It’s hard to argue with the merits of a good study-abroad program, however, many parents are wary of sending their teens to another country on their own, even if there is considerable educational value. Here are a few things to consider before you decide on a summer study abroad adventure.
The best way to convince your parents to let you travel for your education is to be prepared. Get good grades, and work to learn the language of the country you’d like to travel to. Demonstrating a long-term interest and commitment to something will do much of the work in assuring your parents don’t write off your dream as the latest entry in a string of passing phases.
If you want to prove you are mature enough to study abroad, you’ll need to present your case in a manner that suggests you’re not just in it to get a vacation. Do your research, and explain to your parents why studying away from home can add significant value to your education. Plus, down the road, knowing another language or having extensive international experience can open up another world of job opportunities.
Programs like Cambridge summer school have plenty of course offerings you might not get at your local school, but could serve you well in college. Plus, parents can take solace in the fact that a summer study abroad program won’t interfere with the main school year, just add to it.
Assure Them You’ll Be Safe
Again, doing your homework will pay off here. Do your research and understand what travel documents you need, where to get insurance and the kind of accommodations the programs you’re looking at have to offer. Do some research on the neighborhood you’ll be staying in, and what kind of transportation is available, whether there are other students around and more.
Save Up for the Big Trip
Don’t pitch mom and dad without a plan. If you’ve got a job, stash the cash away for the big trip, and show your parents you’ve got a savings plan, as well as a realistic budget for your adventure in place. If you don’t have a job, pick up a babysitting gig or apply at your local coffee shop.
Cost may be one of the bigger factors in parental approval, as study abroad programs can be a big expense for many families. Look at programs that offer scholarships, grants or payment plans—the better prepared for the cost burden, the more likely you are to win over some reluctant parents.
Remind Them You’ll Stay in Touch
Make sure you let your parents know you’ll text, call or Skype at least on a weekly basis. They may be reluctant because they are worried about your safety, or just because they miss seeing your face each day. Keep your parents in the loop and send along photos and updates—they’ll feel much better knowing you’re having a great time.