Communication While Abroad: An Overview

Finding the Right Balance

When it comes to communication, it is important to find the right balance for your family. The goal is for your child to immerse themselves completely in their host country. Your communications should aid in that goal, not distract from it. Our panel of parents recommend scheduling a time every week or so for a call and trying to limit your communication to that. This gives your student and you something to look forward to while also encouraging them to focus on their experience in their new home, fostering independence and confidence!

Our daughter made it a point to FaceTime with us every Sunday while she was in Europe.  It was so fun to hear about her week, her travels and often times, it felt like she was just down the road in Portland!  The other fun part about using FaceTime or Skype is that she gave us a quick tour of her room & surroundings.  It helps so much to have a visual of where they are.” – Christie LeBar, Salzburg mom
We did not buy an international upgrade for their cell phones, and so we relied heavily on Facebook Messenger. When we could get a decent video signal, it was helpful.  You can tell a lot by actually looking at them.” – Anonymous, Salzburg parent


It is also important to keep your expectations reasonable. If your child is making the most of their time abroad, they may sometimes have to reschedule a phone call, or they may seem tired or distracted when you talk. Similarly, not all days will be good days for your child. Be patient. Culture shock can make them irritable, home-sick, or uncomfortable. We encourage you to listen to and validate how they’re feeling, while also kindly reminding them (and yourself!) that studying abroad is a growing experience, and growing pains are real! Studying abroad can be like a bubble to your student - reminding them to keep perspective and gratitude is invaluable.

We only spoke with our kids every week or so.  The time difference requires some planning…It may not have been quite enough for me, but I got the feeling it was enough for them.  It is hard for them to relay their experience in a little summary, especially when they are tired and busy… Don’t be offended if they aren’t showing a lot of enthusiasm for the news back home.  They are taking in and processing a lot.  They will have room again for what’s going on in your family, your neighborhood/community, and the USA when they return.” – Karen Kessi, Salzburg Mom