Parent Information

Please read this page and the pages under 'Parent Information' on the sidebar for the answers to many common study abroad questions. For more specific information please e-mail the Office of International Partnerships and Study Abroad at stabroad@canisius.edu or call our office at (716)888-2785.

The Basics

Why should my son or daughter study abroad?
Study abroad enables your son or daughter to integrate studies at Canisius with a curriculum abroad and thus gain new perspectives on a variety of subjects. Your son or daughter will exchange ideas and information with students from different cultures and gain an increased awareness of cultural diversity and international issues. Perhaps the most important aspect of study abroad is that your son or daughter will live in a new and challenging environment that inspires both personal and intellectual growth. In an increasingly global workplace employers look for students who can communicate and work successfully in an international environment.

When may my son or daughter study abroad?
Most study abroad students are juniors, and many are second semester sophomores or first-semester seniors. Students may already enroll in a summer course program abroad following their freshmen year.

What should be my role in the planning process?
While you should be available to lend your son or daughter help and support, planning and then going abroad is an important step in your son or daughter’s path toward taking responsibility and making well-informed decisions.

What should my role be in helping my son or daughter with study abroad?
When your daughter or son is abroad, it is often tempting to stay closely in touch with him/her. While you should arrange communication with your child as soon as they have settled in, limit and observe your interaction. Trust the local infrastructure of on-site coordinators and university personnel to help your child with the many challenges, small and large, that are part of any study abroad experience.

How can I communicate with my son or daughter while they are abroad?
This is of course, a personal decision, but we recommend that you arrange to telephone your son or daughter at least once a month at a regularly set time. Make sure that you get your son or daughter’s addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses, and best times to call, taking into account the time difference. Check with your long distance carrier regarding discounted international calling rates. Also consider instant messaging if your son or daughter has internet access. Many instant messaging options include free audio, and even video chat, if your computer supports it. Skype has recently become the preferred mode of communication and allows account holders to talk to one another for free over the computer. It is a free service and individuals with an account can also call cell phones at a cheaper rate. Consider setting up an account before your son or daughter departs.

What should I do if my child is unhappy during his or her study abroad program?
Bear in mind that your daughter or son may initially report to you that they are unhappy with some aspect of the program or that they are sad and stressed. We suggest that you exercise a degree of patience, as many of these issues sort themselves out in the first few weeks. Often, students call home in distress because of one issue or another, such as housing, the quality of the courses, or location of the program, which can lead to a discussion about changing housing, sending more money, or even dropping out of the program and returning home. While there are, of course, real emergencies, most of these issues are the result of what we often call “cultural adjustment”, which is normal and will be overcome in a relatively short time. If the situation does not improve, please recognize that Canisius students abroad are entitled to all the support services as an on-campus student. Many of our program have counseling and psychological services. The student may reach out to the overseas international office who can contact a counselor for the on-site referral.

Can I visit my son or daughter while they are abroad?
Of course, but it is important to remember that study abroad students are not on vacation. Attending class with him or her – or taking your student out of class to sightsee – will interrupt the educational process and immersion experience. If you want to visit, it is best to do so when the program has finished, so you can travel together. You should not try to obtain permission for your student to return home early; the end of the semester is the most important part of his or her academic experience.

What should I expect when my son or daughter returns home after studying abroad?
After living abroad, virtually all students return home changed by the experience. These changes can take many forms, from new ways of dressing to cravings for different kinds of food to new political perspectives. Don’t worry too much: negative feelings usually last for a very short time, while realistic view of America and its place in the world remains with most students for life. Be prepared for him or her to experience some degree of reverse cultural shock – most do – and need some time to readjust fully to life back home again. In some cases, he or she may even experience a period of sadness or longing to return abroad. Your support, interest, and understanding will help your son or daughter during this readjustment process. Observing and discussing these changes is an excellent way to share in your son or daughter’s international experience, and you will probably want to hear more than most other people which will be satisfying to your son or daughter.

What’s the difference between a Canisius program and an external program?
Students going on a Canisius program pay Canisius tuition and remain eligible for all of their financial aid. Courses taken as party of Canisius programs abroad are treated just as courses taken at the home campus. Students receive full credit; courses may fulfill curricular requirements, and their grades are calculated into their GPAs.

An external program is organized by a university or provider other than Canisius. Canisius scholarships and grants will NOT be applied to external programs.

How important is international experience for a career later on?
Increasingly, research supports that view that students who have had international experience are better equipped to compete in a global job market because of specific skills and attitudes they acquired while abroad: better foreign language skills, deeper cross-cultural insights, and in general a higher level of maturity.

According to the 2012 IES Abroad Recent Graduate Study students who study abroad

  •  Found a career related position after graduation
  •  40% more found a job within six months of graduation
  •  Earn on average $7,000 more a year compared to students who have NOT studied abroad
  •  88% felt that studying abroad helped build job skills
  •  1/3 believed study abroad influenced them to attend graduate school.
  •  50% stated that study abroad helped them find their first jobs.

Does my son or daughter need to speak a foreign language in order to go abroad?
While students are encouraged to study abroad in order to gain fluency in foreign languages in which they already have some background, there are many programs in non-English-speaking countries where classes are taught in English. Most of these programs also include a language course in the language of the host country.

How can I learn more about my son or daughter’s study abroad program?
Parents are invited to the individual pre-departure orientation for each program. We strongly urge you to attend this session. Students who previously studied abroad in that program will be at the session to share their experiences and advice. We encourage you to read about your child’s program on our website.