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Congratulations – your student is among the elite! Only about 1% of students in US higher education will study abroad as part of their university or college experience.

We are very proud to report that one in four 'Noles study abroad and our students understand the importance of expanding the learning opportunities beyond our borders and becoming globally competent citizens. They have life-changing experiences that are intellectually rigorous, personally challenging, culturally enriching and intensely fun! We know you have raised an independent, open minded student, but you may still be anxious. We strive to provide students with the information and assistance they need to succeed and to strike the ideal balance between supporting students and letting them overcome challenges on their own. We encourage you to do the same – be informed and supportive but not too involved.

Our well-trained staff and faculty, outstanding facilities, thorough orientation programs and extensive emergency plans are worthy of the confidence you’ve placed in us. Learn more about your student’s program by exploring the other tabs on this page.

Responsible Decision Making
We encourage you to discuss responsible decision-making with your student before departure. On occasion, students who are otherwise extremely responsible take uncharacteristically dangerous risks and make poor choices. In many cases, the consequences while abroad are much greater than in the United States. Violations of the Florida State University Student Code of Conduct or other rules and regulations of the program will result in judicial proceedings for which there are sanctions, up to and including expulsion from the program/university. In most countries, the legal drinking age is 18, so the study abroad experience is the first time many students can legally possess or consume alcohol. The majority of students who choose to consume alcohol do so responsibly, but it’s probably not a great surprise that most judicial or legal issues involve excessive alcohol consumption.

Communication
Students typically stay very ‘connected’ while they are abroad. Most of our programs provide internet access, though some have varying levels of access, depending on the location, facilities and nature of the program.

Many students purchase a ‘pay as you go’ cell phone or SIM card once they arrive in country. Others use smartphones or computer devices to communicate via Skype, FaceTime, or apps such as Viber. We encourage you to discuss your method(s) of communication, how often you expect to be in touch, and what you both should do in case of emergency. If you are unable to reach your student in the case of an emergency, please do not hesitate to contact the program director (whose number is included in the site-specific pre-departure pack), our office (850-644-3272), or the FSU Police Department (850-644-1234).

Culture Shock/Homesickness
Most students experience some degree of culture shock while participating on a study abroad program. Ironically, the discomfort that accompanies living in a place that has different values, expectations, standards, practices and in some cases, language, is often rooted in the cultural differences that the student is seeking when studying abroad!

Very often, within a day or two, routine problems resolve themselves or students find a solution and move on. Give your student some time to sort things out, and encourage them to find solutions. Check back with them in a day or two, and you’ll usually find that a problem that seemed insurmountable on Monday ceased to exist by Wednesday! However, for more serious issues, please encourage your student to deal directly with the resident assistant or program leader first rather than involving parents and staff who are thousands of miles away. Resolving problems independently usually yields even greater confidence and more independence. However, should a rare case or emergency arise, please feel free to contact the program director or our office.

Privacy
As a US university that receives Federal funding, we follow the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Your student has the right to authorize us to discuss some or all aspects of his/her program with you (e.g. finances, grades, judicial, etc.). The program application gives the student the opportunity to select an option allowing us to discuss financial aspects with parents/guardians. The student may also complete the Release of Information form, which allows us to discuss even more program-related issues.

Visiting Your Student
Family members often wish to visit students before, during or after their program. We are always happy to meet family members, and we’re pleased to help facilitate a successful visit. In fact, our study centers provide listings of local hotels and hostels: Florence, London, Panama City, and Valencia. Overnight guests are not allowed in program housing. If you visit during the program, please remember the program is an academic one, and your student’s course requirements should still be their priority.

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