Parents Just Don’t Understand! Help Your Parents Understand the Importance of Studying Abroad


You want to go abroad, but you think your parents won’t understand why you should go.  During this Christmas holiday (and after) share the following 3 benefits of study abroad with your parents:

Reason 1: Studying abroad will enhance your resume and can make you more employable

By studying abroad, you will gain skills that employers value such as cross-cultural communication and competency as well as the ability to adapt to unfamiliar situations.  Remind your parents that when you graduate you will be competing for jobs and for spots in graduate school with students not only your own institution but from around the world. Studying abroad can be the thing that gives you an edge over your competition locally and internationally.

Reason 2: Studying abroad is academically beneficial

Whether it’s studying a foreign language, taking courses not offered at your home university or learning a different style of teaching, study abroad offers countless academic benefits. Talking to your parents about the academic aspect of study abroad will show them that going abroad will enhance your academic experience and be beneficial for you now and in the future.

Reason 3: Studying abroad will increase independence and your self-confidence

You’ve probably heard the saying that if you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere. We disagree.  If you can make it in Beijing, Istanbul, London, or Rio de Janeiro you can make it anywhere! Whether it’s navigating through a city where you don’t speak the language or simply dealing with and resolving conflict in another culture, let your parents know that studying abroad will help you build independence, increase self-confidence and be better prepared to face future challenges.

In addition to these three benefits be ready to answer these questions your parents may have about study abroad:

Why do you want to go abroad?

Will it be safe?

How much will it cost?

Will it delay your graduation?

Where do you want to go? Why?

How will we stay in contact?

Ultimately you know your parents the best. Think about what questions they ask about study abroad an be ready to answer them.

Learn more about study abroad benefits:

For your parents, make sure they learn more about study abroad for parents here:

Get Over It! Managing Culture Shock Abroad

The spring will soon arrive and many of you are preparing to go abroad.  What you need to remember is that when you go abroad, you will experience new cultures, people, food, music, and probably a new language. All of the “newness” plus the lack of familiar surroundings and people might cause you to have some anxiety, which is called culture shock. Culture shock can be put into four stages. Once you become familiar with these stages, you will be better able to cope with it.

1.   Honeymoon Stage Think of the first stage of culture shock as the honeymoon stage. This occurs in the first few days of arriving in your host country. Symptoms of the honeymoon stage 

  • Excitement and euphoria
  • Anticipation of everything that you are about to experience
  • Fascination with everything and everyone you encounter
  • Eagerness to learn the language spoken in your host country
  • During the honeymoon stage, you will be eager to take on the challenges of living abroad.

2.   Frustration Stage After the honeymoon stage, your initial excitement may wane. You may also start to feel irritated, signaling the onset of the frustration stage. Frustration can occur for various reasons. Symptoms of the frustration stage

  • Some of your initial excitement dissipates
  • Feelings of anxiety, anger and homesickness creep in
  • You might reject your new environment and begin to have a lack of interest in your new surroundings
  • You become frustrated with trying to speak a foreign language

How to handle the frustration stage

  • Don’t blame the host country or its people for your feelings. Anxiety and frustration happens to millions of people who study, work, or travel abroad.
  • Remember, you are in a new environment and getting accustomed takes time. How you handle this frustration determines how you grow from your experience abroad.
  • Don’t be negative; you will only prolong the feelings of frustration.
  • Stay positive. Think about the experience you’re having while living abroad and learning about a new culture, people, and food.
  • Try keeping a journal chronicling your experiences.

3.   Understanding Stage The understanding stage arrives when you develop a more balanced view of your experience abroad. Characteristics of the understanding stage

  • You become more familiar with the culture, people, food and language of your host country
  • You have made friends
  • You feel less homesick
  • You become more comfortable with speaking and listening to the language spoken in your host country
  • You feel more relaxed in your new environment
  • You better handle the situations you previously found frustrating

4.   Acclimation Stage During the acclimation stage you will begin to feel like you really belong in your new environment. Characteristics of the acclimation stage

  • You are able to compare the good and bad of your host country with the ups and downs of your home country
  • You feel less like a foreigner and more like the host country is your second home
  • You laugh about things that frustrated you at the earlier stages of culture shock

Once you reach the acclimation stage, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing you can live successfully in two cultures; this is a huge milestone.