mobile-iconCALL US+91-9878633378

Parents Corner

Choosing a country destination is one of the first steps toward studying abroad. Many students already know this while going into the process, just where they would like to study. However, if your child has yet to make a final decision, you should keep some considerations in mind.
Just about every country is perfect for some field of study, but they all vary in expense, career benefits and immersion level. Your child’s destination should match his or her interests and goals, as well as your budget.

Costs of Studying Abroad
The cost of study abroad programs varies from country to country. Much of the cost may depend upon the economic conditions of the country your child wants to visit. Keep in mind that currency exchange rates fluctuate on a regular basis, so you are better off researching the cost of living in any particular country.
The cost of living for a study abroad program in any given country will also depend upon what the program includes in the fee. If your child must pay for housing or insurance, the costs will be higher. Some programs include these costs, so check to make sure.
The length of your Childs’s stay is another factor that can affect costs. Living with a host family will include room and board for your child and may end up being more cost-effective, while an apartment in London,Paris or Rome can become quite pricey. If your child will be studying in a small town as opposed to a metropolitan area, though, you may face higher transportation costs. The program provider should be able to supply you with a rough estimate of the costs reported by past participants.

Academic Benefits of Studying Abroad
Different countries lend themselves to different academic benefits by nature of their history, climate, level of industrialization and geographic location. For example, if your Childs’s passion is environmental studies, he or she is likely to choose a destination such as Australia, New Zealand or Europe that has rich natural resources and fascinating landscapes.
On the other hand, if international business is the Childs’s focus, he or she may want to consider United Kingdom or USA, two of today’s hot destinations. Children who wish to study the arts would be happy in countries like Italy or France. If they are studying in France, they can visit the Louvre and see the famous works of art in person instead of in a textbook. Architecture students in Greece, on the other hand, can study and marvel at the historical structures and buildings that have stood for centuries and still influence architects today. Aspiring marine biologists or zoologists will enjoy studying abroad in Africa with its diverse array of wildlife, while students of economics and the sciences may gravitate toward South Korea.
And of course another profound academic benefit of studying abroad in any country with a primary language other than English is achieving a mastery of that language. Students studying Spanish in Mexico or Spain, for instance, can return to India fluent in that language. They will be prepared to truly communicate with people speaking that language in a professional setting – a huge bio data enhancer in today’s global economy.

Immersion Opportunities of Studying Abroad
The extent to which your child is immersed in the culture and society of the country where he or she chooses to study abroad will vary from program to program. Immersion affords your student hands-on experience with the culture. As with firsthand language learning, this international understanding is an asset employers are increasingly seeking in prospective employees.
A classroom cannot provide the same experience that immersion can. The level of immersion in a program depends upon the students who are studying alongside your child… If they study and live with all or mostly other Indian students, they will not get the full experience, but they may feel more comfortable. If your child lives with a host family, however, he or she may be expected to speak the language all day, and will certainly be expected to contribute to the household, which may require some work, but will also help your child make real connections with the culture.
Studying alongside host country / other country students will offer your child better opportunities to network and develop friendships. In addition, some programs involve students the communities and businesses in the host country through service learning or internships, which can be an invaluable experience. The more exposure your child has to host country students and communities, the more opportunity he or she has to learn outside of the classroom.

Career Benefits of Studying Abroad
In today’s global economy and marketplace, your Childs’s experiences overseas will continue to pay off in a number of ways. Studying abroad instills independence, self-confidence and maturity. Employers value these traits, as well as the ability to adapt to new situations, and to set and achieve goals.
Employers today are well-aware of the globalization of the economy and appreciate employees with a global perspective. The ability to interact with a diverse group of people from different countries and the mastery of a foreign language are of particular interest to many employers. Studying abroad is an experience that can benefit your child personally, academically and professionally.

Your child wants to study abroad, and now your family faces the challenge of selecting the right program that will give your child the best possible cultural and educational experience.
This two-part article is designed to help you ask the right questions and get the right answers. Then, once your child has identified what he or she wants out of a study abroad experience, Alliance Abroad can help find the program that fits best.

I. Your Criteria for Programs
The first thing you and your child must do is decide what the needs and desires are when it comes to studying abroad. Programs for studying abroad vary greatly in a number of different ways. You may want to compile a list of questions for your child to answer, such as:

  • Where do I want to study abroad?
  • When do I want to study abroad?
  • What do I want to gain from studying abroad?
  • Do I want to live in a dormitory, an apartment or with a host family?
  • Do I want to improve my foreign language skills or become completely fluent in a language?
  • How long do I want to study abroad?
  • How much will my studies abroad cost?

You might also pose follow-up questions, such as:

  • Do I want to study in a country that doesn’t speak English?
  • Do I want to be in a city or in the country?
  • How much is the cost-of-living (Australia, Canada, USA, vs. England, for example)
  • Do I want to work, intern or volunteer while abroad?
  • How will this affect my major and my career goals?
  • How will this affect my credits?
  • How will I arrange housing for when I return? What about voting while I’m away? Paying credit card bills?

Perhaps your child already knows the answers to some of these questions, but these and others like them can be more helpful than you realize, once the process of choosing a study abroad program begins.
A preliminary caution is to read the study abroad program literature carefully. Try to cut through the language that sounds like advertising to get to the meat of the information you are seeking. Make sure the program provides a contact person to whom you can direct your questions. And you should have questions. A good study abroad program will have someone available to answer those questions. In India it is Alliance Abroad.

Choosing Where to Study
The first order of business is for your child to choose the desired study abroad location. In addition to choosing a country, your child should decide whether he or she would like to study in a city or in a smaller town. Both choices have their advantages. Big cities are likely to be the center of much of the entertainment and cultural institutions, while the smaller towns and villages will give your child a real taste of what it is like to live everyday life in the chosen country and become truly immersed in the culture.
While cities will have more resources and more people who speak English, they can also be more expensive and “touristy.” On the other hand, the smaller villages and towns, while steeped in the native culture, may not be as accessible to transportation and other necessities, and if you don’t speak the language or understand the customs, a simple trip to the grocery store can become difficult and frustrating. But also exhilarating.
You and your child must also decide what type of program provider is right for the student. Programs can be sponsored by your by an outside agency. You should scrutinize each program you consider on the basis of what is included in the program fees. Some programs include transportation, housing and insurance costs, while others do not. So while one may be cheaper, it may not factor in the cost of actually living in the country, which can increase costs dramatically. Also, just as you did with your child’s domestic education, consider what facilities are offered through different programs, as well as the reputation of the program itself.

Choosing When to Study
Your child must also decide when he or she would like to study abroad. Programs run during the regular semester, and some during the summer. Part of this decision may be based on what the weather is like in the country during those given times. A student may also decide on studying at a certain time because he or she plans some side-travels while in the foreign country.

The Curriculum
You and your child must decide what program provides the type of curriculum he or she would like to study. Some programs are foreign language-based, while others give choices of different majors. While most students tend to choose a program that is in alignment with the rest of their college studies, your child may want to take electives or classes that do not contribute to the major he or she is working toward. The location has a lot to do with that. Your child may not have studied art before, but would not be able to pass up a chance to take art history class in France.

The Supporting Players
Whether or not your student decides to study with other Indians can also make a huge difference in what program to choose. Some programs involve studying alongside other Indian students, which often finds the students spending all their time with others just like them. But other programs can fully immerse students in the native culture, placing them either in an internationally populated apartment complex or with a host family. Your child can choose to enroll directly in an international school and be fully immersed, or study abroad through his or her college and travel with a group of Indian students.

Overcoming the Language Barrier
Language skills are another element to take into consideration. If your child is already fluent in the language of the country in which he or she will study, that student will have no problem learning in classes that are taught in that language. Students with less proficiency in the foreign language have options, however, including outside classes that teach them enough of the language to “get-by”; programs that facilitate the enhancement of foreign language skills by incorporating them into the curriculum; or schools made for International students taught entirely in English. Keep in mind, though, that students tend to learn a foreign language faster when they experience hearing and speaking it in its native country, so the Indianised version of a study abroad experience is not always the most enriching way to go.

Where to live
Another factor to think about is housing. Some programs include housing, while others do not. For the ones that do, a number of housing options exist. Some students may choose an exchange program in which they live with a host family in their destination country. These host families often assimilate the student into daily life in the household and expect the students to contribute. Other students will choose to live in a dormitory to be with students from their native country. Still others may decide to live on their own. It is not advised that students live on their own without proficiency in the language and a deep understanding of the foreign culture. Figure out what your child would prefer the most, and also consider what your preference would be. Would you, for instance, feel comfortable with them living with a host family, or would you prefer them to be with peers in a controlled environment?

II. Let Alliance Abroad Be Your Guide
Now that you and your child have an idea of what you are looking for in a study abroad program, log on to and begin your search. We offer a free, easy way to search for study abroad programs by:

  • Country
  • City
  • Field of study
  • Language
  • Academic level
  • Organization
  • Term
  • Format

Our information center has a wealth of resources, and features the study abroad student guide.
Our student guide is invaluable for anyone planning to study abroad. You can read the frequently asked questions and learn detailed information you will need to know in order for your child to have a successful study abroad experience. The student guide has everything you and your child would want to know about studying abroad, including:

  • Requirements
  • Enrollment options
  • Housing
  • Research tips
  • Financial aid information
  • Resources on working abroad
  • Culture shock

Let the Alliance Abroad student guide give you the framework you need for the departure and reentry of your student. Our site can talk you through all the steps you need to take, to ensure your child has a safe and exciting study abroad experience.

As the parent of a child making plans to study abroad, you’re no doubt concerned, and have numerous questions you need answered in order to feel comfortable allowing your child to embark on this life-changing adventure. While you want to give your child the opportunity to enjoy a study abroad experience, it’s your job as a parent to help him or her choose the right program and to ensure your child’s safety while studying in that distant country.
That being said, before allowing your student to depart, make sure you ask all the right people all the right questions. Alliance Abroad here will help explain how.
In short, you will need to question–

  • Yourself — about what more you need to know about studying abroad;
  • Your child — about what he or she expects to gain from studying abroad;
  • The Study Abroad Adviser — about how you and your student can select the best program; and
  • The Program Administrator — about the exact nature of the particular study abroad experience, and what resources will be available to your child.

Ask Yourself
Sending child to study abroad requires parents to let go to a certain extent, which can often be difficult to do. Begin with the questions you must ask yourself.

  • Parents of study abroad child should ask themselves how they will handle having their child overseas.
    • How do you picture your child studying abroad?
    • What do you anticipate your conversations to be like when they are overseas?
  • Parents must reflect on their child’s personality and how well he or she will adapt to being so far away from home.
  • You will want to consider which type of program is best for your child.
    • This involves questions about the length of time he or she will spend abroad, the destination country he or she will choose and the academic benefits of studying abroad.
  • What do you expect of the study abroad program, your child and the study abroad experience?
  • One of the most important questions to ask yourself is if you can afford to send your child abroad.
    • You will want to look into any scholarships which may be available for your child through the study abroad program.
    • You may also find that your student’s current financial aid can be applied to his or her time studying abroad.

Ask Your Child
Parents should ask their child what their values, goals and expectations are regarding studying abroad. Parents worry about their children when they are living under their own roof, let alone when they travel overseas for an extended period of time.

  • Ask them what they want to study overseas and where and when they want to study.
  • Ask them why they want to study overseas and what they believe the benefits will be.
    • There are personal and academic benefits to be addressed.
    • Ask your child how the programs they are considering will fit their needs and desires.
    • When it comes to studying abroad, parents should sit their childrens down and weigh the pros and cons.
  • Safety is always an importance issue for parents, but studying abroad takes this importance to another level.
    • Ask your child what they would do in any situation in which their safety may be at risk.
    • Go over the worst-case scenarios-it is unlikely that anything will actually occur, but having a solid conversation with your child about safety will put your mind at ease.
  • Ask your child about how they will live and behave responsibly once abroad.
    • Responsibility is a crucial topic on many levels, as students will be required to manage not only their safety, but their finances, communication with home and the balance of academics and leisure time.
  • Does your child plan on making side trips?
    • With whom will he or she take these side trips?
  • How you and your child will maintain contact while he or she is gone is an important subject to discuss.
    • The program administrators can likely help you with this.
  • Devise a plan for international calling, e-mail or other types of correspondence that will keep you in touch with your child overseas.

Ask the Alliance Abroad Adviser
Alliance Abroad Advisers can help you and your student determine which program is the right fit. Parents should ask advisers questions about the type, structure, duration and location of the program in which your child is interested. Advisers can also educate you on the roles of the Indian Consulate, local police and university officials.

  • Is the program more of a “party” program, or does it focuses on academics or cultural immersion?
    • Alliance Abroad Advisers can give you an idea of the program’s reputation and they may be able to put you in contact with students who have participated in the program before.
    • They may also be able to introduce you to the parents of former study abroad students willing to share their experience.
  • Address any safety or health concerns you may have regarding your child’s study abroad experience.
  • Ask the adviser about safety issues that are different from the ones your child faces domestically.
  • Find out what resources and help are available for students who experience trouble abroad.
  • Inquire about whether your child will receive full credit for the classes he or she takes during the study abroad experience.
    • Inquire about whether your child will receive full credit for the classes he or she takes during the study abroad experience.
  • Ask if your child must understand the native language of his or her destination and if any courses are taught in English.
  • Parents should ask advisers to detail the application and admission process in order to ensure that all paperwork and expenses have been paid on time.
  • Alliance Abroad Advisers can also give you a good idea of what the program expenses include and what type of facilities and resources will be provided by the program.

Ask the Program Administrator
Parents can also pose questions to the administrators of the study abroad program itself. This is especially important if the program your student has chosen is not one familiar in India.

  • Ask the administrators about the program structure, living arrangements, orientation and support services.
  • Program administrators can educate parents about the health and wellness resources provided as well as safety and responsibility issues and travel arrangements.
  • Ask program administrators to shed light on the financial aspects of your child’s study abroad experience.
    • Find out exactly what you are paying for through the program and what other money your child will need while abroad.
    • Find out if the program may have more than one payment option.
  • Administrators can also tell you what type of insurance is necessary and available to your child, as well as any immunizations that are required.
  • Find out if the study abroad program has any G.P.A. requirements and ask about the academic environment your child will be entering.
  • Should your child fall ill or have an accident overseas, you will want to know who is responsible for your child while abroad. Ask the administrators to provide you with any contact information you will need.
  • Parents should ask program administrators how they can keep in touch with their child while abroad.
    • This can include e-mail addresses, fax numbers and emergency numbers provided by the program.
    • You may also want to ask what consequences present themselves if your child decides to return home earlier than originally planned.

Much to be Considered
As you can see, there are many questions to be addressed when your child wishes to study abroad. It is natural for parents to ask plenty of questions when considering trusting others with the well-being of their child while studying abroad. When it comes to passports and visas, either your Alliance Abroad Adviser or a program administrator can educate you on what type of documentation your child needs and when he or she needs it.
There is a wealth of help out there for parents whose children are planning to study abroad. Once you get the answers to your question, you and your child can make an informed decision. Studying abroad can be an amazing global experience that can enhance your child’s skills and prepare him or her for a successful career. With the right program and preparation your child will be ready for the experience of a lifetime. And he or she will thank you!

So your child has decided to study abroad, and there is so much to know. Studying abroad poses many questions for students, but quite a few for parents as well. The type of questions that can cause serious stress and anxiety.
Don’t worry. It’s not as bad as it may seem. And to help you, here are a few tips to get you through this exciting, and sometimes overwhelming, time.

Educate Yourself: Chances are you will feel more secure about your child studying abroad if you do the right research.

Research the destination country, including its history, culture, customs, laws, social/moral codes, dress and language.
Along with your child, learn a few of the local words and phrases.
Read all program literature and any available student accounts of studying abroad.
Never hesitate to ask questions of your child, the advisor or even a program administrator.

Letting Go: Sending your child to study abroad involves a certain amount of letting go on your part. It can be difficult to do, but to ease it, you should begin the process well before departure.

Allow your child to make the most of the study abroad decisions – be a guide, not a supervisor.
Give your child the information and resources he or she needs to make informed decisions.
Don’t expect to hear from your child every day while he or she is abroad, and don’t make your child feel bad for that.
Talk with parents whose children have previously studied abroad and try to prepare for the emotions they say they experienced.

Packing: Help your child with what to bring with him or her overseas. Pack light, but also wisely.

Pack a few extra photos of your child in case he or she needs to get a new passport.
Have your child walk around with packed bags to make sure he or she will be able to handle it once he or she leaves the house. Your child may be lugging that suitcase around for quite a while during his or her travels.
If your student wears glasses, get him or her an extra pair or two to take with, particularly if they are prescription lenses.
If your child is taking any prescription medications, be sure to send him or her overseas with an extra supply and a copy of the prescription. Try to obtain a note from the doctor regarding your child’s need for the medication, in case of any issues during the customs process.

Communication: Keeping in touch with your child while he or she is studying overseas is important for both of you.

Establish a plan of communication with your child prior to departure. It is important to realize that this plan may need to be altered once your child has settled into a study abroad routine.
Blogs are an inexpensive way in which to keep in touch. Encourage your child to start a blog while away so that you (and any other family members or friends) can follow along with the adventures. You may consider starting your own blog to keep your child current on what is going on back home.
Your child’s cell phone will only work overseas if your service provider has activated the facility for international roaming, which also means you’ll have to pay exorbitant international roaming charges. So devise another way of keeping in touch by phone. Prepaid international calling cards are a good alternative, as is Skype.
Students and parents should both have a set of emergency contacts with them at all times, including contacts from the school and program.

Finances: Teaching your child responsible ways with which to handle his or her finances is crucial and can begin even before departure.

Have your child manage some money on his or her own before departing.
Devise a financial plan with your child for the time he or she will be abroad. Write down the expenses you expect your child to have and make a column for “needs” and a column for “wants.”
To limit spending and avoid lost money, teach your child to take money out of the ATM a little at a time. For example, on Mondays, have him or her take out the cash he or she will need for each week.
Don’t begin exchanging currency before your child departs-have him or her wait until he or she reach the destination.

Student Responsibility: Helping your student to enhance his or her sense of responsibility can be beneficial to the student as he or she study abroad, and in general.

Discuss financial, social and academic responsibility with your child. Let him or her know that much of what is expected of him or her at home will be expected of him or her abroad, and more.
Encourage your child to resolve her or her own issues while abroad and step in only when necessary.
Have your child do the bulk of the study abroad research. This will not only empower your student, but will also teach him or her benefit of thinking ahead and analyzing what is best for him or her as an individual.
Let your child know that you trust him or her to make the right decisions while studying abroad.

Food: One of the most interesting differences between countries is the cuisine, and you will want to make sure that your student eats well while overseas.

Tell your child to stick to the busy restaurants, as eating at these is likely safer than at less popular restaurants.
Students should know to check for pasteurization when eating dairy products, as not all countries practice this process in the way they do in the India.
Freshly cooked foods are the best bet because they are less likely to contain contaminants.
Although they may be legally permitted to drink abroad, students should be advised to drink with great care while studying abroad. Alcohol can mix with trouble overseas the same way it can at home.

Safety: This is the largest concern for most parents of students studying abroad. Study abroad tragedies are few and far between, but educate your child on ways to stay safe in another country.

Students must be encouraged to cultivate and utilize their “street smarts” while studying abroad. Advise them to take the precautions they take at home, as well as new ones. Tell them to avoid political demonstrations, to only take official taxis and to protect their passport at all times.
Establish emergency procedures with your child prior to departure. Be sure to create a list of emergency contacts.
Use the Government web sites to stay current on safety issues in specific countries.
Tell your child to avoid bringing locals back to his or her living quarters. Socializing can be done away from student housing.

Visitation: You may want to visit your child while he or she is overseas. However, if you choose to do so, do it the right way.

If you visit, choose to do so at a time that is convenient for your child. Do not try to visit the first or last week of the stay, or during exams.
Remember that while it may be a vacation for you, your child still has responsibilities.
You will miss your child, and he or she will miss you, but for ultimate growth, the child needs to spend quality time immersed in the culture and with fellow study abroad students.
Be prepared to switch roles with your child and allow him or her to show you a thing or two!

Re entry: Just as you must prepare your child for studying abroad and support him or her while he or she is away, you must also be sensitive to the possibility that your child could experience “reverse culture-shock” when he or she returns home.

Allow your child a period of adjustment when first getting home.
Students are used to being more independent, so take that into consideration during the first few weeks after the return.
Encourage your child to keep in touch with the people he or she traveled with and met while studying abroad. These connections are important and can last the rest of their lives.
Lend an attentive ear to your child when he or she gets home. He or she probably has a great deal of experiences to share, and it will be a terrific (re)bonding opportunity for both of you.

What do you do if your child comes home from college with a study abroad brochure in hand, gushing about wanting to live in another country? Before writing it off as childish whim, take this opportunity to discover just how rewarding and beneficial studying abroad can be. Your child may actually be doing something very mature, and that foreign experience could enhance his or her life academically, socially, culturally, personally and professionally.

Studying Abroad Yields Academic Benefits
Students who study abroad continue to earn credits towards their degree while overseas. They may even get the opportunity to take a class that is not offered at their home campus, one that is wholly unique to that country, and is perhaps more rewarding than anything they would have otherwise experienced. Plus, while they are overseas, students discover learning in a new way, as the higher education systems of other countries differ greatly from those of the India, meaning they get a more well-rounded education that better prepares them for this increasingly global world.
Academic inspiration is known to set in. The experiences students have while studying abroad often ignites their interest in academic pursuits, and they return home with an added vigor toward their coursework. Not only does studying abroad break the monotony of regular university, it also equips your student with the real-life, hands-on skills that no classroom can match. Plus, it gives you a great opportunity to travel overseas and visit.
Additionally, learning in a classroom in which the subject is taught in a foreign language is an indispensable benefit for students who wish to master that particular language, so any foreign language majors should be practically required to study in a country where that language is spoken. It is well-known that students gain foreign language proficiency best when in an environment where the language must be used.

Studying Abroad Provides Social and Cultural Benefits
When your child studies abroad, he or she will make lifetime friendships with fellow Indian classmates as well as with native students. The memories and friendships made could last forever, and could open your child up to a global network of job prospects and connections. If your child leaves your house shy, it is entirely plausible that he or she will return from studying abroad much less so. Living and studying overseas fosters a sense of teamwork in students, as the group they travel with gets tighter as they experience the challenges of a multicultural situation together. And on the other end, students also learn to depend on themselves, as well as how to ask questions and be proactive, and provide and solicit help.
The cultural benefits of studying abroad are more obvious. Spending extended time in a foreign country tends to open students’ eyes wider when they look at the world. They may be more reflective about their own culture and what that culture has instilled in them. Students are likely to have increased respect for other cultures and appreciate the differences between cultures, and this openness to different approaches makes them better problem solvers and team players.

Studying Abroad Produces Personal Benefits
Personal benefits of studying abroad abound. Students increase their self-confidence when they live and study in a foreign country. They also increase their independence and maturity. In this ever-changing world it is important to have the ability to adapt, an ability that studying abroad can give your child.
Students often return home from studying abroad ready to change the world, which is important, as they will be the future leaders of this country. The self-reliance and global sensitivity students gain from studying abroad can help them in their personal and professional pursuits.
Travel is always an enriching experience, one that not everybody seizes or has the opportunity to embark on. Your student will not only travel to a destination country, but will gain the opportunity to set out on some interesting side trips during the time overseas. The adventure and life experience that studying abroad will afford your student are priceless.

Studying Abroad Enables Professional Benefits
Studying abroad can help your child gain a competitive edge when it comes time to start a career. Employers often seek employees with the ability to speak other languages or understand other cultures. Studying abroad is imperative for students who wish to enter international business, and employers look for the skills study abroad students have, such as communication, analytical abilities, teamwork and flexibility. Not to mention that almost everyone who applies for a job these days has a college education. In order to stand out, your child needs to offer something different, and studying abroad achieves that.
It cannot be stated enough that ours is a very global economy, and employers and the government alike hold study abroad experiences in high esteem. Thus, the benefits of studying abroad have even become national issues.
So if your child brings home some study abroad brochures sit down and review them before forming an opinion. It may just help your child become a better student, a better job prospect and a better human being.