by Scott Farman, Family Connection Council
FSU International London Program
FSU has many great international study opportunities throughout the year—options all over the world! This past summer our daughter participated in FSU’s London program, and it was amazing. Here are some tips from us, her parents, and from her, our student.
- Have your student fly with a “Travel Buddy” – Not only does it make the long flight less stressful, it makes you rest a little easier knowing they aren’t alone.
- Communication with your student will be difficult – plan ahead! We used WhatsApp, but others purchased a SIM card upon arrival or purchased an International phone plan. Whichever works for you and your student, make sure you plan ahead. Consider setting up specific days/times to touch base and hear about their adventures/catch up. Don’t forget about time changes!
- Students will need to use public transportation. Help them looking into options, maps, etc. before they leave – they might not be able to use google maps at their destination. Our daughter discovered a great public transportation app she had on her phone.
- Discuss the different housing options with your student. Are they okay with communal living? How will they handle any conflict that arises?
- Plan for the unexpected costs/excursions. Your student will want to travel on most weekends during this once in a lifetime opportunity. And they’ll definitely want to experience the culture and explore different cuisines, museums, etc. We found it helpful to have family members forgo gifts around holidays and birthdays and give spending money instead. Your student may want to save up the se
- If you get a chance, go visit them! We highly suggest visiting your student, but make sure to plan your trip and include your student in the process. Focus on either before or after their program, not during as your time together might be limited.
- Apply early, especially for scholarships! International Programs has a lot of really helpful information on their website, https://www.international.fsu.edu/. Also, did you know that Bright Futures scholarship funds can be used toward a semester abroad?
- Create a list of all the cool things you want to do, and places you want to visit while abroad. Research and prioritize them. Don’t forget to include places to stay as well as transportation options.
- Don’t over pack. What goes with you, must come back! And don’t forget about leaving room for souvenirs!
- Keep a travel journal. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for most. You will never be in college traveling abroad again. Maybe this is your first time, maybe it’s your sixth, but you will definitely want to remember it. Plus, studying abr
oad sets you apart when job searching. Documenting the process and what you have learned can help you apply that to an interview one day.
- Explore some every day, even if you are tired. Don’t plan too much. Some of your best days are when you embrace the unexpected and see what the city has to offer.
- Take and post a lot of pictures to keep your friends and family informed.
This was a once in a lifetime opportunity, and as my daughter said, “Go and love every second of it!”
Scott Farman lives in Jacksonville, Florida. His student is a Psychology major, with a minor in Biology and Chemistry, and will be graduating in 2019. She is living in a nearby apartment complex, and is involved in ‘Nole Med, the Wesley Foundation, and numerous other organizations.