Parents are most likely a little worried about you moving abroad to study. Common apprehensions include: will find a safe place to live, and will you actually study? We’ve listed the top concerns parents have when their offspring go abroad.
Will my child actually go to class?
Some parents might worry that their children are just going abroad for an excuse to have fun and laze around. Often the schedule isn’t as intense on exchange semesters, as the schools know that their incoming students will want time for getting to know the culture, travel around and explore the place. Sure, there might be a bit more partying than usual when studying abroad, but be supportive of this and encourage them to study too. Make sure there’s always at least the “Work hard” in the “Work hard – play hard” equation.
As a parent, you should cherish the fact that your son or daughter has grown up and is getting more mature. Living abroad is a life changing experience and your child will come home having learned a lot of new life lessons.
What’s it going to cost me?
Well, there are plenty of ways. For example, it’s wise to set up a budget to calculate how much money they have available to spend per month. Then, look into scholarships, there are plenty of them out there for exchange students, especially within the Erasmus program. A student loan might come in handy if needed. Part time work could be a great solution for some pocket money, as well as a great chance to meet locals, improve language learning and cultural understanding. So, how often will I receive a call asking for money? Well, this it might happen, but if you try to let them know the limits in advance, then hopefully this should keep these calls to a minimum! Try to think how fantastic this opportunity is, so if you can help out, please do!
How will we keep in touch?
This is the least worry, there are so many cheap calling and VoIP options out there today. You can make free video calls with Skype or Google Hangouts. You can also make free phone calls with Viber if you both have it on your phones or computers. For text messaging, Whatsapp is a great option, and so is Facebook Messenger. Perhaps you could try to schedule a certain time that you talk every week, like Sunday mornings for example. Leave your child some room and time to enjoy being away, but make sure that you’re there for support whenever they want to chat or need your help.
What about safety?
This is a big topic and there are many aspects to it. Discuss not going out late at night by themselves, and ensure they have a little taxi money to get back home safely from those late nights out. Research, or make sure your child has researched the safe and popular student areas to live, even if it costs a little extra.
Travel insurance is of course a must, so don’t forget to remind them about that! Also, for Europeans, the E111 card is a must!
Usually, a bit of common sense will go a long way, for example not flashing large amounts of cash in public, locking the house door and windows, and not drinking excessively, will reduce the safety risks.
Keeping healthy whilst abroad
With a busy schedule, you might worry that your child isn’t eating properly when studying abroad. Encourage your son or daughter to stay away from junk food and fast foods, and instead eat healthy home cooked meals whenever possible. Also, have them sign up for a sports club or suggest other ways to exercise on a student budget. We’ve also gathered a few other tips on living healthy at university.
If you have any other concerns, feel free to post them in the comments below and we’d be happy to discuss with you.