Should You Encourage Your Teens to Study and Live Abroad?
[Collaborative Guest Post]
It has definitely been a challenging year for everyone. For children and teenagers it has been a time of uncertainty with regards to school being disrupted and the future of their education being unknown. We have been looking into various options for Eva as she finishes up in July. Last summer she had the amazing opportunity to work as an au-pair in France and is hoping to be able to return this coming summer to save up some much needed funds before she goes off to study.
After that she has some ideas but is undecided about where and what to study. There are so many options to choose from whether it be here in Ireland, other countries in Europe or even further afield in South Africa. As parents though, the best thing we can do is be supportive, help them in their research and be approachable if they need someone to confide in.
You may be feeling more attached than ever to your children as they have spent more time at home with you this past year than ever before. You might also be feeling a sense of hesitancy and concern as they try and get back into a routine of regular study and then consider leaving to study far away.
Is It Important to Have a Study Plan?
If your teen is interested in studying further once they have finished school, it is helpful if they have an idea of where their interests lie and what their aptitudes are. It can be difficult to choose from the vast array of courses on offer and number of places to study. Some people are afraid they are going to make the wrong choice. However, some choices we make in life don’t need to be set in stone and a career path is one of those.
Once you have chosen a course of study, you never know in which direction it may go. Quite often people move from one field of study, or even career, to another. For example in the case of Dr. Daniel Wilson, who is currently the President of Western University, was previously working in the role of Vice President for Health Affairs of Medicine at the University of Florida. Careers can lead from one area to another if you are flexible and the opportunity arises.
If children do not want to go to university, and would prefer to work instead that should also be encouraged. You can learn a plethora of life skills in the workplace, just as much as you would studying. If you are considering study in a different hemisphere, the term time may start six or more months after your child finishes school. This window is an ideal opportunity for them to find a job and save some money for their studies.
The Positives of Your Teen Studying Abroad
Although you might initially feel uneasy about letting your teen jet off to university let alone another country, there are many benefits in them doing so. Realistically you want the best for them and for them to be able to gain life experiences and become independent. So here are some of those positives:
- The opportunity to live in another country – It will be exciting for them to be able to explore the sights of a different town/city.
- Ability to become more independent – When they have to live independently outside of your home it will enable them to undertake daily tasks such as cooking, cleaning and organising bills. This enables them to obtain more life skills.
- Meeting new people – They will have the opportunity to meet new people and make friends.
- Learning and embracing a different culture – It is important to be able to be open to learning about new cultures, so this will certainly allow your teen to do so, as they learn the native language and understand the local traditions.
- It will look good on their CV – When they return from their time abroad it will enrich their CV to be able to say they lived and studied in a different country.
- Reduced cost of studies – The cost of education varies from one country to another. We live in Ireland which can be an expensive place to go to university if you are not eligible for a grant. There are countries in Europe such as the Netherlands and Poland where it is much more affordable for EU citizens to live and study.
- Wider career opportunities – If access to your tertiary education system relies on a score system and your child doesn’t achieve the required number of points then it may be frustrating for them if they can’t study what they were really hoping for. There are options to study medicine in other countries, such as Italy for example, where it is believed that education is a right for everyone, no matter what your school academic results are.
If you need further information about studying in Europe you could visit EUNiCAS – the European Universities Central Application Support Service. EUNiCAS is unique as it enables UK and Irish [and other EU] students to apply to up to eight degree programmes, taught through English, in universities across Europe.