Most parents are worried enough when their children go off to college – those fears are only amplified when you want to leave home for one or four years to attend university abroad! Their stresses range from all the little things you’ll now have to do by yourself, too much bigger concerns around your safety. It may be tempting to downplay their worries, but that probably won’t get you their all-important signature on the application form. SchoolApply's helpful education team will counsel you with the right advice on how to get your parents onboard with your plan of studying abroad, and our expert advisors can even speak directly with your parents to let them know what you can expect from the experience.

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Of course, your parents always want what is best for you. They may even already know that studying, say, a bachelor’s of medicine abroad will lead to a bright future, but at the back of their minds they may be worried about your health and safety, your confidence and your ability to take care of yourself and adjust to a new environment when you leave home. If studying abroad is something you’re serious about, then you need to talk to them about how it can benefit you and prove to them that you are responsible enough to overcome the challenge. It is these kinds of experiences that will allow you to grow as an individual just as much as you will expand your academic knowledge. In an increasingly globalized economy, being adaptable and attuned to cultural differences will be invaluable skills. Studies have even found that international graduates are less likely to be unemployed and could earn higher starting salaries than their locally-qualified contemporaries.

If turning you into a highly employable, well-rounded citizen of the world isn’t enough to convince your parents – remind them of some of the more fun reasons they should encourage this kind of adventure. Through being in a new environment and experiencing a different way of life, you’ll come to know yourself a whole lot better. As a bonus, you’ll become a more compassionate human who can relate to others on a deeper level. That’s on top of making loads of friends, exploring and adventuring in your new home, and even honing your language skills.

So how do you come to an agreement with your parents and convince them that this is the right choice for you? Here are a few tips:

Highlight the benefits

Learning new languages (especially English!), increasing your potential for a successful career, discovering a foreign country and exploring a new culture – there are just a few of the many benefits that come with studying abroad. Put the experience into the context of these important points and make sure you emphasize how valuable the experience will be to your job prospects and opportunities after you graduate.

Take them seriously

Their concerns may seem silly when viewed through your adventure-seeking eyes, but try to understand where your family is coming from. Prove your emotional maturity and ability to handle conflict by chatting to them about what they’re worried about and showing that you’re interested in what they have to say, rather than resorting to teen-tactics of slamming doors and shouting matches. Tactfully counter their arguments by showing them that you understand their concerns and fears. “I see your point, but…” By taking them seriously, you will prove your maturity and you will be able to calmly discuss the benefits while putting their concerns to rest.

Take them with you

We don’t mean literally, of course. Rather make them feel part of the process. No doubt a lot of the things they’re worried about are also stressing you out a bit. Taking them along for the journey will make you all feel more comfortable and prepared. Let them help you do some research and include them in your decision-making process. This has the added benefit of reassuring them that they’ve equipped you with the skills needed to make the most of this opportunity. Show your parent’s pictures of the place you want to go to. Illustrate to them how beautiful it is, how diverse the community is, and how nice a place it would be to live in. You could also literally take them with you. In interviews that SchoolApply arranged with parents of children who went to the US, UK or Canada to study abroad, they told us that going to the destination with their child helped ease their worries because they knew where their child would be. Invite your parents to join you when you visit the campus or when it’s time for you to start your term so that they can see where you live, where you will take your classes and where you will hang out with your new friends.

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Make it fun for them too

Can you blame them if they secretly feel a bit jealous? Here you’re off on a grand adventure, while they’re being left behind. This will increase their feelings of abandonment, but not if you keep them excited about the prospect. Plan a holiday together in your chosen country – making their first visit something you both look forward to.

Lighten their load

A big part of their stress is no doubt that they won’t be able to help you when things get sticky. The entire process of sifting through requirements and applying just adds to their feeling that the world is beyond their control. On top of that, the process may seem very overwhelming and expensive when you first get started. SchoolApply can help with this, guiding you and your parents through the decision and application process.

Prove that you can take care of yourself

In the research SchoolApply conducted, we found that many parents worry that their child wouldn’t be able to take care of themselves when living on their own. You can ease these fears by taking on extra chores around the house or starting a job and saving your money for tuition. Do whatever you can to demonstrate to them that you are responsible and ready for the independence that comes with studying abroad.

Share success stories

Equip yourself with examples that you can share with your parents about how many people are going abroad to study. You can find many success stories or articles about people moving to study abroad (I’m sure even in your own circle). Explain to you parents how an international education gave these people a better chance at finding a job and in turn making a better life for themselves. If you plan on studying a bachelor’s of education for example, find an example of someone who left your home country to follow the same program abroad and show your parents the successful outcome.

Remember that your parents want only the best for you. They know you’re capable of doing this – they raised you after all! Be easy on them if they are worried, remind them that you will stay in touch after you leave, and remember it’s okay to also show that you’re a little afraid. By supporting each other you’ll gain another lifelong benefit through this experience: a strong relationship with your parents.

With SchoolApply you and your parents will always have a source of support and information and we can help you throughout the university research and application process.

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