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How to Talk to Your Parents about Study Abroad

  To some people it’s easy, to others it’s daunting, but it's important that you involve Mom and Dad when it comes to planning your study abroad. There are many ways that you can plant the seed that you're serious about pursuing an international experience.

Program Type and Location

How to approach: Schedule a time when both you and your parents are free to sit down and chat. Come prepared with knowledge of the program you’d like to go on, bring any collateral you have with you (brochures, websites, emails) so your parents can look it over. If you haven’t decided on one specific location, bring a list of places you’re considering so that your parents know what to expect.

Discussion points:

  • Why are you interested in study abroad?
  • Where do you want to go and why?
  • What about the CEA program do you like?
  • When do you want to go?

Financing Your Program

How to approach: Print out the sample budgets available to you on your MyCEA Account. Bring a blank copy of a FAFSA form with you (if you haven’t already applied) as well as the contact information for your school’s Office of Financial Aid. Research and bring information with you about different types of loans and available study abroad scholarships.

Discussion Points:

  • What financial resources can I/we draw from (financial aid, our bank, scholarships, ourselves)?
  • What additional fees may I/we have to pay?
  • Based on this sample budget, is there a way I/we can set up a payment plan?
  • If asking early enough, perhaps even propose that part of your program cost be a birthday, holiday or any type of gift.

Course and Transfer Credits

How to approach: Request a degree audit from your university to show your parents the courses you’ve completed, the courses you have yet to take and the courses you’re planning to fulfill while abroad. Make sure you understand how your credits abroad will be transferred back to your home institution and how they will affect your GPA (contact your advisor or study abroad office to find this information).

Discussion Points:

  • How will study abroad add to your academic career/goals?
  • How will the classes you take abroad fit into your current course requirements?
  • What courses do you want to take?
  • What will classes abroad offer you that your home university’s coursework cannot?
  • Provide your parents with the contact information of a university contact you’ve met and discussed this with (perhaps your advisor).

Safety While Abroad

How to approach: Review CEA’s Health and Safety page and print out both the student and parent tips to talk about with your parents. Make sure you have your MyCEA Account login information on hand for your parents to use so that they can be completely in the know of your program process. Let them know they’ll have access to your course schedule, payment information, student guidebook once you choose a destination – this will include more in-depth safety tips, orientation schedule, etc., through your MyCEA Account.

Discussion Points:

  • What does CEA do to help me get ready for a safe study abroad experience?
  • How will you be able to contact your parents while abroad?
  • What steps will you take to ensure that you remain safe when studying in a different country?
  • Why is it helpful that they will have access to your MyCEA Account?
  • Who can your parents contact if they have questions?

Bottom line, study abroad is important to you. And because it is important to you, it is important to your parents, so include them! Do your research, plan it out, and allow your parents to participate in your life-changing adventure.

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