Deciding to Study Abroad
You’ve decided to study abroad, that’s awesome! Now it’s time to talk to your parents about your plans. There are many things to take into consideration when planning to study abroad. Including your parents in that decision-making process is important and will make things more manageable. The following resources will help you to not only include your parents in the process, but inform them of the benefits of studying abroad and reassure them about the many questions they will (inevitably) have.
Explaining the Benefits of Studying Abroad
There are a whole host of benefits to studying abroad that you should make sure to communicate to your parents. Not only does studying abroad build on your current academic experience, but it also exposes you to new cultures and customs, which past study abroad students say can be as educational as their classes. In addition to academic and cultural benefits, studying abroad can provide you with opportunities long after you return. Studying abroad is an experience you can draw on and utilize no matter your career goals. Many students even build on their career experience while abroad by participating in internships. Lastly, and often most importantly, it is imperative to remind your family that studying abroad shouldn’t be a financial burden. Most programs are comparable to, if not less expensive than, studying at Illinois. There are also many scholarships available to all students interested in studying abroad.
Letting your family know about some of the most impactful benefits of studying abroad will help them better understand its value and how it is an experience that will reward you long after you return home.
Safety When Abroad
We know safety is your family’s top priority when it comes to your study abroad experience. International Safety and Security (ISS) is the unit at Illinois that supports all students and staff traveling abroad. They provide several resources that keep students, faculty and parents updated on international safety. In addition, ISS gives students access to a 24-hour response line while they are abroad. This line is for health and safety concerns and/or emergencies abroad. Visit their website for all the additional safety resources they offer students and parents.
Support from parents during your study abroad experience is crucial. Although the application process is up to you to complete, it is important to have the support of your friends and family from post-decision to when you return.
When you’re traveling to your host country it’s central that your family has information to track your flight and when you will be arriving in your host country. Once you land you may be unable to call immediately. However, most students are able to keep in close contact during their time abroad. You and your family should research the best way to communicate while you’re abroad and set expectations as to how often you will check-in with them.
While abroad, you may find it difficult to adjust to your new environment. It’s important that you communicate with your family and friends about any culture shock you may experience and seek their support to guide you through this potentially tough stage. Take a look at the resources page for tools about dealing with culture shock.
Preparing to study abroad can seem like an overwhelming and stressful process. We offer a resource for each step of the process to make preparation manageable. From information on why to study abroad to scholarships and cost breakdowns, visiting our site can help answer many of the questions family and friends may have about studying abroad. Make sure to share these resources with the ones closest to you to provide them with the important information they need and help them learn how to support you on what will surely be an amazing journey!