Your teen might have gotten the rare opportunity to study abroad. It could be a fruition of your many years of planning and saving. There are also instances when their local university grants scholarships to deserving students. Another reason for such a break is a relative who showed a willingness to fund your child’s studies. Whatever set off this opening for your teen, it is undeniable that it is a big milestone to conquer.
It is natural to feel a mix of emotions in this situation. There is pride in knowing that your child is ready to be in new territories. Yet, most parents could admit that there is also a sense of apprehension for this new chapter. How can you and your teen prepare for this life-changing event? Here are some inspirations.
Prepare for the Most Basic of Things
Being ready is key to shrugging off the feeling of fear for this new beginning. You may assist your teen in preparing necessary documents. These include their passport and student visa. Make sure that these items are in a secure place in their belongings.
Another item that must be on top of your priority is the place of accommodation. Campus housing or halls is the easiest option. But, if you do not want to feel confined to the university, there are other choices. Homestay allows a student to be with a local family in their duration of study abroad. This provides them with a feeling of belonging to a family. But, if your teen wants to have a sense of independence, there are private hostels for students. Your choice as a parent and your teen’s choice must coincide with one another. The top considerations for such a decision include budget and comfortability. Be firm with an option because it would be hard to have frequent moves when one is abroad.
Health is a vital investment. This principle does not change even in a different place. It becomes even more so because nobody would be around to take care of you. Thus, assist your teen in getting health insurance. Study its term and coverage. It will give you peace of mind that your child has the best healthcare options even if they are miles away from you.
Talk About Finances
Studying abroad is not an easy feat in the financial aspect. This should be clear from the beginning. It may be tempting for your teen to taste all, see all, and experience all. They might argue that this is what the experience is all about.
You and your child should be on the same page when it comes to finances. You may be sending them a regular amount of allowance, but it will be hard if it gets depleted sooner than expected. Teach your child to be mindful of their expenses and to avoid unnecessary expenses.
Another approach to this concern is to encourage them to earn some extra for themselves. There are many ways for them to do this. But, remind them not to let this intervene with their studies.
Be a Step Ahead with Homesickness and Culture Shock
Being in a new territory will come with many challenges. Two of the most common struggles are homesickness and culture shock. Addressing these two issues will prevent your teen from experiencing anxiety or depression.
Technology makes it easy to have constant communication even with the physical distance. Be consistent with a schedule so that you can update each other. But encourage them to find new friends there.
Culture shock is another natural and initial reaction when one is in a new place. You can help your teen be ready for this by letting them see a glimpse of what to expect. You could read up together articles on the internet about the local culture of the place. This may be different from the experience, but at least they would have a clue.
Facebook support groups of international students in a certain place are also available. Choose a group that you think is safe and would assist your teen well in this phase of their life. These groups are more helpful than some articles because they provide firsthand experiences.
Even before your teen takes off to their new place of study, talk with them about how they could cope with their studies. Help them come up with a sample routine that they can do. They may adjust this schedule once they see the real situation
Also, remind them to enjoy the company of new friends. Encourage them to form social connections to this new place. But, set goals that will help them remember to remain focused on why they are abroad in the first place.
Studying abroad is a huge change. Help your teen cope well by preparing them even before they set foot in a new place.