MM- Last summer, my daughter got a scholarship for a program that turned out to be really disrespectful towards the participants. It was truly awful - the first day, one of the counselors actually rolled her eyes at Rain and members of their group when they wanted to put their luggage in their rooms. Their cell phones were taken immediately upon arrival, even though the rulebook (which we had read cover to cover) explicitly said that they could have cell phones unless they were being "abused". One of the instructors physically shoved participant. Like I said, awful... and I was in Egypt, so we had a crazy week of me trying to get her home, because the program was halfway across the country from where I lived.
I am glad that I had insisted on having contact with her via email beforehand. At one point they told her that she could handwrite messages to me that a counselor would type into the computer and email to me, which was crazy censorship, so she worked out a coded message that I would understand... fortunately they decided that was too much work for the counselor so we got to chat on facebook.
Susan, since my daughter has been in Russia skype has been amazing. We use it for audio chat, audio and video chat, and just typing-chat. There are certain times of the week when we're both usually online, and if we leave the chat open it feels kind of like we're both together... and we occasionally write to each other for a few minutes, or ask a question.
Rain also loves getting mail, so I try to send her a letter or a postcard every week or two. It's a fun day-brightener, I think...
Single mom to Rain (1/93) , grad student, and world traveler