There are plenty of things to prepare for parents of students, and the students themselves, who are planning to travel abroad. These are essential preparations that should be made in the months before planned travel or stay outside the United States. If you are a concerned parent, or a student about to travel, check out the list below to make sure you don’t forget anything.
A Great Adventure, But Where To Start
You and your child have been dreaming of this and now it’s finally going to happen. Whether it’s a foreign exchange program, graduation gift, or a big step on the way to becoming an independent adult, a trip to a foreign country can be an exciting but nerve-wracking proposition for you both.
Even after the questions of finances, transportation, housing, supervision, and itinerary have been settled, the remaining questions seem unending. Which legal paperwork will need to be completed? What if they need medical care while away from home? Is there health insurance for students going abroad? What vaccines will they need, and how far ahead will they need to start getting them? What about passports and legal paperwork for minors travelling alone?
All the preparations can seem overwhelming in addition to the worry about letting your loved one not only out of your sight, but also clear out of your immediate reach. With proper planning, and taking it one step at a time the process will be easier and help shift your outlook from apprehension to anticipation.
On Their Own Or As A Group
If you are part of a formal school or sponsored organization’s student exchange program, like the International Student Exchange, you will find a wealth of information and experienced people who can help you. Reach out to your local exchange student representatives for help with paperwork and requirements for your particular destination country.
Maybe you’ve decided to send your unaccompanied minor to visit friends or relatives outside the country. It can be much easier if they are above the age of 16. You will still need certain legal documents, though. Whether accompanied or unaccompanied, a minor will need to have a passport for traveling outside the country and for re-entry into the United States. They may also need a notarized letter of permission from the parents. The Department Of Transportation is an excellent resource for information needed.
Plan Well Ahead For Vaccines
Depending on the foreign country destination, you may need to have additional vaccines for your student. And since you could possibly, in an emergency situation, need to make a trip to the same place, you may want to have your own set of shots as well. The vaccinations are often a series that need to be done several weeks or months apart so planning ahead is vitally important. The Center For Disease Control will be able to tell you what will be needed for your particular destinations.
Medical Emergencies and Information
You don’t want to think of your child becoming ill while so far from home, but there is always a chance they will need to have medical care. Check with your health insurance representative to see if your current policy will cover your student, and if they don’t, there are many health insurance options for students travelling to foreign countries.
In case of medical emergencies, it’s a good idea to provide your child with a written list of phone numbers and names of their regular health care providers along with copies of any ongoing prescriptions they may be taking.
You Are All On Your Way To A Great Adventure
By taking your time and starting preparations well in advance of the travel date, you will make it more likely that you don’t miss important steps and will help keep the stress levels to a more manageable level. Making lists, doing your research, and keeping the information in an app on your smartphone or a notebook will help ensure you don’t have to redo tasks already completed. Following a step-by-step plan will keep your focus on the excitement of the adventure ahead, and allow you and your child to experience the anticipation together.