The Exchange Mom Blog is a great resource for students, their families and host families. Why? The exchange mom (more like exchange family) has hosted dozens of students, coordinated exchange programs in the area, and sent her own kids to study abroad a continent away.
So we were thrilled to see a review of the new publication by Dr. Allan Goodman (of the Institute for International Education), Stacie Nevadomski Berdan (international careers expert and author), and William Gertz of AIFS: A Parent Guide to Study Abroad.
In the review, she excerpts a story from AIFS CEO and President Bill Gertz as a good example of the difference between how we used to travel, how we travel now, and how parents should manage the gap:
“William Gertz, President and CEO of the American Institute for Foreign Study, compares his own three-month traveling abroad journey many years ago with his daughter’s more recent study abroad experience, focusing on his own perceived needs and well-intentioned actions:
Her study abroad program was superbly organized down to every detail, perfect for the millennial generation, complete with ample hand holding. Days packed with detailed itineraries including learning excursions; volunteering trips and language courses were quite the contrast to my backpacking, hostel-hopping days of self discovery. Traveling by air on weekends, she probably had fewer adventures than I had traveling by rail. But I had to remember, this was her experience, not mine.
My strong advice is this: let your children breathe. Don’t call too much, don’t solve all their problems, let them make their own mistakes and find their own path.
I could go on — there is actually quite a bit in this short 60-page book — but this, in a way, is the nutshell of the book’s messages to parents: help your child choose the program that is right for her, not for you; don’t overuse technology to remind them of what they are missing back home while they are trying to learn a whole new world; and let them learn what it is they went abroad to learn.”