BY LINDA ANDERSON
Sending your child off to study abroad is a big change in life. The little baby that you taught to walk is now a beautiful fledgling leaving home to start off a new life in a foreign land. This is an emotional time for all parents. However, amidst all these difficult feelings, there are a number of things that have to be dealt with. It is a good idea to keep a checklist handy.
Have a health plan
Ensure that your child goes through the necessary health checkup and vaccinations before travelling abroad. However, with all the changes, there is a small chance of sickness. Pack some basic essential medicines so as to avoid a trip to the doctor unless necessary. Contact your insurance provider to look into foreign student insurance plans or if your current plans can be modified accordingly.
Prepare for paperwork
There is a lot of paperwork involved in moving to a new country. While it is something, which the student mostly has to deal with, however there might be several documents the parents need to provide or sign. You might have to submit certain information pertaining to you as well, such as proof of income etc., so keep these handy. Make a checklist to help arrange and organize the documents and papers together.
Have a talk on finances
Studying abroad, even on full scholarship, can be an expensive affair. There is quite a bit of additional establishment cost that has to be dealt with. This is high time you talk about financial arrangements for the future. Even when there is nothing like it if you can afford to pay for all the expenses, however, that is not always possible. Encourage your kid to look for jobs or even create their own entrepreneurial venture to support himself or herself and fulfill dreams.
Learn about safety
Safety is the biggest concern on every parent’s mind when sending his or her kids abroad. While you cannot be present physically as and when needed, it is important to do your bit from home. Make a note of all the emergency phone numbers such as local police, university, embassy etc. Read up on the laws and safety of the host country and above all, do not panic. Keep an open mind so that you are the first one your kid confides in, in an emergency.
Pick up some hobbies
Last but not the least, empty nest syndrome is a real problem which hits parents harder than they think. With expensive international calls, time difference and busy schedules you might not get calls as frequently as you would like. Pick up some hobbies, volunteer somewhere, take a trip or do something, which keeps you occupied. This is a plan you need to work out and the sooner you do it, the better it is for everyone.
This is a big change for both student and parents alike. However, it is your kid’s big chance in life to grow and be successful. Be supportive, encourage his or her dreams and stand by your child unconditionally.
By line for Linda Anderson
I’m a writer and musician residing in Boise, ID in the United States, although I spent a small amount of time (about three years) living in the UK growing up, due to my father’s occupation. I graduated from the College of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in Business and a focus in marketing in 2014.