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Study Abroad Tips For Parents & Guardians

Posted on Apr 24, 2017

Your child is all set to embark on a dream journey. A great opportunity is knocking at their door and the decisions you help them make will impact their future. Here are a few tips that will allow you to guide them before they take their first step into their new world:

1. Evaluate your childʼs decision. Sit down with your child to understand their strengths, preferences and what the value of the degree is to them. It’s important you weigh the pros and cons of your childʼs decision. Has your child done the introspection and due diligence? Is there anything you can shed light on? You need to brainstorm with your child to make sure their aspirations align with the academic path they have chosen. Before they take a plunge, make sure they have set realistic and practical goals for themselves.

2. Research the program thoroughly. Do extensive research about the program. Evaluate the university, course curriculum and the career opportunities after graduation. If possible, visit the targeted colleges to gain a deeper understanding. Speak to students and alumni to get a better perspective. Do not restrict yourself to the college, but also research about the country, its laws, codes, culture, and customs. Guide your child both about the place and the college. Once you have a complete understanding of the schools and program, you can be a stronger sounding board for your child.

3. Support through the application process. Completing the college application process while meeting the demands of their regular schedule puts a lot of pressure on your child’s time and mental health. Back them with your guidance and support, while allowing them to remain autonomous. Let your child conduct the college process on their own. This will prepare them to be independent when they go to college and start handling everything on their own.

4. Know the financial implications. Even before your child departs for college abroad there will be costs associated with the application process including application fees and standardized test expenses. Once at college, there will be tuition fees, which will vary depending on the location, field of study, and duration of the program. Then, there will be living costs, which will include rent, food, transportation, and insurance. You child might need to buy several things initially to settle in the new place, including winter wear, bedding, kitchen utensils, toiletries, and a new laptop perhaps. Remember to take these into account when estimating your finances to avoid any adverse situations later.

5. Teach your child money matters. Teach your child how to handle their finances by preparing monthly budgets, clearly demarcating “needs” from “wants.” Make them understand the credit system of the country where they will be studying and how to build a strong credit history. Assist them in researching the best student bank account options, before they open a local account. Guide them on how to identify verified and accredited sources when exchanging money.

6. Understand the medical framework. It is important to probe into the coverage, cost, and insurance options offered by the country and university your child has selected. Purchase an international travel insurance, if required. If your child is under medication for any illness, make sure they have stockpiled for their initial transition time, along with a copy of their prescription. Finally, teach your child how to cope with injury and sickness while abroad to minimize stress.

7. Follow the packing list. Make a list of things your child would need when abroad. Most colleges provide guidance on what to take and how much and what is most practical to purchase locally. Also, talking with parents whose children have gone through the process of studying abroad will help. Pack extra photographs of your child in case he/she requires a new driverʼs license or any other id card. If your child wears glasses, pack 1–2 extra pairs. Make sure you do not miss out anything which may not be available there or will be available at a higher cost.

8. Learn all communication channels: Communicating and keeping in touch with your child is very important. Exhort your child to communicate with you on regular basis, but be prepared to adjust according to their busy schedule once they have settled in their college life. Encourage interaction through social media, as it is an inexpensive yet the most effective way of communication. Both of you should keep emergency phone numbers handy at all times, including university and program contacts.

9. Let go. Take a backseat as a doting parent and play the role of an effective guide. You will not be there with your child in the foreign land. Your child has to take their own decisions. Be a guide, not a supervisor. Facilitate them with the information and resources to take the right decisions. Let them know that if they will fall, you are there to catch. Be the pillar of strength.

Your childʼs study abroad experience will be one of their greatest adventures. They will meet new people, visit new places, learn new cultures, and become more mature and independent. There will be a positive change in their perspective towards life. This is the time you have to mentor your child and let them take risk and learn new ways of life.

ReachIvy  sincerely hopes that this article serves as a critical tool to increase your knowledge base. For study abroad consultation or career counselling  with ReachIvy, Submit a Query now! Also, review our resources to access our free premium content.

This article was also published in My City for kids on 13/04/2017.

Posted in Parent's Corner

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