Who To Stay in Touch With During Your Study Abroad Trip
1. Your Grandparents
Your friends and family will always care about you and want to know about your trip, but grandparents are the ones who will be thinking about you daily and want to know every single detail about your trip. Give them what they want and call or write to them with stories that you may not have gotten around to telling your friends or parents yet. They will love hearing from you and feel very loved that you are taking the time to not only remember them and think of them at such an exciting time of your life, but reach out and include them. They are living vicariously through you and want to hear about your school, your classes, your professors, your roommates, and all of the adventures you’re having. You friends might get sick of hearing how awesome of a time you’re having, but you can never tire a grandparent.
2. Your Study Abroad Advisor
Your home university likely has a study abroad coordinator that you’ve spent a considerable amount of time e-mailing and meeting with in the months prior to your study abroad trip. Check in with them every so often and let them know you’re doing ok and having a good time. They will be glad to hear from you and know that the students they send off to represent their school are alive and well. They will also update you with important information as your trip continues. Sending pictures of your travels is also a good idea too, and you may even end up on the school’s study abroad website, so smile, and check in with your advisor.
3. Friends from School
You will inevitably miss out on many seasonal traditions at school, and while you might be bummed out that you’re missing the homecoming football game or your school’s spring break, you can be sure that it is a much bigger bummer for everyone else who isn’t studying abroad. Keep in touch with your friends in college so that you can get a little dose of the goings on while you are away, and when you return, you won’t have to rekindle semester-lost friendships since you’ve been in contact.
4. Your Financial Aid Officer
When you do a semester abroad, the financial aid office will be in communication with your school abroad, but you want to be sure that they are all on the same page. Make sure you don’t miss any payment deadlines or have any miscommunication with your financial aid coming through and covering everything you need while you're gone. You also want to be prepared and informed of important dates that might come up quickly upon your arrival home. Your study abroad coordinator can be a big help in getting all of this information organized and taken care of, but ultimately it is up to you to stay on top of things.
5. Your Parents and Siblings
Your parents likely helped you get where you are, either financially or with moral support- maybe both. They want to know you’re having a good time and that you’re doing well in school. If you have siblings, especially younger siblings, they are also probably living vicariously through you. Shoot them a message when something reminds you of them, or if you’re missing them and wishing they were there. Although they won’t admit it until they're 36, they will appreciate and feel privileged to be included in your trip. It will be hard to take regularly between the time change and busy schedules, but at least a quick “hi, I’m alive and miss you” message can go a long way.
Studying abroad will make you appreciate your friends and family and those that you spend tie with at home, and hopefully will make you more inclined to be a better communicator in general. Take this list of overlooked people and keep their e-mail addresses handy. The more informed and connected you are, the better your study abroad experience will be, so stay in touch and enjoy your adventure!