8 Reasons Why Parents Should Encourage Their Child to Study Abroad
Studying abroad can be the best experience of a young student’s life. The friends they make, the experiences gained and the life lessons learned. It’s true that travelling can change you for the better. But for many parents, this big and scary leap might send YOU crazy with worry! So here’s a few pointers that might help ease your mind if your loved one is thinking of studying abroad.
It Will Help Them Mature
Travelling without your parents can be daunting for some and liberating for others. Usually, you book the flights or organise accommodation, right? You organise (and pay for) all the meals. But when travelling abroad, it’s either sink or swim and your loved ones are forced out of their comfort zone to make their own decisions. Dealing with delayed flights, navigating confusing streets and any other problems that will undeniably arise, will be life lessons that will change and mature them in the best way.
They Learn to Fend for Themselves
Whether it’s learning to cook a meal or navigating a foreign country, sometimes your child will have no one to rely on but themselves. As scary as that may sound, these are the experiences that will help your loved ones to grow. You miss your train, you lose your passport, you get lost numerous times. When travelling, you have no one to turn to but yourself. Eventually, after some initially frustration, they learn to take responsibility for their mistakes or errors and move on.
They’ll Appreciate All You Do For Them
Especially if your child is living at home, they probably enjoy a few luxuries. This isn’t always a bad thing, but it’s easy to take these things for granted. Such as food always in the fridge or hot water always on tap. Doing their own laundry and buying their own food can really make your loved one appreciate everything you do! (About time, I hear some of you saying! When do they leave?)
Learning How to Handle Money
From saving for the trip to actually spending money while they’re there, handling money is an important part of becoming an adult. It’s important to know how to set up a budget planner and stick to it. You could advise on some of these budget apps here. And with YMCA Global Study, government funding is available which can reduce stress on the student (and you!) to save money while studying.
Gaining a Sense of Responsibility
While studying abroad, your child will learn to depend upon themselves to achieve good grades, get to class on time, and take care of themselves in general. They might do all of this already at home, but when living without your parents for the first time, it can come with a sense of freedom that can either make or break a student. I worked two jobs to pay for my exchange in Japan while I was studying full time. Not only did this make me appreciate my Japan experience more, but I gained a sense of responsibility that I didn’t have before when it came to work ethic. I didn’t work and save all this money to fail my classes, so I made sure I worked hard to achieve the grades I wanted while balancing my social life.
Learning Problem Solving Skills
Studying abroad means making a lot of big decisions solo. I remember in my study abroad, I realised I didn’t know my pin number for my bankcard so I couldn’t access my money. This meant that I had no way of getting cash, using my bankcard or having any money to live with at all (save for the change in my pocket). There was a lot of tears, hours waiting on hold and frustration at the situation and myself. But after a whole week, I got it sorted all on my own and I learned how to solve a challenging situation. Moral of the story? Make sure you know your pin number!
One of the best parts about living abroad is experiencing different food and cultures and gaining an appreciation of them. In many countries, there are a lot of social rules and etiquettes that may seem strange or even silly to us, but in order to co-exist we must respect them. Returning home with a new appreciation for a completely different culture can broaden minds and make your loved ones more tolerant (and willing to try new food!).
It’s a Competitive Edge
Whether it’s for a month or a year, studying abroad will always look good on your child’s resume. Employers want to see that someone is adaptable, versatile, a strong decision maker and maybe a little adventurous. You learn all these things while studying and travelling abroad. When I told my parents I was going to study abroad, they both said how much they wished they could’ve done it when they were my age. There are so many more opportunities available to us than there were to the generation before. So, encourage them to take every chance so there’s never any regret for the years to come.
Travelling can change a person, no doubt about it. And even though most of you would prefer to keep their children close, there’s no arguing the life skills and sense of achievement that comes with leaving the nest for the first time and coming back stronger for it.
Words by Sophie Nicolas – Sophie Studied a Bachelor of Arts and Edith Cowan University and also studied abroad in Japan
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