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Advice for Parents

Intern abroad could possibly be one of the best, most positive and rewarding experiences for your child.

At Next Step Connections, we understand that your child’s health and safety is important to you. We also know that your concerns for your child’s health and safety increase with distance; the further away your child travels from home, the more important it is for him/her to have support services. In this time of an increased international focus on safety and security, you may feel strongly concerned about your child’s wishes to intern and travel abroad. We hope that by reading this, your concerns will be addressed. You will be able to better assist your son or daughter with participating in our programs, and with being prepared for health and safety challenges abroad.

Next Step Connections program structure

  • All our program participants are living in modern and fully-furnished shared apartments exclusive to NSC program participants. Our goal is to provide a home away from home for all our participants so we make sure that they have all the comfort needed at destination. Internet is included in all our apartments.
  • Next Step Connections has an on-site orientation designed exclusively for all its participants. Our orientation program includes providing your child with information relating to the country and culture in which he/she will be living. 
Our orientation will offer your child the opportunity to not only meet other students who will be participating in the internship program, but it will also prepare him/her for the cultural changes that he/she may find while interning with us.

Financial aspect of your child’s intern abroad experience

  • Next Step Connections is an entirely independent education organisation which does not receive any funding from governments, religious bodies, political parties, development organisations or other sources.
  • Your program fee, therefore, not only covers the costs that are directly linked to your presence on the ground (housing, insurance, airport transfers, events, language) but also a share of all the other costs that setting up our high quality internship program requires. ( In-Country staff support, marketing etc..)

Medical aspect

  • It is recommended that you see your physician and preferably a doctor at a travel medicine clinic at least 4-6 weeks before you are scheduled to depart. There are some recommended vaccines (especially Hepatitis) and it’s important that you take the necessary precautions and be up-to-date on your routine vaccines
  • All our participants are covered by our comprehensive travel and medical insurance.
  • Our team abroad stay in touch with the latest news and safety issues and are trained for any sort of emergencies. We have located the best hospitals in town and will make sure your child get the best medical care available.

Support in Asia

  • We have a friendly international team (USA, France, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Philippines, China) that understands the difficulties of adapting to a new city and will do everything they can to ensure a smooth transition.
  • Our teams at destination have been trained to ensure that you will be well looked after and are able to contact us 24 hours a day.
  • 80% of our team has studied, lived, or worked abroad and, therefore, understand how you will feel going through this process.
  • We will give you all the resources you need to have a successful time abroad and give you as much freedom as you want so you can make this experience your own!
  • You will be able to keep in touch with your child directly by phone (international calling card) or Skype. Internet access is available in all our housing to make sure your child can keep in touch with home. Moreover, our team can be reached 24/7 by phone or email.

Parents say about us

“My, how time flies! I am Arabella’s mother and never got to thank you for setting her internship up. She had a fantastic experience and really loved her time in SH. Thank you so much for getting that all organized! Please, let me know whether you would be able to acommodate her sister this summer! Thanks again and many warm regards from the sub-zero and snow-burried Midwest of the US of A!” Ingrid F. USA, Mother of Arabella, Shanghai Internship Program 2010.

“Jacqueline did indeed enjoy her time in Shanghai and I think she got a lot out of it. Thank you very much for that! I hope you are well and I wish you every success in developing your programmes.” Hunter C. UK, Father of Jacqueline, Shanghai Internship Program 2010.

“Hi NSC – our son Thomas had a very successful placement in Shanghai – thanks for your support!” Jackie V. USA, Mother of Thomas, Shanghai Internship Program 2009.

More questions? Contact us now

Our 10 Intern abroad tips for parents

So your child has decided to intern with us abroad, and there is so much to know. Interning abroad poses many questions for students, but quite a few for parents as well.

Don’t worry. It’s not as bad as it may seem. And to help you, here are a few tips to get you through this exciting, and sometimes overwhelming, time.

Why choosing Next Step Connections

Educate yourself

Chances are you will feel more secure about your child doing an internship abroad if you do the right research.

  • Research the destination country, including its history, culture, customs, laws, social/moral codes, dress and language
  • Along with your child, learn a few of the local words and phrases
  • Read all program literature and any available student accounts of interning abroad
  • Never hesitate to ask questions, we are available and here for this.

Letting go

Sending your child to intern abroad involves a certain amount of letting go on your part. It can be difficult to do, but to ease it, you should begin the process well before departure.

  • Allow your child to make the most of the intern abroad decisions – be a guide, not a supervisor
  • Give your child the information and resources he or she needs to make informed decisions
  • Don’t expect to hear from your child every day while he or she is abroad, and don’t make your child feel bad for that
  • Talk with parents whose children have previously done an internship abroad and try to prepare for the emotions they say they experienced.

Packing

Help your child with what to bring with him or her overseas. Pack light, but also wisely.

  • Pack a few extra photos of your child in case he or she needs to get a new passport
  • Have your child walk around with packed bags to make sure he or she will be able to handle it once he or she leaves the house. Your child may be lugging that suitcase around for quite a while during his or her travels
  • If your child is taking any prescription medications, be sure to send him or her overseas with an extra supply and a copy of the prescription

Communication

Keeping in touch with your student while he or she is interning overseas is important for both of you.

  • Establish a plan of communication with your child prior to departure. It is important to realize that this plan may need to be altered once your child has settled into an intern abroad routine
  • Blogs are an inexpensive way in which to keep in touch. Encourage your child to start a blog while away so that you (and any other family members or friends) can follow along with the adventures. You may consider starting your own blog to keep your student current on what is going on back home
  • Your child’s cell phone will only work overseas if you have T-Mobile, AT&T or Alltel, and only if you contact the service provider and get them to open up the phone for international roaming, which also means you’ll have to pay exorbitant international roaming charges. So devise another way of keeping in touch by phone. Prepaid international calling cards are a good alternative, as is Skype
  • Students and parents should both have a set of emergency contacts with them at all times, including contacts from the program.

Finances

Teaching your student responsible ways with which to handle his or her finances is crucial and can begin even before departure.

    • Have your child manage some money on his or her own before departing. Devise a financial plan with your child for the time he or she will be abroad. Write down the expenses you expect your child to have and make a column for “needs” and a column for “wants.”
    • To limit spending and avoid lost money, teach your child to take money out of the ATM a little at a time. For example, on Mondays, have him or her take out the cash he or she will need for each week.
    • Don’t begin exchanging currency before your child departs-have him or her wait until he or she reach the destination.

Child responsibility

Helping your child to enhance his or her sense of responsibility can be beneficial to the student as he or she intern abroad, and in general.

  • Discuss financial, social and academic responsibility with your child. Let him or her know that much of what is expected of him or her at home will be expected of him or her abroad, and more.
  • Encourage your child to resolve her or her own issues while abroad and step in only when necessary
  • Let your child know that you trust him or her to make the right decisions while interning abroad.

Food

One of the most interesting differences between countries is the cuisine, and you will want to make sure that your student eats well while overseas.

  • Tell your child to stick to the busy restaurants, as eating at these is likely safer than at less popular restaurants.
  • Students should know to check for pasteurization when eating dairy products, as not all countries practice this process in the way they do at home.
  • Freshly cooked foods are the best bet because they are less likely to contain contaminants.
  • Although they may be legally permitted to drink abroad, students should be advised to drink with great care while studying abroad. Alcohol can mix with trouble overseas the same way it can at home.

Safety

This is the largest concern for most parents of students interning abroad. Intern abroad tragedies are few and far between, but educate your child on ways to stay safe in another country.

  • Students must be encouraged to cultivate and utilize their “street smarts” while interning abroad. Advise them to take the precautions they take at home, as well as new ones.
  • Tell them to avoid political demonstrations, to only take official taxis and to protect their passport at all times.
  • Establish emergency procedures with your student prior to departure. Be sure to create a list of emergency contacts
  • Use the State Department’s website to stay current on safety issues in specific countries.

Visitation

You may want to visit your child while he or she is overseas. However, if you choose to do so, do it the right way.

  • If you visit, choose to do so at a time that is convenient for your Child. Do not try to visit the first or last week of the stay, or during exams
  • Remember that while it may be a vacation for you, your child still has responsibilities
  • You will miss your child, and he or she will miss you, but for ultimate growth, the students needs to spend quality time immersed in the culture and with fellow intern abroad students
  • Be prepared to switch roles with your child and allow him or her to show you a thing or two!

Re-Entry

Just as you must prepare your student for interning abroad and support him or her while he or she is away, you must also be sensitive to the possibility that your student could experience “reverse culture-shock” when he or she returns home.

    • Allow your child a period of adjustment when first getting home. Students are used to being more independent, so take that into consideration during the first few weeks after the return.
  • Encourage your student to keep in touch with the people he or she traveled with and met while interning abroad. These connections are important and can last the rest of their lives.
  • Lend an attentive ear to your child when he or she gets home. He or she probably has a great deal of experiences to share, and it will be a terrific (re)bonding opportunity for both of you.
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