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Old 09-28-2009, 10:15 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Htown Harry View Post
The top issues, in no particular order:
  1. Financial transactions. Not where we will get the money to pay for this (incl. DD's share), but how to set up for accounts, payments and spending money in Euros. Being a member of this forum, I am of course highly allergic to unnecessary fees and hassles.
  2. Communications. DW and DD speak to each other free (and frequently) on our family cell phone plan. We have recently bought webcams and figured out how to make free Skype internet video calls. Cell phone research is in progress - a pay-as-you-go plan in France looks to be the way to go for a six-month stay.
  3. Where to stay is a big unknown right now, but it may be critical to how this works out. It's certainly the biggest financial variable. Unlike freshman year, however, there seems to be very little a non-French-speaking parent can do to help sort through the options.
  4. Security. Not personal security exactly (although that's a part of it, especially for DW), but the uncertainty of whether some of the safety net services we take for granted at an American U will be available if needed.
  5. Health care is also on the list, but I suspect provisions for basic insurance and access to a doctor or clinic will be covered as a matter of course in the exchange process. I wonder whether I should take this for granted. (DD is fit and has no health issues.)
  6. How to explain to my boss that I will need at least two weeks of vacation time to "pick up my daughter from college" next June.
Comments and advice will be welcomed, either specific or general.
1. I'd open an account with Schwab. Both their debit (checking) and credit card have no international fees. Then she can easily withdraw money from an ATM while in France.

2. We use Skype quite a bit. We actually have a phone that doesn't require a PC, but the PC works fine too. As for a cellphone, I'd definitely go with the pay as you go. We do this when visiting Europe and it works well. Look up Rick Steves travel website and you'll probably find tips on this. As a side thought, his site is geared towards travelers, but I'm sure you can find a bunch of other info too.

5. I've always heard good things about French healthcare. Never experienced it myself though, so I can't really comment.

What a great experience. I'm sure she'll have a wonderful time.

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Old 09-28-2009, 10:29 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Rambler View Post
Honestly speaking, if I were you, my only worry would be that she came home with a French BF...

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Old 09-29-2009, 03:46 AM   #23
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Again, great input and advice by many. One key is how involved is the staff at State U. with the program? How and who should the contact we with must be established and understood. One very successful study abroad "systems" is a small Iowa school...Central College at They have their own staff on site at each overseas campus to be the coordination factor many seek. This is the program our DD will be using for her London semester and internship.

In terms of "hovering" and parents being involved I've travelled internationally to every corner of the world for many years and can say the best is to plan and prepare but let the student reach out on their own. Give them the tools and give them your confidence and all will work well. A brief visit during a semester might be ok but I would hold back on the urge to be too involved and too close to the initial start up and move in, etc. Many years ago I ventured to Europe to spend a summer with a business colleague of my father's family at the age of 14 by myself and looking back would never have grown as I did if my parents hadn't allowed me some room to explore on my own.

Good luck...she'll have a great time!

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