We at the Bing Overseas Studies Program (BOSP) are excited to have this opportunity to assist your son or daughter in preparing for an overseas journey. In order to ensure that students are confident and well prepared for their new cultural and academic setting, BOSP provides all participants with a thorough orientation program in the quarter prior to their study abroad. Below, we have outlined some of the items we cover with all students, as well as some words of advice for you. Additional information can be found on the Parents and Family Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).
BOSP Orientation for Students
Once a student has been admitted to a Stanford overseas program, he or she will start receiving regular correspondence from our office. The quarter prior to departure, all BOSP participants are required to participate in a series of orientation activities led by BOSP staff, faculty-in-residence, and Student Advisors (please note: parents are not permitted to stand in for the student at these events). BOSP Student Advisors are formally trained alumni of each BOSP program. They are an excellent resource for students, provide helpful cultural insights, and make themselves available throughout the orientation process.
Stanford University believes that students are ultimately responsible for preparing themselves to study abroad and for making the most of their time overseas. This encompasses a wide range of responsibilities from personal safety, attendance at orientation, and timely completion of required materials, to being a responsible ambassador of Stanford and the United States or their home country.
Communicating with BOSP
BOSP assists in guiding students through this process and your support throughout this process is invaluable. However, please keep in mind that due to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), BOSP staff is prohibited from discussing individual student issues directly with parents. If you have any questions or concerns, please be in contact directly with your son or daughter first, who should then be in touch with our office. Please help us to help you and your student by encouraging your son or daughter to communicate directly with our staff regarding any questions or concerns you might have.
Tips for Parents and Family
It is helpful to sit down and talk over certain items before your son or daughter departs. Some items to discuss include:
- Know the time difference between the US and your student’s destination. What is the long distance country code? Arrange how you will communicate and how frequently (phone, email).
- Keep in mind that if you haven’t heard from your student, he or she may be on a program-related excursion or arranging his or her own travels.
- Encourage your student to maintain regular contact with Stanford regarding academics and administrative issues, and also refer him or her to the BOSP Logistics Handbook for their program for administrative questions.
- Keep a copy of your student’s airline itinerary, passport, visa (if applicable), ISIC card, and credit cards.
Health and Safety
- If your son or daughter receives coverage through your health insurance provider or Cardinal Care (Stanford’s student health insurance plan), ensure that you are fully informed about what is and is not covered overseas.
- All students participating in BOSP programs must purchase medical evacuation and repatriation of remains coverages from an established insurance provider. Inform yourself of that provider and appropriate procedures.
- Have an arrangement for sending money in case of an emergency.
- Familiarize yourself with the exchange rate and cost differential of the country in which your son or daughter will be living.
- Talk with your son or daughter about establishing a power-of-attorney or other legal agreement in order to take care of financial arrangements at home while the student is abroad.
- Familiarize yourself with your student’s host country and cross-cultural resources so you can support him or her with the transition to life abroad.
While we encourage you to be in contact with your son or daughter, please be aware that living abroad has its ups and downs. Your student will be transitioning through a range of emotions after leaving home that are similar to those s/he experienced when arriving at Stanford as a new student. It is important for parents to understand what their son or daughter is going through and to be patient and supportive as he or she adjusts to the new culture. Adjustment is not accomplished in just a few days; it is an on-going process, which responds to one situation, followed by then another. It is exactly these challenges that constitute a rewarding and memorable study abroad experience.
BOSP hopes that your son or daughter will experience an incredible journey, rich in academic and personal discoveries. We take great pride in the programs we operate and are happy to have a list of over 22,000 BOSP alumni (and counting), many of whom have reported that their time abroad with BOSP was one of the most memorable and meaningful experiences they had while attending Stanford.