Every day, parents wave their children off at departure gates across the world and wonder how they will cope without their babies in the months that follow. You never thought it would be your turn, but now your child has asked to study overseas and all you want to do is swaddle them up again and keep them safe and sound at home. As parents, it’s natural to feel apprehensive about the big changes and the big steps. It can seem that as they grow, a sort of distance emerges, but remember that this “distance” is really independence – and is a completely normal and necessary part of growing up.
Even though it’s not an easy transition, supporting your child as they make their way in the world and begin their studies will be one of the most important gifts you can give them. Here are just a few of the reasons why you should send your child to study abroad.
1. It’s time well spent before university
The period between finishing school and starting university can be a drag. While a summer job or time with friends might fill the calendar, there are other ways to take advantage of those long months. Instead of looking wistfully at your young adult, wondering how they can possibly have graduated high school already, give them the best start to a more international future by directing them to study English (or another language) abroad. Time spent studying abroad is a smart investment as English skills are required in many, if not most, fields today.
Besides preparing them for their future, while studying abroad, your child will also find themselves in a variety of learning situations: From handling daily life in a new city and in a new language to meeting new people from all over the world. This will be a valuable experience in and of itself, but will also help with the transition to university life and the pressures associated with it: Your more confident and independent daughter or son will be used to working towards concrete goals, meeting study deadlines and taking responsibility for their academic success.
2. It fosters independence and problem-solving skills
While they were under your wing, your child’s needs – from nourishing food to clean uniforms – were lovingly taken care of. Now, faced with the idea of your little one being abroad, you feel tempted to continue caring for them for life. But remember: Your child is a now a young adult ready to start down their own path. During their time abroad they will likely face some challenges, but fear not: They’re all opportunities for your child to develop important life skills, from problem-solving to independent thought and action.
3. It’s key for career success
Apart from the benefits of bilingualism (themselves numerous – from more empathy to a healthier, more nimble brain), speaking another language at a high level opens up career doors all over the world. Studying overseas will also introduce your child to professionals and students with similar interests – who knows what might come of those contacts in the future? From potential work colleagues to lifetime friendships, the benefits of developing a network while studying abroad are endless.
4. It’s not as hard as you think (to say goodbye for a while)
While you’ll surely be anxious, there are several things you can do to feel closer to your child while they are away. Keep home within arm’s reach by sending them care packs with their favorite treats to nibble on while studying. Or form a family group on an instant messaging application like Whatsapp. This will let you chat and share pictures and videos in real time, so they won’t feel that far away. Another great option is to regularly top up their Skype credit so that they can call you without hassle.
However you decide to stay in touch with your son or daughter during their time studying abroad, rest assured that their experience overseas will be a smart investment in their future.