Tips for Each Stage of the Experience
Application and Preparation
We encourage you to explore the programs and resources on the Global Experiences website and talk to your student about the application steps. Throughout the preparation process, information may come to your student over time and from a variety of sources, including GEO staff, other UNL faculty and staff, and program coordinators in the U.S. and abroad. Please encourage your student to review all correspondence carefully, share it with you if they choose, and meet the deadlines set by program coordinators.
Read as much as possible about the country your student will visit, in order to gain some perspective about the experience. You may also want to talk to friends or colleagues who have been where your student is going.
Be sure you have a copy of your student's flight itinerary. You may want to track the flights using the airline website. Please keep in mind that students may not be able to call or email home immediately upon arrival as it may be inconvenient, complex, or difficult. In most cases, faculty or staff members assisting your student in the new location will help them contact home as soon as possible. With the rapidly expanding communication options, most students are able to stay in close contact with loved ones throughout the program. We encourage you and your student to research the most affordable and reliable ways to contact each other.
Once your student has gone abroad, they may experience the stress of adjusting to a new location, culture, and perhaps a new language. All students, regardless of maturity, personality, previous experience abroad, or knowledge of the host country, experience some degree of culture shock. Their reactions may be similar to the stages they went through when they arrived at UNL and are part of the normal development process.
It is common for students to call or e-mail home during moments of low morale, but not when they are busy and things are going well. We encourage you to support your student through these stages and to utilize the same coping skills they use in any new situation that creates stress. Encourage participants to allow time to become accustomed to the cultural differences. However, do take students' concerns seriously and be on the lookout for problems that may indicate that a participant is experiencing more than culture shock.
When students return to the U.S., they may feel alienated. Allow them to talk about their experiences and feelings upon their return to the U.S. Ask questions, and encourage them to share photographs. Give them the freedom to adjust at their own pace. Remember that they have changed and grown over the time they were abroad. Encourage your student to find ways to incorporate his/her new interests and cross-cultural skills into his/her life in the U.S.