You want your children to have the best educational experience that is possible, but it’s your job as the parent to make sure they are on the right track. You already know that studying abroad could be an enriching experience, but that does not mean it is right for your student or your family. Have no worries. No matter what your student says, other parents do have the same concerns as you. Fortunately, it is easy to find the answers to all your questions.
Will my child be safe?
You would be worried about their safety even if they were going to school in the next city. Sending your kids out into the world alone is a difficult thing for a parent to do. Crime is everywhere, but whether they’re at home or abroad, your children can do several things to decrease their chances of being a victim. Most study abroad programs provide an option for students to live with a host family while in school. Knowing another set of parents is keeping an eye on your baby may help you feel more secure. And it can help keep your child safer.
What about her health?
Whether your child is going to study in Europe or any other country, purchasing a student health care policy should be part of her pre-trip organization plan. Health emergencies can happen, and having the proper insurance will ensure your daughter gets the best care possible. While living abroad, she may try new foods and come in contact with pollens and other allergens she’s not used to. Getting minor colds, allergies and upset stomachs is expected. You may choose to pack a small medical emergency kit for her, just leave all medications—prescription and over-the-counter—in the original packaging.
Will he get a good education?
Of course! Research the study abroad program carefully and confer with stateside advisors to learn which overseas credits will transfer back to the states and which will not. The process is much the same as if he were transferring to another school in the United States. Regardless of the country, some schools will not accept some credits from other institutions.
How will I stay in touch?
Cell phone, email, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Skype; technology has made it easy to stay in touch with someone living overseas. Remember, he’s not going to a remote area of the Alps where there’s no Internet connection, he is going to a university.
The study abroad coordinator at your student’s current school can answer all the questions that arise as you and your student discuss the idea of international study. The experience of living in a new culture, speaking a new language and learning how to rely on himself will benefit your child now and in the future. It is a big decision, and one your family needs to make after considering all the pros and cons, but there is no doubt that spending a semester or more studying abroad will enrich your child’s life and broaden his horizons.