Resources for Parents

Your Student on an AMIDEAST Program

Congratulations to your son or daughter on acceptance to an AMIDEAST Education Abroad program in the Arab World!

Whether it is your child’s first time abroad on his or her own or the fifth, it can be stressful as a parent to have your son or daughter living far away – let alone on a different continent! AMIDEAST prides itself on preparing students for their program abroad months prior to their departure and during an on-site orientation. From basic survival Arabic language classes to lessons on crossing the street safely (trust us, it’s necessary!), AMIDEAST strives to ensure the student adjustment process is smooth and safe.

At AMIDEAST, student health, safety, and security are the number one priorities. While no one can guarantee that unexpected risks or situations will not arise, AMIDEAST continually strives to provide the support necessary for students to have a safe and healthy education abroad experience. We encourage you to read through AMIDEAST’s  approach to safety and security by clicking HERE.

After acceptance to his or her program of choice, your child will begin to receive a number of resources vis a vis the AMIDEAST Student Portal to help prepare for his/her time abroad. You may want to ask your child to share these resources to you, so you are aware of the advice AMIDEAST provides to students. Resources, such as the student handbooks, have been meticulously prepared and are regularly reviewed to ensure accurate and up-to-date information. In addition, to assist with adaptation to the host city and country, the handbooks provide students with information on local customs, norms for respectful behavior and dress, and how to navigate their new city, and life in their host country. Each student also is strongly encouraged to participate in an in depth online Pre-Departure Orientation hosted by AMIDEAST staff in Washington, DC prior to program departure.

Policy Regarding Parent Contact with AMIDEAST Office

AMIDEAST is always happy to respond to parent inquiries or concerns about safety and security. However, we strongly prefer to respond to logistical questions only from students themselves, whether during the program selection phase or after they have been accepted.

Our reasoning for this is that the AMIDEAST education abroad experience is designed to help students develop their abilities to navigate the world on their own. Moreover, we want to ensure that students are taking ownership of their study abroad experience. We provide students with a great deal of information before they go abroad and they have access to a strong support system from our staff (both in country and in Washington D.C.) while they are on the program. We want to encourage students to develop their own independent resources and abilities to seek the information they need to become more independent learners and travelers in the region.

We put significant time and effort into providing informational resources to students, and we encourage them to use these materials whenever possible. If you have questions about your child’s semester abroad that are not related to safety and security, please ask your son or daughter. If he/she does not have the information you are curious about, encourage him/her to contact AMIDEAST staff for the answer.

Visiting your Child During the Program

AMIDEAST strongly discourages visits while the program is in progress because we have found that this has the potential to significantly diminish a student's experience. As part of the Student Agreement and Release which students are asked to sign prior to the start of the program we state:

It is the position of AMIDEAST that frequent travel away from the host country/region and/or visits from family and friends during the academic term have the potential to have a negative impact the academic nature of the Student’s experience and his/her ability to adapt to the host culture as fully as possible. For these reasons, AMIDEAST prohibits travel or visits that interfere with regularly scheduled class meetings, Program excursions (excluding optional excursions), and class field trips. Further, AMIDEAST discourages travel or visits that might interfere with a student’s ability to devote sufficient time and energy to his/her studies and exploration of the host culture.

It is fairly common for friends and family to arrange visits once students have completed their program. This gives students ample free time to spend with their visitors and it comes at a time when students are most familiar with their host country; allowing them to be available and knowledgeable guides during your visit.

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

AMIDEAST abides by the provisions of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), a federal law that establishes the rights of students with regard to educational records, and ensures students of the right to privacy and confidentiality with respect to those records.

In compliance with FERPA, AMIDEAST will not disclose any non-directory information about a student or his/her educational records to anyone other than the student, unless the student provides written consent or by submission of evidence that the parents declare a student as a dependent on their most recent Federal Income Tax form submitted to the Internal Revenue Service.  For example, AMIDEAST will not share billing information with a parent, even if he/she is paying a student's invoice, without written consent or proof that the student meets the legal definition as a dependent.   Any student who does not wish directory information released must submit a signed and dated letter to AMIDEAST indicating this preference. A FERPA Waiver Request Form may be completed as a means for students to give AMIDEAST permission to discuss and/or disclose their academic records and other information about them with someone other than themselves (e.g. with a parent, guardian, etc.). Students must write to AMIDEAST directly at edabroad@amideast.org to request a FERPA Waiver Request Form. The FERPA Waiver Request Form must be returned by the student and will not be accepted from another party.

Useful Articles and Resources

Below are several useful articles for you to read in preparation for your son or daughter participating in a study abroad experince.  

  • From StudyAbroad.com, here is a comprehensive Parent Guide for students studying abroad. It answers essential questions on cost, staying in touch, and safety. Click on any of these categories on the lower left menu to read on.
  • From IIEPassport.org, here is a detailed top-ten list of tips for parents with students studying abroad. 
  • An article from the SAFETI (Safety Abroad First – Educational Travel Information) website on Frequently Asked Questions on student safety.
  • Make sure your child enrolls in the State Department’s Smart Travel Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive information and safety updates from their host country’s US embassy.