So you’ve been accepted into a program OR you’re interested in going abroad and you’re wondering what to tell your parents.
Don’t worry. I’ve been through this process and I’m going to tell you everything I did and why I did it. You probably won’t be as scared like Spongebob, but it is a little nerve wrecking.
The most important thing you must do before you approach your parents is to have a plan! I can’t stress that enough. Although, some parents may not even care about the logistics and are just happy to see you go abroad. Every parent is different, but my parents like to see things in front of them and look at what I’m getting myself into. BUT! Before you can sit your parents down, you should have a plan even if your parents don’t have an interest in it.
Having a plan is not only helpful for your parents but also you. Here is what I did for my plan:
Research. Research. Research.
This is the most important step, like many jobs or projects, research helps you understand what you signed up for. Looking at the school you’ll be going to or the destination you’re going to be working at helps give you a sense of the surrounding area. Gives you an idea of what to do around there, how long will it take to get from A to B, helps figure out total costs, etc. I can’t stress enough how important this step is when presenting a plan to your parents.
Having done all this research not only helps you get leverage to go but it reassures your parents knowing you took the time to find all this info about the program, city, location, living situation, etc. Your parents just want their baby to be safe and financially stable while abroad.
This step will make or break it for you. Having this research has so many benefits and I know it sounds god awful to do more research outside of school…but this opportunity doesn’t come often. Some of these research benefits include:
- Reassurance for both you and your parents
- Preparation for when you get to your destination
- Have a better sense of your residences, work location and the city.
- Transportation – if they have good access, monthly cards, student discounts, etc.
- Travel – weekend getaways? How far? How much?
- Events and activities that occur during the time of your stay. Embrace yourself in the culture and expand your knowledge of the world.
- How to budget for your travels and excursions.
- Currency conversion rates.
- Miscellaneous things like cellular data plans, WiFi, etc.
- Cost of living comparisons.
Just to name a few!
Once you’ve done some research, whether you’re studying abroad or interning abroad, you should have an idea on where you’re living. After you’ve looked through the different neighborhoods, apartment styles, etc., you can now reach out to others for living situations.
Like many other companies, Adelante provides free housing with the our programs. Airbnb, VRBO, Facebook, Reddit and local housing websites are also good places to start for a living situation. However, we strongly recommend using the provided housing as it has gone through inspections and is centrally located for your convenience. Don’t settle for less, but you are mainly only there to sleep and shower! You don’t need to be spending big bucks on a place when you should be out and about exploring the city!
Having your living situation set or in the works helps your case to go abroad. My mom was concerned about my living situation. I reassured her where I would be living is safe and provided by the home university.
Financial stability is another HUGE aspect to anyone going abroad. It’s great you got into a program abroad or you want to go abroad, but do you have the funds for it?
- SCHOLARSHIPS go a LONG way for those studying or interning abroad. It’s free money. DO IT.
- FundMyTravel or GoFundMe are also great resources for you to use. They do charge an admin fee, so take that into consideration. I used this, didn’t get much traction as I started too late. Start this immediately if you want to go abroad! Check out our blog post about funding your travels!
- FAMILY! Ask your family for help! Christmas money? Birthday money? Easy cash!
- Find a part-time job abroad! It’s easier than it seems but depending on your destination they may require a specific language. It isn’t impossible though!
Now you’ve completed research and finding a home. The next step would be to present your plan to your parents, which in all reality isn’t hard so long as you have done your research.
You should present your parents with this plan when you have time together – lunch, dinner, relaxing at home, etc. Go through the different parts of your program so they get an understanding of what you’ll be doing, where you’re going and what they should expect. My mom kept asking if there was something she needed to do and I had done everything already. All she had to do was give her stamp of approval.
Go through costs. This is also important. How will you pay for the program? How would you get money if you need it? Do you have money saved? This is the biggest concern as it was for my mom. She wanted to make sure I had enough money to get there and back with added excursions. To solve this issue, you can always get a part time job. Some places will hire you to pick fruit or be a restaurant server. Jobs that aren’t hard but people won’t do, that’s where you come in!
Hopefully you took the time to follow these basic steps on how to convince your parents to go abroad. It’s an opportunity that people should consider because you get to learn so much about yourself and the world. It’s truly a beneficial opportunity to experience.
To put it simple: your parents want you to be safe and reassured that everything will be or is taken care of. Your parents don’t want to worry about a thing while you’re gone, except that you’re alive and being healthy.
Your parents have every right to be concerned about you going abroad alone. Wouldn’t you? So just make sure you have everything set or have an idea of what to do. Do NOT go and plan on a whim. That works if you’re backpacking through countries but when you’re studying or interning abroad, it’s a rookie mistake. A mistake that may cost you more money and that is not fun. With that my friend(s), I hope your parents were thoroughly convinced to let you go abroad! It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Be smart. Be safe. Go explore.
About Our Contributor:
Drew is Adelante HQ’s Social Media & Marketing intern for Fall 2017 and is currently a Public Relations major at Cal State Long Beach. He has participated in a youth exchange program in Dakar, Senegal and an international basketball tournament in Japan. One of his many traveling goals is to step foot on every continent on this big blue planet, and yes, even Antarctica.