The Parents' Role in Study Abroad
Parent engagement is an important aspect of a student's abroad experience. Our philosophy and mission revolves around the idea that this experience is transformational for students. According to our research findings, students experience increased self-esteem, global awareness and greater insight to their future aspirations as a result of our programs among other benefits. To this end, our office empowers students to make their own choices and to be responsible for their decisions and actions throughout the entire study abroad process. This includes working directly with students during the application process through until they return to the Malibu campus. Our office is happy to answer questions from parents at anytime. If the questions pertain to specifics about a student's participation in our programs, we follow federal privacy laws and will ask that the student join in the conversation or the student contact our office with questions. The International Programs office will send periodic updates to parents so they can be aware of upcoming events and dates. If you are not currently receiving these updates and would like to, please ask your student to contact our office and request to add you as an emergency contact.
The following are ways to consider engaging and empowering your student throughout the study abroad experience:
- Share your own international travel and study experiences
- Allow your student to lead this endeavor entirely
- Challenge your student to create goals for their study abroad experiences
- Ask your student if they are keeping up to date on their study abroad preparation tasks
- Allow your student to express themselves by listening to them share their experiences during and after their study abroad term
Arrange how you will communicate and how frequently with your student (phone, email, text etc.)
- Know the time difference between the US and your student's destination. Click here for a list of international dialing codes.
- Keep in mind that if you haven't heard from your student, he or she may be on a program-related excursion or traveling.
- Contact the Department of Public Safety at (310) 506-4111 in the event of an emergency and you are not able to contact your student.
- Encourage your student to maintain regular contact with Pepperdine regarding academics and administrative issues abroad.
- Discuss any plans to visit your student while abroad with your student first and keep the following in mind: important program dates, visa restrictions, as well local program field trips (which may be planned by our program staff abroad).
- Help your student think about what he or she wants to get out of the study abroad experience, as well as some of the challenges he or she might face.
At some point while your student is studying abroad, you may want or need to contact your student's study abroad site. Contact information for each of Pepperdine's global sites is available on their respective webpages. However, please keep in mind that due to several Federal laws, such as FERPA and HIPAA, there may be limited or no information that your student's study abroad site will be able to share with you pertaining to your student's housing, academics, and health. We encourage parents to discuss these topics with their students directly and contact the study away site in the instance that a parent needs to report something significant to our international programs staff.
Health and Safety
Please refer to our health and safety page for further information.
- Keep a copy of your student's airline itinerary, passport, I-20 and visa (if applicable), and credit card(s).
- Your student has been asked to create an emergency envelope which contains copies of the above items as well as other documents.
- Talk with your student about budgeting funds before departure.
- Familiarize yourself with the exchange rate and cost differential of the country in which your student will be living.
- Consider establishing a power-of-attorney or other legal agreement in order to take care of financial arrangements at home while he or she is abroad.
While we encourage you to be in contact with your student, please be aware that living abroad has its ups and downs. After leaving home, your student will be transitioning through a range of emotions that are similar to those he or she experienced when arriving at Pepperdine as a new student. It is important for parents to understand what their student is going through and to be patient and supportive as he or she adjusts to the new culture. Adjustment is not accomplished in just a few days; it is an ongoing process. It is exactly these challenges that constitute a rewarding and memorable study abroad experience.
Familiarize yourself with your student's host country so you can support your student with the transition to life abroad as well as returning home. Listen and ask questions; your student will want to talk a lot about their abroad experience.
Student Personal Travel While Abroad
Pepperdine does regulate student travel on weekends and travel breaks. Pepperdine does not allow students, faculty, or staff to travel to level 3 or 4 countries or level 2 countries with level 3 or 4 regions on the U.S. Department of State Travel Warning List without going through an exemption process. Outside of this restriction, Pepperdine will not control student personal travel schedules. Talk with your student about and come to an agreement on an agreeable budget and travel locations. Pepperdine does conduct travel safety orientations in Malibu and abroad and employs a travel tracking system in order to get in touch with students in the event of a critical incident.
Visiting Your Student
If you plan to visit your student while they're studying abroad please keep in mind that Pepperdine staff and security personnel are not permitted to confirm your student's whereabouts or whether or not they even live in Pepperdine housing due to FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act). With that in mind, please notify your student ahead of time if you plan to visit them and when you have arrived to meet them so they can receive you. Although you are the student's family member, you will still be required to abide by any pertinent guest policies at your student's study abroad site.
At Pepperdine, we believe that your student's study abroad experience does not end when he or she returns to the Malibu campus. Therefore, we have developed a reentry program for students when they return from fall and spring study abroad experiences that focuses on identity development and connects students with resources to build on their study abroad experiences. Please encourage your student to get involved with re-entry programs to help them with their transition back to campus.