Your daughter / son might be preparing to study abroad since last year. You might not have any plans on ruining their dreams, but, you would always feel doubtful about it since the thought of sending your child away from the nest will seem dreadful. However, there is no need to worry. The following are FAQs which parents (and my mother) generally ask about study abroad (my mother is over the top hysterical).
1. ‘What is the cost of studying abroad?’
The Cost of Studying Abroad for an undergraduate degree depends upon various parameters. For example, it depends on the university and location. The fees for top notch schools are the heaviest to afford and the popularity/urbanity of the location will affect the living expenses there. It also depends upon what aptitude tests your child is going to take. SAT with essay costs about $113.50 while ACT with Writing costs about $120. GRE costs around $195. Language proficiency test like TOEFL $170. Fortunately, there are multiple ways to Finance Education Abroad. Scholarships, financial aids, Teaching Assistantships (TAs), Research Assistantships (RAs), and student internships are helpful in trimming down the costs. Ask your child to get involved in extracurricular activities and community services. This will help Build a Strong Profile to help their get scholarships. Furthermore, it will give them an edge over other applicants during admissions.
2. ‘How do I assess my child to see if she is apt for studying abroad? How would she manage things by her own?’
Firstly, you need to assess the colleges and locations that your child is interested in. Check the availability of her preferred course, the tuition fees, the living expenses in the city, and the accommodation options available for international students. When the Child’s maturity comes to question, all we have to say is maturity is like wine, it gets better with age. The Child just needs to be conscious of the fact that they are going abroad to study and leverage all the resources that the University has. Then, you need gauge your financial budget and the realistic expenses for her education and living. For further guidance, you can visit the universities’ websites and talk to the college representatives, admissions committee, other parents, and students who have studied abroad. As per the managing skills, she would have to learn eventually. The exposure she would get studying abroad would only strengthen her persona more.
3. ‘But she hasn’t applied to any colleges yet. When is the correct time for that?’
Applying to colleges early is crucial as the processes of getting an acceptance and obtaining a visa are cumbersome and time consuming. The sooner you apply, the better the chances are to get a seat in the desired course and receive financial aids. Performing well academically is going to benefit in receiving scholarships easily. You can start applying to colleges as early as August and as late as March. However, each University has different deadlines. The best advice here is to maintain an excel sheet where you can jot down all important details University wise and keep referring to it with every stage.
4. ‘What about working during college days?’
Most countries allow international students to work for some particular number of hours per week, both on and off campus. Many universities help students out to get on(depending on country) and off campus jobs. On campus jobs include grants, Teaching Assistantships (TAs), and Research Assistantships (RAs). Off campus jobs include interning at firms and working in blue collar jobs, among many things. Only about 45% of students who work for more than the recommended 25 hours a week, in the US, are able to keep their GPA above 3.0, according to a report by Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce. This makes it harder to complete the course on time. Always encourage your child to put her education as the foremost priority. Make sure to ask her not to overwork herself in the zest to earn more, risking her education.
5. ‘I feel jittery. What if she doesn’t like it here anymore after returning home?’
It is alright to feel tense. However, the exposure and independency gained while studying abroad morph children into becoming smarter persons, ultimately leading them to make better decisions. Hence, there is no need to worry. While living away, people feel homesick very often. Therefore, your child would be glad to be home. Although, she can feel maladroit at times. It is understandable that a sudden change in the environment and culture would result in ‘culture shock’. It would take some time to get over it. On the other hand, you should encourage your child to stay in touch with their international contacts since it is important to retain connections. Sending your child away is difficult and it is unambiguous that education abroad is expensive and it might take a toll on you, but the Return on Investment (ROI) is worth the struggle. While away, do not let your child feel like a burden on you. That is the most indispensable advice.
6. How would she mange on her own there?
She would encounter a new culture and meet people from all around the globe. Learning about the culture and geography of the destination country would prove helpful. In the meagre time left, teach her to become self-sufficient by learning how to cook, clean, and do her own laundry. Before leaving, it is important to encourage your child to use her ‘street smart’ skills and be cautious. Empower her to solve her problems on her own, always being open to her queries. Trust your child. Provide her with adequate information so that she manages things better.
After reaching the destination, you can always keep in touch via applications such as Google Duo and WhatsApp. However, you should acknowledge the fact that sometimes you wouldn’t be able to communicate with your child due to conflicts in work schedules or network delays or any such issues. Make sure you have the contact information of those around your child in case of any emergency. Ask your child to enjoy their stay and take advantage of the surroundings as it is a golden opportunity, which not everyone gets. While packing for the final journey, remember to pack smart and light.