Is your (now all grown up) son or daughter about to head off on a big trip to study overseas?
You’re probably worried and excited for them, all at the same time. But, don’t be concerned. At the University of Adelaide College, we see hundreds of international students successfully adapt to their new lives every year and move on to study their dream degree at university.
To help ease your mind, we’ve created a special guide for parents of international students. You can click here to view the full guide or continue reading below to see some of our top tips on how to best manage the transition as a family:
1. Help your child prepare the essentials
There’s a lot to consider and organise before departure! Working through the requirements and supporting your child in planning the essentials will help build their confidence. Staying informed will also help you feel reassured that your child is well prepared to study abroad.
Handy tip: Create an emergency plan with your child before they leave, in case they have issues with money, a wallet or passport is lost, or a flight is missed.
2. Be on hand to offer life advice
This may be the first time your child has lived out of home. They’re going to be learning a lot about independent living, very quickly. Here are some topics where students can use a little parental advice:
Do some research into the cost of living in Australia, and encourage your child to figure out a budget that is going to enable them to live comfortably. They may need to get some part time work to support themselves, so they should have a look at wages and employment opportunities, too.
Taking care of a household is a skill set that people learn over time. Don’t let your child go off into the world without teaching them how to use a washing machine, cook for themselves, and do grocery shopping on a budget.
Taking care of their emotional and physical wellbeing
When your child is away from home, you want to know that they are taking care of themselves properly. Of course, you can’t tell them how to live their lives, but you can educate them to take a few precautions. You can remind them to do things such as manage their stress effectively, to be ‘beach safe’, to be aware of sexual consent, and how to set healthy boundaries within their new relationships.
Handy tip: help your child practise their English in the lead up to departure or enrol them in some English conversation classes. Having a good grasp of the local language will help them in every aspect of daily life.
3. Encourage your child to plan for living overseas
There are a few important logistical steps that your child needs to prepare in advance of arrival to help them step into their new life quickly and easily.
When your child steps off the plane, the first thing they are going to need is a place to stay.
You can organise student accommodation ahead of time, with help from your institution. The College has several different options available, including homestays, student residencies or shared apartments, that can be organised in advance. Simply contact student services to start the process.
Student services can also assist your child in finding an independent rental or share house accommodation if they would prefer that option. Remember, there is a whole team of staff waiting to help your child as soon as they arrive.
Setting up a bank account
Setting up an Australian bank account will be one of the first tasks your child will have to do. While many banks require a person to show up in person, some of them allow accounts to be opened online, and this can be done ahead of time.
Getting a phone card
There are a lot of cheap phone plans in Australia that can be set up instantly. It’s worth your child doing some research on the different options ahead of time, so that on arrival, they don’t have to worry about which company to choose. They can go straight to a phone store or supermarket to buy a card, and an Australian electrical adapter, too.
4. Provide ongoing support
Over the next few years, it will be important to respect and encourage your child’s new independence but that doesn’t mean you can’t continue to provide support and encouragement. Here are a few tips:
- Schedule regular phone calls that work with everyone’s schedule.
- Research the city, the College and the University, and make yourself familiar with the services available. This will help set your expectations and show your interest and involvement.
- Encourage your child to become involved in social activities and networking opportunities, such as the Student Social Club.
- Get to know your child’s friends, the institution’s staff, or any other person close to your child that you can have as a point of contact, in case of emergencies.
- Encourage your child to use all the resources and assistance available to them, whether they need help in life or in their studies.