We are thrilled to share our latest guest blog from Rachael, a stellar Select Study Abroad alum and Alpha Delta Pi sister who will be graduating from Quinnipiac University this spring. This wise senior wanted to share her tips on how to approach your parents about studying abroad. It is a big decision, an important investment, and an experience that you will never forget. So, take note and follow her sisterly advice!
Your parents constantly worry about your safety and wellbeing so imagine when you are 3,000 miles away from home. Back packing through Europe isn’t something that thrills many parents, but what about studying abroad? If they’re still nervous here is a way to help you find a destination that gives you a home-away-from-home vibe without freaking your parents out.
Step 1: RESEARCH! I can’t stress this enough. Go online and find the places that interest you, such as Italy. Discover the best places to go in that country, the political problems arising or any other important news that’s current that your parents might want to know about. How are you going to deal with the language factor? Is there a phone plan available or are you going to use your family plan? Learn as much as you can!
Step 2: PROS AND CONS! Next you need to weigh the pros and cons. It’s best to write these down so you don’t forget. This is something your parents are going to do when they want to know why you want to go to this country.
Step 3: MONEY! This is probably the second most important aspect. How do you plan to pay for this trip, especially your personal spending money? You will either have to convince your parents you have enough now, take on a second job, or pay them back. If you come up with a legit solution to this now, it will help with them knowing you are indeed being responsible.
Step 4: MORE RESEARCH! Yes, more research is key. You need to learn about the university Select has to offer. Do they have classes you like or are geared toward your major? Are they close to a transportation service to go elsewhere in the world or country? Is the campus safe? Is there a suitable hospital near by? How much does it cost to see a doctor? Look at reviews from other students who have traveled there, it may provide you with more insight than you would have originally expected. If you know someone that has gone to these particular places or schools, that information will also be helpful.
Step 5: ABROAD OFFICE! Once, you’ve looked into the university, it’s time to visit or talk to your abroad office. Does the school work with the country you are looking at? How do you pay for your time abroad? Obviously you will have to go back to the abroad office once you have completed convincing your parents, so it’s best to grab any and all forms that need to be filled out (i.e. brochures and information packets). This will also help to show your parents that you are taking the necessary steps to be serious about applying.
Step 6: GATHER MATERIAL! Now that you have all the knowledge you can possibly find, gather all the materials you have collected and organize them in a way to help you plead your case. You know your parents best, but it’s good to be prepared ahead of time with the questions and concerns they are going to have.
Step 7: MEETING TIME!This is obviously one of the hardest parts, calling a meeting with your parents. You should ask them for their full attention. Tell them that this is a serious matter and you want them to not be distracted by other things (i.e. phone, computer, TV show). Then lay out all of the material you have on the table in front of them and say, “I am considering studying abroad in Florence”. Provide them with all of the information you’ve gathered about the country and the program you looked into. Give them the pros and cons you came up with, it will show that you are considering other factors that may affect your decision or their decision.
Step 8: Q&A! Your parents may ask you a couple questions regarding what you’ve found. This is natural as you are their child and they want to make sure you are making the right choices. Stay calm, cool and collected the whole time. Don’t be afraid to say you don’t know an answer. Instead, write it down and say, “That’s a good question, I’ll look into it.” They are going to make sure you are going to take new things into account that you might have missed during your research. This is nothing to be afraid of. They are testing you and wanting to see how you are taking responsibility about this matter. I’m sure Carrie and Kellin would be more than happy to answer any questions they may have.
Step 9: DECISION TIME! You can either suggest to your parents to think about what you have presented and ask them to let you know soon (i.e. if there is a deadline for the program, make sure they are aware that you need to know sooner rather than later) or they may give you an answer right then and there. Either way, be grateful and thank them for their time and consideration. Remember, it’s just as hard for them as it is for you. Regardless of what they say, let them know that this was a learning experience and an important life decision.
Step 10: ARRIVEDERCI! If everything has gone smoothly, you’ll be applying to the destination of your dreams! Remember to always let your parents know what you’re doing and where you’re going because it will not only make their day to know you are happy, but that you are safe. With that being said, I wish you all the best and remember to have fun!
Thank you Rachael for these amazing tips and great advice. These are truly ten steps to success! And of course, as Rachael mentioned, we’re always here to help answer any and all of your questions. Just give us a call! We love geting phone calls. No, really. We do.