Study Abroad

How to Convince Your Parents to Let You Study Abroad

If you're looking to study abroad but your parents are still on the fence, consider these conversation starters to help convince them!

University students posing in front of

Studying abroad isn’t as simple as choosing a program and setting sail. While gaining international experience is invaluable, many external factors can influence your decision. Your parents - while they want the best for you - may be apprehensive about the prospect of you moving and living abroad.

Read on to find out how you can convince your parents to let you study abroad despite their natural concerns.

Why should you study abroad?

Studying abroad provides you with the benefits of studying at home - and so much more. Not only will studying abroad allow you to increase your knowledge and gain academic credits, it will teach you to be culturally adaptable, independent, and self-assured. Outside of the invaluable skills that you’ll gain, you’ll make friends for life and establish valuable network links for your academic or professional life.

Read more: 10 Real Benefits of Studying Abroad

Research the process thoroughly

You should thoroughly research the study abroad process, not only to maximize your own experience, but to let your parents know that this is something you’ve contemplated for a while.

Displaying a level of research and organization lets your parents know that this isn’t something you’ve just decided on a whim, and is a step in the right direction towards convincing them that you’re capable of independently studying abroad.

Craft a detailed study abroad plan

How to Convince Your Parents to Let You Study Abroad: Cost-Effective

Rather than just dropping “I want to study abroad” on your parents without further explanation, give them more information. Tell them where and when you want to study abroad, for how long, which university and program, and why.

Show them the modules and classes you’ll be able to take at this university that are different from what’s available at home, highlighting why studying at this particular university will benefit you.

Don’t be afraid to walk them through the study abroad process. This may be an unfamiliar concept to them, so be sure to enlighten them with details such as:

  • Expenses
  • Visa process
  • Accommodation in-country
  • How credits go towards your studies
  • In–country support

Explain how studying abroad will help your academic and professional career

A group of science students abroad posing in front of their department

Let your parents know that studying abroad isn’t just an excuse to travel or spend your days lounging abroad, it’s an investment into your academic, professional, and personal life.

Studying abroad allows students to experience personal development as well as meet a new network of people who can become important life figures. Pushing your comfort zone is necessary for everyone in life, and studying abroad will accomplish this.

Once you explain to them just how much this will benefit you personally and professionally, their consideration will head in the right direction.

You can summarize the benefits of study abroad to them:

Personal growth

Traveling the world facilitates independence, cultural sensitivity, organizational and communication skills, and more. Whether it's getting yourself home from the airport, navigating unfamiliar cities, learning a new language or cultural mindset, or being brave enough to book your flights, personal growth is inherent to studying abroad.

Credits towards academia

You’ll gain skills, knowledge, and potentially credits towards your university program. It’s not a vacation, it's an opportunity for you to refine your specialized knowledge - but in a new environment - and to gain university credits in doing so.

International experience

Venturing outside your comfort zone pays dividends not just to your personal life, but also your career. An employer who sees that you have international experience at such a young age will be impressed at your inquisitive and proactive nature which will translate into the workplace.

Consider their point of view and address their concerns

There’s no quicker way for a discussion to descend into an argument of stubbornness than ignoring someone’s genuine concerns rather than actually addressing them.

In order to put up a well thought-out discussion for studying abroad, you should try to see it from their point of view. They may be overprotective - and even scared - about what your study abroad adventure entails.

But this is entirely natural, and it happens to most of us who travel for extended periods of time. You’re young, and this may be unchartered territory for your parents. If this is the case, concern is only a natural response, and it isn’t a case of “you vs them”.

When explaining to them why you want to go, be sure to admit it’s also a new and intimidating experience for you too. Don’t downplay it, because traveling independently for the first time is a big deal. Your parents will appreciate the fact that you’re realistic and not underestimating the process.

Show them a budget or financial plan

One of the first questions they may ask is “how will you pay for this?” Without a good enough answer, your argument for studying abroad may crumble.

If finances are their biggest concern and you’re looking to study abroad on a budget, let them know that there are ways to minimize the cost!

Be prepared to show figures and data to give them a clearer picture. Outline expenses in a simple spreadsheet such as the costs for flights, tuition, housing, program, weekly groceries, money you’d save for weekend trips or exploring with friends, and so on.

If you didn’t know already, you may be eligible for scholarships and grants which can cut costs. You should also let them know about these opportunities for financial aid such as grants and scholarships, loans, student discounts, and more which can be of use.

UNiDays, StudentUniverse, and other organizations offer a range of discount opportunities for students to save money, whether it comes to paying for flights, transportation, app subscriptions, gym memberships, restaurants, meals and more.

Assure them about safety

How to Convince Your Parents to Let You Study Abroad: Support Group

Often, parents' main concern will be your safety. Being exposed to a new country, city, and group of people can sound intimidating. However, if you want to venture outside your comfort zone, you’ll have to assure them that it will be done safely.

You can show them the different ways that the university or program you're enrolling in prioritizes the safety and health of its students.. Universities and programs offer international students in-country support such as health, security, travel and 24/7 emergency assistance in your life abroad.

Your university or program may also conduct an off campus risk assessment to help you understand more about your study abroad location, the dos and don’ts, and what to do in the event of an emergency. While the program may include medical insurance, you should also opt for your own travel insurance.

Read more: Study Abroad Insurance: All You Need to Know Before You Go

Introduce them to the program provider

Your parents don’t have to worry from afar. In fact, you can involve them by introducing them to the program provider.

Helping them understand the program, staff, and level of support participants receive while abroad will make them feel much more comfortable about the whole process. This discussion is largely about trust, and involving them will make them much more likely to support your move abroad.

Remember, your study abroad advisors are there for both you and your family, so don't hesitate to put them in touch with your parents if that will make them feel better.

Allowing them to speak to your study abroad advisor is a great opportunity for them to understand aspects of safety, as well as reasons for you to study abroad from someone who works in the industry. Additionally, you can get in touch with some of the alumni who have some words of wisdom to share with your parents!

Preface your want to go abroad, with your need to also be safe while doing so. You can say something along the lines of, "While I know this opportunity is far from home, I found a program with in-country support. They're available not only for me but for you too." Your parents will be happy knowing that you're considering your own well-being too when they won’t be there with you.

“One of the things that my family was really concerned about was safety, health, and what academics are like abroad. As soon as my plane landed, one of the on-site representatives was waiting for me when I got there so I felt safe.”

Let them know your plan for staying in contact while abroad

Reassure your parents that you’re planning to call or facetime at least once a week, or keep up with a blog or social media account which lets them know that you’re doing great.

Some travelers like to create new social media accounts, and document their adventures there. This is much less time consuming than sending travel pictures to each and every friend, auntie, distant cousin, and group chat!

While it's highly important for you to feel a sense of independence abroad, you should also keep your parents updated on your wellbeing. In this day and age, it is easy to do so, but it will put them at ease significantly. If they’re not as tech-savvy as you, help them create profiles to be able to connect with you!

Read more: Top Apps to Stay in Touch With Loved Ones While Overseas

It may bring peace of mind for your parents to help them find a forum or FB group where parents discuss their children studying abroad. Not only will this help them gain insight, it can also make them feel reassured and not like the only parents whose child wants to study abroad.

They may initially feel alone in this problem, with most students opting to study at home, but it will make them feel better seeing that studying abroad is more common than they think, and that parents are able to cope while their loved one is away. Flown abroad on Facebook is one popular example, with 25k members, whereas organizations such as ISA and CIS offer resources and family orientation guides for parents.


Work with your parents to achieve your study abroad dream

Remember, it’s not you vs them! Your parents are trying to understand the desire and benefits of studying abroad. Regardless of how skeptical they may be at first, it’s important to consider their point of view before helping them understand the process. By demonstrating a high level of research, organization, and planning, they’ll be more inclined to help you live your study abroad dream!

Start your study abroad adventure today: