The Learning Abroad Center works in conjunction with the Student Parent Help Center to assist student parents who are considering participating in an experience abroad.
While an international experience is a viable option, there are some things to consider when planning to take your child or family with you:
Many study abroad programs have overnight excursions included in the program. It may not be feasible to bring your child or family on these excursions.
There are many ways to plan your experience abroad. Here are two scenarios for bringing a child that have worked for other students:
Depending on the cultural context, as well as your own personal context, there will be a variety of responses to you traveling with a family or child. Being a single parent will be perceived differently in other cultural contexts and may vary if you are a man or woman. This is something for you to reflect on, and perhaps seek input about, before your experience abroad.
The best case scenario would be that the program provider would be able to provide you with housing. If their regular housing is not a possibility (it may be in dorms or another location that cannot accommodate children), then it may be possible that the program provider would be able to help you find appropriate housing. Alternatively you may have to find housing on your own before the program begins. If there is no on-site support to assist you or the on-site resources are not able to locate other housing.
You will need to purchase tickets for your child or family. It is likely that your family will not be able to participate in the group flight because it may already be factored into the program fee.
Each family member will need a passport and a visa for entry into the country. Depending on the country, immunizations may also be needed. Program providers usually assist in obtaining a student visa for the program participant. Depending on the length of stay and country where you will be visiting, the visa for your family may be easy or hard and expensive or inexpensive to obtain. You will need to acquire these visas on your own. Also, some countries have other requirements for entry when minors are involved and not traveling with both parents. Be sure to thoroughly check on requirements.
You will need to provide schooling or child care for your child while in classes if you do not have another family member with you on the program. This will incur extra costs. Also, the level to which the program provider can assist in finding child care or entering your child into school will vary depending on location. The best case scenario is that they have child care services nearby or are affiliated with a school for your child to attend. Alternatively, you may need to locate the services or school on your own. You may be eligible for Child Care Assistance Grants through the University of Minnesota Student Parent Help Center. Contact the Student Parent Help Center for details.