Students with Children
For students that are parents, a great concern may be how to care for your child(ren) while abroad. International study is possible with a family and can be just as rewarding, but there are considerations that you should keep in mind. Careful planning can create an experience abroad that will benefit you and your family.
Benefits and drawbacks of a semester abroad with a family
Spending a semester abroad with your children or family members can be rewarding for everyone. You will be able to experience a new culture, explore new places, try new foods, and build memories you can share in the future. However, it will take careful planning to make this a possibility. Consider child-care, schooling options, housing, language barriers, and finances. Start planning early, and work with your program coordinator in the Office of Study Abroad to determine feasibility. We are happy to support you as best as we can.
Benefits and drawbacks of short-term programs
Shorter programs, over winter break, spring break, and the summer, may be more feasible for students with families. The shorter length of time makes it easier to secure care for your loved ones locally while you are abroad, and may make it easier if you have family members in school, with health issues, or other commitments that may complicate a full semester abroad. Of course, you will be more limited in the coursework available to you abroad, and you will not be able to spend as much time abroad, but it may be more feasible and achievable to study abroad for a shorter amount of time.
Thinking about a semester abroad? Make sure you chat with your program coordinator!
Childcare and Extra Costs: Questions to Consider
- Can you find a host university that will provide housing options to accommodate your family? What are the off-campus housing options?
- Are you traveling abroad with a spouse or partner that will be able to care for your child while you are in class? If not, what childcare options are available at your host university or in your host city that will work for your budget?
- Do you have family members in school? What educational options will exist for them to continue their educations while you are abroad?
- Be aware of extra costs that are associated with traveling with children. These include international health insurance, visas, immunizations, and flight tickets for the entire family. Some items may be covered by your program for you, but not for your child(ren) or family.
If you are unable to find a host institution that suits your desires and needs for childcare, consider a short-term study abroad program or a faculty-led program. These can take place over spring or fall break, and it may be more reasonable to ask family members to care for your child(ren) while you are gone.
Depending on where you go, cultural standards may impact the response to being abroad with children, especially as a single parent. Before you go, make sure you are prepared and knowledgeable of how you will be perceived in your host country.
These resources provide travel and safety tips for traveling with children, as well as personal stories from author Elisa Bernick.