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How To Ensure Your Child Is Safe When Studying Overseas?

Posted on Aug 03, 2017
Safety Tips_Study Abroad
Your child is about to leave home and head for another country to fulfil his/her dreams of studying abroad. Even though you know that it’s an opportunity that would furnish him/her with a lifetime of learning and amazing prospects, you are worried. It’s natural to be so, as your child would be beyond your immediate reach should he/she need you (or vice versa!). However, today, with the internet and fast connectivity across the globe, staying in touch is not difficult. Hence rest assured, you can connect via various online sources, guide your child via devices and stay updated at all times. Also, adopt proper measures in advance to safeguard your child in any situation. Here are some safety tips for parents to ensure the child’s safety and security during their stint abroad:
Learn about the place: Gather information about every aspect of the geography your child will be moving to. From getting an overview of the place to characteristics specific to the location or culture and people – leave no stone unturned in your investigation. The things that you need to know are – law and regulation, climate, food habits, transportation, medical infrastructure and facilities, cost of living, cultural practices. Choose authentic sources to collect information, all websites are not reliable thus get your information from trusted sites. Some sources that will help in your research:
• Approach friends/relatives staying there or who have visited the place;
• check on social networking sites if there are groups who are residents of the place and request them to share details about the locality;
• visit the location if possible
• get information from international student services
Discuss your learnings and findings with your child to familiarise them with their new environment.
Register with MADAD: As your child is all set to journey to his/her study destination, without delay get him/her registered with MADAD, the online Consular Services Management System. This is an attempt undertaken by the Indian Government to extend any kind of help to Indian students studying abroad. Students who are planning to go overseas or even those who stay abroad are required to open an account on this portal and create his/her profile. To get started, your child has to fill in an online registration form providing personal details, emergency contact number in India, and course details. On submission, registration will be confirmed. Hereafter, students can log in to update about courses as well as register grievances. It is reassuring to know that your child can reach out to the Indian Consular Services in an emergency.
Stay connected: All your child needs when abroad is the feeling that you are around. Go digital and install a few devices or apps on your phone and computer to be able to connect to your young one anytime and from anywhere. Also, you have at your disposal social networking sites to know your child’s whereabouts and latest activities. Travel and health insurance: The two most essential areas you need to have in place are your child’s travel and health insurances. First, check with the university regarding their insurance policy. Usually universities provide for basic travel and medical requirements. If you are buying health insurance, look for the ones that provide diverse medical coverage including emergency services. A travel insurance plan, on the other hand, will take care of issues related to lost stolen baggage, transportation and basic medical aid during travel. You’ll feel reassured if you get a comprehensive insurance safety net for your child.
Here’s a list of some anticipated issues and how to handle them.
• Provide a directory of important contact details namely – the nearest consulate, your embassy’s 24 hours’ hotline, insurance agent’s emergency number, and local contacts if any.
• If your child loses his/her passport: he/she needs go over to the consulate to apply for a temporary passport. Pack a passport sized photograph and copy of the first passport as he/she will require these for fresh application.
• If there is immediate medical requirement :he/she has to contact local emergency services; inform the international student services staff or help centres to get in touch with family or home campus; you need to contact your insurance providers at the earliest.
• If your child’s debit card gets lost or stolen: Immediately contact the bank to lock the card; if possible keep provision for back-up credit/debit card that he/she can carry along; wire money through a reliable transaction system.

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This article was also published in Education Times on 03/08/2017.

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