When it comes to studying abroad, some parents will want to be more involved in the process than others. Through talking with friends and students on campus and advising students in the Resource Center, I have discovered that for a lot of students, parents are the biggest factor in determining if a student studies abroad or not. Some parents have a strong opinion of where you study or harsh criticism and doubt about studying abroad in general. To help you convince your parents of why and/or where you should study, check out these tips:
- Be able to back-up where you are going. Make a strong case as to why you are choosing to study in a specific city or country. Is it because of the program/classes offered? Is it because you want to learn a new language? Be confident in your location choice and prove you want to study there for more than the cool sights.
- Be aware of the cost and apply for scholarships. It goes without saying that cost is a huge factor in studying abroad and a large reason why some parents say no. Do your research! There are affordable programs out there, so make sure you find one that is cost-friendly because that will definitely make it easier to convince your parents.
- Give them every ounce of information. Parents want to be informed, plain and simple. They want to know where you will be staying, what classes you will be taking, how to get in-touch with you, etc. Give them every single piece of information that you have. Also give them a heads-up that you more than likely won’t talk to them every single day, so they need to be patient and trust that you are being safe and will update them when you can.
- Explain why it’s important to you. Studying abroad is hands-down one of the best, if not the best, opportunities you have during your college career. Let your parents know why it’s such a big deal and what you will gain from the experience. (Hint: cultural immersion, new perspectives on the world or specific topics, language expansion, how great it looks on resumes, etc.)
- Be flexible and understanding. Try to see where your parents are coming from if they are hesitant or worried. Try to find two or three programs that fit what you are looking for and show your parents your options and work to find the best fit together. This way, they feel included in the decision and you get a better understanding of what their thought process is and why they may feel the way they do.
One last tip I have is to not get discouraged easily! Now, don’t annoy the living daylight out of your parents, because that obviously won’t help your case, but don’t give up if they say “no” the first time you ask. If studying abroad is a dream of yours, get informed about your program and prove to your parents why it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity!
Bailey Babcock is a sophomore studying Integrated Strategic Communication/Business. She participated in the UK Consortia program CCSA London Winter in December 2015.