Your son or daughter has decided to take advantage of studying in a foreign country. This is a very rewarding and exciting opportunity for your child. However, for you and your spouse, this might cause a boatload of anxiety, stress, worry, and uncertainty. Although studying abroad is popular amongst American students, their parents often think the worst while their children are hundreds of miles away, whether it be for a few weeks or an entire semester.
Be sure to keep the lines of communication open between you and your child. Your son or daughter might feel a great sense of independence because he or she is in a whole separate country from you. However, it is important to let your child know that you need to keep in contact often. Cell phones work differently while abroad. Figure out what would be best for your child. Would it be cheaper to have your child bring his or her personal cell phone and purchase an international calling card? Would you rather have him or her buy an international phone? Will you speak via video chat on your laptops or send e-mails on a nightly basis? Having a way to be able to call each other without enduring high calling bills is something that should be discussed and planned ahead of time. Let your child know that you want to remain updated through e-mails or web chat so that he or she could tell you about his or her day. In doing so, your child will think you are just very interested and eager to know what he or she did and learned. However, in reality, although you are interested, you really just want to hear from them in order to know that they are safe and well!
There are two aspects of travel safety that you should discuss with your son or daughter. First, go over any pamphlets that your child might have received about the study abroad program and the country where he or she will be studying. Oftentimes, study abroad programs provide students with travel safety tips, which warn them about thieves and people who pickpocket and specifically target tourists. Review any program material that pertains to safety.
The other aspect of safety to discuss is your child’s health. Ask him or her if student health insurance is included in the study abroad program costs. If it is not, you should seriously consider purchasing an insurance plan such as Study USA health insurance. Health insurance for American students studying abroad might be mandatory, depending on where your student is studying. Also, health coverage will help cover costs for any possible medical care he or she might need to attain while abroad.
If there is no such thing as universal healthcare or some kind of publicly funded healthcare, medical bills without insurance could cost thousands of dollars, and you and your child will be solely responsible for paying the entire cost of these bills. Therefore, if your child needs medical attention or has to visit the hospital or a doctor some reason, it is quite important for him or her to have a plan such as Study USA health insurance.
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