University of Delaware

Institute for Global Studies

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Letter to Parents

May, 2013

Dear Parent or Guardian:

On behalf of the University of Delaware, I would like to extend our congratulations on your daughter's or son's acceptance into the Middle East Partnership Initiative's Student Leaders Program at the University of Delaware. Many excellent candidates from throughout the Middle East and North Africa were considered, and that your student was selected speaks highly of her or his academic standing, character and potential.

The Institute for Global Studies 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." In 1923, the University of Delaware began sending its students abroad. Today our Study Abroad program sends students to every continent – including Antarctica.

Last year over 1,800 University of Delaware students, mostly undergraduates, traveled on University of Delaware programs as part of their studies, while others enrolled in foreign universities through exchange programs. The 2013 MEPI program will be our 10th year hosting a MEPI program and your daughter or son 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 daughter or son travel so far from home, and I wanted to share with you some things about the Institute and the various steps which the University of Delaware will take to ensure both the safety and happiness of your student.

ARRIVAL: A 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 her or his colleagues will travel by University of Delaware bus to our main campus in Newark, Delaware. Additional members of the Institute 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 room in a two-bedroom apartment shared with one other student- participant of the same gender. Each apartment has its own bathroom. Women will be housed in one area while men will be housed in another. Linen and cleaning service will be provided. Free internet access is available on site and throughout campus. We will also provide each student with a long telephone distance card.

RESIDENT ADVISORS: Two members of the Program staff will live in the University's Christiana Towers housing complex with the students. These people are familiar and able to deal with the problems young people have when living away from home and family. Additionally, the University'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 student will have access to any of several cafeterias operated by the University's Dining Services, several of which provide all-you-can-eat meals while others operate a-la-carte: there will be no cost to your student to eat in these facilities. Additionally, your daughter or son will be provided with a cash allowance enabling them to dine at restaurants or to purchase food to prepare in her or his 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 insure they  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 walking distance of campus 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. Each participant will be provided with a long distance card and additional cards can easily be purchased. Participants will also be able to use computers throughout campus to communicate with via e-mail and messenger. Participants are welcome to bring their own lap top 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 true 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 with a local bank to provide fee-free accounts to the student-participants and will work with your student on issues of budgeting as may be needed. Students who bring additional cash from home may deposit it safely in their bank account. While it is not necessary to bring any funds, students who do so should bring their money in U. S. Dollars.

RELIGIOUS / SPIRITUAL LIFE: We are respectful of everyone's religious and spiritual lives. The Muslim Student's Association has offered to lend prayer rugs to any student-participant desiring to borrow one. We are attempting to keep Friday programming to a minimum. A mosque is located only a few kilometers from campus and is easily accessible by bus (student-participants will be provided with a bus pass). Other transportation may be arranged as needed.
We have organized an academically-challenging program complemented with excursions to many places of interest. Students will have time to relax and explore the campus and community on their own, with their peers, and with Institute 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 me.

Lesa G. Griffiths  

  • 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