The valuable life skills students acquire from studying abroad are put into practice long before they arrive in their chosen host country. These skills are called upon as soon as the student begins investigating his/her study abroad options. The Mercer Study Abroad office is available to guide students along the process of selecting and applying for a program, and the process of preparing for departure. However, we rely on students to do their part by being mindful of the following expectations we have of them. Please see the list of expectations we have of students below:
- Students should carefully read and save ALL the emails and materials we and our partners provide them.
- Although we can suggest resources and highlight certain programs, the decision is ultimately the student's to make. Oftentimes this will require a significant amount of research on the student's part, and multiple meetings with his/her academic adviser and program director to identify the best learning abroad program match for you.
- Students should work directly with our office whenever possible, and resist recruiting or allowing parents to take care of matters for them. After all, the student is the one who is studying abroad, not the parents! Students can navigate the Mercer systems better than parents can, and in many cases we are not at liberty to share information with parents about a student's situation out of respect for federal privacy restrictions.
- Students should practice pro-active information-seeking. We expect students to voice their concerns to program directors well in advance, instead of waiting for us to anticipate all of the student's individual needs and questions.
All these pre-departure responsibilities are designed to help students exercise the independent problem-solving skills that they will need to rely heavily upon once they are overseas, as well as to cope with challenges of the real world long after they graduate.
Sometimes a student's questions won't be answered directly, but instead the student will be referred to a web site or email. Parents should consider this good practice for their student in using resources available to them to find answers, handling ambiguous situations and deciphering indirect communication, all of which students likely encounter abroad. In the end, students will be proud of what they can accomplish on their own when abroad, and will surprise themselves with the numerous opportunities for personal, professional and academic growth during their study abroad experience.