Have you taken care of all the details of your study abroad plans? Here is a guide for parents who plan to send their children for higher studies abroad.
Why Study Abroad?
There are many reasons why you should consider a foreign education for your child. Whether you are looking for better job prospects or giving your child a world-class education, a study abroad plan takes care of it all.
- Your child will gain a holistic education: Your child will get abundant opportunities to explore his/her academic interests through research, peer collaboration, interactive lectures, excursions, field trip and much more.
- Give your child the opportunity to learn from renowned faculty: Your child will attend classes of eminent scientists and scholars, celebrity writers, entrepreneurs and the likes. The stellar faculty is a definitive reason to consider study abroad for your child.
- Your child learns to live independently: Study abroad is the perfect alternative to train your child to acquire independence, gain life skills and shape his/her personality. He/she will be surrounded by peers from across the world who’ll motivate him/her to be focused, decisive and outcome driven.
- Your child will learn to appreciate diversity and respect his/her own identity: Not only he/she will start appreciating different viewpoints but also grow immense respect for and allegiance to his/her own traditions and values.
- Your child will have cutting-edge career prospects: Universities provide exclusive internship opportunities to hone students’ concepts and understanding through real-world problem-solving. Also, employers across the world are keen on absorbing candidates who have global exposure and know how to work in a multi-cultural team spread across all geography.
- Your child will know people across the globe: Study abroad will place your child in a larger world and render him the chance to connect with diverse individuals. His/her contacts are invaluable resources for career development as well as personal growth.
What Do You Need to Keep in Mind for Your Child Going Abroad?
- Create a list of important factors. Probe into your child’s likes, dislikes, preferences, and constraints before finalizing a subject area. Also think through all the other factors that will maximize their learning experience and prioritize them based on preferences, for example, class size, location, cost of education, program duration, financial aid, teaching style and employment opportunities.
- Thoroughly research the locations and schools. Study each country, university, and department, as each college has its own ethos, curriculum and admission requirements. To do that you need to scour college websites, speak to current students, alumni and professors, attend college fairs in your city, or visit a set of shortlisted colleges.
- Select colleges based on fit. Don’t base college selection on rankings alone; this is only one point of reference. Based on the homework conducted and your child’s own profile, work together to identify colleges that are the best match.
- Support through the application process: Guide your child through the application process. Help your child gather the documents, work on the prerequisites, and think through each process so that he or she can present the application confidently.
- Know the financial implications. There will be costs associated with the application process including application costs and standardized tests. Once at a college, you will have tuition fees, and living costs – including rent, food, transportation, insurance. Be aware of all the costs associated with your selected program and location.
- Know how to handle money. Your child needs to get an understanding of the credit system in the country in which they will be studying, and make sure they build and maintain a good credit history. Research the best student bank account option before opening a local account. Deal only with verified and accredited sources when exchanging money.
- Understand the medical framework. It’s important to probe into the coverage, cost and insurance options offered by the country and university your child has selected. Consider purchasing international travel insurance, if required. Finally, knowing how to cope with injury and sickness while abroad to minimize stress.
- Learn all the communication channels. Keeping in touch with your child while they are studying overseas is important for both of you. Establish a plan of communication prior to your child’s departure. Students and parents should both have a set of emergency contacts with them at all times, including university and program contacts. Also, familiarize yourself with communication tools including Skype, What’s app, Facebook to boost accessibility.
What About Finances?
The first thing parents often ask us when they want to explore options for higher studies abroad is, “How much will it cost?” Here are some ideas to help finance your child’s education abroad:
- Consider overseas educational loan. You can avail of educational loans at both public as well as and private banks and organizations. Approach your local bank for details. For example, the Indian Government has installed the portal ‘Vidya Lakshmi’ that allows students to check out various loan options and fund providers. Other funding institutions include Credila, SBI, GyanDhan, and Avanse Educational Loan. Nationalized banks also offer attractive loans with a rate of interest.
- Find the eligibility criteria for loans. Before signing on for a loan, learn about the essential grounds on which it will be sanctioned.
- Evaluate your security or collateral options. Each organization will have a policy of a security or collateral against the loan they would be sanctioning.
- Your child can also apply for financial aid and scholarships. Universities offer two types of aid: need-based, and merit-based. Merit-based scholarships are granted on the basis of special skills, talents, or abilities. Need-based scholarships are awarded based on financial need. You will be required to demonstrate need at a predetermined level to be eligible.
- Your child can help fund their education through work-study. Universities abroad may allow you to work on campus and opportunities include tutoring, research assistant, a desk job in the library or administrative office. This can help supplement your child’s living expenses and reduce the loan amount.
- Repayment of loans. Don’t miss out on the finer aspects of loan repayment. Make sure that you are completely aware of the loan repayment schedule and the options available to you. Make a detailed plan on how you plan to repay the loan.
What About Safety While Studying Abroad?
It is natural to worry about your child, but don’t let that hold you back from this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Follow this safety advice to help your child stay safe.
- Learn everything you can about the university and the program your child has selected. Connect with the alumni or admissions officers visiting your region for a seminar or exhibition. They are best equipped to provide you with relevant information that will cast away your fears.
- Eat right; take precautions against illnesses. Encourage your child to cook small, quick meals that are time-efficient. Help your child locate and make healthy food choices. Also, foreign universities are very particular about vaccinations. Make sure to follow all immunization protocol. Unlike in India, medical expenses are expensive. Make sure to have all emergency contact numbers handy for both you and your child.
- Protect your child from addictions and bad habits. Look out for signals of stress, depression, or lack of focus. Talk to student counselors or the international community officers to ensure that your child is safe, and making reasonable progress in his studies. Contact MADAD, the grievance counselor service run by the Government of India, to register any grievances.
Your child’s study abroad experience will be one of their greatest adventures. They will meet new people, visit new places, learn new cultures, and become more mature and independent. There will be a positive change in their perspective towards life. This is the time you have to mentor your child and let them take risks and learn new ways of life.