THE ULTIMATE PARENTS GUIDE TO STUDY ABROAD

THE ULTIMATE PARENTS GUIDE TO STUDY ABROAD

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The Ultimate Parents’ Guide to Study Abroad

Parents play a crucial role in shaping their children’s future, especially when it comes to the university application process. The journey towards higher education can be overwhelming for students, particularly where they aspire to study in another country. Parental support becomes invaluable as they make significant choices on their path to future success.

In a recent survey of nearly 5,000 high school seniors, 48% ranked “parental influence” as one of their top five sources of information on the university application process. By offering guidance and knowledge about various universities, courses, and application requirements, parents can empower their children to make informed decisions. They can help them explore different options and identify programs that align with their interests and aspirations. Parental support also helps alleviate stress during this critical period. The application process often involves deadlines, essays, interviews, and numerous other tasks that can be overwhelming for students to handle on their own. With guidance, students feel supported and encouraged throughout this journey.

If you are a parent wondering what role you can play in the university application process, we hope this guide will serve as a useful resource that sheds light on the importance of your support. We will explore how you can effectively assist their children in navigating the challenges of applying to study abroad while being conducive to their independence and personal growth.

Contents:

Our Top Tips for Parents
Finding the Right Program & Destination
Understanding the Application Process
Financial Planning & Scholarships for International Students
Supporting Your Child Emotionally
Preparing for Departure and Ensuring a Smooth Transition

Our Top Tips for Parents

Educate yourself: Learn as much as you can about the destination, program, and requirements. You can use online resources, such as websites, rankings, reviews, or the help of our team. The Global Admissions platform contains information and an application portal for universities and programs around the world. For more, subscribe to our Youtube channel and look through our blog articles.
Let go: Trust your child’s ability and judgment to make their own decisions and handle their own challenges. Avoid being overprotective or controlling, as this may hinder your child’s independence and growth. Instead, encourage them to explore, learn, and enjoy their study abroad experience.
Communicate: Maintain regular and effective communication with your child during their study abroad experience. Use technology, such as phone, email, or social media, to stay in touch and share updates. However, respect their boundaries and privacy, and do not expect them to contact you every day or hour. Also, be supportive and understanding of their feelings and emotions, such as excitement, frustration, or homesickness.
Finances: Plan and budget for the cost of studying abroad, which may include tuition fees, housing, meals, airfare, transportation, entertainment, books, and supplies. You can also explore financial aid options, such as scholarships, grants, loans, or fundraising, to help cover the expenses. Moreover, help your child manage their money wisely and responsibly, such as setting a limit, using a debit or credit card, or exchanging currency.
Safety: Ensure your child’s safety and well-being during their study abroad experience. You can do this by obtaining travel insurance, health insurance, and emergency contacts for your child. You can also check the travel advisories, visa requirements, and health and safety information of the host country. Furthermore, advise your child to follow the rules and regulations of the host institution and country, and to avoid risky or illegal activities.
Responsibility: Teach your child to be responsible and accountable for their actions and consequences during their time living abroad. You can do this by helping them with the paperwork, such as passport, visa, and application forms, but not doing it for them. You can also remind them of their academic obligations, such as attending classes, completing assignments, and transferring credits.
Adjustment: Encourage your child to adjust and adapt to the host culture and environment. You can do this by exposing them to the language, customs, and values of the host country before they depart. You can also support them to overcome culture shock, such as by listening to their concerns, validating their feelings, and suggesting coping strategies.
Visitation: Consider visiting your child during their study abroad experience, but only if it is convenient and appropriate for both of you. You can do this by choosing a time that does not interfere with their academic schedule, such as a break or a holiday. You can also respect their wishes and preferences, such as whether they want you to stay with them or not, or whether they want you to meet their friends or not.
Reentry: Welcome your child back and help them adjust after their study abroad experience. You can do this by acknowledging and validating their feelings, such as joy, sadness, or confusion. You can also listen and ask questions about their study abroad experience, such as what they learned, what they liked, or what they missed. Moreover, you can celebrate and share their achievements, such as by throwing a party, making a scrapbook, or giving a gift.
Impact: Recognize and appreciate the positive outcomes and impacts of studying abroad on your child’s personal and professional development. You can do this by noticing and praising their changes and improvements, such as in their skills, knowledge, attitudes, or behaviors. You can also encourage them to apply and utilize what they learned from studying abroad, such as by pursuing further education, seeking a career, or engaging in a community.
Now let’s break down the application process and explore the ways parents can provide guidance and support.

1. Finding the Right Program and Destination
With so many study-abroad destinations to choose from, it can be overwhelming to navigate through the options all the options. By thoroughly researching the options based on their personal interests and academic goals, you can empower your child to make a well-informed decision that paves the way for a successful experience studying abroad.

Our Global Admissions platform provides pages packed with information about various universities and programs, which you can also directly apply to. You can also subscribe to our Youtube channel and browse our blog for more information and inspiration on many aspects about studying abroad.

 

There are three broad areas you should research: programs, universities, and destinations. Your child may already have a good idea about one or more of these. Here are some important factors to help further guide their research.

Different countries may specialize in specific fields or have universities renowned for particular disciplines. By understanding your child’s academic interests and career goals, you can narrow down the options to countries that excel in those areas.

To guide your research into programs, universities, and destinations, here are some important facfors we recommend finding out about.

Learning about the Programs

Academic quality and accreditation:
Check the reputation, ranking, and recognition of the study program and the institution that offers it.
Verify that the program is accredited by a recognized authority.
Check if the credits and degrees earned are transferable and recognized in your home country and elsewhere.
Curriculum and requirements:
Review the courses, topics, and skills that the study program covers and assess whether they match your child’s interests, abilities, and aspirations.
Check the prerequisites (e.g. language proficiency, standardized tests) that your child needs to be eligible for the program.
Cost and funding:
Calculate the total cost of the study program, which may include tuition fees, housing, meals, airfare, transportation, books, and supplies.
If needed, explore the financial aid options, such as scholarships, grants, loans, or fundraising, that are available to help cover expenses.
Compare the cost and funding of different programs, and discuss budget and expectations with your child.
Duration and location:
Consider how long and where your child wants to study.
Some programs may last for a semester, a year, or longer, while others may be shorter or more flexible.
Some programs may be offered in one country or city, while others may involve multiple destinations or travel opportunities.
Weigh the pros and cons of the different options.
Support and services:
Inquire about the support and services that the study program provides to the students before, during, and after the program.
These may include application assistance, visa guidance, orientation, housing, health care, insurance, emergency contacts, academic support, cultural activities, alumni network, and career counseling.
Evaluate the quality and availability of these support and services to find which program offers the best care and assistance to your child.
Looking into Different Universities

Reputation and rankings:
Rankings provide valuable insights into the reputation and quality of education offered by different institutions worldwide, and can help instill confidence in selecting a university.
Rankings are based on various indicators, such as academic performance, research impact, faculty quality, student satisfaction, and employability.
Admission requirements for international students:
Admission requirements vary depending on the university, the program, and the country of origin of the student. Learn more in the next section.
Campus facilities and resources:
Campus facilities and resources are important factors that affect the quality of student life and learning
Some examples of campus facilities and resources are libraries, labs, sports centers, health centers, counseling services, student clubs, and career centers.
Student body, faculty, and campus culture
These factors reflect the diversity, inclusivity, and vibrancy of the university community.
Some aspects to consider are the size, composition, and interaction of the student body and faculty.
The ideal campus culture will depend on your child’s preferences, so discuss this with them.
Career opportunities:
These opportunities are the potential benefits and outcomes of studying at a particular university for the future professional development of your child.
Consider the following aspects:
employability and salary of graduates
connections and partnerships with employers and organizations
career guidance and support services
alumni network and success stories
Alumni network:
Universities encourage former students who have graduated to maintain a connection with the institution and each other.
Alumni networks can also provide valuable benefits for current and prospective students, such as mentoring, networking, referrals, donations, and events.
Considering the Right Destination

Culture, values, history, and etiquette:
These aspects define the identity and character of a country or city, and can influence your child’s expectations, experiences, and interactions.
Your child’s decision could be guided by their interest in a place’s religion, politics, art, literature, music, food, dress, and customs.
Language and communication skills:
Assessing your child’s linguistic abilities and preferences will help determine the most suitable countries.
Knowing the local langauage of a destination can affect the academic performance, social integration, and personal growth of your child.
As well as considering the language aspects of programs and learning opportunities in universities, research the communication styles and potential barriers of the destination.
Accommodation:
The type and quality of accommodation can play a large role in your child’s on the student’s comfort, well-being, and budget.
There are different options for on-campus and off-campus accommodation, such as homestay, dormitory, private apartment, shared apartment, or private student rental halls. Find out more about on-campus and off-campus living options.
Some aspects to consider are the location, cost, availability, facilities, amenities, security, privacy, and social opportunities of the accommodation
Cost of living:
Understand the amount of money needed to cover the basic cost of living in the destination. Financial planning and budgeting will help set realistic expectations and ensure financial stability for your child. Learn more about this below.
Health and safety:
Ensure your child’s security and physical and mental well-being by investigating the environmental conditions, health care accessibility, crime rates, political situations, cultural differences, local laws and customs, and support services.
Practical and logical aspects:
Facilitate your child’s transition to university by understanding the tasks and challenges in aspects such as packing, transportation and visas.
Remind your child to find out about flight tickets, visa details, phone plans, and local transportation.
Cultural experiences:
Research the opportunities and activities that will expose child to immerse the culture and society of the destination. Cultural immersion can greatly enrich their learning and enjoyment during their time abroad.
Examples of cultural experiences are activities with locals and other students, exploring landmarks and attractions, participating in festivals and events, and trying out new foods and hobbies.

2. Understanding the Application Process

The application process may vary depending on the country and university your child is applying to. However, there are some common steps that most programs follow. Understanding these steps can save you time and offer peace of mind.

Deadlines

Understanding the different types of application deadlines is crucial. Some universities have rolling admissions where applications are accepted throughout the year until all spots are filled. Many have specific early-decision or regular-decision deadlines, which can vary depending on the program, degree level, and type of student (e.g. international, full-time, part-time).

By knowing these dates in advance, you can help your child plan their time effectively and avoid any last-minute rush or missed opportunities. Missing a deadline could result in your child’s application being disqualified or delayed. Make sure to mark important dates on a calendar or set reminders to stay organized throughout the application process.

Required Documents

Ensure your child has double-checked the required documents and eligibility requirements for each program they are applying. They will need to meet all the pre-requisite criteria before starting an application.

Each university will have its specific set of required documents for the application, which may include:

academic transcripts
recommendation letters
standardized test scores (such as TOEFL or IELTS)
a valid passport
essays or personal statements
proof of financial support.
A checklist can be very useful to keep track of gathering and uploading the necessary documents. Parents can help their children plan ahead and prepare the necessary documents well in advance.

If you are financially supporting your child’s studies, you may need to provide a Letter of Support, sometimes called a Guarantor Letter. Read more about this in our guide: Application Documents: The Guarantor Letter Guide

You can find the specific application requirements for each program on the Global Admissions platform.

Accepting an Offer

Once your child receives an offer from a study abroad program, they may need to confirm their acceptance with the university. A deposit is often required at this stage to secure their place. Parents should help their children review the offer letter and the terms and conditions carefully, making sure the cancellation and refund policies are understood.

Learn more about this stage: What to Do After Receiving a University Acceptance Letter.

If you will be supporting the cost of your child’s program or studies, make sure you’re prepared to cover all the costs involved, and make note of when tuition fees are due. Don’t forget to check the currency exchange rates and the payment methods accepted by the program.

Visa Applications

Depending on the country and the duration of the program, your child may need to apply for a visa to study abroad. You could assist with researching the visa requirements and the application process for the host country and providing the necessary documents and fees. Keep in mind that visa processing times may vary and plan accordingly.

3. Financial Planning and Scholarships for International Students

Financing your child’s education abroad can seem like a daunting task, but with the right strategies and resources, it can be manageable. Here are some steps you can take to navigate the finances for your child’s studies overseas:

Explore Funding Options

If your child Start by exploring the various funding options available for international students. These may include scholarships, grants, loans, and work-study programs. Research different institutions, organizations, and governments that offer financial assistance specifically for students studying abroad.

Here are some potential funding options to explore:

Scholarships for International Students: Many universities and organizations offer scholarships specifically designed for international students. They are granted based on factors such as academic merit, extracurricular achievements, nationality, field of study, or financial need. Parents can help their children search for these opportunities early on and guide them through the application process.
Government-Sponsored Programs: Some countries provide financial support to international students studying in their institutions. These programs may cover tuition fees or even provide living allowances or health insurance coverage.
: Some schools make loans available to international students, either directly or through partnerships with private lenders1.
Private loans: Some private lenders offer loans to international students, but they may have higher interest rates and fees, and may require a guarantor or a co-signer.
Grants and bursaries: Some universities and other organisations offer grants and bursaries to international students, which can be used to cover tuition fees and living costs
Plan and Budget Costs

Help your child create a realistic budget that takes into account tuition fees, accommodation costs, transportation expenses, living expenses (including food and daily necessities), visa fees (if applicable), health insurance costs (if not covered by any program), and any other relevant expenses they may incur while studying abroad.

Student Employment

Depending on local regulations and student visa conditions in the host country, some university students choose to work a part-time job while they are studying. You may want to encourage your child to explore part-time job opportunities that can help cover some of their expenses or earn some extra spending money, ensuring that it won’t affect their studies negatively.

Seek Advice from Experts

If you feel overwhelmed by the financing process or need guidance on choosing an affordable institution or program, we invite you to book a free call with one of our student advisors. Our team members are experts in the area and have all had experience studying abroad themselves, and can offer prospective students and their guardians tailored support.

Utilize Online Resources

There are numerous online resources available where you can find information about financing education and day-to-day spending for your child. Websites, forums, and social media groups dedicated to studying abroad often have valuable insights and tips from experienced individuals who have gone through the process.

Here are some useful online resources:

Cost of living calculators such as Numbeo provide valuable, up-to-date information about the various costs your child will encounter, allowing you to compare them with other cities worldwide.
There are many student budget templates available online, which can be print out or use on excel.
Remember, planning ahead and being proactive will greatly help in securing the necessary funds for your child’s education overseas.

4. Supporting Your Child Emotionally
Supporting your child emotionally during the application journey is of utmost importance, especially for international students who may experience homesickness while studying abroad. As a parent or guardian, there are various ways you can provide the necessary emotional support to help them navigate this challenging phase.

1) Maintain open lines of communication with your child.

Regularly check in on their well-being and encourage them to share their feelings and concerns. By actively listening and offering understanding, you can create a safe space for them to express any homesickness they may be experiencing.

2) Familiarize yourself with the resources available from their university.

Many universities have dedicated support services specifically designed to assist international students in managing homesickness. These may include counseling services, cultural clubs or organizations that provide a sense of community, and workshops on adjusting to life abroad.

3) Encourage your child to participate in social activities and events.

In a new environment, engaging with other students from different backgrounds can help alleviate feelings of loneliness and foster a sense of belonging. Encourage your child to explore new hobbies, join clubs related to their interests, and build new friendships and connections.

4) Remind your child that feeling homesick is completely normal.

Many international students feel homesickness at first – it is a natural and common part of adjusting to life in a new country Reassure them that these feelings will likely diminish over time as they become more accustomed to their surroundings and establish a routine.

Find more tips here: 5 Ways to Overcome Homesickness While Studying Abroad

5) Remind your child of the reasons why they chose to study abroad in the first place.

Help them focus on the exciting opportunities that lie ahead, such as cultural experiences and academic growth – highlighting the long-term benefits this journey will bring. By providing emotional support throughout the application process and being proactive in addressing homesickness, you can help ensure that your child’s experience is rewarding both academically and emotionally.

5. Preparing for Departure and Ensuring a Smooth Transition to a New Country
Some children can benefit from help with packing all the necessary items they will need, as it’s easy to overlook conditions in another country. It’s important to consider what clothing is suitable for the climate of the host country. Remind them about the essentials such as electronics and adapters, important documents, and any medication or medical supplies they may need.

You can also assist their children in understanding and familiarizing themselves with the customs and culture of the host country. This can include researching local traditions, etiquette, and social norms to ensure a respectful and positive experience abroad. By learning more about these yourselves, you may be able to better relate to your child’s experiences.

It is advisable to help your children set up necessary arrangements before departure. This may include:

organizing travel insurance coverage,
notifying banks about international transactions,
arranging transportation upon arrival in the host country,
obtaining a small amount of cash in the host country’s currency for emergencies
ensuring that all necessary paperwork related to bin or accommodation is completed beforehand.
Our Moving to China Guidebook covers a lot of this essential information plus more valuable tips, which you can download for free here.

The Life-Changing Experience of Studying Abroad
Studying abroad has a transformative power that not only boosts students’ academic knowledge but also promotes personal growth, independence, and adaptability.

By supporting and encouraging your child to seize this opportunity, you are contributing significantly to their personal and professional development. Rest assured that studying abroad is not only an incredible journey of self-discovery but also an investment in their future success.

We hope that this comprehensive guide serves as a valuable resource for you as you understand the long-term benefits of studying abroad on your children’s lives. We encourage you to confidently support your child as they lift their wings to embark on this incredible journey. We also provide support and a platform to help students apply online. to universities worldwide, online, and with ease.

 

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