Welcome to the IEP online resource for parents! IEP recognizes the vital role that many parents play in their son or daughter’s decision to study, intern or volunteer abroad. This page is meant to provide information to you as you support your student in preparing for an upcoming international program.
Some people feel overwhelmed when deciding which program to go on. IEP recommends that the applicant consider what factors are most important in a program. The following are important priorities by the participant to order before deciding on a country or program. IEP encourages the applicant to consider all of the options, but to start by eliminating a few programs that do not fit his or her needs. Your student ought not be alarmed if as they search, their priorities start to change!
My son or daughter would really like to…
To view the courses offered in each location, select a study abroad program under a particular country or the Study page , then click on the courses link.
IEP partners with reputable universities overseas. Courses are taught in English at most destinations. In non-English speaking destinations, advanced language students also have the option of taking classes in the native language. All study programs are accredited by Jacksonville University. For all overseas programs, students must have their courses approved by their home college or university before departure.
You will know what JU courses you will be getting credit for before you depart on you program. For semester programs, you will have to fill out the Course Approval Form and obtain the appropriate signatures before you leave. Short term program course equivalents are predetermined and the student is not required get further approval. Your grades and the credits earned while abroad will be reflected on your official Jacksonville University transcript upon your return with no further paperwork on your part.
Additional requests for transcripts can be made at any time. There may be an additional charge, depending on the shipping option selected. This charge is the sole responsibility of the student. Download a transcript request form.
As your student prepares for his or her study, internship or volunteer program, they may look to you for support and advice. If the idea of your son or daughter traveling overseas makes you uneasy, or if this is the first time they have been outside of the United States, take the time to go over your student’s individual health and personal safety with them. Risks associated with traveling can never be eliminated totally. However, your son or daughter has the ability to make decisions as they live and travel in a foreign country that will drastically reduce the possibility that they will become a victim of crime, accidents or illness.
We encourage you to discuss health and safety with your student and point them towards the resources at JU or in your community that will help them prepare for their overseas experience. Keep in mind that no matter how much you have researched health and safety, your student is ultimately the one participating on the program and needs to enter his or her program with the mindset of personal responsibility and preparedness.
IEP is committed to offering the necessary resources to students, parents, advisors and faculty as they relate to in-country emergency contacts and support services, travel and medical insurance, country-specific information, and additional web resources. Prior to departure, all students will be issued a packet with information about program details, health & safety issues, culture shock & re-entry, transportation, accommodation, and more.
Most people experience the ups and downs of cultural adjustment in what is commonly known as “culture shock.” A student, intern or volunteer will go through stages of loving the new culture, and having difficulty accepting why things are done differently than what he or she is used to. More serious troubles might include bouts of depression and doubt. Again, this is a normal process for travelers. The best way to cope with culture shock is to try to remain open, and to be an observer and a learner.
Experts have suggested that there are four stages of culture shock:
Almost everyone experiences culture shock to some degree. It can be frustrating and confusing. But there are positive steps that can be taken to minimize the impact. If you suspect that your son or daughter may be experiencing the “irritability and hostility” phase of culture shock, you can encourage them by reminding them of the following:
Realize that this is normal and that you will live through it. Be open-minded and ready to learn. Realize that there are different ways to do things and readjust to think in terms of “different” and not “better” or “worse.” Research your new culture. You can begin today by reading as much as you can about the culture that you will be experiencing. Look for logical reasons for behaviors in the new culture that you may find strange. With a little analysis, you may find that these different behaviors don’t seem so strange after all. Above all, flexibility, humor, humility and open-mindedness will be your most valuable traits. These may have even been the key qualities that led you to travel in the first place! Keep a journal or find a way to positively express the way that you are processing the new culture.
The study, internship or volunteer program may take place in a country where English is the second or third language spoken. In fact, not everyone is going to speak English. Therefore, it is important to learn some basic conversational phrases at minimum. This communicates respect for the culture and an effort to integrate into the local community. The more involved and "at home" you feel, the better you can deal with culture shock.
Program participants will have free time to travel on all study, internship or volunteer programs. This includes participation in local and domestic activities as well as travel outside of the host country.
Independent travel can be an extremely rewarding experience for students, as they have a chance to explore the cultures of their host country and surrounding areas. However, the risks of independent travel are the sole responsibility of the participant.
What may be safe travel arrangements for one individual may not be a safe travel arrangement for another due to individual maturity, experience, and personal limitations. Students should be candid and realistic about their ability to travel independently and exercise all safety precautions while making travel arrangements. IEP recommends that the students discuss and inform their independent travel arrangements with their parents and home study abroad advisors.
IEP staff and affiliates may verbally give examples of past students who have traveled independently or distribute literature highlighting typical destinations in a particular city or country. However, any discussion between a student and an IEP staff member or affiliate regarding independent travel is not a personal recommendation or endorsement. All literature and discussions on personal travel are meant to be resources for the student to enable them to make independent decisions regarding personal travel.
In most countries, the legal drinking age is 18 years or younger. This naturally means that most students participating on a study, internship or volunteer program will be of legal drinking age. However, it is important to note that abuse of alcohol is grounds for dismissal from a program (please see Code of Conduct) at the discretion of the on-site staff or faculty member. Abuse can be defined as any action that puts the participant or others in danger as the result of intoxication. It is important for students to avoid public intoxication and to be aware that they are also held liable for their actions in the United States and at their home institutions.
The possession and/or use of illegal substances is prohibited at all times on all programs. The use of illegal substances is grounds for immediate dismissal at the cost of the participant.
In the event that a participant may need medical attention during an excursion, the local staff member or faculty will accompany the participant to a medical facility. In the instance that the staff member or faculty is the only adult-member accompanying the group, then that member may grant leadership to one of the program participants. The chosen participant will work with the staff or faculty member to determine the continuation of the excursion and establish a meeting point at which the group will reconvene with the member. In most instances, the staff or faculty member will guide the group back to the program headquarters or lodging while they take the medical victim directly to the appropriate facilities.
IEP utilizes in-country staff in all of our program locations. On most programs, these individuals are native to the area and have been working with students for a considerable duration of time. The in-country staff meets each individual student upon arrival, conducts an orientation session specific to the area with them, and discusses safety protocols for their entire duration of their program. Each staff member has home and cell phone numbers, which are provided to all participants. Staff members are on hand to work with participants if an emergency, psychological or health concern arises. Staff members will work with the student in-country and immediately contact the US office to advise of the situation overseas. On all programs, staff members are responsible for the typical issues that arise on the home university campus as well as the risks that arise due to living in a foreign country and an unfamiliar locale. On short-term faculty-led programs, the faculty member provides the in-country support and expertise in regards to program related activities and excursions.
Program and Location Selections
All program locations are carefully considered and reviewed prior to accepting participants on any given program. The Study Abroad Advisory Board Committee at Jacksonville University has accredited all academic programs prior to the addition of the location site. IEP staff members review site locations annually and make necessary adjustments and improvements on existing programs.
IEP utilizes various housing options in all program locations. In certain locations on-campus housing is utilized and an on-campus residential life office is on hand 24-7 to handle any housing concerns that may arise. In those locations where apartments or homestays are utilized, the in-country staff members are the immediate contact for all emergency situations. All housing options have been visited and approved prior to housing participants in their desired locations. Homestay families are given strict interviews and chosen based on their police background check and local recommendations.
Prior to departure, all staff and faculty members are given information on local medical facilities and in-country procedures on advising a student in medical emergencies. Hospital locations and procedures are discussed and insurance information provided to all program participants.
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under the applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education. FERPA gives parents certain rights with respect to their children’s education records. These rights are transferred to the student when he or she reaches the age of 18 or attends a school beyond the high school level.
Upon applying, all students are asked if information can be released to parents upon request from their parents/guardians. In the event of an emergency or health concern the participant involved would be requested to immediately contact their parents/guardians by the in-country staff member.
If a student is asked to leave the program due to disciplinary reasons, no refund will be given and the student will be responsible to pay for their return arrangements. Warnings will be issued by the in-country staff or faculty member at their discretion. First, a verbal warning will be issued to the participant and an email detailing the verbal warning and the participant's response will be sent to IEP's office at JU. If the problem persists, a written warning will be issued to the participant and IEP office staff will receive a copy. Following these warnings, a participant will be dimissed from the program, following the procedure outlined below. In the event of severe misconduct, IEP reserves the right to dismiss a participant without the verbal or written warning at the cost of the participant.
Program Dismissal Procedure:
Registration with Embassies
IEP registers all program participants with the appropriate US Embassies in country. In the event of an emergency, in-country staff members will work with the local consulates to aid in the emergency procedures for US citizens traveling abroad.
IEP uses the same guidelines when arranging transportation for any given program as when choosing a desired location. IEP only arranges transportation to/from a destination and within a country with companies that are valued as safe and reliable. The selected companies are chosen based on prior safety records, insurance coverage and their overall company responsiveness to our program needs.
IEP provides each program participant with travel insurance on all study, internship and volunteer programs abroad. Each participant will be issued an insurance card prior to departure, which is proof of the insurance. This card cannot be used as a form of payment or as an official claim in-country. Should a student wish to submit a claim, they will have to do so upon their return to the United States. Travel insurance provides coverage for baggage delays, passport replacement, and 24/7 travel assistance worldwide.
In many cases, a participant’s home insurance provider will cover the student, intern or volunteer while traveling overseas, however, IEP advises students to contact their home medical insurance provider to confirm what coverage is available to them. In the event that a participant’s home medical insurance provider does not carry international medical insurance, IEP issues a list of study abroad medical providers that participants can use during their program. In some instances, such as Australia and New Zealand, Overseas Student Health Coverage is required for visa purposes and students will be billed directly by the overseas institution for the coverage. IEP provides for the following medical coverage: emergency medical evacuation, accidental death & dismemberment, repatriation of mortal remains, in-hospital indemnity-sickness, and accident medical maximums. Please contact IEP for specific coverage information.
Additional information about insurance coverage for overseas programs, visit this website.
An emergency is any situation where the participant’s health and safety have been compromised. This includes medical emergencies and hospitalization, crime incidents, sexual assault, natural disasters, missing persons, political upheaval or evacuation, death, etc.
Prior to departure, all students will also be issued emergency contact information with a 24/7 IEP Emergency line, in-country contact, and the local embassy or consulate. Additionally, specific instructions are given to the students about what to do in an emergency. All IEP staff members and faculty are committed to doing everything in our power to act immediately and appropriately if an emergency occurs.
Take note that students are instructed to contact their in-country staff members and the 24/7 IEP emergency contact number prior to notifying their parents. In the case of a true emergency, the trained in-country staff are better equipped to secure your son or daughter’s safety. Students are strongly encouraged to notify their parents after the appropriate authorities have been notified.
If a family emergency or some other emergency occurs in the United States during the time when your student is abroad, please notify IEP’s office immediately so that we can in-turn notify our in-country staff and take necessary action. The IEP emergency number can also be utilized in the case of a stateside emergency situation.
During Office Hours Monday through Friday 9:00 am - 5:00 p.m EST. Call 904-256-7295. After hours call 24/7 IEP Emergency Line: 904-859-7082
For all other non-emergency related issues, please contact our office.
In this section, you will learn how to cope with reverse culture shock you may experience upon return to the United States. One of the biggest challenges for students who participate in study abroad can be the difficulty in re–adapting to the realities in the United States (otherwise known as "re–entry"). Many students who studied abroad go through a variety of changes, re–examining their priorities, their values, and what they think of themselves and the United States. The "reverse culture shock" may be more difficult than the "culture shock" you felt when you first went abroad. If return culture shock is severe, it is important that you are able to seek help or counseling to help you through it.
Just as culture shock can differ greatly from person to person, reverse culture shock is just as personal of an experience. Upon return to the United States, you may find many things are different from how you left them. You may be more critical of the United States, while you now view the country where you studied in a more favorable light. From language adjustments to a simple trip to the supermarket, reverse culture shock can hit you in more ways than you would expect.
Defining Reverse Culture Shock
There are usually two elements that characterize a study abroad student's re–entry:
-An idealized view of home
-The expectation of total familiarity (that nothing at home has changed while you have been abroad)
Often students expect to be able to pick up exactly where they left off. A problem arises when reality doesn't meet these expectations. Home may fall short of what you had envisioned, and things may have changed at home: your friends and family have their own lives, and things have happened since you've been gone. This is part of why home may feel so foreign.
Feelings You May Experience
The inconsistency between expectations and reality, plus the lack of interest on the part of family and friends (nobody seems to really care about all of your "when I was abroad" stories) may result in: frustration, feelings of alienation, and mutual misunderstandings between study abroad students and their friends and family. Of course, the difficulty of readjustment will vary for different individuals, but, in general, the better integrated you became in the culture and lifestyle of the country in which you studied, the harder it will be to readjust during re–entry.
Stages of Reverse Culture Shock
Reverse culture shock is usually described in four stages:
-Irritability and hostility
-Readjustment and adaptation
Stage 1 begins before you return to the US. You begin thinking about re–entry and making your preparations for your return home. You also begin to realize that it's time to say good–bye to the friends you’ve made abroad and to the place you've come to call home. The hustle and bustle of finals, good–bye parties, and packing can intensify your feelings of sadness and frustration. You already miss your friends, and you are reluctant to leave. Or, you may make your last few days fly by so fast that you don't have time to reflect on your emotions and experiences.
Stage 2 usually begins shortly before departure, and it is characterized by feelings of excitement and anticipation – even euphoria – about returning home. This is very similar to the initial feelings of fascination and excitement you may have when you first entered the country of your choice. You may be very happy to see your family and friends again, and they are also happy to see you. The length of this stage varies, and often ends with the realization that most people are not as interested in your experiences abroad as you had hoped. They will politely listen to your stories for a while, but you may find that soon they are ready to move on to the next topic of conversation.
This is often one of the transitions to Stage 3. You may experience feelings of frustration, anger, alienation, loneliness, disorientation, and helplessness and not understand exactly why. You might quickly become irritated or critical of others and of U.S. culture. Depression, feeling like a stranger at home, and the longing to go back abroad are also common reactions. You may also feel less independent than you were in the country of your choice.
Most people are then able to move onto Stage 4, which is a gradual readjustment to life at home. Things will start to seem a little more normal again, and you will probably fall back into some old routines, but things won't be exactly the same as how you left them. You have most likely developed new attitudes, beliefs, habits, as well as personal and professional goals, and you will see things differently now. The important thing is to try to incorporate the positive aspects of your international experience with the positive aspects of your life at home in the United States.
*The text in this section was taken from the Center for Global Education.
The Study Abroad Advisory Committee at Jacksonville University reviews each foreign institution and study program carefully to ensure that academic integrity and standards are upheld in each location. In order for a new study abroad site to be approved, the committee reviews the courses and CV’s of the faculty members that teach the courses. The Study Abroad Advisory Committee is composed of the Dean of Arts and Sciences - Dr. Douglas Hazzard, Assistant Photography Professor - Ginger Sheridan, Faculty Chair - Dr. Janet Haavisto, Professor of Nursing - Dr. Michelle Edmonds, Professor of Management - Dr. Mohamed Sepehri, and Professor of Humanities - Dr. Carole Barnett.
You can pay online, by personal check or money order, or in person at our Jacksonville University office in Gooding 105. Please visit Deposit/Program Payment Options for more information on payments. Invoices and invoice receipts will be sent to the address and email listed on the participant’s application, unless otherwise specified by the applicant.
It is normal for students not to contact their parents as much overseas as they would in the United States. There are several reasons for this. It is more difficult to make international phone calls, your son or daughter is operating on a different time zone, holiday breaks are 1-2 weeks longer than American university breaks and they may be traveling, and many students are simply having a good time exploring their new environment. However, your son or daughter may not know that you are concerned. Contact them again and emphasize your concern. If they do not respond, contact IEP’s office via email or phone and we will contact the resident director in-country, who will relay the message to your child to call or email you as soon as possible. If your child still has not contacted you, IEP will confirm your son or daughter’s whereabouts and safety through the in-country resident director and continue to urge your son or daughter to contact you until they do so.
Any time an emergency has taken place; contact the IEP 24/7 emergency line immediately. IEP will inform the in-country resident director who will locate your son or daughter as soon as possible. Many students choose to purchase or rent a local cell phone while in-country. Be sure that you have their number on hand after they receive it. Additionally, your son or daughter will receive a magnet with the IEP emergency line and in-country emergency contact information during the pre-departure orientation meetings and/or in the pre-departure packet. If your son or daughter has not given you the emergency contact magnet, please request that they do so.
For more information about emergencies, please click here.
Prior to departure, each student receives one-on-one advising and assistance. IEP holds a pre-departure orientation at Jacksonville University for every study abroad program. A detailed and comprehensive pre-departure packet is issued to every IEP participant prior to his or her program.
IEP has sent students from over 200 colleges and universities overseas. IEP seeks to work together with any college or university that is willing to collaborate to send students overseas on study, internship and volunteer programs. IEP alumni include students from local community colleges, private institutions, large state universities, and Ivy League schools.
Please feel free to contact us any time by sending an email or calling our office at Jacksonville University.