We see it on Twitter everyday: ‘I want to study abroad, but my parents won’t let me! #MyLifeSucks’ etc.
While you may be super enthusiastic to study abroad, your parents or guardians may not share the same sentiments. However it’s not because they want to dash your dreams or upset you; simply, they care about you and would worry about you being so far away from them for the first time. In some cases, it might be a matter of finances and they won’t be able to support you.
If you’re under 18 years old, you’ll need their permission to study abroad as they will have to sign documentation during the application process pertaining to your visa etc. Plus, it’s always nice to know that while your parents support your decisions, they are also comfortable with them too.
So to help you, we’re suggesting a few ways to help twist your parents’ arm and persuade them to let you move abroad for your studies:
Introduce the idea early on
If you come out with the idea of studying abroad spontaneously one day, it hardly sounds like you have given the idea much thought. Your parents will merely see this as a passing fad or fantasy which you'll forget about in a few days or weeks. Introduce the topic early on, say two or three years before you intend to commence study; this way they’ll have some time to adjust to the idea themselves and it won’t seem so foreign. Do this gradually too. Practically, if your parents will be supporting you financially, they’ll need to consider this when they plan their own finances for the period up to, during and after you study. Remember, it’s not all about you, especially if you have a large family with siblings also hoping to go to university.
Be on your best behaviour
Your parents will be less open to the idea of you going abroad if they have any doubts about your maturity and ability to be responsible. If you're staying out beyond your curfew or getting into trouble at school, they won't exactly bend over backwards to send you abroad (especially if they're paying for it). However, if they trust you as a person, they can at least be safe in the knowledge that you have a good head on your shoulders. Demonstrate that you posses these positive qualities and can handle juggling several commitments. This might be through a part-time job, keeping up your school grades, looking after a pet or volunteering for a significant period leading up to your studies. Some parents are concerned that study abroad is just one big party or holiday (which it’s not), so this is one obstacle to overcome.
Don’t approach your parents and simply say, ‘I want to study abroad!’ Not only does it sound like a demand, but it doesn’t exactly scream of having been given a lot of thought. Do your research so you can show that you’re serious and can answer any initial queries they bring up. Show them documents which you have printed out/collected or online resources with key sections highlighted/bookmarked (this is a lot better than simply handing over a long document for your parents to work through). Having put the work in yourself, it will be clear that you’re passionate about studying abroad and you’re willing to take on the responsibility of planning this yourself.
Emphasise the career benefits
There are many positives to studying abroad, but the impact it can have on your career prospects is one which your parents will respond to particularly. After all, they will want you to do as well as you can in life. Once again, showing that you have considered your future and career plans is a sign of maturity, and if you have a route in mind, even better! Using your career prospects to argue for studying abroad also suggests that this time abroad is more of an investment in your future, rather than a trip purely for pleasure which they may be concerned about.
Paul Ellett is the editor for Hotcourses Abroad and enjoys approaching old international education topics in new ways. In his personal time, he's an avid fan of comedy podcasts and Nicolas Cage films.