Seven Ways Not to Pick a Study Abroad Program

Jay Matthews:

I did not give much thought to my college daughter’s plans to spend her spring semester last year in Chile. I did not study the brochures. I did not ask the study abroad office any questions. Neither my wife nor I had ever studied overseas. We had no stories to tell and no expertise to share. We figured this was one area where we would not be our usual overbearing, interfering selves, and let Katie take care of everything.
She did a fine job. But then she was robbed in Santiago. It was at a Starbucks where she liked to study. A young man approached and asked her what was in an espresso coffee. She thought this was an odd question, but he was good-looking and wasn’t until she finished her answer that she realized he had gotten a hand on the strap of her book bag — with wallet, passport, laptop and lots of other good stuff. In another second he was out the door. She never saw him, or her belongings, again.
I got the call that afternoon sitting where I am sitting now, at my computer at work. Katie was upset, but had already contacted the Santiago office of her study abroad program. They were helping her deal with the police and start the frustrating process of replacing everything she had lost.