You’ve done your homework; you know that you want to study abroad. Congratulations! Unfortunately, you’ve only won half the battle: you still need to convince your parents. Not sure what to do? These 10 practical tips can teach you how to convince parents to let you study abroad.
1. Take Your Career Seriously
The first thing you’re parents will wonder is whether you only want to travel for study or to have a worry-free, all-expenses-paid vacation – which isn’t likely to fly with them. By consistently getting good grades, you show them that your education is important to you and they’re far more likely to take you seriously.
2. Be Responsible
Your mom and dad want to see that you can take care of yourself. So show them that you’re responsible. How?
- Keep your promises
- Show up when you say you will
- Do your own laundry
- Learn to cook
- Pay your own phone bill
- Contribute something for rent or groceries every month
Your parents will probably still be nervous, but this way you’ve shown that they can trust you to be responsible in another country.
3. Present Clear Research
Treat this conversation with your parents as if it were a business interview or an important exposition. Concrete numbers, figures, facts, and information – the more the better – go a long way in convincing them. Here are some possibilities:
- Travel guides: Show them where you want to go, what the city is like and what the culture is like.
- Agency information: Parents want to know who you’re traveling with, who the guides are – in this case, experienced university professors and faculty – and what’s included in the trip.
- Websites: Find videos that review the positive aspects of traveling to London, Paris, Beijing and other major destinations.
By including your parents in the process, chances are they’ll feel less like this is your trip, and more like it’s their trip for you.
4. Anticipate Their Objections
It’s pretty obvious that your parents will understandably have some objections to letting you travel somewhere thousands of miles away. What can you do? Imagine what their concerns are and prepare information that addresses them. If they worry about your safety, for example, here is some information you could share:
• Tourism reviews stating how safe the city is
• Itinerary information detailing exactly where you will be, when you will be there, and for how many days
5. Talk About the Practical Benefits for You and Them
Drive your presentation home by highlighting how the trip will positively impact your life with many benefits.
- Academic: Studying abroad means you experience the world and its cultures up close and personal, immersing yourself in foreign languages and visiting historical places where philosophy and art collide. That’s something parents can feel proud of. Plus, you get to earn college credits at the same time.
- Professional: Studying abroad makes your resume stand out from other job candidates. Companies also see that you know how to handle yourself with foreign clients. If you learned another language – like Mandarin or German – at the same time, you’re irresistible to international companies.
- Personal: Don’t forget to mention how it has always been your dream to visit Europe or Asia in person.
6. Remember That Communication Is a Two-Way Street
Listen carefully to any worries or concerns your parents express. Treat them with respect and pay attention, and they’ll probably act the same way when you share your point of view.
7. Be Reasonable
Flexibility is important. Be willing to meet your parents halfway. If they want you to follow certain instructions – like checking in with them regularly or getting certain vaccines – go along with them and you avoid a major battle.
8. Figure Out Finance Options
Now comes the big question: how are you going to pay for your trip? The answer can make or break your plans. Prepare ahead of time. Here are some great financing options
- Qualifying for a scholarship
- Crowdfunding online or via friends and relatives
- Saving up money ahead of time
- Asking for a loan from your parents
Letting parents know that you have a large part of the financial burden covered is a strong argument in your favor. There’s nothing wrong with asking them for some help, of course, but doing it in the form of a loan says you’re serious about your future.
9. Choose the Right Time
Make sure your mom and dad are in a good mood when you approach them to talk about the subject. Relaxed dinnertimes are perfect.
10. Keep in Contact
Parents are usually afraid of not having you close by. If possible, buy an international sim card for your smartphone or look at getting an international plan from your carrier that allows you to call them anytime and anywhere.
Even if you can’t follow all 10 suggestions, try out a few at a time. If your parents get upset when you talk to them the first time, give them a few days to think things over before bringing up the subject again. With a little luck and your persuasive personality, they’ll give you the green light, and you’ll be on your way to Europe or Asia in no time!