Diversity and Identity
Students with Families
Studying abroad with your family (spouse, partner, and/or children) may be an overwhelming proposition. However, with careful preparation before you leave, an experience abroad can be well worth your efforts.
Things to Consider
Advanced planning is critical to success!
- Short-term faculty-led programs: Short-term programs have a duration of one to eight weeks, with many taking place during scheduled breaks in the academic calendar (eg. summer term, Spring break). The short duration of these programs may make it easier for students with families to arrange to travel independently, should they want to do so.
- Is your family as interested as you are in going abroad?: Do your family members have interest in living abroad? How comfortable are they in having to navigate daily situations without you? Do they have the cultural knowledge, experience, and language skills necessary to navigate on their own? Are they independent enough to handle situations while you are in class, on program excursions, etc.?
- Coordinating affairs back home while abroad: Do you have a plan for your house or apartment? Car? Will you be able to come back to your apartment/house,car, or job when you return?
- Housing while abroad: What housing is offered to you through your chosen study abroad program? Will that housing option accommodate family members? Will your program allow you to stay in housing with your family instead of the housing provided by the program?
- Involvement in your Education Abroad program: How structured is your Education Abroad program? Are there required excursions? Keep in mind that some programs are not arranged to accommodate non-program participants on any program activities.
- Childcare while abroad: How will you arrange childcare, if needed? If going to a non-English speaking country, do you have the language skills necessary to set up childcare and converse with the care provider on topics that relate to your children? Is childcare routinely offered in the country of destination? How much will childcare cost? Will you have to go overseas first to find childcare and then your child/children come later?
- Education for your children while abroad: If your child is school-aged, what will you do about your child’s education while abroad? Can your child attend a local school? Does your child have the language skills to successfully attend a local school? Is there a cost for attending a local school? What is the registration process for your child to be enrolled in school? If your child will not be able to attend a local school, have you considered an international school?
- Visa regulations for host country: What are the visa regulations for the host country? Will it be possible to get visas for your family members? What is the process for this? Are all family members’ passports up to date?
- Accurate budgeting for the family:Compiling a list of estimated costs will prepare you for what is to be expected abroad.
Single Parent Considerations
- Cultural attitudes towards single parents in your host country. Depending on the country, there may be different cultural attitudes toward single parenting. Are you comfortable navigating cultural attitudes that might not be as accepting as in the U.S.?
- Childcare and schooling in host country. If you are not going with another adult who can provide childcare to your children, have you investigated childcare options? Is childcare offered at school? Via the local government? Will it be necessary for your child’s parent to provide a release allowing you to take your child overseas?
Before you go…
- Have you researched your childcare options in your host country?
- Have you researched education options for your child while abroad?
- Have you researched the visa and passport documentation process for your host country? Do you know what documentation is required by the host country for all your family members?
- Do you have international health insurance for your family while they are abroad with you?
- Do you and your family have the correct immunizations for your host country?
- Have you coordinated all the flights for you and your family members?
**Please keep in mind that many of the resources that are available to a student while abroad do not apply to your family. It is important to know what is provided and what is not so that you can prepare accordingly for your family.
**Studying abroad with your family will cost more than just studying abroad on your own. It is important to know what costs to expect and to budget accordingly leading up to your study abroad.
Resource Center for Students with Children This office at PSU may be available to help plan what to expect, suggest scholarships, etc.
RCSC Childcare Subsidy Program: 10-50% off their childcare costs, could POTENTIALLY apply to study abroad students.
Mawista--Studying Abroad with a Child Scholarships listed are for students going to Germany, but brings up good points on how to prepare.
Study Abroad in Australia With Children. Giving up from your dream of studying abroad because you have a child has to be just an excuse, so this guide is by far the most comprehensive for parents who are looking to study abroad in Australia.