Studying abroad is a valuable and often life-changing experience for college students. It gives you the opportunity to see other parts of the world, experience different cultures, and meet new types of people with unique viewpoints. The problem is: getting parents to buy in to the idea can be difficult. When they hear the phrase “study abroad,” they’re likely to see dollar signs and danger—and not without good reason. There are a lot of variables for parents to consider when sending their student abroad. Is it worth the money? Is it worth the time? Is it safe?
It’s important that you, the student, address these questions in a respectful and intelligent manner to give yourself the best chance of traveling abroad. At Black Tree, we have extensive experience preparing individuals for life abroad, and we’ve put together a list of four tactics to remember when making the big pitch to your parents.
Prepare your case
Before going to your parents, create a list of all the potential benefits you think this experience could have for you. Make sure to look at this issue from all angles. Here are some things you may want to mention:
- Studying abroad can help you when you’re looking for a job. Companies like candidates who are globally minded and have had unique experiences.
- You’ll earn class credit while studying abroad which can help you get ahead for the following semester. And studying abroad isn’t just for liberal arts majors anymore — there are plenty of valuable classes and local learning experiences for everyone from business to biology, and even engineering majors.
- Travel changes people for the better. It expands their understanding of the world and helps them become more fully developed people. Be sure to emphasize that this experience is for personal growth — not partying.
- You’ll form new, strong friendships through the experience that can last a lifetime.
Know the program details
The more prepared you are, the better. You don’t want your parents to ask any questions that you haven’t already considered. So, before you bring up studying abroad, know the classes you want to take and whether they will count toward your degree. Stop by the study abroad office on campus to get more information about the various programs and opportunities available for your major and learn how they fit into your school plans.
Make sure you’ve accounted for all costs and are ready to discuss how you will fund the program. Be prepared to show your parents some scholarship opportunities available to you in addition to other financial plans you have to support your experience abroad.
It’s important to also be familiar with the little details: How long would you be gone? How many people would you be studying with? Who is leading the trip? Where will you be staying? How can your parents contact you? What kind of paperwork needs to be filled out beforehand? Being able to answer these questions will show your parents you’ve done your research and have considered all the variables.
Get a job
Getting a job to help pay for the study abroad program can go a long way in proving your dedication. Parents are more likely to want to help if they feel like you’re working your hardest to make the experience a reality. Getting a job shows them that you’re coming at this from a mature point of view and are willing to make sacrifices for what you want.
Assure parents of your safety
Safety is often one of the biggest factors weighing on a parent’s mind when they’re making the decision to let you study abroad. Traveling abroad can have a reputation for being dangerous. You’re in unfamiliar locations where you won’t know you’re way around, and you may not even speak the language. Don’t disregard these uncertainties. Instead, address the potential dangers and assure your parents that you can act responsibly during your time abroad. Let them know you understand the importance of traveling in groups, not staying out too late, and having your cellphone on you at all times.
One of the most effective ways to prepare for safety abroad (and show your parents you’re taking the issue seriously) is to take a course in Situational Awareness. By developing your situational awareness skills, you will increase your ability to identify, process, and comprehend important information about what’s going on around you. These courses are specifically designed to provide you with the skills you need to avoid and respond to the unexpected. At Black Tree, we take a unique approach to this kind of training: we incorporate proprietary Virtual Reality technology to put you in real-life scenarios. Then, hands-on instruction will help you see your capabilities and teach you how to react properly when faced with a threatening situation. You’ll leave the class with a newfound confidence and tangible evidence of your preparation to stay safe abroad and back on campus.
If you can do these four things, you’ll be well on your way to selling your parents on the idea of studying abroad. Good luck on your pitch, and don’t forget to check out our wide range of courses available at Black Tree Ranch.
By Staff Writer
Chester Security Group (CSG) and its subsidiary company, Black Tree LLC. are headquartered in Smithville, Texas. CSG is a veteran owned small business dedicated to empowering others through comprehensive threat assessments and training in a multitude of physical and personal protection disciplines. Black Tree specializes in situational awareness training and weapons handling. To learn more about CSG or Black Tree or sign up for a course of instruction, please visit their websites at csgblacktree.com or blacktreeexperience.com