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Studying abroad: What parents need to know

If you are a parent planning to send your child abroad for higher studies, this column is for you. While preparing your child for the exams and the interviews, please do not forget to prepare yourself too, mentally, emotionally and financially. Here’s how:

Information

Gather all the information you can about the country where your child is going for his/her higher studies. Check out the program details like the course structure, curriculum, campus life, and living standards. This will make you more confident.

Also be thoroughly informed about the country’s culture, food, climate, and all things beyond university and curriculum. Remember, your child has to live there for the duration of the program. So he/she needs to adapt to the food, the people, the weather, etc, etc, etc. If your child succeeds in this, he/she would have learned valuable lessons in life. If you must and can, you will pay a visit (at least once) to your child. Be prepared to face the culture, climate, and food there yourself.

Safety

Your foremost concern will be about the safety of your child. Hence, please remember that when you have chosen to send your son/daughter to a globally reputable university, the university will be concerned about the safety of your child (or any international student) just as much as you are. Nevertheless, you may check out the safety protocols followed by the universities. Also, discuss your concerns with your child and teach him/her to be aware and cautious.

Essentials

Help your child pack his/her stuff. Don’t overly dominate saying “Take this, take that!!”. Instead, draw up a checklist of essentials and leave out the vanity stuff to be shopped for at the destination. You don’t want your child to be lugging on with the luggage.

Communication

Communicating with your child during his/her stay abroad is a must. Make arrangements for the same as phone calls may prove to be extremely expensive, especially when they are getting homesick or when you are missing your child terribly and want to talk to him/her all the time. However, when you call, please take into consideration the time differences between India and the country where your child is. Also, keep in mind his/her schedule and availability before calling. The most important thing is to have emergency contact numbers – both the parents and the children – because emergencies may arise anytime. Have contact details of your child’s classmates/roommates/friends etc. (at least two if not all)

Finances

The first thing most parents ponder over while deciding to send their children abroad for studies is financial feasibility. Of course, only when you have the resources (including study loans) to pay for all expenses, you will take the next step of applying for colleges abroad. However, you also need to let your children know what the situation is. Make them understand that they should spend responsibly and advise them on matters related to money. Don’t get all protective and hide things from your children, especially the monetary situation of the family. Include them in the discussions and keep them informed. This will not only teach them how to handle their finances but also give them a sort of confidence to make their own decisions. To help them become responsible adults, it is important for parents to not interfere in all their decisions. Just guide them but don’t become domineering.

Also, get to know the ways to send money to your child when he/she needs it. The most ideal way is to transfer money into your child’s account for which he/she has an ATM card. Among the other ways to transfer money, there are Western Union, MoneyGram, international money orders, cashier’s cheques, etc.

Paperwork

Flight tickets, visa applications, bank statements, insurance forms – Oh! the paperwork would seem never-ending! Just keep yourself together during this time, as every form and every detail furnished in the forms are crucial and a small error can lead to shattering of your child’s dreams. Make a checklist of all the documents that you need to submit along with their respective deadlines.

Health

Consult a doctor and get a general check-up done for your child. Make sure your child is fit and can endure the change in weather conditions and food habits. Such things cannot be taken for granted. If your child is under medication, make sure the medicine is allowed in the country he/she is going to and pack enough to last for some time, till he/she settles.

We would love to see you spread some love by sharing this article, as it may help many who are looking to study abroad. If you have decided to move abroad you need to work on your entrance exam and conquer it, a good test prep institute like Manya-The Princeton review can definitely help.

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