What to do when your child wants to study abroad – a guide for study abroad parents.
We here at Study Advisory don’t want to provide information only just for future and current students. We understand that sometimes parents play a big role in the experience of studying abroad. That’s why we have put together this guide for study abroad parents along with the help of some parents we know, who have sent one or even more of their kids to study abroad. What are the most common questions that come to their minds? How can you live without seeing your baby for months or even years? How can you be the best possible support for them?
What if something happens?
That is probably the most common question asked by all parents all over the world. Remember that usually studying abroad actually teaches your child how to take care of themselves. By the time that he or she has spent only couple of days there, it is already clear for them how to handle the bureaucracy with local officials, how to study in a foreign language, which places should be avoided and what are the important customs. What other experience could better teach them how to take care of themselves?
You can make sure, however, that your child has all the insurance matters in order. Having insurance might be a life-saver, especially in developing countries.
Why does my child want to study abroad in the first place!? There is a decent community college just close to our home!
Kids who want to study abroad are usually ambitious, brave and open to new experiences. Sometimes staying in their hometown is just not enough. That is awesome. The experience will probably be one of the best things ever – and your job is to help support it. Your kid will need all the support from home that they can get.
When going through all the possible countries or universities, you are probably the most concerned about the safety and costs involved. Take the time to go through them with your child together. We here at Study Advisory always ask for a students’ perspective in safety and money-quality ratio. To get a glimpse of what students think are the safest universities in the world – just browse through Study Advisory!
How should I keep in touch with my kid?
If you are afraid of technology – now is the best time to start being brave. Before your kid leaves for the country, ask him or her to show you all the possible free methods to keep in touch: Facebook, Skype, Whatsapp, Snapchat… they will certainly have one or many favourites!
But don’t call your child every night at 9.30 pm to make sure that they are already home. If your child is living in Spain, Italy or France they haven’t even finished their dinner at that time! It might also cause even them even more homesickness if you contact them every single day. Just be reachable and ask every now and then how your kid is doing.
There are also parents who freak out if they can’t contact the child whenever they want. Relax! In the new country the phones and the internet might not be working as well as in your own home country.
My kid just called from abroad and started crying on the phone! What should I do?
Relax! We bet that 99,9 % of students studying abroad, both boys and girls, cry at some point. Some more, some less. If he or she calls you and starts crying, it means that the emotions are running deep. It does not necessarily mean that they are unhappy or that you should catch the very next plane to go and save them. Studying abroad is such an overwhelming experience that sometimes even running out of milk might end up in tears.
If a sad or a hysteric child calls to you, just maintain your cool and listen to what they have to say. If they call you, it means that they trust you. Try to figure out what’s going on. Just listen and encourage them gently.
Should I pay a visit?
Definitely. Sharing experiences in your child’s new home country might be an amazing thing for both of you. Just forget your prejudices and visit your child with open arms and an open heart. Don’t be intimidated if there are cockroaches in the kitchen, rude people on the streets or if the weather is terrible.
It is your kid’s experience. Take your child to his or her favourite local restaurant, meet some of the new friends they have made and most importantly, show them that you are so proud of them. It will mean the world to them.
My kid has graduated from a foreign university and now wants to stay in that country for work! What should I do?
Your kid graduated? Congratulations! That means that he or she is probably a very talented and ambitious young person. And they want to stay in their host country? That’s just great. Maybe your kid has found the love of their life there? Maybe there are some great work opportunities available to them?
Ask yourself: what is the worst thing that can happen if they stay abroad? Think about that. And by the way, if they find a great job, the odds are that they will be able to pay many more visits to their old home country during vacation time!