Tips for Guardians

During the Program

IUHPFL realizes that guardians may consider the limited communication with their child(ren) overly strict. Other than the initial phone call* in the first few days after arrival, guardians will not be able to speak with their student. Once a week, students may communicate via e-mail — not Skype — for one hour. No other communication is permitted.

This need for limited communication has arisen from 50 years of experience and the realization that true immersion and the growth of a young person will be most beneficial with limited contact. Students can make the most of their once weekly hour by sending group e-mails to their loved ones and friends. If a true issue emerges, students will be able to discuss their concern with an instructor who will get in touch with the IUHPFL Managing Director and Program Coordinator.

In case of emergencies or urgent questions, guardians may contact the program's Managing Director who carries a phone at all times and who can get in touch with the program site, instructors, and host families. Such phone calls should be limited to true emergencies. Communication guidelines are discussed in detail in the Student Handbook.

 I also wish to thank you for running such a well-organized study abroad program. I was amazed at Clare's Spanish speaking skills when we landed in Tuxtla. Previously, Maria (our former exchange student) and Clare had conversed in English. But as soon as they picked us up at the airport, Clare and Maria (and Maria's family) were conversing in Spanish. It was such a delight to see the effect that the Program had on her!" — Jane, Parent of Clare, Mérida, Mexico 2012

Medical Issues

If a student experiences a medical problem, s/he will be asked to visit the best-suited facility. All sites have been selected for their suitability to host U.S. students, should an emergency arise. Medical insurance is provided as part of the program, though it is recommended that students carry additional insurance. In case of a medical emergency, the student would be cared for immediately and guardians would be contacted as soon as possible. Students carry their contact information and basic medical information with them at all times.

In addition, the program recommends that guardians and students disclose any medical issues as part of the application process. The detailed medical form, submitted as part of the application, is always confidential and shared on a need-to-know basis. However, in a challenging situation or an emergency, the form provides instructors and host families with valuable information to best care for the student.

Contact Information

As part of the acceptance materials process students provide all contact information, including guardian, and two additional emergency contacts. Students and guardians receive a list of all participating students and instructors. The program's Managing Director has access to all contact information and carries a phone at all times.

*If a student is unsuccessful reaching their guardian(s), they may try again at a different time. All students should have an opportunity to connect with home once. Students and guardians may want to agree on a pre-determined time before the student travels abroad (keeping in mind the difference in time zones).