Want to study abroad, but your parents aren´t into it?
Since my book, THE NEW GLOBAL STUDENT, was published in 2009 (Crown/Random House), I have received hundreds of emails from parents and students looking for affordable, accessible, and thrilling ways to get a great international education without going into debt.
Most of the emails I get are from high school students. You see, they read my book, get all excited about doing things differently, and then get shut down when they talk to their parents about the idea. So many students write to me saying, ¨I am so depressed. I KNOW this is what I want to do. But my parents are absolutely opposed to me doing anything besides sticking to the standard good grades->high SAT-> elite college path."
Now, there are times when following that path is absolutely the best option. But more often, the path of least resistance yields the greatest rewards if you have a clear strategy and strong motivation.
But what about parents? Don´t they have to be on board? After all, they are most likely paying the bills.
Yes, parents need to be supportive for any study abroad program or alternative high school path to work. However, most parents, despite initial strong resistance to the idea of doing things differently, can be convinced to consider other options.
The key: don´t be dramatic. Don´t get emotional. Have a calm, honest conversation with your parents and find out exactly why they aren´t thrilled about the ideas you present.
Do they just not want you to be so far away?
Are they worried that you won´t get a ¨real¨ degree that will get you a job?
Are they concerned that you will be lonely and depressed?
Do they doubt the legitimacy of the program you have in mind?
Are they thinking that going abroad will be more expensive (with flights, etc.) and
not eligible for financial aid or scholarships?
Really drill down and make a list of every single concern. Your goal is to be methodical, show that it´s important to you to understand what they´re worried about, and proceed in a way that will showcase your maturity and sense of responsibility.
Because frankly, that is really what most parents worry about. They think you´ll get into some kind of trouble while abroad, and they won´t be able to help you.
Listen, there are definitely issues that can arise. Your job is to look at each possibility, recognize that it may arise if you don´t prepare yourself, and find a way to convince your parents that you have a plan that will address each one should it present itself.
I have helped hundreds(!) of students prepare to go abroad through mentoring and sometimes even talking with their parents. I know it can seem impossible to get past a definitive ¨no,¨ but if you approach it with a plan, you can find some common ground and figure out a way to get at least some of what you´re longing for.
Still not convinced you can convince them?
Contact me. Tell me what the biggest obstacles are. Let´s see if we can make this happen in a way that ensures that everyone feels comfortable, confident, and excited!