Studying Abroad: Sorting the Myths from the Realities for Panicky Parents

Many parents find themselves panicked at the thought of sending their child to study abroad. Will they be safe or homesick? Will this experience force us to take out a loan? Here are some answers to the biggest myths and misnomers about studying abroad—hey, maybe you’ll change your mind.

Studying Abroad is Too Expensive

Sure, some study abroad programs are expensive, but there are a number of ways to reduce the costs. If you’re worried about your college age child racking up debt or asking you to foot the bill for an expensive party-fueled adventure, keep in mind federal financial aid often helps with these expenses, and in general, a college abroad program should cost about the same as room board and tuition do on the home campus.

 

Study Abroad Programs Interfere with the Rest of the School Year

If your high school student is thinking of studying abroad, a major concern that parents may have is whether or not students will graduate on time if they’re spending significant time away from their home school. While in most cases, students can study abroad and still stay on top of academic requirements, a summer school option may be a good alternative—they won’t miss anything at school, just add to the quality of their secondary education. Programs like this London summer school are ideal for academic advancement during the offseason.

 

My Child Doesn’t Speak a Foreign Language

Many countries offer programs in English, and that doesn’t even account for all the countries that speak English as a first or second language. In a broad range of European or Middle Eastern countries, students often have the opportunity to enroll in a program based on their aptitude in another language and can learn that language as they progress in other areas of study.

 

Study Abroad is Too Dangerous

While there are some risks that go hand in hand with traveling in general, do some research and be aware of what’s going on in the area your child is considering for their studies. Avoid conflict zones or programs that offer little in the way of public transportation or maybe aren’t located in a safe neighborhood. The better informed you and your child are about where they’ll potentially be staying, the more comfortable you’ll be with the whole process.

For the smaller stuff like staying safe while drinking or keeping track of valuables, here’s a short guide students might find helpful.

 

My Child is Just Going to Party

Okay, you can’t control every aspect of the trip, but the incentives of traveling abroad are equal parts education, as well as getting to know a new culture and finding some adventure. Even if there is some goofing off, realize that this is a valuable opportunity for your child to branch out and navigate the world without much guidance from you. They’ll learn to solve problems and become resourceful. In all, it’s wise to trust your child and rest easy, they’ll see all kinds of benefits from this experience.

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