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Pointers for Parents & Families

Quiraing, Isle of Skye

A Letter to Parents and Families from the Director of International & Off-Campus Studies

Dear Parents and Families of Students,

St. Olaf College has a long history in off-campus study, stretching well more than 50 years. Currently around 75% of our students study off campus at least once during their years at St. Olaf and many students go on multiple programs. Students report that their participation in off-campus programs is a life-changing experience and most claim that this was one of the highlights of their collegiate academic lives. It is a time that stretches students intellectually, culturally, and socially. Repeatedly we see that students come back to campus energized and transformed with new perspectives and thoughts on our global world.

Studying off-campus is an exciting opportunity, but it can also be stressful because of all the preparation that is required and the adjustments that need to be made to new settings. Our office is student centered; we work with the students to give them the tools and information that they will need. After being accepted into a program, students will have orientation sessions and be given information on how to best prepare for their programs.  Orientation programs include, but are not limited to, information about academic expectations, visa regulations, health and safety advice, and cross-cultural awareness.  There are re-entry opportunities when the students return to campus.  We help the students adjust back to campus and think about ways to extend their experiences in what they do next with their lives.

We are committed to providing off-campus study opportunities that do not jeopardize the health and safety of our students. For this reason, we monitor global news each day and remain in regular contact with the U.S. State Department, embassies or consulates, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and on-site experts and hosts in the countries where our students are located.  We develop contingency plans in the event that troubles develop at a program site, and we are prepared to make changes in our programs at a moment’s notice if the situation requires such action. Students also need to be aware that they play a role in avoiding risks when traveling abroad. We encourage them to make wise personal choices and to keep their contact information current so that we can be in contact with you, as needed.  We hope that you will assist us in reinforcing this message.

Thank you for your support of off campus study. Feel free to contact us if you do not find the information you need on this website.

On behalf of the whole staff of the IOS office,

Jodi Malmgren
Director of International and Off-Campus Studies

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