Hey Mom and Dad, I’m going abroad!


Going abroad can be a scary thing, but what’s even scarier is asking or telling your parents that you’re going abroad.  Whether it’s the price tag, leaving the country with a group they don’t know, or they’re still getting over the fact you’re no longer living at home, they may not go for it at first.  Here are some tips to tackling that discussion with them.

  1. Come prepared. Many parents often have the same general concerns: will scholarships transfer?  How long will you be gone?  Who will you be going with?  How much does it cost?  Can you get scholarships?  Do your research on program costs and information as well as financial aid information.  The first time you bring up studying abroad will involve answering a lot of questions and with more answers, you will look more committed.
  2. Bring multiple options. Some parents aren’t ready for their child to spend a year by themselves in South Korea or to pay the hefty flight fee to Australia–be prepared for this.  Bring many options.  UK offers plenty of semester programs around the world while even shorter summer programs are often a favorite.  Don’t get your heart set on a program before speaking to your parents first.  Remember, while you’re an independent college student, you’re still their baby, too.  Let them help you pick out a program that is the best fit.
  3. Be proactive. Nothing shows dedication or commitment like doing something on your own.  Beginning to lower the financial burden on your own will not only show your parents you’re dedicated and independent, but they will appreciate it as well.  Visit the financial aid office, do your research on scholarships, come up with fundraising ideas, create your own budget–any of these will help convince your parents that you are invested into studying abroad.
  4. Assure them that they can be involved with everything. While parents appreciate you being proactive and showing independence, they do not want to be completely left in the dark.  Assure them that they can be involved in as much as they want to.  You can even…
  5. Bring them to an advising appointment. For those particularly bad helicopter parents with 10,000 questions, bring them to an advising appointment!  Our advisors are here 5 days a week and would be happy to answer any and all questions that your parents may have.
  6. Give them the option to come visit. I know plenty of students whose parents came and visited while they were abroad.  My mom came to Australia and I was only there a month!  Let them share this opportunity with you–they will appreciate it.
  7. Be prepared to answer “why?”  College was a long time ago for most parents and it is unlikely that they had the opportunity to study abroad–be prepared to justify why you wish to go abroad.  Expanding your college experience, learning valuable real-life skills, and enhancing your resume are all great reasons to explain your ambition of studying abroad.

Erin Daugherty is a senior pursing a degree in Equine Science and Management with minors in Business and Agricultural Economics.  She studied abroad the summer of 2015 in Sydney and Brisbane, Australia with the “Equine Down Under” program.  Erin witnessed and studied the Australian equestrian community and hopes to use some of their innovations to improve America’s equine industry.