Parental Guide: Study Abroad
So parent’s this time, a piece of information for you all who are the backbone of your child’s abroad journey. Sending them abroad for further studies is not at all an easy decision to make; I understand the pain and sacrifice you make to set your child’s career, making him confident and independent to face the challenges of this world. Meeting new people, imbibing new culture tradition and a complete new way of life, not at all an easy call to make.
So parent’s here your role as a mature supporting and understanding parent begins where each step that your child takes to accomplish his future goals depend on you and your guidance.
As a parent, you might be planning and thinking a lot many things for your child before you send him abroad, yet I would like to highlight a few points to make your work a bit easier.
Being a parent you should be well aware of what your child wants in life. Ask him questions pertaining to his interest and how he wants to pursue it? Suggest him ways and options to conquer his dreams but let him handle his rise and falls by himself. Be a constant support but not a spoon feeder. Travelling abroad will teach him to manage his life on his own, adjusting with new culture and lifestyle meanwhile maintain balance between his personal and study life.
Once your child reaches his 10th or 12th grade, start with your research. Prepare a list of countries and suitable courses that your child is interested in. Connect with people online, read blogs and articles to get an overview of how education system abroad is different from India. Prepare your child for an all-round development, where along with nurturing hiss academics, give equal importance to other co-curricular activities as well.
Stay Strong and look at the broader perspective
Agreed! Sending your child abroad is a tough decision to make. It brings a lot of challenges for the parent as well as the student. Channelize your efforts collectively to find a breakthrough to your problems. Consider contacting your friends and family abroad to know about their challenges and ways to deal with them.
Counselling is not only essential for the student but for the parent as well. Understand that your child is going to a different place where he will meet different people, adopt their culture, will face various emotional challenges as well. Try to be their motivator and constantly provide them with encouragement and support. Build in them the go-getter attitude and teach them to fight and not to run away from difficulties. Parental counselling will help you bridge the gap between you and your child and will allow you to look at them with a different perspective altogether.
Most important factor to be considered while planning further studies abroad is finances. Plan your finances accordingly. Having an estimate of the costs involved in sending your kids abroad can help you make a better decision. However, it’s not just the tuition fee alone you should be calculating in your budget, there’re a lot more expenses involved when you plan to send your child to study abroad. Consider other expenses such as accommodation, food, health coverage, communication and travel as well!
Our counsellors can help ease your financial budgeting for your child’s stay abroad. Scholarships and financial grants are also available to meritorious students who wish to prove themselves in this over demanding and progressing world.
Once you have an overview of your plan to send your child abroad. Set those puzzle pieces in their proper places to form a concrete shape of your child’s future. Appropriate details of the university, course applications and visa procedure will help you finalise your plan with ease.
Prevention is better than cure
Ensure to get your child’s general physical examination, dental checkups, and gynaecological checkups (if applicable). Get them all shots and relevant boosters. If your child wears glasses or contacts, get them a typed copy of their prescription. Help them with an extra pair of spectacles or contacts in case of emergency. If there are specific medicines prescribed to your child, speak with their doctors who’ll help them with the name, potency, and purity of the medicine available in their destination. When helping your kids with packing, ensure to keep the medicines in the original container/packaging only along with the doctor’s prescription.
Travel safety is crucial!
Yes, it’s worrisome to send your child thousands of kilometres away, and that’s why it is important to ensure about their travel safety.
- You can’t forget travel insurance! Ensure your child is insured before they leave.
- Sign up for a safety program. For instance, the U.S. Department of State’s Smart Traveller Enrolment Program (STEP) keeps your child and you both updated with travel alerts and notifications while they are abroad. It also notifies the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate in case of an emergency.
- Research about the do’s and don’ts of the new destination
- Know about the local laws and international student rights
- Encourage your child to be a healthy traveller to avoid potential health risks owing to new food, water and climate.
- Stock them up with emergency supplies in case they take time to adjust to new food.
- Ensure they are vaccinated for common diseases in new destination.
- If possible, enrol them in a self-defence class before they depart for the new destination.
- Both parents and children should keep emergency numbers handy.
- Update your child on basic travel safety tips
Finally your child is abroad. Now what?
Decisions made wisely will always give you fruitful results. Everyone knows the pain and hardship that parents take to send their child abroad is beyond words. They send their most precious gift from life away from them just to see them prosper and gain success in life. If you have been so strong all this while, just the last step that will prove that some tough decisions give the most desired results.
1. Decide how you will communicate
There are many mediums using which you can stay connected with your child – email, Skype, Face book, Vibe, WhatsApp, etc. See what’s most convenient for both of you and install to start interacting. Please know that while you can use any of these platforms, do not use all of them. Give your child some space.
2. Pre-decide a time to talk
When you pre-decide when to talk, it sets the right expectations for both parents and children. You know when to talk and how often to keep in touch without cringing on their personal space. Usually the best time to decide this is when your child is settled in their new environment. This is when they can plan more confidently about their time schedules and plans.
In cases when your child is not able to respond to your calls or messages, don’t panic immediately. It could be due to a hectic schedule, low Wi-Fi bandwidth or variance in time zones. It’s best to keep your timings flexible and not be over-demanding. This will help prevent any agitation if unable to cope with the difference in time zones.
3. Keep emergency contacts handy
Both parents and children should have some emergency contacts saved in phones at all times. For instance, keep handy the contact details of their college representatives or some close friends to reach out to if they are not reachable for a longer period of time.
4. Proper Guidance
Guide your kids about practical survival skills to sustain abroad. Life overseas is going to completely different from India – educate your kids on money management and budgeting. Guide them on how to plan their monthly expenses so that they do not overspend.
While there are many Indian restaurants abroad, it’d be best to teach your kids some basic recipes for times when they can’t go out or order in. Unlike India, helps aren’t available that cheap abroad and your kids will have to take care of staple house chores on their own. Teach them how to manage these along with their coursework, job and student activities.
5. Emotional support
Sending your child abroad is a difficult decision and it is equally challenging for your child to move abroad. Help your child at every step of the way – they need your emotional support. Involve yourself in their decisions, encourage and motivate them for what they do. At times, your emotional support will help your child more than just the financial support.
6. Learn to Listen
Your child has gone abroad and will experience many new things and adventures. They would also go through a range of emotions that they have never felt before. When they share about these with you, it is important for you to listen to them patiently. React only if necessary and give them advice subtly if you think it could sound harsh in some cases.
7. Make Memories
Create some memories before they depart for the new destination. Go out, play games, spend some real quality time for them to cherish when abroad.
Parents understand your child is going to a completely new world where he will meet new people face new challenges, while he learn and grows. Just be patient and deal with the upcoming situations with immense calm and persistence. In the longer run, your sacrifice patience and hard work is all going to benefit your child in shaping his career and welcoming a bright future ahead?
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