Here’s the good news: Studying abroad is the ultimate investment in your future. And here’s the not-so-good news: It’s an investment that happens far away from parental guidance, so it might not be all that easy to convince your mom and dad to let you go forth and conquer foreign lands. However, traveling to another country to learn a language is also an experience very few other opportunities can match: The endeavor results in academic success and improved career prospects that are sprinkled with maturity and independence. Studying abroad is the gift that keeps on giving, and here’s how you sell it to your parents.
Prepare, prepare, prepare
First and foremost, you need to convince your parents that you take the whole adventure very seriously and that you have what it takes to study abroad: Get good grades in school, start learning the language in class or online, maybe cook something from the country or read books and watch movies. Your parents need to see that you’re super interested in the language and the culture and that you’re willing (and able) to put in the effort.
Present in the right way
Speaking of putting in the effort: What about doing lots and lots of research about the destination and the school and gathering all of that information in a beautiful presentation that will support all of your points so well that your parents will help you start packing immediately?
Mention the personal gains
Studying abroad and immersing in a new culture will help you become a well-rounded adult: Broadening your horizons is crucial these days and nothing screams global citizen more than traveling the world, gaining cross-cultural experience, and feeling at home in foreign countries. Learning how to adapt to a new environment will also help you become more mature and independent, and studying abroad basically puts you on the fast track to being a responsible young adult, which is pretty much your parents’ main goal anyway.
Bring up the academic benefits
Studying abroad will help you perform better academically: You’ll get higher grades, and some time away from home can help you start the school year refreshed and with a new focus. There’s probably nobody out there who will deny that getting through the school year with enthusiasm and good grades feels like the cherry on the academic cake.
Point out the professional growth
When it’s time to look for internships or jobs, having international experience can give you a competitive advantage over other applicants: Depending on the career, becoming fluent in another language can be the key to success. Plus, being bilingual can give you a higher salary, which means that you can spend more on presents for your parents. If all else fails and not even the prospect of piles of presents help, you can always hint that the sooner you’ll find a job, the sooner you’ll move out and your parents have their home to themselves.
Chip in like a boss
Nothing makes parents prouder than seeing that they’ve raised a self-reliant and financially savvy child. Show them that you’re ready to go the extra mile and offer to pay for some of the study abroad trip: Get a part-time job, work during your holidays, or help around the house to save a little cash that you can then invest in your future. If you also mention that you made a budget for the whole trip, your parents might have tears of joy in their eyes. #winning
Show them how you’ll stay safe
Your parents will probably be concerned about your safety: Show them that you’re taking their worries seriously and research emergency numbers, insurances, etc. If possible, remind them of all the measures the school takes – things like airport transfers or guided tours – to ensure everyone’s safety.
Promise them you’ll keep in touch
Up next is a valid point not only for your parents but your loved ones in general: You’ll experience so much in the weeks or months abroad, everyone’s who’s not with you will likely feel left out. Promise to call and text – or even better: Keep your parents and friends in the loop by setting everyone up with social media accounts.
Hint at the fact that they’ll get time off
Letting you study abroad comes with one small but important parental benefit: Your mom and dad will not only welcome back a well-rounded child with impressive language skills and a bright future ahead, but they’ll also get some time off while you’re away. Of course, parenting is a job for life, but we all deserve a little vacation every now and then, don’t we? Letting you study abroad is the ultimate win-win situation for the whole family.
Call attention to the whining
Depending on your determination and your parents’ resistance, making your case could take some time — time in which there could be tension and frustration. It’s probably not a good main argument, but maybe you can throw it in as a reminder: The sooner your parents realize what a fantastic idea letting you study abroad is, the sooner they’ll have their cheery and awesome child back.