The Office of International Engagement (OIE) is dedicated to assisting your student in making their study abroad experience a success.
For this reason, we make every effort to provide your student with academic, financial, and cultural information on study abroad programs organized by Illinois State or through our affiliate partners. We recommend every student meet with a Study Abroad Advisor before they apply. Students may be required to meet with an advisor upon their acceptance to study abroad and must complete a mandatory Pre-Departure Orientation before they begin their program.
It is important for you, as a caregiver, to understand the steps students must follow on their path to learning abroad. Please visit our Health and Safety page for more information about our processes, a link to our Pre-Departure Guide, as well as tips on how to assist your student in making their international experience a success.
OIE is student-centered. We purposefully strive to communicate with and send all correspondence directly to our students. As it’s ultimately your student who will be abroad, we aim for your student to take the lead in their own experience. We believe the application and pre-departure process is a key part of preparing them for their time abroad and hope that you support and motivate them as they get ready to leave the country.
While we are pleased to talk with parents and family members to answer questions, in many cases we cannot share information out of compliance for FERPA student privacy regulations.
When you do have questions, please funnel them through your student, having him/her serve as the family representative. Many times, the student already has this information and will be able to answer your questions.
Meeting with an Advisor allows your student to receive one-on-one guidance with navigating the Study Abroad website, reading a program budget, understanding the requirements for program, and any other steps necessary for the program they choose.
Once a student has met with an Advisor, we encourage them to schedule follow-up meetings for more in-depth discussions. As always, your student is more than welcome to call or email their Advisor with any questions they may have along the way.
In this era of modern communication, staying in contact is easy when using email, smartphones, and social network applications. While relying on the internet to utilize these tools in our daily life is normal, unfortunately, internet is not always as reliable in other parts of the world. Make sure you have a plan and discuss what and how much communication is expected between you and your student while they are abroad. For example, some students organize a schedule to video chat every Sunday evening.
Keep in mind that while staying in touch with your student while they are abroad is important, it is also important to encourage them to step out of their comfort zone and fully immerse themselves in their study and life abroad. Too much communication can sometimes hinder the student experience because it is almost like the student never left.
Study abroad and the experiences students have abroad allow them to grow and develop wonderful character traits and skills. These traits and skills develop most when students are fully immersed and focused on their study abroad. Discussing a 'communication plan' with your student will allow your family to determine the communication expectations for everyone
For more information on technology and communication abroad, see our Travel Preparation section.