Studying abroad can be an eye-opening adventure for both students and their parents. Adjusting to a new country and culture can be both thrilling and daunting. We hope we have helped you ease your mind by knowing what to expect for your child. With careful preparation and a good idea of what to expect, the experience can be life-changing, one that students often describe as the best part of their college years. As Mark Twain observed:
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
For a first-person account of how both parents and children prepare for life abroad, ParentEdge spoke to Padmashree Lahe, whose daughter Divija Lahe is in her second year at Nottingham University, UK.
How hard was it for you to let your child go? How did you cope?
Letting your child go can be a very difficult time, but unfortunately, it is inevitable. I guess some parents have to let their children go earlier than others, but I don’t believe that even time can make it any easier.
While letting my daughter go to university, I found that we were all in a pool of mixed emotions. However, I guess my greatest source of solace was in the fact that eventually, I would only look back to be amazed at what my child has done with all the opportunities that we could provide her with by letting her go when the time was right.
Did you accompany your child to the new destination? If yes, why?
Having actually taken the big step to let my child to pursue an education abroad, I believe the first thing I can remember was how we were transformed instantly into different levels of panic, negativity, positivity and excitement. And so we went along to accompany her into her university in the UK, just to see if our elevated emotions could be gratified! In all seriousness though, it was the best thing we did. We had a chance to experience the general atmosphere in which she would be staying, eating, studying and so on. Something we realised was that my child was only putting on a bold front and was plenty afraid on the inside. Being able to be a latent support while your child adjusts to new surroundings can be a greater comfort to your child than you will realise. We had chances to help her with bank accounts and health insurance and accommodation, helped familiarise her with the city campus and scouted out places that she could revisit should she ever need anything. We realised that we could do so many more things for her by being there during the first couple of weeks than we ever could have, had we chosen to not go.