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Communicating with Your Student

Global Temple Conference

Arrival day

Parents/guardians are often concerned when they do not hear from their student immediately after arrival. Your concern is natural, but in most cases, students are not able to make international phone calls from the airport. No word is usually an indication that your son or daughter has been caught up in the excitement of being in a new country. Students participating in a Temple program are encouraged to contact their parents (via email, collect call, or international phone card) within 48 hours of arrival. Please be assured that the on-site program staff or the Education Abroad office will always notify parents if there is a serious problem.

Cultural adjustment

After the excitement and adrenalin of the first few weeks settle, many students experience a temporary period of difficult adjustment. You should not be overly concerned by this initial wave of negativity or unhappiness, as almost all students experience some form of culture shock during (and sometimes even after) an abroad experience.

During this time, we ask family members and friends to offer support and reassurance, and not to fuel your student’s fear and frustration. Fortunately, most students adapt quite successfully, become more independent, learn a great deal about themselves and another culture, and thrive like never before. Of course, if your student’s experience is concerning or prolonged, please contact Education Abroad.

Calling home

With the widespread availability of cell phones internationally, connecting with home while abroad is easier than ever. Our general recommendation is for students to obtain a mobile phone with a local number once they are in-country; this is often facilitated during on-site orientation.

For regular communication with your student, we recommend establishing a plan for weekly phone or email contact. Daily communication, however, often delays the adjustment process and serves as a daily reminder of what they are “missing” back home.

Skype, Viber, and Whatspp are popular methods of staying in touch, but students can also purchase pre-paid calling cards once they are in country.

Resolving problems abroad

Should your student encounter problems while abroad, we recommend that their first course of action should be to consult with the program director on site, who is usually in the best position to help a student resolve any issues. Occasionally, students first contact their family but do not speak to someone on site. Parents/guardians then contact Education Abroad in Philadelphia, who then contact the staff overseas. This extra step delays resolution of the problem, so encourage your student to speak with the program director should any issues arise.

Information your student should leave with you

Below you will find the information that students should leave with their parents or a family member before departure.

  • The name, address and phone number of Education Abroad in Philadelphia. 
  • The address and contact information for their overseas program, as well as their phone number in housing. Note that mail for students studying at Temple Rome or Japan should be sent directly to the school.
  • Copies of important documents:
    • Bank account and credit card information
    • Traveler’s checks
    • Passport, visa
    • HTH Health Insurance ID card