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While Your Student is Abroad

Even the most well-informed student will face challenges, questions, and obstacles while adjusting to life in a new country, culture, and educational institution.  The key is to remain open and flexible to the experience.  Your student should expect differences, and be ready to try new things.  Understanding the difference first, before judging will help your student to embrace life in their new environment.  Your student is not expected to change who they are, rather they are expected to explore, to be sensitive to the new environment and culture, and to share their personal culture and the culture from where they originated in a respectful manner.  

Cultural Adjustment


Adjusting to life in a new culture, new educational institution, and country will most definitely have its share of rewards and challenges.  Interacting with others who may have different rules of engagement, different belief systems, speak a different language, or live differently is exciting, but can also be frustrating and exhausting. Your child will be going through an adjustment period throughout their experience overseas.  This adjustment period will fluctuate throughout the overseas experience.  Your student may be prepared for differences in the aspects of culture that are immediately visible such as clothing, language, and food, but your student may not be prepared for the differences that are deeply embedded in a culture, such as differences in religious beliefs, gender roles, and student / professor interaction or classroom culture.  Adjusting to these deeply embedded cultural differences may be stressful, confusing, and frustrating for your student.  Feeling ups and downs as a result of cultural adjustment is to be expected.  Experienced travelers to a student who is traveling abroad for the first time can all experience aspects of culture shock related to adjusting to their new culture and environment.  If your student begins to express feelings of frustration or expresses being overwhelmed by their new environment, please refer them to their overseas coordinator at the host institution, Resident Director of their program, or to their Education Abroad Advisor at Babson.  We can all provide assistance for your student while they work through the cultural adjustment period.

Academics


Expectations may be different at overseas institutions.  Your student may be used to having regular evaluation throughout the semester and defined homework or deliverables before each class meeting.  Many courses abroad will only evaluate your student based on a final exam or final paper counting for 100% of their final grade.  You may want to talk about these differences with your student to ensure that he or she knows what is expected of him or her in the course, and to engage your student in a conversation about their experience overseas.

Undergraduate and Graduate Semester Abroad


The Credit transfer process is explained to your student during the Pre-Departure Orientation.  This is ultimately your student’s responsibility, and is a student driven process.  With successful completion of their courses overseas, your student will receive Babson credit but not grades on their Babson transcript.  Successful completion of courses overseas is equivalent to a Babson grade of “C” or better.  Grading systems are different in other countries and educational institutions.  Some institutions or programs use words such as “pass” or “pass with distinction”, some programs or institutions use numbers such as “6,0”, and yet others will use letter grades such as “E” or “C”.  Babson does not incorporate overseas grades into the cumulative Babson GPA; rather the letter grade is used only to determine if the course was passed by the Babson standard.
 

Babson-Sponsored Programs


Students participating in a Babson Sponsored program such as a Babson Elective Abroad course or the Babson BRIC program will receive both grades and credits for their overseas experience.
 

Resources


Utilizing the Glavin Office website and the websites for your student’s overseas institution and / or program provider will be a great way to learn more about your student’s experience abroad.  The Glavin Office Education Abroad Advisors are here if you have specific questions about your student’s experience abroad.

Glavin Office of Multicultural & International Education
educationabroad.babson.edu
TEL: 781.239.4565

Cultural Adjustment
What’s up with culture: http://www2.pacific.edu/sis/culture/  

US Department of State
http://www.state.gov/travel/    

Program Provider websites
AIFS - http://www.aifsabroad.com/?source=AIFS  
CIEE - http://www.ciee.org/study/index.aspx  
Arcadia - http://www.arcadia.edu/abroad/   
IFSA Butler - http://www.ifsa-butler.org/    
Alliance for Global Education - http://www.allianceglobaled.org/