Pre-Departure Tips for Parents & Families

What positive steps can parents and families take in advance to help their students prepare for a study away program? GEO offers a brief list of important things you can do now to help.

Be fully informed

Ask your student for as much information as possible about the program, and be sure to familiarize yourself with the policies outlined in the Study Away Student Handbook. Everyone involved should be well informed ahead of time about the financial and academic commitments required, and the possible consequences of not fulfilling them. 


Talk about health and safety

The Health, Safety, and Security Section of the Study Away Handbook covers a number of important issues that you should discuss frankly with your son or daughter before departure. We encourage you to read it carefully and contact our office if you have questions.


Get important documents in order

All study abroad participants will need a valid passport, and some may need study visas. Be sure to read carefully any program literature regarding student visa requirements. If your student is attending a Duke-approved (not a Duke-administered) program, please direct all visa-related questions directly to the program. Families/guardians should have current passports so that, if the need arose, you could travel to the program site on short notice. You should also keep copies of your student's important documents (passport, ID, tickets, credit cards, etc.) for safekeeping.


Have a plan for communication

Make sure you have a good understanding of how to reach students at the program site and when they are traveling on their own, and that you have clear expectations about how closely they will be in touch with you.

Ask your student to provide you with the contact information for the local, on-site program staff for their program.

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