What You Need To Know When Your Child Studies Abroad
Loading your child up on an airplane and sending them across the world to learn and study more about their field of interest is not an easy task for parents. You have no idea who they will come in contact with, you are worried they might not be 100% safe all the time, you don't know what they will do when they aren't under your roof, and what happens if they get hurt or sick while they are away from you?
The fears associated with allowing your child to have wings and fly that far away from home are very real and very normal. We have a few suggestions to help make this time in your life more bearable for you as a parent.
Set Up Travel Insurance
Setting up travel insurance isn't the most exciting thing, but being prepared for any situation that may arise will help you sleep better at night while they are away. Most health insurance companies will not work with hospitals overseas, so making sure your child is covered while traveling is very important. Unfortunately, accidents happen and if your child is involved in one while in a foreign country, you want to make sure you aren't left with a bill that could be upwards of thousands of dollars. My daughter ended up having to go to emergency dentist Calgary, but we luckily had travel insurance. A well-designed study abroad program will ask for proof of insurance for your child before allowing them to visit the country of choice.
Pack With Your Child
You don't want to be a helicopter parent and label every item of clothing down to their underwear for each day, but helping your child pack might not be a bad idea. Making sure they have packed well is a great way to help prepare your child for their upcoming trip and you will know if they have everything they will need. Since doing laundry while away might not be an option, help them have outfits that can be mixed and matched to help lessen the load of things they need to take. Make sure their luggage meets the requirements of the airline companies, but remind your child to not max out the weight limit of their bag. They will want to save room for souvenirs they may find on their trip.
Connect While Apart
Before your child leaves, get them a cell phone plan that works when across the world from you. If an emergency arises, you want them to be able to contact you immediately, but it would also be nice to receive a call or text when they arrive at their destination. Be aware that roaming and out of network calls are very expensive and might end up costing you more than the entire trip! Follow your child on social media and stay up to date with their posts and photos, but remember that this experience is necessary for your child to grow and enjoy their college experience. Don't be that helicopter parent if you can avoid it.
Help Them Discover What They Want To Do
Do research along with your child and help them figure out where they want to go and what they want to do. You can be a part of this process without dominating or taking complete control. Allowing your child to develop these wings of independence is so important in their overall growth and development, but being educated and knowing what to expect with the study abroad program is helpful for you as a parent.
Know They Will Benefit From This Experience
While it may be hard to let go and you might not get much sleep while they are gone, know that this experience is a once in a lifetime trip for your child. The amount of growth and maturity a study abroad program takes will help shape them for their future. Your child will be able to see another side of the world, while still continuing their education and earning college credits.
From an emotional standpoint, saying goodbye to your child for upwards to a semester at a time to a place you are not familiar with can be overwhelming and just flat out hard to do. Educate yourself and follow these steps to help make this an enjoyable time for you and your child.