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How to convince your parents to let you study abroad- tips for how to get your parents to let you go study abroad. If you want to go abroad but your parents are nervous about it, here's how you can ease their mind and get them to say yes to letting you study abroad.

How to Convince Your Parents to Let You Study Abroad

For some students, one of the biggest challenges when you decide to study abroad isn’t getting accepted to the program of your dreams. Nope, it’s convincing your parents that your brilliant idea is in fact a good life decision.  If your mom or dad doesn’t have a lot of experience with this type of thing, the thought of seeing their little pumpkin head away from the homeland is a scary prospect. You need to be prepared for this and be ready to get them on board about how great of an idea this actually is. It’s your life, right? Prove to them that you’ve got it under control.

How to convince your parents to let you study abroad- tips for how to get your parents to let you go study abroad. If you want to go abroad but your parents are nervous about it, here's how you can ease their mind and get them to say yes to letting you study abroad.

Be responsible in all aspects of your life

Ok, let’s be honest, if you’re trying to show your parents what a mature, young individual you are (who would no doubt thrive in an international setting), you’re going to need to demonstrate your basic competence on domestic soil. For example, getting good grades, helping your parents out, with chores, navigating from Point A to Point B successfully, and staying out of trouble with your RA are all a good place to start. If you can’t prove that you’re a capable human in your natural habitat, then odds are they won’t ever be thoroughly convinced that you can stay out of trouble during your time abroad.

Show your parents things like academic success, good budgeting, a nice, clean dorm room, and all of those other annoying aspects about their kids that adults like to brag about to their friends are visible. If you want them to treat you like a grown-up when you come to them all excited about studying abroad, then act like one.

Know your reasons why you want to go

Believe it or not, telling your parents you want to study abroad for reasons like “European accents are hot”, you “can’t wait to party every night in a Latin American discoteca”, or “because you want to pretend to be all ‘save-the-world-y’ like Angelina Jolie and ride elephants in Africa” are not in the top five reasons that parents like to see their kids go abroad.

It’s important to make sure your parents know why your experience abroad will be beneficial for you and won’t just be a semester of partying. If we are to assume that your reasons run deeper, then you should really lay them all out for your parents. Why do you want to go on exchange? Is it to learn a new language (always a marketable quality), or to add a valuable experience to your resume? Tell them! If it’s about expanding your horizons; experiencing life, culture, and academia in a foreign country; and becoming a global citizen; tell them that too!

Having a sit-down, honest, and open conversation with the powers-that-be in your family will show them how serious you are. Explain to them why this country, or this language speaks to you (pun intended). And explain to them that, while this is obviously a great chance for you to really find yourself in this big, wide world, it’s also something that will help you land your first job. Don’t forget to tell them about all of the important skills you’ll acquire like independence, communication skills, and flexibility. Parents love that stuff!

Get a Job

If you’re the one paying for this opportunity, it’s never too early to start figuring out all of those logistics. Even if you’re one of the very fortunate ones who have parents who are willing and able to help foot the cost of your time abroad, you should really consider pitching in. Getting a job is an excellent way to show you’re up for the commitment of a study abroad expedition.

Of course, just working is not enough, start saving it too. You can even consider selling some of your stuff to help pay for your semester abroad. Parents go gaga over their kids getting job and will start beaming at your newfound responsibility. They’ll also know that you’re willing to help contribute to the cost.

Present your parents with a financial plan

Speaking of those costs, you probably should have started considering them by now. If your parents are already skeptical about this whole thing, you are going to want to have a well thought-out plan of action before you approach them. Let’s talk budgets.

First, how much will this all cost? Our post How to Calculate the (Real) Cost of Your Study Abroad Semester has a nifty excel spreadsheet to help ya figure that out. And be honest.  Factor in things like the flight, tuition, room and board. If you’re planning on doing some extra traveling, be sure to consider that now as well. Then figure out how you’re going to be paying for that lump sum. That job you just promised to get is a good start, but it’s also a great idea to apply for every scholarship you can find; never turn down money like that. If needed, students loans can be applied to study abroad as well. Here’s our post on how to find scholarships for study abroad.

If you are fortunate enough to have parents who are willing and able to pitch in, be sure to include the part about how much you love them and how you’ll pay them back or make sure they know how eternally grateful you are.

 

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Know Your Stuff

Make sure you know everything about the program that you plan on applying for, like:

•  What types of classes will you be taking, and what language are the classes in?
•  What type of university will you be attending, and in what type of housing will you be living?
•  What is it about this country you’re heading to that you like, and how well do you need to know their language to succeed?

Parents like to freak out about the dangers in a foreign territory (especially if they’ve seen Taken) and must be reassured about your safety, so do your research and point them to the US State Department site so they can see what’s up. Explain to them the safety measures that you’ll take and prove that you’re smart enough to protect your belongings and avoid dangerous situations. Remind them that it’s easier to keep in touch than ever– here are some good options for keeping in touch on the cheap while you’re abroad.

If you don’t know something, show that you know who to speak to about it. This could be your program director, study abroad advisor, your current school’s or your new school’s website, and a plethora of online resources about your chosen country and just studying abroad in general. But it’s not just for your parents to know; you’ll really want to know all of these things for your own benefit.

Some more points to work into your argument:

•  Depending on the program and country you choose, studying in that country may be an equivalent, or ever lower, price as studying at your home institution.
•  Emphasize that you’ll be studying abroad. That means that you’ll be receiving college credit that will be going towards your graduation requirements. If this isn’t going to be delaying your graduation date, throw that in too.
•  Remind them again how great this is going to make you look in future job applications.
•  Hey– your parents can come visit! Here’s a list of things you can do together when they do.
•  Promise to Skype all of the time and that you’ll keep in touch.

Set up a meeting with someone who’s been abroad

Desperate times call for desperate measures. If you have a family friend who already studied abroad, set up a meeting so your parents can ask them questions about their experience. It will help them feel better about things like safety, drinking, being a foreigner in a strange country, etc. Lay those success stories on thick and hopefully they’ll come around.  Often colleges help set up meetings between you and other students from your school who have already completed the program for which you’re applying. Take advantage of these interactions to get all of your questions asked and answered.

What did you do to convince your parents to let you study abroad? Why are your parents worried about letting you go abroad? Give us some feedback in the comments!

Photo source: Pixabay, The LEAF Project via Flickr, Pixabay


TAG

Laura’s persistent urge to experience new cultures has her currently stationed teaching English in Hong Kong since graduating college this year. Before that, she studied abroad in both the Netherlands and Costa Rica and found them also to be quite pleasant experiences. When not doing the whole English-teaching thing, Laura loves exploring new places, hiking, playing the piano, and enjoying some nice bread and cheese. If you’re still curious, check out her Hong Kong blog.


36 thoughts on “How to Convince Your Parents to Let You Study Abroad

    1. Jess

      I’d say just about every student will have to get the permission of their parents to study abroad for a few reasons: 1. They are footing the bill for college 2. They will be footing at least some of the bill for study abroad 3. Most students still live with their parents.. maybe you are familiar with the phrase “not while you’re living under my roof”.

      Reply
    2. Laura

      Hey Nicole! I didn’t necessarily need my parents’ permission to study abroad, since they wouldn’t be paying for it, but I really wanted their blessing. My parents were really skeptical at first, so I just needed a way to prove to them that I had it all under control and that it was a good idea. I wanted them to support my decision and get on board. It wasn’t completely necessary, but it made a big difference to me.

      Reply
  1. Jenny

    Hi, my parents are superstitious as they believe in those future telling thingy. They assume that the country I’m hankering to go will no be good for my life. Can you tell me how should I convince them?

    Reply
  2. Karina

    Hey, I got kind of the same situation as Jennny. Mine folks supported me at the beginning, but 3 days before docs submitting they rejected the whole idea of me going abroad. To begin with, they paid for that. But I figured out where money come from, everything is under control…but not for parents:( they insist I must stay in my little town and not going to get European degree. In fact I can go off but I need their blessing – even though they already said they won’t be giving it… What/how must I convince them?

    Reply
    1. Jess

      Karina, if they are not forcing you to stay home, just go! They will get used to it once you are over there, settled, and have Skyped with them a few times. Don’t let that hold you back!

      Reply
  3. Rachel

    Hey:)

    Huge dilemma here too. I was going to apply to the US and I’ve spoken to my parents since we went back to Europe; so last year I was getting ready for my application. We even payed our school to prepare an application and everything (though my parents really wanted me to apply to the UK – so I also did). And right up until last November, I was getting my application ready and everything and suddenly my parents go “no you’re not applying” – because they think 17 years old is too young…I can’t say I’m immature or irresponsible (they even let me go for one summer to the US last year on my own), and I have really good grades in school and do various things…so I don’t get it, and I don’t know how to tell them anymore. This is one of my big dreams, I’ve always spoken about it and now they’re saying no…any advice? I would be really grateful:)

    Reply
    1. Jess

      Hi Rachel,

      Have you tried creating a “presentation” for them, explaining why you are responsible enough to go, how you will pay for it, etc (as mentioned in this post?) Or have you tried our last suggestion?

      Reply
      1. Laura

        My advice would be to look at their specific concern(s) and figure out how to address them by targeting those areas when presenting your case. So, if their major issue is your age, try to find aspects of your chosen program that are specifically catered to your demographic. Are you staying with a host family? Will you have some sort of mentor while you’re there? Are most of the other participants a similar age as you, so it’ll be easier to adapt and make friends? How easily/often will you be able to contact home? Depending on your program, is it designed for students in/ right after high school to help prepare for college (because that’s always a plus)? Basically, I’d say to get to the source of their concerns and figure out how to accommodate them. Your maturity and responsibility will be further demonstrated in this process.

        Reply
  4. Crystal

    I have good grades, in fact I’m the top 5 in our batch. I also showed to my parents that I can manage different household chores but they didn’t allow me.

    Reply
  5. Arya

    I have been planning to move out for studies for a long time. But I am the youngest in my family (sister with two elder brothers) and my parents treat me in an extreme overprotected manner. Now even for my Post grad studies they are worried and they want me to stay in hometown only even if there are no opportunities now and in future.

    Reply
  6. Kelly

    Hello, I am currently a sophomore in high school and am looking at studying abroad next year in Spain. Every website I read to convince” my parents” is mainly pointed towards college students. My dad is worried about my safety, as in a bombing and me being stuck in the country I am staying in. How can I respond to that?

    Reply
    1. Jess Dante

      That’s a good question Kelly, I have three pieces of advice:

      1. Use the State Department’s site to show that Americans are safe in the location you’d like to go: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/usa Show this to your dad and do some more research to show it’s safe– see if you can find the number of students who go to that destination each year (safely), etc. You also need to remind you dad that a bombing (to follow your example) could happen in your own hometown even.
      2. Start small. Get your dad to let you travel somewhere on your own over the weekeend, and take baby steps so that sending you to a foreign country won’t see as big of a deal.
      3. This is in this blog post already but ask the program that you want to participate in to set up a Skype call or two with some alumni that will answer any of your dad’s questions and give him first-hand accounts of safety and such.

      Reply
  7. samrat

    My parents think that what i’m going to study(graduation) can be done in home country.(but i’m pursuing for much better places) They also think i’m incapable of adopting foreign environment. Other reason is high fees. They think i’m irresponsible and I will ruin my culture, waste money and can become a damn bad guy living far away from them what to do?

    Reply
  8. Tea

    Thanks this website helped a lot. My mom’s okay with my Japanese it’s just that my dad loathes it. He fantasizes about me getting abused or injured there in Kyoto. So last week we bought some Japanese books. My dad was all excited! Then… after I learned to write kana and I was an expert he hooked me up with my own personal Japanese “tutor”. I could speak it decently real fast, I was a fast learner. Japanese came natural it was easy. Then he asked me, “why do you like Japan why do you want to learn it?”. I simply replied with, “well I love the country and the way they work and I really want to consider living there.“ but he fliped out! told me I was going to get raped… told me I was going to be a waitress. However, it had only been a month and I was getting Japanese fast. I was already learning kanji and I had a great accent. Then he striped me of my studying materials. Now my mother says she’ll let me live in Japan as long as I study hard and pass college… take it seriously and get a professional job there. I was so excited when she said that. Then my dad will show me these inappropriate Japanese movies/dramas, wtf Japan seriously youtube shows and hentai. Not to mention show me youtubers who talked about Japan’s grope on trains. When we all know Japan is a lot safer than America. I told him i’ll get a pediatrician job in America for a couple monthes. During that time study N1 and N2 Japanese & then take a trip to Japan for year and take N5 and N4 and N3 and N2/N1. Apply for a Job amd if I make one put in my 2 weeks notice and move to Japan. I’ve got the grades, the brains my life plan and i’m determined i’m strong and don’t give into peoples tricks. I’m small but my punches hurt and I won’t give in to threats. I’m easily adaptable… my dad still doesn’t want Japan. So I can live in France or Spain where they have a naked festival and there men yell and slap… but I can’t go to Japan with crazy yet safe things!! What do I say to that¯ ˛¯ HAH!! Dad is keeping me back from my life dreams and accomplishments!!! I’m not a dreamer i’ll do it!!!

    Reply
  9. Tea

    Did I mention i’m 14 and I’m still learning it and started it at 12. i’m learning 10 kanji/ speaking it a day and secretly watching cute Japanese movies [ tsunami’s and homelessness]. I’m taking a Japanese cultural club & am friends with lots of asians. Eat lots of fish fried squid, caviar, sushi, natto etc. and I practice writing Japanese. I also watch american things and i’m interested in health. Please give me some suggestions. I never really had a passion for Europe except Germany and England.

    Reply
  10. Aaron

    Hi guys, I’m Aaron!
    I live in the UK and I really want to go study in USA, but my Dad is French and wants me to study in France (he’s persuaded that I will hahaha). I have the best results in my school and have thought about the USA for months now!
    Any advice please? Thanks! 🙂

    Reply
  11. Ashley

    I have wanted to become an exchange student in Japan for a while, but my parents are completely against the idea, saying that it will stop me getting into university.

    How can I convince them otherwise?

    Reply
  12. Tisha

    I can’t go abroad unless I have a friend go with me. Is that crazy or… I mean I understand the safety precautions but, I’m traveling with EF and the other students and I will have roommate from the program. Is that overthinking it? My mom will not let me go for sure…and btw I’m a senior in college. I graduate this coming Fall.

    Reply
    1. Jess Dante

      Hi Tisha, considering that you’re about to graduate college and be out in the real world (which, in the US is just as scary as abroad) I’d say that’s being overcautious. In addition, I’d think the point of traveling with EF is that you’re never on your own. What might help is getting a program advisor to speak to your mom about safety and such.

      Reply
  13. Elizabeth

    Ive been wanting to study anywhere that isnt near my city but mainly at a university in ireland ,im from California, but my mom wont even consider the idea. Ive brought up and done everything ive said the cost is lower, i have straight A’s, i take the top courses at my school, im in clubs and sports plus i do lots of community service, they offer full scholarships etc. But i cant even bring up the subject because she tells me to shut up and she gets really angry, she even starts yelling. I dont know how to even pass the idea through but honestly theve killed other career goals of mine so im hoping this one isnt another failed dream.

    Reply
    1. Jess Dante

      Hi Elizabeth, sorry to hear that– can you try to convince them to let you do things on your own little by little, so that eventually traveling abroad doesn’t seem like such a big deal?

      Reply
  14. Ashley

    I can understand how difficult it can be to convince parents for letting one study abroad. My friend and I both were selected for a semester in Austria but my friend could not do it because her parents were not ready to allow it in any case. I felt so lucky that my parents not only allowed me but also encouraged me and raised my confidence level.

    Reply
  15. Swan

    I really really really want to go to a foreign country to study medicine but I am not allowed to do so given the reason that i am not safe anywhere else then my home country. I have already wasted an year waiting for my parents to understand. What should I do? All my reasoning fails and I am about to give up.

    Reply
  16. Sohila

    My parent see that I should study within the country that they are in I try convincing but my parents want me to be stuck with them

    Reply
  17. Ines

    Hi, so I want to study abroad but also live abroad permanently. I live alone with my father who is in his 70s while I’m 17. My brother also travels a lot for work and what I’m simply afraid is leaving a parent of age alone but I also don’t want to live against what I want… I’ve been planning (searching about everything) this for about a year and already know plenty yet I don’t have the courage to tell my father

    Reply
  18. Asma

    My parents are even not ready to let me study in a city which is quite 30 km away from my area.They think being a girl it’s not a good thought to let me out…I have got good grades all the time but yet they rn’t convinced. I m really worried of my future.They are meant to spoil it may be. Help me out….

    Reply

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