Reasons to be Thankful When you Hear, “Mom, Dad…I Want to Study Abroad”

By Elyse Oberland, Director of Student Outreach at International Studies Abroad

As a parent, there are so many things for you to be thankful for; good health, family and the option for your son or daughter to study abroad. While study abroad may not have been the first thing you thought of, it could be one of the most beneficial experiences of your student’s college career.
As someone who advises parents for International Studies Abroad (ISA), I assure you the phrase “I want to study abroad” can elicit a myriad of emotions. Anxiety, confusion and the desire to “hold on” all top the list for parents. While these reactions are normal, being prepared to open the conversation about study abroad is the best thing you can do.
Here are some things you need to keep in mind before discussing study abroad with your son or daughter:

“A sense of adventure is essential”

If you thought your student’s transition to college was tough, study abroad is a on a completely new level. A student with the gusto to want to study abroad is of a different caliber than most. Studying abroad usually means new people, cultures, money, languages, customs, foods, mannerisms, classroom styles, housing and adventures. Despite the challenges of being outside their comfort zone, your son or daughter is ready and willing to take on something new. Trust me, the things they will discover in a short time abroad will leave a lasting impression on who they become.

“Study abroad can be affordable”

It’s likely that your son or daughter has already been thinking about costs associated with study abroad. You may be surprised to learn that funding is readily available and that there are many affordable program options out there, some even cost less than a term at their home university. Additionally, there are hundreds of scholarships, grants, and a wide variety of funding opportunities for these programs. Payment plans help space out costs and often financial aid can be applied directly to a study abroad program.

“Study abroad credits transfer”

Making the time to study abroad can seem tricky, but it’s actually easier than you think. The ensured process from any reputable study abroad provider looks like this: A students’ advisor signs off on their classes before they go abroad, the student successfully completes their coursework and when the program comes to an end, the international transcript is sent to the students’ home university detailing their coursework abroad. The students’ study abroad and academic advisors along with ISA staff will support them with all academic matters.

“Safety is not an afterthought, it’s the foundation of the experience”

The safety, security, and well-being of study abroad program participants are of utmost importance to organizations like ISA. While neither ISA nor ISA’s host institutions can guarantee a risk-free environment, all efforts are made to best ensure the safety and security of participants throughout the duration of their program. Prudent measures verify that all transportation, lodging, medical facilities, communications and emergency procedures are in place worldwide to reduce risk for study abroad participants. In addition, ISA stateside and on-site staff closely monitor U.S. State Department Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Country Specific Information at all times, ensuring you have the support you need while your son or daughter is abroad.


“I want to go”

Alright, we know you’ve been thinking it this entire article. YES. You can visit them while they’re abroad!
Travel humbles us to learn from others and also to appreciate what we have back at home. It makes us flexible and patient, brave, inquisitive and ambitious. Study abroad will be something that stays with them long after they return, and their gratitude for your support will make it all worth it.

For more parent information about study abroad, visit the ISA website.


Author: International Studies Abroad (ISA)

Since 1987, International Studies Abroad (ISA) has provided college students in the United States and Canada the opportunity to explore the world. ISA offers a wide variety of study abroad programs at accredited schools and universities in 73 program locations throughout the world.

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