If your son or daughter is considering an international educational experience, you probably have several questions and concerns. King's appreciates your interest in your child's decision to take part in the educational adventure of a lifetime and we are happy to assist you at any time. We wish to offer you some advice on how you might assist your son or daughter through the entire process from choosing a program to your child's return home.
How can I support my child?
There are a number of steps you can take to help ensure that your child's experience is positive. Here are some suggestions:
You may wish to research the program and destination that your son or daughter is considering to alleviate any concerns. What type of program is your child interested in? Where will my child live? How does King's ensure the safety of my child? Why has my child decided that this is the right experience for him/her? Please communicate openly and honestly with your daughter or son.
Be informed about the program and review program orientation materials provided to your child by King's. Your son or daughter may need assistance in determining everything from how to pay for his/her international experience to what to pack.
Students may need visas, vaccinations, special documents and so forth. Confirm that your child has the appropriate documentation well in advance of departure.
Keep copies of important documents in a safe location for your son or daughter. This includes a copy of your child's passport and visa cover pages, medical prescriptions, credit card numbers, and social security number. Have your son or daughter provide you with all relevant King's contact information so that you can reach him/her in case of emergency.
While Your Child is Abroad
Be supportive of and confident in your child, and always keep lines of communication open.
Make sure your son or daughter has an easy way to contact you while abroad. Your child should know every possible way to contact you including home phone, work phone, mobile phone, email address and so forth. You should have a way to contact your child while abroad and should be sure to have King's International Student Support or King's Study Abroad Office's contact information for your child while abroad.
Keep a log of dates and times you have contact with your son or daughter. This will make it easier to locate your child in case of emergency.
Make a plan to communicate regularly with your child. Try to remain calm if your child doesn't communicate at the designated time. Travelers change their plans often and usually at the last minute. Have a backup plan to communiate with your child.
Communicating with your student abroad
There are many methods to stay in touch with your child while abroad: telephone, e-mail or Skype are just a few. Some students will choose to purchase a local phone card for local and international use.
Many students consider purchasing a mobile phone in country as it will be less expensive than using a US plan. Students typically purchase a simple mobile phone with a pre-paid plan that has no term commitment or contract to sign. Students can add credit to the phone online, at a mobile phone service provider, at grocery stores, and at convenience stores. The major mobile phone service providers in England are Vodafone, Orange, T-Mobile, and O2. E-mail access is readily available in England, either through campus computer labs, a student's own laptop, or cyber cafes.
Skype, Google Hangout, or similar software is also a great option for students and parents. This free software allows for phone access and video calling over the computer if two users have the same software.
Health and safety
While we cannot prepare for every circumstance, King’s has a network of staff and resources to assist your son or daughter. King’s highly recommends that at least one parent or guardian of the student obtain a valid US passport in case of need of unexpected travel.
King’s provides your child with information and resources geared toward health and safety prior to departure and during on campus orientation. You can also review Safety in London tips and safety and well-being information provided by the KCL Student Union (KCLSU).
King’s College London staff also monitors news reports from around the world, in order to stay current on important events that may impact the safety and security of international students studying in London.
Healthcare and insurance
Students studying at King’s College London for the academic year or completing a degree will be covered by the National Health Service (NHS). Please see http://www.kcl.ac.uk/campuslife/services/health/international.aspx for more information about NHS coverage and advice on any supplementary insurance policies that are recommended.
If a student needs regular medical care abroad, he or she should speak to a travel medicine specialist for recommendations on managing their condition abroad. Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the student to make practical arrangements that address any special medical needs, such as dietary restrictions, allergies, medical prescriptions, psychological treatments and physical disabilities.
In addition, students should verify that any needed medical supplies or prescriptions are available in the host country and if not, make plans to carry supplies with them. Students should travel with medications in their hand luggage, in their original bottles/packaging, along with a copy of their prescription. Knowing the generic names of medications can help students fill a prescription overseas. We strongly encourage students to bring a letter from a doctor at home that includes details about a medical treatment.
When Your Child Returns Home
Your child may return home a changed individual. Your child may be more independent and mature and could experience difficulties readjusting to life back home. Assist your child in connecting with resources that can help with the process of adjusting to life back home. Ask them questions. How can you help and support them?
While at King’s College London, your child will be subject to the university’s policies and codes of conduct. Your son or daughter will also be subject to British law or the law of whichever country they are visiting at the time. Violating university codes and policies will subject your child to the same consequences as any other King’s College London student. See a complete list of student policies at http://www.kcl.ac.uk/aboutkings/quality/academic/myhandbook/index.aspx.