Since our earliest days, the importance of education is being drummed into our heads. We accept the fact that education is important and live with it through our entire lives. We make a lot of important life decisions based off of this fact. Yet surprisingly enough, we often let it run automatically, without thinking. We go to the school in the neighborhood, then we attend community college. And when we have families and kids of our own, and they often have to repeat the same circle.
Surely, we do our best to pick the ultimate school in the near vicinity of our child, and then we will give the best advice we can regarding the choice of college. But parents are seldom eager to let a child go studying in a different part of the country somewhere, let alone a different country. We often don't even stop to consider such possibilities, and when we do – we are quick to dismiss them.
It is only natural for a parent to put their child's safety first, to try and make it so, that we were near at all times, should our child need our help or support. Yet, we need to come to terms with the fact that if we truly care for our children, we want the best for them and their future. And studying abroad gives them unprecedented opportunities that you will deprive your children off by forcing them to stay and study within a few hours driving distance. Let us take a more detailed look at some of those opportunities:
# TO SEE THE WORLD
Everybody wants to see the world, even if secretly. If we can't travel ourselves for this or that reasons, eventually we convince ourselves that there's nothing good in that, and we might subconsciously try to project this groundless belief onto our children.
The truth is, being exposed to other cultures is always a good thing to develop a more accepting and flexible mindset, as well as a broader view on all the aspects of everyday life, which is always a plus when it comes to looking for a job.
# TO LEARN LANGUAGES
Unless your child chooses to study specific languages, most international student programs will offer their courses in English. Others use Spanish or Mandarin – which are also considered to be “world” languages – as the working language. But, obviously, just having your university courses in English will not oblige all the people in a student's environment to speak it. As hard as one can try, one can't isolate oneself from the local language when submerged in a foreign-language environment. You need to have at least some of the basic language skills at your disposal to do your everyday routine, such as shopping, eating out, finding your way around the town, etc.
Even if your child does not master his or her language skills to the level of full professional efficiency, s/he will get rid of that internal barrier that many people have against foreign languages for good. They will no longer treat a foreign language as something alien, and it will be much easier for them to learn this or any other language to the needed level when faced with such a need.
# TO BE EXPOSED TO A DIFFERENT EDUCATION SYSTEM
All countries have different education systems. For example, as you probably know, if you are getting a bachelor's degree in the USA, you will normally need to study for 4 years. The first year is when students take a number of various topics before making up their minds as to what they want to major in since their second year.
In the UK, on the other hand, the students are expected to already have decided about their major before they get enrolled into a college. Logically, it can take as little as 3 years to get a bachelor's degree, unless the student does dual honors, a year in the industry, or a year abroad on an exchange program. So, if your child has already decided what s/he wants to major in, then it makes perfect sense to take the opportunity to get that bachelor's degree an entire year sooner.
Moreover, your child will become more separate and more independent. He will learn discipline and cooking, will learn the foreign language perfectly that allows him or her to write a killer personal statement on CV in several languages in the future. With these skills, your child will be easier to enter into adulthood.
This is just one example of something to consider when deciding if you want to have your child studying abroad. Be encouraged to take your time and get familiar with the education opportunities in various countries, to make sure that your child gets the best!