options and to think about how to make the most out of their experiences abroad.
All students are required to attend a mandatory pre-departure orientation program, where professional Education Abroad advisors provide information about UK policies, academics at their host institution/program, program costs/billing, health, safety and security, cultural differences and culture shock, and conversations with past participants.
Education Abroad at UK continues to communicate with students during their education abroad program. We send a series of emails to stay in touch and remind students of UK policies. Additionally, we are in active communication with on-site staff at all of our programs.
Once your student completes his/her program, we work closely with faculty at UK to facilitate the course equivalencies process and to update your student's UK transcript with the courses they received abroad.
4. How can I learn more about the program that my student has chosen?
We encourage you to explore this site for more information about our programs. Each program has a program page that provides more information about the programs. You can find the program pages by searching the program database. Many programs work with a host institution or program provider; you can find more information on the host programs by selecting the "homepage" link found on each program page.
5. Why does my student seem different now that he or she has returned?
Most families will notice a change when the student returns home from an education abroad experience. They have just returned from a unique, rewarding, and challenging time that has changed them in ways they may not realize until they return to the US. Be patient during the first few days as they adapt to jet lag, climate, food and even language differences. They may have left friends and host families behind that they miss terribly, and although they are glad to see their own families, it can be a shock to their system. This is commonly called "reverse culture shock," and for some students, especially those who have spent a significant amount of time in developing countries, reverse culture shock may be more pronounced than the initial culture shock in their host country. Education Abroad at UK has resources for students who are experiencing reverse culture shock, and we have found that one of the best ways for a student to integrate his or her new worldview with the home culture is to get involved on campus. One option is to apply to serve as an Education Abroad Peer Ambassador (EAPA), which allows students to share their experience with other students and faculty on campus. We also offer other opportunities, photo contests, and social events to connect returned students with others like them who are re-adjusting to life in the US. These opportunities will be discussed in greater detail during the Re-Entry Sessions.