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Advice we gave our children about studying abroad

...and the advice we could not give

This week we have asked Mirjam, the mother of one of GradTrain's founders and the mother of 2 children that have studied abroad, to write a guest blog about the experiences of being a parent of children who wish to study abroad. We don't want to give too much away, but the blog you are about to read inspired us to write another blog (for next week) where we will provide a guide for parents who have children who are contemplating studying abroad and who are facing similar experiences as those just described below.

Anyway, here is Mirjam's story:

As a parent you do not have much of an influence over what or where your son or daughter will end up studying. But we told our children: “Do what you love to do and follow your passion.... But if you start something, continue and see it through to the end. Take your exams in time and try to do your best”.

As a parent you are concerned that your son or daughter will go to a good university where he or she gets support and get to meet excellent mentors and professors. That was a concern for us from the start, but the concerns grew once we realized that our children were seeking an education from universities abroad and our questions were multiplied and harder to find answers to. In addition to not really understanding the international education systems, we were also concerned about the quality of life in the places that our children wanted to study. These were places we had never visited, places we did not know and places where we did not know anyone so we did not know how to familiarize ourselves with them and find answers to our questions. Nor did we know how to help our children in the application process that seemed much more complicated than the one we were familiar with at home.

Our son had friends at the University of Manchester who were telling him about the great student social life there. He had multiple choices of universities, but as parents it was hard to find out which would be the best option for him and the best study programs. After a lot of considerations our son went to the University of Manchester for four years. He had a great time, finished his exams and became an engineer. We were lucky and proud, it all worked out for the best, but I will always remember the uncomfortable feeling of not being able to inform ourselves well and help our son through the international application process.

If you have enjoyed this blog, and especially if you share similar feelings and experiences, why don’t you comment on this blog and tell us about it? What was the advice you gave your children and what were the obstacles you faced during your child’s international application process?


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