How to Convince Your Parents to Study Abroad

by Sojourner
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“How to convince your parents to study abroad” has almost 6 million results in Google. So if you have this dilemma, you are not alone! It is a common worry for many aspiring study abroad students. 

Lucky for you, I can help. I studied abroad as a junior for five months in beautiful Granada, Spain. It was my first time abroad, and my dad was a little hesitant. So figuring out how to convince your parents to let you be a foreign exchange student became my challenge with him. 

Eventually, he came around! And these tips below helped him understand the importance of studying abroad. So keep reading to learn more and find out they can help you too! We are going to get you abroad.

Strategies to help you convince your parents to go abroad

Outline the affordability

Affordability depends on where you study abroad. However, in many cases, studying abroad is cheaper than staying at your college or university. One way to convince your parents to study abroad is to have the financials outlined upfront. Create a chart of how much it costs at home vs. abroad to show them. Resources such as Diversity Abroad, GoAbroad, The Fund for Education Abroad, and GoOverseas are excellent to help you understand the finances and scholarship opportunities. If your parents are paying for your higher education, this should be high on your list.

Put yourself in their shoes

Act like a child, think like a parent. Convincing your parents to let you study abroad means you merge your reasons to go with their objections. As you prepare to tell them, anticipate their reasons to say no. It is wise to have your counterarguments ready. The more you can plan for their objections, the better you can convince them. If you want to be a lawyer without a degree, now is the time! 

Negotiate length of time

Sometimes for parents, it is not solely about you going abroad. For some, it is about the length of time. If you figure out that your parents are worried about you leaving for a semester, start with summer. Then suggest that if a summer abroad goes well, you can go for a semester.

The art of negotiation is a valuable skill to possess! And negotiating with your parents is the ultimate test. There are some strategies to compromise with them to get you abroad. Of course, you have to be reasonable and meet them where they are too.

Reassure them it is safe

For countries and cities around the world, you can find safety statistics. However, some can be misleading. Thus, research travel bloggers, YouTube videos, and other study abroad students for insight into safety. Any supporting information you find is helpful. 

Safety is always a hot-button issue with parents. Rightfully so, you are their child. As your parents, they are responsible for protecting you from harm. And if you want to know how to convince your parents to study abroad, you will need to address safety concerns. 

Create a list of benefits

Language learning, cultural immersion, and traveling are a few of the many benefits of studying abroad! Your parents need to know these benefits as well. Compile as many as you can find out. Even add some of the general reasons to travel abroad! The benefits of studying abroad and the advantages of traveling often overlap.

Do your research

Show them, don’t just tell them! If they are worried about staying in contact with you, outline strategies for how you all will communicate. Is safety an issue? Gather quotes from past study abroad students in addition to statistics. 

For those questions about finances, whip out that financial plan. Are they worried about the classes you will take?  Include your course enrollment and how they coincide with your major or minor. Anticipate all of their questions and include those answers in your research. 

Schedule a group meeting with the study abroad office

Sometimes you need another person to convince your parents to let you study abroad! Also, parents may need reassurance from the experts. So, coordinate a meeting with them and the study abroad office. They can answer all your parents’ questions in detail and with more depth. 

Get life-changing quotes from study abroad alum

Again, parents may need others to be convinced! So, in addition to meeting with the study abroad office, talk to study abroad alumni. Get quotes and testimonials from them about their experiences abroad. How did studying abroad impact them? What would they say to hesitant parents? And for your plotting, ask the alumni how they convinced their parents to study abroad. 

Show you are already invested

Parents love when their children take initiative! And showing them you are serious about study abroad will need that determination. For example, mention you are already applying to scholarships to cover costs. Name drop resources such as Student Universe as tools you have already researched. Show that ambition to convince them you are serious.

Remind them it is more than partying abroad

When some parents hear “I want to study abroad,” they translate it to a semester of partying. Remind your parents this is not true! While studying abroad can include parties, and it does happen, it is not required. 

Highlight the keyword: studying. As a student, you must do your work. If not, studying abroad could jeopardize your graduation date. Demonstrate your commitment to your studies before you go abroad, so there are no questions. All programs have a minimum GPA requirement anyway! 

Play up that is an investment in your education

As you are trying to convince your parents to be a foreign exchange student, remember it is en educational investment. It sounds dramatic, but sometimes parents need some drama. And technically you are not lying! Studying abroad is a great investment in a student’s education. You learn so much more outside the classroom than inside a classroom.

End it with an “I love you”

Parents are looking out for you! It may seem like they are harsh or unreasonable. However, they love you, and knowing their child is going away for an extended period is scary. End your presentation or conversation about studying abroad with an “I love you.” Everyone, even your parents, wants love from their child reassured. 

What is the best age to study abroad?

This question is a good one. Many people study abroad as undergraduate students in college. However, sophomore or junior years are the perfect times to go overseas and still enjoy college campus life. At this point, you are adjusted to college but perhaps ready to experience something different.

While it is easier as an undergraduate, studying abroad can happen in grad school, others go abroad in high school or even do adult study abroad. So, yes, it is possible! You can even decide to take an internship abroad or pursue an early-career international fellowship. So, go when you feel ready and have the means and opportunity!

Do you need your parents’ permission to study abroad?

Ideally…yes. While there are people who wait until they are packed and on a plane to tell their parents, I do not recommend it. At all. You do not want to ruin your relationship with your parents by sneaking off to a foreign country.

There are very few ways to get around your parents. If you are studying abroad through your college or university and paying your tuition, they will find out. In the age of social media, it is hard to hide anything too. Therefore, regardless, you will need your parents’ permission. Use this advice to persuade them!

So, how can you convince your parents to study abroad and say yes?

In the end, make it sound like an opportunity you cannot live without as a student. These strategies are helpful to help you get your parents to say yes! It might not be an easy conversation or series of talks. But once you convince them, you will be on your way.

So do not psych yourself out! Instead, keep pushing and striving to get that experience abroad. The worst thing a parent can say is not; at least then, you tried. But hopefully, these tips will turn that “no” into a “yes!” I wish you all the best. 


Looking for more study abroad tips? Check out this post here.

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