IUHPFL requires students to complete a number of steps, starting with registration. Students who meet the eligibility criteria of Registration will be invited to proceed with the application process in which they will need to complete several documents, and request appraisals and transcripts.
All students must provide at least one guardian e-mail. As a rule, all communication between the program and the student includes the guardian. Guardians are asked to confirm that they are receiving important e-mails and communicating with their son/daughter regularly to find out his/her wishes and progress throughout the IUHPFL program cycle.
Guardians are asked to confirm early on that one of them can accompany their student to the mandatory orientation on a Sunday in April. Each site has a dedicated orientation day. One guardian is required to attend their students’ program orientation in order to meet and bond with the program's instructors and fellow students.
Guardians are asked to confirm that the program travel dates from June through July fit with their family's plans. If guardians plan on spending time abroad in the country of their student's program site, they are advised to plan their trip after the program ends.
Please Note: 529 College Savings Plans cannot be used to pay IUHPFL program fees as IUHPFL is not a post-secondary, credit-earning program. While we are associated with IU, our participants are not students of the University.
Emotions run high as the travel date approaches. Students will undoubtedly be nervous and have many questions. Guardians are asked to encourage their students to discuss their questions with them and to connect with their group through Facebook. All students are in the same situation and instructors can provide support and information.
At orientation, students and guardians receive a site-specific Student Handbook with additional information, including flight and travel information, packing tips and Honor Code-related items. Guardians learn more about coping with the absence of their child and preferred communication processes. Over its fifty-year history, IUHPFL has learned that limited communication — avoiding to speak one's native language — is highly effective in supporting the student's language and personal development. In addition, this limited communication helps students better and faster adapt to the host culture and achieve true immersion.
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.
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.
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).
Upon a student's return, guardians may find that s/he suffers from reverse culture shock. Students may speak in the foreign language and have trouble adapting back to family life in the U.S., including speaking English! This phenomenon is normal and will pass with time.
All students are required to complete a mandatory exit survey post-program. This survey takes 60-90 minutes and asks students for feedback about the entire program experience. The survey results help IUHPFL determine areas of concern and lay the groundwork for improvement.
Once students have completed the survey, they receive a final evaluation of their study abroad. This evaluation encompasses all areas of the IUHPFL experience, including the academic involvement, Honor Code, host family stay, afternoon activities, and excursions. All students receive a rubric at the beginning of the program which details exactly what performance is required to achieve the highest evaluation. In addition, all students self-evaluate twice during the program.
Depending on their performance and adherence to the Honor Code, students will receive a diploma for completing their program as well as their final evaluation completed by their program instructors. The diploma, plus any program-specific materials, i.e. a journal created by a group, are mailed to the student by the end of September, and the student evaluations are emailed to the student, provided the student has completed the exit survey.
Promoting the Program
When students return to their school for senior year, they are required to contribute to the foreign language classroom and support their foreign language teacher and department to the best of their ability. Many students whose language skills have vastly improved mentor other students. Finally, all IUHPFL alumni help promote the program by sharing their experience with classmates and younger students. They can utilize the program's Prezi and add their own materials, including photos and video.
Students who attend Indiana University may consider studying abroad through one of 380 Overseas Study programs in 18 languages and 67 countries. Students may build on their IUHPFL experience and spend a summer, semester, or academic year abroad. The choices are endless and study abroad is available for most fields of study. There are also many scholarships available to students who wish to study abroad. More information can be obtained by visiting the Office of Overseas Study is located — in the same building as the IUHPFL — on the first and second floor of the Leo R. Dowling International Center. To apply or plan a visit to Indiana University visit the Office of Admissions webpage.