Parents play a big role in student’s studying abroad adventure. Even though you’re all caught up in the thought of your child leaving its nest, know that they still need your help and support.
You might not be able to be a part of their experience there, but you can help them prepare. Helpful (and yet unobtrusive) involvement is what your child needs.
If you want to make the moving process smoother for your child and yourself, here is what you can do to you accomplish that.
1. Help Them with the Paperwork
Paperwork – the nightmare of both students and parents. Any kind of moving process is followed by endless papers to fill, submit, collect, and print. For a child that faces paperwork for the first time, this can be nerve-racking. But that’s when you step in.
Ask your child if they want you to help them with the paperwork. You can, for example, gather information on what they need for a visa and insurance while they figure out housing. Having someone by their side during these tedious tasks can lessen the burden.
2. Get Them to Visit the Doctor for a Full Checkup
Going to the doctors is an activity we all aim to avoid. However, a simple checkup before departure can be very helpful. Take your child to see a doctor about 6 weeks or a month before they leave. Ensuring that there are no hidden health problems will give you and your child peace of mind.
Additionally, you may want to ask around if your child needs any vaccinations for the country they are headed to. This is another task you want to handle in time. For any health emergency, prepare a small first-aid kit with over the counter medications for nausea, headaches, flu, etc. If your child takes medications regularly, make sure that they have enough for the length of the trip, as well as a copy of the prescription, just in case.
3. Let Them Have Their Space
It’s understandable that you’ll want to hear from your child at all times once they are abroad. However, you need to be aware that this is something your child is doing for himself or herself. Give them space to have fun and focus on their studies. Consistent calls, unnecessary panic about their whereabouts, or demanding video call every few hours is something you don’t want to do.
Allowing your child to develop their independence is the greatest gift you can give them. Remind yourself of that whenever you feel the urge to make yet another call. Encourage your child to live in the moment and take in all the wonders of this new experience. They’ll be more eager to share that experience with you if you give them space.
4. Encourage Open Communication
Children tend to hide their dissatisfaction with school or friends from their parents. They don’t want to be judged or feel ashamed. So, if your child encounters some problems, they might try to hide them from you to protect you.
Prevent this by explaining that they can tell you anything. They should know that every problem is solvable. Moreover, assure them that you will always be there for them to listen to their woes calmly and rationally. Your child will feel mentally stronger if they know that there is someone clear-headed who will give them the right piece of advice at any time.
5. Remind Them of Their Goals
Studying abroad can be overwhelming. Both during the preparation process and once the student embarks on that journey. Dealing with such a big change can lead to students misjudging their study abroad experience.
Whenever you feel like your child is developing a negative perspective on studying abroad, remind them of why they wanted it. Sometimes all the child needs is to help them put their focus back on their goals. The goal can be to broaden their horizons, get a high-quality education, meet new people, or whatever made your child opt for this in the first place.
6. Prepare Them for Potential Challenges
You don’t want to scare your child with horror scenarios, but you should make them aware of potential issues. Many problems can be avoided if children have knowledge of them in advance.
Topics you can cover before your child leaves are how to watch out for their passport, regulations of the country they are headed to, what they should do if they get sick, and similar. Share any useful information that can keep them healthy and safe.
7. Give Them Useful Resources
Think of what your child might need once they get there. Encourage them to prepare fully by collecting helpful resources and tools for an easier life. For example, let them know that they can install an offline GPS navigation app. Or inform them of useful services like Subjecto, a free course of study flashcards, and essay samples.
Having knowledge of practical apps, services, and sources of information can streamline your child’s inquiries. Arm them with helpful tools, and they’ll be ready to face the world.
8. Get Insight from Other Parents
Parents who went through studying abroad adventure have experience and intel that you don’t. Luckily, technology can bring us together. Join Facebook groups or go on forums for parents of international students. Open the doors to communities of parents who are going through the same experience as you.
What’s more, you can get the inside scoop that can help you prepare your child. Look into posts and discussions of parents, and you might find some valuable information. You can also ask direct questions. Make the most out of the digital communities.
Providing your child with an opportunity to study abroad already makes you an amazing parent. Now, all you need to do is to be their rock and give them the support they need.
Finding the balance between being helpful and meddling too much isn’t easy for a parent. Hopefully, these tips will give you some guidance on how to make this abroad experience less intimidating.
About the Author
Kristin Savage nourishes, sparks, and empowers using the magic of a word. Along with pursuing her degree in Creative Writing, Kristin was gaining experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in marketing strategy for publishers and authors. Besides working as a freelance writer at Subjecto(https://subjecto.com/), she also runs her own blog FlyWriting(https://flywriting.com/).In her free time, Kristin likes to travel and explore new countries around the world.
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