Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Preparation Checklist Before Your Teen Studies Abroad

A guest post by Maire Hunter

So, your baby’s a teenager, and he wants to study overseas. How do you feel? Panic, fear, worry? It will be okay. Studying abroad is a great learning experience for kids. With this preparation checklist, your son’s ready to live overseas and stretch his wings.

Is Your Child Mature Enough?

Most high school students answer to a chaperone and live with a host family when they study abroad. But you won’t be there to enforce your house rules or make sure he wears clean underwear. Is your child responsible and ready to
  • care for his own basic needs?
  • follow instructions from other adults?
  • balance school work and play?

If so, your child is mature enough to study overseas.

Is He Adventurous?

Exploring the host country is one of the greatest experiences your child will ever have. He’ll need an adventurous spirit.

It’s easy for kids to spend time with people similar to themselves. With an adventurous spirit, though, your son will make friends with locals, explore the offbeat path and experience his chosen country through the eyes of a native.

Is He Healthy?

A microscopic, international bug could humble even your strong, strapping teenager. A study abroad insurance policy will make it much easier for him to receive medical care if he’s injured or becomes ill.

Before he leaves, schedule a medical exam. He’ll need:
  • a complete physical evaluation
  • updated immunizations
  • prescription medication refills
  • basic first aid training and a small kit

Do You Have All the Paperwork?

If your child’s traveling with a group, the leaders will assemble a packet that outlines the paperwork you need. A passport, visas and medical exam are probably on that list. Don’t wait until the last minute to assemble your paperwork. Tons of red tape could delay or even cancel your child’s trip of a lifetime.

Is His Suitcase Packed?

It’s no big deal if your son forgets his shoes or toiletries when he’s on an overnight trip with friends. Traveling overseas is another story. Buying what he forgets may be inconvenient and expensive. Write a packing list, and double check the suitcase before he leaves. It should include:
  • suitable clothes and shoes for the climate and culture
  • toiletries and personal care items
  • electronic devices, chargers and AC/DC adapter
  • credit card or traveler’s checks
  • travel guide and bilingual dictionary
  • school supplies

Can You Contact Him?
You don’t want to hover, but you do want to chat with your son while he's overseas. On your computer, download Skype so you can see him as you chat. Also, exchange contact information with his chaperon and host family. Make sure you have all this information before he steps on the plane because you’ll want that peace of mind.

Studying overseas gives your child a chance to explore the world and grow up a bit. It’s a scary experience for you, but proper preparation eases your worries and gives your child the tools he needs for a successful study abroad experience

1 comment:

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