"Sit down and say, 'Hey, you're going to a new place; you don't know the culture; you're not familiar with everything there,'" Hardin from the University of Oregon recommends. "'You want to learn the culture and get a feel for everything before you stand out.'"
But students can be cautious while still integrating into their new campus, UC—Boulder's Koster notes.
"It does not have to be scary," she says. "In fact, I would encourage parents to encourage their students to try to get to know people outside of what they're used to. Definitely have [your] students branch out, but not enter an unsafe situation."
5. Attend orientation: Many U.S. colleges offer both student and parent orientation programs to acclimate the incoming class with university policies. It's also a particularly crucial time to familiarize new students with safety procedures, notes UC—Boulder's Koster.
If you're able, make the trip to attend orientation with your student, recommends counselor Cohen. That will ensure you're up to speed on campus and dormitory safety as well.
6. Continue to check in: Dropping by for weekend visits probably won't be possible, so make a plan to stay in touch with your student in other ways, Cohen recommends. A weekly or twice-weekly check-in, perhaps over the phone or via Skype, is a manageable target for both students and parents, she says.
If your student's college offers an online portal for parents, take advantage of the opportunity to stay abreast of school news, Cohen recommends. Messiah College in Pennsylvania, for example, operates a parent portal that "disseminates important information on everything from health services to housing, and course registration to finances," according to the school's international parent Web page, which can help to keep you in the loop.
"The safety thing is not just an international issue, but the tough thing with international parents is that they feel somehow more helpless because they're father away," Cohen notes. "Being in touch with the school, even virtually, is going to help them feel more connected to their child and not so helpless."
For more international student tips and news, explore the Studying in the United States center.