Overcoming the fear of sending your child to study abroad
Afraid of letting your child study abroad? Don’t worry, the pros outweigh the cons.
Studying abroad at a reputed university or school is the dream of many young adults. But for parents, along with the vision of a better future, there’s also a worry at the back of their minds of letting go of their little ones and allowing them to fly away, quite literally, to a new land. Most parents recognize that there are unmatched advantages of getting a good education abroad. And yet, there are doubts about letting go that can seem insurmountable. But every seeming challenge is really an opportunity for your child to blossom.
Fears and Challenges; and Tips to Overcome Them
Most parents realize, when they think of the various aspects of sending their child abroad, that a lot of so-called problems and challenges have solutions that far outweigh the seeming risk.
Challenge #1: Overcoming Differences:
Students often face cultural, religious and language differences. Encourage your young student to not let this get in the way of their chances of reaching out to the people around them. Instill a tolerance for different cultures and religions by reading up more about them in advance. Remind your child that keeping an open mind and heart and not making assumptions is a good way of encouraging friendships to occur naturally, and can lead to greater socialization. Learn about the host country. Most countries have websites detailing tips for foreigners on how to make the most of their stay there. Familiarize your child with valuable tips about the host country’s culture, safety measures, and health and travel information.
Challenge #2: Staying Healthy:
Make sure you provide basic medications and remedies in quantities that will last long. Also, check for insurance plans, if need be. Make sure your child carries appropriate winter wear.
Teaching a few basic recipes is a great way to reduce the number of times your child has to eat out.
Challenge #3: Managing finances:
Traveling and studying abroad can be expensive. Help your young student look for financial aid, bursaries, scholarships and other options for financial assistance. A lot of these funding options often go unused because students are unaware of their existence or haven’t filled out the necessary paperwork on time. Also, help your child learn to budget to ensure they don’t overspend on unnecessary items while neglecting fees and other learning expenses. In addition, help your child look for part-time work opportunities. Most universities encourage students to look for jobs on campus.
Encourage your child to carry smaller sums of cash rather than carrying a lump sum when they step out. Remind your child to keep back-up documents of financial matters and others safe.
Look for the most cost-effective phone plans, including for overseas calls. Familiarize yourself and your young student with convenient ways of staying in touch, such as Skype, Facetime and WhatsApp.
Challenge #4 Staying Safe:
Encourage your child to reach out to teachers, create wholesome friendships and seek counseling if the need arises. Make a list of important as well as good-to-know contact numbers, from banks and credit card company numbers to the embassy (in case of a lost passport) and hospitals and clinics in the area.
Make sure your child knows they can call home at odd hours, not just in emergencies but also if something’s really bothering them.
How Will Staying on Their Own Help Your Child? Let’s Count the Ways:
Studying abroad offers enriching experiences and allows your child to flex their independence muscles. But besides independence and adventure, there are many more benefits of getting an education abroad.
A Wider Perspective: Living abroad and mingling with people of various nationalities gives the kind of unmatched exposure to a level of diversity that is impossible back home. Your child will develop a broader, more realistic understanding of humanity, and a more mature worldview.
An Unbreakable Confidence: Being on your own fast-tracks the learning of life skills and independence. Nothing builds confidence in your own abilities faster than by making it in the world on your own. Travel and staying abroad makes young adults more resourceful, responsible and confident.
A Greater Proficiency in a New Language: Living in a country with a different language is the shortcut to becoming proficient in that language. Nothing boosts your language skills more than having to use the language every day, in a variety of situations. Most workplaces value multilingual job candidates.
A Better Career Path:
Graduates with good overseas education are a huge asset to any firm back home, since they bring with them a great amount of perspective, poise and maturity at work. Your child can enjoy an edge when it comes to getting their desired career.
Be confident in the way you’ve raised your kids. They will retain their roots even as they spread their wings!