How to prepare for a child studying abroad
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Heading abroad to study at university is a hugely exciting and fulfilling experience, but the time leading up to the move can be stressful, particularly for parents.
While it is perfectly natural for mums and dads to worry before such a big change in their child’s life, you can take reassurance from the fact that careful planning and preparation will increase the chances of everything running smoothly.
Read on to find out more about how you and your child can get ready for overseas study.
Give yourself plenty of time
When you and your child are anticipating a life change as significant as attending university in a foreign country, the last thing you want to be doing is rushing and worrying about deadlines for applications.
Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to consider, research and plan the move. As well as offering practical advantages, this will help both you and your child get used to the idea of studying abroad.
According to Prospects.ac.uk, a graduate careers website, you should start to assess your options and make a timetable of action 24 months in advance. You could begin with identifying potential study destinations and looking at universities your child might want to attend.
Other steps that could require some time to complete include applying for and completing entry tests for your chosen university and securing funding.
Research, research, research
You will feel much more informed and comfortable with the entire process of your child studying abroad if you have done some thorough research.
The chances are you will need to focus on a range of topics during your preparations.
One of the first steps will be finding the right course for your child, based on their primary interests or career goals.
It is also a good idea to learn more about the destinations where your son or daughter could be living, and the range of services available at prospective universities to support international students.
Check whether the qualifications your child has gained at home will be sufficient to gain entry to higher education institutions in the countries you are interested in. Will there be entry examinations to think about, and will you have to get references to support the application?
Other topics to consider during your research include tuition fees, any available sources of funding and potential visa requirements.
The financial side
Just like attending university at home, studying abroad can be a major financial commitment.
It is worth looking into scholarships, grants and any other forms of financial support that might be available to you.
Also, you could consider setting up an account with a service that allows you to make regular international payments. This will enable you to make quick and easy money transfers to the country where your child is studying, providing peace of mind that you can help them out with some extra cash whenever necessary.
You might want to consider setting up a joint credit card your child can use in emergencies, or even look into buying a property as a long-term investment.
The emotional side
While there are all sorts of administrative and financial aspects to consider when sending your child overseas to study, one of the most difficult things for parents to deal with is the emotional side of the process.
Of course, it is perfectly understandable for mums and dads to struggle with the prospect of their son or daughter going abroad for a long period of time, but it is important to remember that this is about your child gaining new experiences and broadening their horizons.
Try to focus on what they will be getting out of the move, rather than what you will be missing out on, and don’t take it personally if you don’t get a phone call or a message every day.
You can also make yourself feel better by thinking about the many benefits your child will gain from studying overseas, such as new life experiences, greater confidence, knowledge of a different culture and improved career prospects.