Before arrival on campus
Parents can help their young-adult begin preparing for a healthy transition to an independent life in a foreign country before the student sets foot on campus. By allowing their child to take responsibility important decision-making skills including personal appointments and routine tasks, parents are helping their student develop skills that will prepare them for the daily and long-term independence needed to be successful in college life. The more practice students have before coming to campus, the more proficient and confident they will become. At Franklin, we pride ourselves in encouraging students to become independent thinkers that have the ability to navigate a global environment with confidence and poise. Though the transition can be challenging for students, they Below are some activities parents can encourage their student to practice to develop decision-making competency:
- Cleaning private living space and doing their own laundry
- Managing personal finances. This could include: balancing a checkbook, planning an expense budget, tracking credit card spending and account withdrawals, and shopping for personal necessities
- Scheduling their own appointments, completing their own paperwork, and contacting offices for information
- Organizing personal affairs. This could include: waking on their own in the morning, preparing meals, managing a medication regimen if relevant, and organizing time
- Making their own decisions and handling the consequences, even of small daily decisions, such as family obligations and following through on commitments to others
Empower your student to self-advocate
Today’s parents have well-developed advocacy skills. They are good at accessing resources to help their student. But parents face a new challenge of helping their college-age children to start advocating for themselves. For many Franklin students, navigating the new found independence of life in a foreign country can be present new and interesting challenges. It is not uncommon for parents and family members to receive a phone call from frustrated students attempting to overcome these challenges. Though it may seem easier to contact the University on the student’s behalf to resolve the issue, by continuing to intercede, parents may be inhibiting students from building their own advocacy and independency skills.
Instead, we ask that parents encourage students to establish a relationship with campus staff members, professors, advisors to attempt to resolve any issues that they experience. When appropriate, parents are welcome to set up phone conference calls when contacting campus personnel that not only include the student but allow the student to start the conversation.
Because parents no longer regularly see their student every day, we also suggest that parents and family members establish a regular communication plan with their student that works with their schedule. Because phone charges may be expensive, talk to your student about what the best form of communication (email, Skype, Facetime, etc. ) is for them as well as timing and frequency that allows them to explore their environment while keeping you informed of their adventures and life at Franklin.
Academic support from afar
Franklin University Switzerland provides a stimulating academic, social and cultural environment. In addition to the classroom, we encourage students to learn through exploration of the world around them. This includes outings into the local community and trips to surrounding countries. This educational setting provides students with countless opportunities to grow and to build vital skills. Some students find the transition to this multi-dimensional academic environment challenging. This is normal.
If your student comes to you with frustrations, please encourage them to speak to their professor. Let them know that you understand that it will not be easy at first. The world-class faculty at Franklin want to help and have office hours to meet with students to discuss academic progress. If a student is struggling in a course, please encourage them to meet with their professor or academic advisor to come up with a plan to assist in their success.
In addition to professors and academic advisor, students can also seek out tutoring in the Writing and Learning Center. The Center offers group and individual tutoring, depending on the subject and tutor availability and can be a valuable resource for students in transition to the University level writing that is expected of Franklin students.
Franklin University Switzerland is committed to providing reasonable accommodations in its programs to students who have documented disabilities, including learning disabilities.
For students with documented learning differences, Franklin fosters success by coordinating accommodations and by organizing additional academic support. As a small community of learners, we can offer individual support on many levels, with both qualified staff and trained student mentors and tutors.
Students with learning disabilities are encouraged to contact Accessibility Services.
Conversations about healthy choices
Franklin provides a fantastic opportunity for students to grow, develop and learn in stimulating social and cultural environment. New opportunities will present themselves as your student takes on the responsibilities of academic life, extra-curricular activities, personal growth, and decision-making.
As students navigate their new found independence, it is important that parents and family members have intentional conversations about what responsibility means and what they can do to ensure that they are making healthy and safe decisions.
The legal drinking age in Switzerland is 18 years old. While we understand that every family has different philosophies about alcohol use, it may be appropriate to begin the discussion about making responsible decisions regarding alcohol. Some suggestions include:
- Asking your student about their own views on alcohol including what their plans are regarding drinking at social gatherings and events while in college. What are their plans if alcohol is the only beverage offered at a social gathering? What is their plan if they are around people and friends who have had too much?
- Set realistic goals and expectations together for student’s academic performance and alcohol use.
- Encourage them to stand up for their right to a comfortable academic and residential environment.
Students who don’t drink can still be affected by students that do. Encourage your student to deal with alcohol-related problems like interrupted study time or inappropriate behavior by directly confronting the person or the problem. If they need further assistance, students are encouraged to contact their Resident Assistant.
- Encourage them to say something if they see something
If your student sees someone who seems to be making a questionable decision while they are intoxicated, encourage them to intervene or report any inappropriate behavior in the confidential campus safety report form. If they see someone who they think might need medical attention, encourage them to call the Franklin Pro Staff (079 211 46 89)
- Discuss the differences between low risk and high-risk drinking.
Even if you don’t approve of your student using alcohol, this information could be valuable for your student in assisting friends. Here are some difference between low-risk and high-risk drinking and abstaining.
Low-Risk Drinking may include:
- Planning whether you will drink, what you will drink, and how much you will drink before you head out for the night, and sticking to that plan
- Eating a substantial meal before drinking
- Drinking no more than one drink per hour
- Always knowing what you are drinking
- Alternating alcohol-free drinks throughout the evening
- Knowing how you will get home safely before you go out
- Using the buddy system and designating a “sober buddy” for the night
High-Risk Drinking may include:
- Chugging, drinking games, shots, drinking anything out a of punch bowl, trough, hose or funnel
- Drinking with the deliberate intention to get drunk
- Driving after drinking or riding with someone under the influence
- Drinking too much too fast
- Drinking on an empty stomach
- Mixing alcohol with caffeine or energy drinks
- Not knowing what is in your glass or leaving it unattended
- Mixing alcohol with medications or illegal drugs
Though it may not be their intent, some students suffer unexpected and unwanted consequences after high-risk drinking behavior. Discourage participation in drinking games. Help them understand that high-risk drinking can result in injury, vandalism, and high-risk sexual behavior.
Please trust that your student can grow and develop into an independent global citizen. At Franklin, we are committed to providing as many opportunities for your student to have a safe, engaging and fun environment. As long as they take advantages of these opportunities, they will enjoy a fulfilling academic and social experience that will expand their horizons and change their life.