Parents and Family Guide

Parents and family are important supporters of students’ education abroad experience. As parents, it will almost certainly be a defining period in your son or daughter’s educational experience. It is our goal at the Center for Global Learning and Engagement that the journey your son or daughter takes, will transform him or her to serve and lead in the global culture of the 21st century and carry out APU’s mission of advancing God’s work in the world.

The center’s advisors and trained student staff work with each student to ensure that their individual needs and concerns are addressed before, during, and after their learning abroad experience. While federal law (FERPA) prevents the center from disclosing a student’s education records, please feel free to contact us if you have questions about our programs: (626) 857-2440 or

We encourage you to browse the resources available on this site to help understand how to best support your son or daughter and maximize their study abroad experience. We hope this adventure proves itself enriching!

Before They Go

  • Help your student identify and clarify values and goals for their study abroad experience early in the process to guide exploration.
  • Become familiar with the various APU Study Abroad programs and options.
  • Determine how well individual programs, services, and environments fit into, and benefit, your student’s academic needs, personal goals, linguistic preparation, expectations, and interests.
  • Consider how a study abroad experience in a less traditional destination might fulfill your student’s academic, cultural, linguistic, personal, and professional goals more effectively.
  • Understand the requirements your student must meet to participate, including academic performance, social standing, and behavioral expectations.
  • Assess program costs and what they cover; anticipated personal expenses associated with participation; and the availability and process for financial assistance and scholarships.
  • Prepare for your student’s experience abroad through University of Pacific’s “What’s Up with Culture?” website. This is a resource that can be consulted at any stage of the intercultural transition process, beginning with selecting where to study abroad, and continuing through orientation, overseas residency, and after return home.
  • Learn something about your student’s destination culture. Knowledge about the history, politics, economics, language(s), and current events are all important.
  • Understand that study abroad involves risk and volatility regardless of where your student studies, though some destinations may be more likely to present specific types of risks, such as health precautions, strikes, political turmoil, natural disasters, or crime. Gather information about such concerns and evaluate them carefully. Learn more about local conditions and travel precautions through the Bureau of Consular Affairs and the Centers for Disease Control.

While They’re Abroad

  • Maintain communication with reasonable frequency but not on a daily basis.
  • Keep the program calendar in mind; if you haven’t heard from your son or daughter, it may be because he or she is on a program excursion or traveling during a break.
  • Monitor online information and advisories from the Bureau of Consular Affairs.
  • Contact the Center for Global Learning and Engagement should you or your son or daughter need assistance with any aspect of the program abroad or on campus.
  • Keep a journal of events and celebrations that occur during the semester or year to share with your son or daughter when he or she returns home.
  • Consider a visit during the program break (but not while classes are in session).

When They Return

  • It’s important that parents understand that re-entry shock is normal and that it is often more powerful than the culture shock they experienced when they arrived in the foreign country in which they studied. Expect your son or daughter to have a period of transition upon return, sometimes as long as the period he or she was abroad. Read: Culture Shock (PDF).
  • Consult the “What’s Up with Culture?” Website (Module 2) for information on the re-entry process.
  • Continue your enthusiasm for your son or daughter’s experience in the months after he or she returns home — show interest in the photos, stories, and memories to help keep the experience, and the reflection and learning, alive.

Additional Resources


We gratefully acknowledge University of Minnesota, University of the Pacific, George Washington, CIEE, and School for International Training, whose materials we refer on this site.