Sending a child abroad is a very hard decision, that we as parents take sometimes without even thinking about it. I remember when my father sent me abroad, I don’t think he thought of every detail of my life abroad, what I need, how much money, where will I live, who is going to look after me (since I was 16 at that time) and many more questions, the main thing was how much I need to live on every month. The second difficult question is will I be able to live abroad on my own??
Nowadays of course studying abroad has become very sophisticated, there are many mechanisms to help the students: bank help you save for your child’s education; there are overseas guardian services; there are companies with counsellors that help the students in the admission process and the visa process and there are accommodation blocks especially catered for student living (food, tutors and so on). However, we still need to give the decision some thought, and this thought should not start when the child is at year 12!! It should start at year 8.
Here are 4 rules you need to follow when thinking of sending your child to study abroad:
Rule number one “save monthly IN a bank”
Let me tell you why, we have a parent who has the money to send his child abroad, but he was saving the money in a safe in his home. He then deposited the whole amount into his son’s new account. We did explain to him that its very risky for the visa, and we were correct, the visa was rejected. The idea here is to show continuous saving every month in a bank statement, as the act of depositing a large amount without proof may be construed as money laundering.
Rule number two “let the student take a career test”
The second important thing is to find out what the child’s potential is. We cannot wait until he or she choose their subjects in arts, science or commerce haphazardly, the choice has to be scientific, it has to be based on real standards that are developed by psychologists.
Third rule is “teach the student the concept of living alone”
Third important thing, we must involve our child in day to day life, we must let him share the responsibility of shopping, label reading, grocery list, cooking, paying bills, filling the car with petrol. The children have no idea where the money comes from and where it goes. I can tell you a small story here about a student that we had sent abroad; when he received his allowance, he went and bought a PlayStation, some games, some comfort food, and a pair of speakers; when the homestay asked him for the rent money, he opened his eyes wide, what’s that he said? we do not want this situation to occur.
Rule number four “Be considerate”
Comparisons in not only a subject in mathematics, the child needs to know the difference between living in a hotel and renting a flat, between eating in a restaurant or cooking at home, between going to Walmart or Harrods, between riding the bus or taking a taxi. Spending amounts depends on the parents and how much they are willing to spend on their child. Your child must think of his friends too when making spending choices, sometimes there are other children who are colleagues of your child who cannot afford to eat at a three Michelin star restaurant when his or her friend can only afford McDonalds.
I hope these ideas will help you in organizing your child’s life, there are more things to discuss which can turn this article into a book, so just think for a moment what you want your child to achieve, what are his or her abilities, what are your financial abilities, what are your emotional abilities, and the emotional abilities of your child, what are his future aspirations, is he /she going to look for a job while he studies and after retirement or work in the family business, is your child having some abilities on top of his studies like art and writing? Or he/she never explored that part of his brain? What we are trying to say here is that the future can be very simple if we plan it properly. Let’s talk to our children early and save them from wasting precious time and life moments.