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First-Time Traveler: Dealing with Worried Parents

Posted on March 21st, 2013 by Jenny Frankel

parents and daughterInternational Student is proud to bring you our latest guest post from GoAbroad on how to deal with worried parents as you study abroad. Many of us have parents that are concerned about the idea of their sons and daughters traveling abroad so if you find yourself in this position, read on to find out GoAbroad.com’s advice on how you can help alleviate their fears! 

Think you’re nervous about going abroad? Your parents are probably just as scared. While some of you may have the type of family that practically pushes you out of the door when a new venture arises, just as many have parents who worry you’ll fall into a bottomless pit each time you walk out the door.

For those of you with worry-wart parents, the hardest part is over; they are letting you go abroad. But that doesn’t mean they won’t hover over you as you prepare to depart or clog you inbox worrisome emails while you’re gone. Follow this advice if you need some space from smothering parents:

Make Sure They’re Informed

As you prepare to study abroad, you are given more pamphlets on what to expect than you know what to do with. You may think it’s overkill, but many of these guides are actually helpful. Meanwhile, your parents aren’t given anything. Talk with them about your upcoming trip and let them look through some of the papers you’re given. More importantly, educate your parents on the country you’ll be visiting. Maybe your mom thinks you’ll surely get Malaria by volunteering in Africa or your dad thinks you’ll be brainwashed by teaching English in Korea. Get rid of stereotypes or misinformation by telling your parents what you’ve learned about the country.

Keep Them in the Loop

Sick of your parents asking if you’ve ordered your passport or if you’ll need a travel visa? Then keep them in the loop on what’s going on. Tell them when you go in for vaccinations and let them join you on a shopping trip to buy necessary travel gear. By letting your parents in on how you’re preparing for your trip, you’ll let them see that you have things under control.

Make a Communication Plan

Plan on using Skype or Google+ to video chat every few weeks. Give your parents the number for your rental phone and set up days and times to talk. Tell your parents that if all else fails, you’ll at least be in touch via email. If you are traveling to a location where communicating will be tough, let your parents know that you might have to go a while without talking. As long as some sort of plan to stay in touch is put into place, you and your parents will both feel better about your time spent abroad.

Stay in Touch

If you made a communication plan, be sure to follow it! Your parents are smart; they know you’ll be busy and won’t expect to hear from you every week. But you should drop them a line every now and then so they know you’re alive. If you only talk to your parents a handful of times while abroad, make sure you do it while traveling. Tell your parents when you’ve safely arrived in a destination or when you’re leaving so they know you’re still alive. If you are crunched for time, having your parents follow your blog or Twitter account is one quick and simple way to let them see what you’re experiencing.

* Photo of daughter and parent courtesy of Shutterstock

Written by Jenny Frankel

Jennifer is the Director of Financial Services at Envisage International. Jennifer is a graduate of the University of Florida where she holds a Masters in International Business and a Bachelors of Science in Business Administration. She has lived and worked abroad in Chile, Costa Rica and London, and traveled extensively in South America, Europe and Asia.

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