Everything is settled—the school you want to go, the country, the program. However, one thing is uncertain. How could you make your parents give you their blessing to go and study abroad? If your dad or mom isn’t familiar with the experience of this particular motive, the idea of seeing their little tot away from them is a pretty scary prospect. They may even say no.
So how would you woo your parents’ heart? You simply need to be prepared for this and be ready to get them on board about how great of an idea studying overseas actually is.
If you’re trying to show your parents what a mature, young individual you are (who would thrive in an international setting), you would need to prove this right at home. For example: getting good grades, helping your parents out or just simply doing household chores are all a good place to start. If you can’t prove that you’re a capable adult in your natural habitat, then odds are they won’t ever be thoroughly convinced that you can stay out of trouble during your time abroad.
Show your parents things like academic success, budgeting skills, a nice, clean room, and all of those other little and simple things. If you want them to treat you like a grown-up when you come to them all excited about studying abroad, then act like one.
Know your true reasons for studying abroad
It’s very important to make sure that your parents know why your experience abroad will be beneficial for you and won’t just be a semester of partying, sightseeing, or socializing. If you truly believe that studying abroad is for you, then you should lay them all out for your parents.
Why do you want to go on exchange? Is it to learn a new language or to add a valuable experience to your resume? Tell them everything they need to know—from expanding your horizons; experiencing life, culture, and studying in a foreign country; and becoming a global citizen. Your parents still play a big, significant role in your education so you better get their buy-in.
Present a financial plan
Not everyone would be getting a scholarship so knowing how much your study abroad stint would cost is a must. This sound so far-fetched but being able to present a financial plan to your parents might be a good strategy. If your parents are already skeptical or worried about the financial toll, you would want to have a well thought-out plan of action before you approach them. Budgeting is really important especially if you are given an allowance that you should stretch out during a certain period of time.
If you are fortunate enough to have parents who are willing and able to pitch in, be sure to include the part about how much you love them (this works, really) and how you’ll pay them back or make sure they know how eternally grateful you are.
Be ready for the Q&A
There is no need to create a PowerPoint deck to convince your parents, but knowing what you want and what you aim to do helps a lot in the process. Make sure you know everything about the program that you plan on applying for– types of classes that you will be taking, the language that the classes are taught in, housing arrangements, and the like. What is it about this country you’re heading to that you like, and how much effort would you need to succeed? If you’ll be able to answer these all with confidence, then you are just a few steps away from convincing your parents to let you study abroad.
Set up a meeting with someone who’s been abroad
Desperate times call for desperate measures. If you have a family friend who already studied abroad, set up a meeting so your parents can personally ask them questions about their own study abroad experience. It will help your parents feel better about things like student safety, school regulations, visa requirements, and common difficulties of being a foreigner in a strange country, among others. The idea is for your parents to have the most accurate picture of what a study abroad can be and hopefully, they’ll come around.
Often, colleges help set up meetings between you and other students from your school who have already completed the program for which you’re applying. Take advantage of these interactions to get all of your and your parents questions answered.
Convincing your parents to let go and let you study abroad is a challenge not only you would be facing. It’s a parent’s struggle to be away from their little pumpkin, too.
It’s their duty to keep you safe and away from harm. Naturally, they would only want the best for you, so it’s understandable if they would hesitate at first but there’s no need to be scared.
Speaking from the heart is the most effective way to get the sweetest yes from your parents.