Saying goodbye to your child when they go off to college is one thing, but the thought of them studying abroad could be absolutely terrifying. When you think about it though, thousands of students study abroad each year and most of them have incredible, life-changing experiences. If you’re not sure what to do if your child is asking to spend a semester studying at an international sister campus, here are some questions to help you determine whether or not you should encourage your college student to study abroad.
Does Your Child Speak a Foreign Language?
If your child wants to visit a country where they speak the language, or if they’re in the process of learning that language, then a semester or even a year abroad may be just the thing that they need. Learning a new language is quite difficult and living in a foreign country has its challenges as well. However, if your child is ready for those challenges with the ability to communicate well in the local tongue, then traveling abroad could be an enormously positive, life-changing experience.
Is Your Child Responsible and Mature?
There are some college students who really thrive in a foreign country and learn a lot both in school and in their daily lives immersed in a new culture. Then there are the other college students who spend more time partying than studying. If your child is under 21 and they are visiting a country where the legal drinking age is 18, then you might want to ask yourself whether or not they can handle the responsibility and make mature and responsible choices. If you have any doubts, then they should probably wait until they are a bit older.
Does Your Child Have any Disabilities?
A lot of UC students with disabilities receive on-campus aid from the graduate students in UC’s masters in health administration. If your child has some kind of disability that they are receiving aid for on campus, then you should make sure that the school they intend to study at will offer similar services. If they don’t, then your child is probably going to have far too many challenges to really enjoy him or herself.
Will They be Earning Enough Credit?
It’s important to know exactly how much credit your child will be earning abroad so that they don’t delay their graduation date. Of course, if this is something that you and your child are willing to be flexible on, then this might not be an issue. However, if you both would like to make sure that graduation is fixed, then you want to be sure that your child won’t be earning too few credits for the term and set his or her schedule back.
How Much Will it Cost?
Lastly, the biggest question is always going to be the total cost of tuition as well as living expenses while your child is away. There are a lot of study abroad programs which promise that you won’t be paying any more while your son or daughter is abroad than you would had your child stayed put. In fact, there are even a lot of colleges abroad that charge less then most American colleges, so it will actually really work to everyone’s benefit.