Mothers....not mine.

For having not been in the home office for the month of April in two years, I sure have experienced a whirlwind of a welcome back! The phones ring off the hook. Students are studying abroad - that's great! And with the Olympic summer approaching we're seeing a banner year in terms of enrollment for London. All positive, woohoo!

We're also seeing more "friends" and "parents" wanting to come over. Which makes for interesting phone calls. I picked up a call to the main line from a mother the other day, her son is studying abroad on "the study abroad program" this summer and she was hoping to have a few questions answered, could she speak to me about them?

Of course, ma'am, I'll be happy to help - would you mind telling me which program your son is participating on? The London one. Great. Thank you.

She proceeded to ask a few of the usual questions that we do in fact go over during our pre-departure orientation closer to program departure, but I answered them for her nonetheless. Towards the end of our conversation she asked about the mini-break travel period, "housing is not provided during that time, is this correct?"

Yes ma'am, that is correct, students pack up and move out for that period of time, all travel and accommodation is independent of the program during the mini-break.

"And when do they start to make those arrangements?"

Well, some students will plan their mini-break travels long before program departure, but many students wait until they are actually in London, to see where their friends decide to go, and they make plans together.

"Oh I see, well my husband and I would like to come over during that time to get him from place to place, is that something people do?"

Do parents come to visit? Yes, parents and friends come every year to visit program participants. Generally they come before the program or after the program rather than during the mini-break because that time is rather short, but it's entirely possible.

"Oh wonderful. So when will we pay for those arrangements?"

I'm sorry, I don't think I understand your question?

"Well for those travel arrangements, the ones during the mini-break, when will we pay you for that?"

Um, well, I don't make those arrangements, they are separate from the program, your son will make his arrangements. Not our office. If you decide to come over during that time, then you can make those plans accordingly.

"Oh, I see, so you're not just the travel agent?"

What does that even mean?

No, no ma'am, I am not a travel agent, far from it actually. But our office does in fact work with a travel agent and I would be happy to put you in touch with her if you need assistance planning any sort of non-program-related travel.

"Well that would be wonderful, yes, thank you."

I have an even better one coming later...

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