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Studying abroad: What parents need to know

The spotlight has always been on students when it comes to studying abroad..what about what parents go through and how they should prep?

Ashwin Sriram
What Parents Need to Know

Make an effort to connect with other parents whose children have previously studied abroad and learn about their experience. They could give you pointers based on their personal experience.

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Being a parent, it is only natural for you to take a lot of interest in your child’s education. You are likely to have a lot of questions related to overseas education. Tough decisions about when, where and what to study are usually made by the students, but as a parent, you must surely want to be involved in the decision-making process. We believe by being well informed, you can play a wonderful supporting role as a parent and mentor for your child, as they begin their long study abroad journey with us.

You want what is best for your child. We echo that sentiment. We know just how important it is to get big, life-changing decisions right. Our advisors are here to make sure any decision you take for your child is based on his/her best interests.

Below you’ll find a list of helpful suggestions on how you can assist your child through the entire study abroad process and later when they’ve moved abroad.

Stay Informed

You’re likely to feel a lot more secure about your child’s education abroad after you’ve done some research. Start by gathering information on your child’s chosen study destination. Look into the course curriculum, campus life abroad and the accommodation options available for international students.

You can use our online resources to gather all the information you need. You can also call or meet our advisors to get any questions and doubts cleared.

An education abroad is among the most rewarding experiences for your child, but it can also pose a lot of challenges and potential difficulties. So be prepared to ask the right questions to the college representatives using all the information you’ve gathered.

Let Go

Sending your child abroad can be an emotional moment for you. As the departure date nears, you can have a lot of anxiety and second-thoughts creeping up in your head. We know how difficult it can be to part with a loved one, but it’s important to understand just how much the student benefits from independent living and foreign exposure.

Allow your child to make the most of his/her studies abroad by being supportive. It’s important to let them know that you stand by their decisions and are here to support them in their journey to build their career.

Give your child the information and resources he/she needs to make better decisions once they reach their study destination.

Don’t be too demanding and expect them to call you every day. Understand their difficulties and make arrangements to connect at a time, which is favourable for your child and you.

Make an effort to connect with other parents whose children have previously studied abroad and learn about their experience. They could give you valuable pointers based on their personal experience as a parent.

Packing

Help your child with his/her packing plans. It’s important to pack light, but also wisely. Draw up a checklist detailing all the things that he/she will need for the duration of his/her studies abroad.

Check the weight of the luggage and see if your child is able to move around with it. Your child will have to carry that luggage around for a while, so it’s important to make sure he/she is able to handle the load.

Communication

Keeping in touch with your child while he/she is studying overseas is important for both of you. Work out a plan of communication before the departure date. It is important to be flexible with your plan because it may not always work out that way. Your child may have internet issues or phone connection delays — so be prepared for such eventualities.

Social networking sites like Facebook and internet messaging services like Google Talk and Yahoo Messenger are inexpensive ways to keep in touch. You can also use mobile apps like WhatsApp and internet calling solutions like Skype to stay connected. If you are not already familiar with any of these applications then it’s advisable to spend some time learning how to use them.

Students and parents should both have a set of emergency contacts with them at all times. You should note down the contact details of your child’s college representatives and classmates. In the event your child is unable to reach you, he/she should be able to connect with relatives in India or abroad.

Finances

By devising a sound financial plan, you can help your child manage his/her monthly expenses well. Use your experience and knowledge to guide your child on all issues related to money.

To limit spending and avoid needless expenditure, make a list detailing expenses that are mandatory, and then make another list detailing expenses that can be avoided. By reviewing both lists, you can work out a good budget plan with your child.

Responsibilities

For a lot of students, living abroad can be the first time they are living away from home and on their own. So it’s important to be honest with your child about the drastic changes he/she is likely to experience living abroad.

Have a talk about the financial, social and academic responsibility with your child. Encourage your child to solve his/her own issues that may arise while studying abroad. Get them to do the bulk of research on matters related to overseas education. This will not only empower your child, but will also help him/her face any challenges that may emerge during his/her stay abroad. Place your trust on your child and give him/her the confidence needed to make his/her own decisions while studying abroad.

Food

As a parent, you can teach your child to be more adaptive to the difference in cuisine abroad. You can also teach your child to cook his/her own food to save up on restaurant bills.
Safety

This is understandably among the biggest concerns for parents. Sending your child to a whole new country and making him/her deal with all the challenges that come with it can easily stress you out. But with proper guidance and awareness of safety measures, you can ensure your child’s well-being abroad.

Educate yourself on ways to stay safe in another country and then relay this information to your child. You should encourage your child to cultivate and utilise their "street smart" skills while living abroad.

Advise them to take various precautions when dealing with difficult everyday life scenarios.

Visits

You may want to visit your child while he/she is living abroad. Plan a visit only at a time that is convenient for your child. You don’t want to be showing up with your luggage during their exam periods.

Remember that while it may be a vacation for you, your child still has responsibilities. You may miss your child a lot, but it’s important for him/her to spend some quality time immersed in a foreign culture and engaged with new company to grow as an individual.

Returning Home

Just as you must prepare your child for his/her chosen study destination, you must also face up to the fact that on his/her return to India, he/she may encounter a “reverse culture-shock”.

Allow your child a period of adjustment when they first return home. After living as an independent individual abroad, it may take them some time to adjust to the demands of living at home.

Encourage your child to keep in touch with the people he/she met while studying abroad. These connections can last a lifetime. Listen to what your child has to say — he/she probably has a great deal of experiences to share with you. This could be a lovely moment to bond with your child again.

We hope you found our suggestions useful. If you have anything to add to our list of suggestions, please feel free to comment below.

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