University of Delaware

Institute for Global Studies

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Letter to Parents

May 2016

Dear Parent or Guardian:

On behalf of the University of Delaware, I would like to extend our congratulations on your child’s acceptance into the Middle East Partnership Initiative's Student Leaders Program at the University of Delaware (MEPI-SLP). Many excellent candidates from throughout the Middle East and North Africa were considered. Your student’s selection speaks highly of her or his academic standing, character and potential.

The Institute for Global Studies (IGS) seeks to enhance the global dimensions of teaching, research, and service at the University of Delaware. We strongly believe that it is important to travel internationally in order to expand one's understanding of the world. As Mark Twain, an important American writer of the 19th century put it, "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness."

The 2016 MEPI program will be our 14th year hosting a MEPI program, and your student will become part of an extensive network of colleagues and peers that are University of Delaware MEPI alumni!

Over these years, we have come to understand that parents of traveling students have many concerns. As a parent myself, I understand some of the apprehension that you may feel in having your child travel so far from home, and I wanted to share with you some things about the MEPI-SLP and the various steps which the University of Delaware will take to ensure both the safety and happiness of your student.

ARRIVAL: A MEPI staff member will meet your student at Washington Airport and will accompany her or him to the hotel where all of our participants will stay while in Washington. Representatives of the University of Delaware will also stay at the same hotel. After opening activities, including a welcome ceremony by the US Department of State and a few days in Washington, DC, your student along with fellow MEPI-SLP participants will travel by chartered bus to our main campus in Newark, Delaware. Additional members of the UD MEPI-SLP staff will be on hand to greet each student at the University's Christiana Towers housing complex when they arrive there.

HOUSING: Your student will share a two-bedroom apartment with one other student- participant of the same gender; each student has a private bedroom and shares the main living space and a small kitchenette. Each apartment has its own bathroom. Women will be housed in one area while men will be housed in another. Free internet access is available on site and throughout campus.

RESIDENT ADVISORS: Two members of the Program staff will live in the University's Christiana Towers housing complex with the students. These staff members have valuable experience working with university students and are quite familiar with potential concerns young people have when living away from home and family; often for the first time. All of our Program staff go through extensive training and are well prepared to handle any potential concerns. Additionally, the University of Delaware's Office of Residential Life has a twenty-four hour professional staff on duty to deal with any problems which may arise.

SECURITY: The University of Delaware's Public Safety department is committed to doing everything possible to create an environment where people can feel safe to learn, work, live, and visit. The University Police Department regularly works with the Institute for Global Studies to ensure that our program participants enjoy a safe community while they are here.

MEALS: Your child will be provided with a cash allowance enabling them to dine at restaurants, University of Delaware cafeterias, or to purchase food to prepare in their apartment residence. There are many vegetarian options available, as well as local restaurants which serve Halal food. We will work closely with students that fast during Ramadan to ensure they accommodated as well as manage their meals and fast in a healthy manner.

MEDICAL CARE: The Department of State provides medical coverage to participants during their program stay. We have located doctors within Newark who accept this insurance should your student require medical attention. In case of emergency, the University of Delaware's Department of Public Safety has a team of paramedics who provide on-the-spot treatment twenty-four hours per day and can provide emergency transport to the hospital.

COMMUNICATIONS: We recognize the importance of having students stay in touch. Participants will be able to use computers throughout campus to communicate via email and skype. Participants are welcome to bring their own laptop computer, but should consider the risks of damage and theft when deciding whether to bring a laptop. Participants and parents should note that the use of mobile telephones while in academic classes is strictly prohibited. In case of emergencies during class times, please contact the Institute for Global Studies at +1 (302) 831-2852 or the University of Delaware Police Department at +1 (302) 831-2222.

FINANCE: All the costs associated with your student's stay will be borne by the United States government. The Institute for Global Studies has arranged for your student to receive monies for use during the program and will help them budget these monies as needed. These monies are intended for meals and incidental expenses. While it is not necessary to bring any funds, students who do so should bring their money in US Dollars.

RELIGIOUS / SPIRITUAL LIFE: We are respectful of everyone's religious and spiritual lives. We will ensure that students have a prayer room in the same building as classes, so that they can pray throughout the day. We are attempting to keep Friday programming to a minimum and have planned a celebration of Eid within our schedule. A mosque is located only a few kilometers from campus and the Program staff is available to provide transportation. We can also provide transportation to religious services for other participants from a different religious background as well.

In conclusion, we have organized an academically-challenging program complemented with excursions to many places of interest. Your student should come prepared to work hard, meet new people, explore new places and learn about community engagement, leadership and communication. Although our Program is challenging and will ask much of the participants, students will have time to relax and explore the campus and community on their own, with their peers, and with MEPI-SLP staff. We are truly delighted to have them spend part of the summer with us. If you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to contact us.

Sincerely,

Dr. Tracey Holden
tqholden@udel.edu

Dr. Dan Bottomley

dbott@udel.edu

Ms. Rachel Garcia

regarcia@udel.edu



  • Institute for Global Studies  •   Elliott Hall, 26 East Main Street  •   Newark, DE 19716  •   USA
    Phone: ++1 (302) 831-2852  •   Fax: ++1 (302) 831-6042  •   © 2011