Paul Sweeney

Paul and Emily at Augrabies Falls in South Africa

Paul’s daughter studied abroad in Stellenbosch, South Africa.

Where did your daughter go to college?

Boston University

When and where did your daughter study abroad?

Emily studied abroad at Stellenbosch University in Stellenbosch, South Africa in the spring semester of 2006.

What program did she go on?

American Institute for Foreign Study (AIFS)

How did studying abroad help your daughter?

After getting over the shock of finding out that our daughter wanted to study abroad in South Africa, it was an AMAZING experience for all of us!! Emily was always adventuresome and loves different cultures and languages.  While in South Africa, she studied, did volunteer work and made some life long friendships. It opened her eyes as she realized that we as a “people” are all different, but the same too!

What was your BIGGEST challenge as a parent while your daughter was studying abroad?

Two things: 1. Not being able to pick up the phone and speak with her or text her.  When it was 9pm our time, it was 3am her time so the time difference made communication a little difficult!  2. Keeping my mouth shut about our plans to visit her during her Spring break.

What does your daughter do now career-wise?

She graduated from BU, toured around Europe and then was an Au Pair in Germany for awhile.  When she returned home she found a job in NYC.  Then she got a job at AIFS in CT.  While working at AIFS, she decided she wanted to go to grad school, bought her very first car and now two years later has now graduated from grad school with her Masters in Global and International Education.  We’re always wondering what her next great “adventure” or idea will be, she keeps us on our toes!

What is your best piece of advice for parents whose son or daughter is thinking about studying abroad?

There are a few pieces of advice to give you.

1. Take a deep breath, it’s NOT the end of the world, (it will only seem that way for a little while)

2. LISTEN to your son/daughter and hear what they have to say. Let them talk it out, save your questions/write them down.  If your son or daughter is as smart as our daughter was, he/she would do “their homework”, anticipate the questions and be prepared to give you good answers!

3. (Not least or last) Love them to death and encourage them to pursue their goals and dreams and support them along the way!

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