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In today’s society, a global experience is an integral part of any student’s college education and an impressive resume builder for a future career. We believe a student's family plays an essential role in their pursuit of education abroad, from encouraging a student to apply to supporting them while they are abroad. We encourage you to let your student take primary responsibility for their education abroad experience by allowing them to ask questions, research program options, and ultimately decide which program is the best fit for them. We believe this process is an important first step in helping students develop the independence and confidence necessary to have a successful time while abroad.

Our Frequently Asked Questions, Health & Safety, Passports and Visas, and Pre-Departure resource pages offer a variety of information on important topics like program selection, academics, and international health insurance. We encourage you to take advantage of these resources, but if you have additional questions please do not hesitate to contact us at 910.962.3685.

Please be aware that the Office of International Programs adheres to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). We ask students for authorization to speak with family members as part of the application process, but if you have not been authorized, we must respect the student’s right to privacy and are very limited in the information we can share with you.

Culture Shock

Many students will experience some degree of culture shock during their time abroad. Culture shock is completely normal as your student adjusts to new surroundings, feelings of homesickness, cultural differences, and unfamiliar situations. Students often have intense initial reactions to their programs, and may call home shortly after arrival to express either extreme highs or lows. It is important to remember that as students get settled and become more comfortable these emotions will even out. The most important thing you can do is listen and be supportive as they adjust to their new surroundings.  


The process of readjustment to life at home can sometimes be more difficult than the adjustment to life in a foreign country. Students are generally prepared for life abroad to be considerably different, but may expect the return home to be effortless. This period of readjustment is referred to as reverse culture shock. Reverse culture shock varies from student to student and can take many forms, but often is a result of the personal, emotional and intellectual growth they have experienced. Students may return with new interests and hobbies or changed perspectives and attitudes toward the world. Most students return from being abroad, anxious and excited to share their experiences and stories with friends and family. Again, one of the most helpful things you can do as part of their support system is listen. Your continued encouragement and support is important as your student makes this return transition. 

Students can also be encouraged to find ways to incorporate their new interests and cross-cultural skills into their lives. Visit our Get Involved page for some of the opportunities available to returned students.