Most parents are worried enough when their children go off the university – and those fears are amplified when said university is in a whole other country! Their stresses range from all the little things you’ll now have to do by yourself; too much bigger concerns around your safety. It may be tempting to dismiss them as worry-warts, but that probably won’t get you their all-important signature on the application form.

If it seems like they might want to back-track, remind them of all the many benefits you’ll gain from studying abroad. It is the kind of experience that will grow you as an individual, just as much as it will grow your academic knowledge. In an increasingly globalized economy, being adaptable and attuned to cultural differences will be invaluable skills. Studies have even found that international graduates are less likely to be unemployed and could earn higher starting salaries than their locally-qualified contemporaries.  


If turning you into a highly-employable, well-rounded citizen of the world isn’t enough to convince your parents – remind them of some of the more fun reasons they should encourage this kind of adventure. Through being in a new environment and experiencing a different way of life, you’ll come to know yourself a whole lot better. As a bonus, you’ll become a more compassionate human who can relate to others on a deeper level. That’s on top of making loads of friends, exploring and adventuring in your new home, and even honing your language skills!

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So how do you deal with this parental stress? Here are a few tips:

Take them seriously

Their concerns may seem frivolous when viewed through your adventure-seeking eyes, but try to understand where they’re coming from. Prove your emotional maturity and ability to handle conflict by chatting to them about what they’re worried about, rather than resorting to teen-tactics of slamming doors and shouting matches.  

Take them with you

We don’t mean literally, of course. Rather make them feel part of the process. No doubt a lot of the things they’re worried about, are also stressing you out a bit. Taking them along for the journey will make you all feel more comfortable and prepared. Let them help you do some research and include them in your decision-making process. This has the added benefit of reassuring them that they’ve equipped you with the skills needed to make the most of this opportunity.  

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Make it fun for them too

Can you blame them if they secretly feel a bit jealous? Here you’re off on a grand adventure, while they’re being left behind. This will increase their feelings of abandonment, but not if you keep them excited about the prospect. Plan a holiday together in your chosen country – making their first visit something you both look forward to.

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Lighten their load

A big part of their stress is no doubt that they won’t be able to help you when things get sticky. The entire process of sifting through requirements and applying just adds to their feeling of the world is beyond their control. To boot, the process may seem very overwhelming and expensive when you first get started. We can help with this, guiding you and your parents through the decision and application process.

Remember that your parents want only the best for you. They know you’re capable of doing this – they raised you after all! Be easy on them if they are worried, and remember it’s okay to also show that you’re a little afraid. By supporting each other you’ll gain another lifelong benefit through this experience: a strong relationship with your parents.

If all else fails, you can always call in reinforcements from your SchoolApply Advisor to calm your parents’ nerves.


About the Author: Corli de Kock studied journalism and art history in a small little town in South Africa, away from her safe home nest. She's tried her hand at many things, journeying via rock 'n roll to social strategy and eventually copywriting. She's still figuring out what the next thing will be, gathering skills, lessons and friends along the way.