Convincing strict parents to go study abroad TwT

Friends…i need some advice xD. (sorry for the long rant <__<)

So I got nominated to go study abroad in Korea this summer (exciting). It’s been my dream in college to go study abroad for the experience and learning. If I do commit, there’s another application for the specific program that I have to apply to. I want to commit but, when talking to my parents, they are strictly not letting me go, no matter what solutions I give to their problem (safety and health matter).

1: Worried about the virus over in the area right now (soln: hopefully it's gone by then)

2: if something were to happen to me, they can't reach me in time (soln: I have friends coming w/ me and im willing to call/text everyday)

3: "You can get experience here in Bay Area, so why need to go to another country to get experience?" (learn about the culture and diversity???)

4: you can go study abroad in the future....

Honestly, I been following whatever they say for almost my whole life and this is something I’ve been planning before even going to college. How would ya’ll respond to this? Would you still commit or give up and listen to your parents? P.S. I’m planning on using my extra financial aid package to pay for the cost of the program and save up for my own personal expenses.

We have a daughter who studied abroad in high school. It was a great experience. She learned a lot, particularly about herself and about the world. She now has a friend from another culture that she still keeps in touch with. Her foreign language skills were greatly improved. I think that it also increased her confidence for going abroad in university – the same daughter is now studying for a full four years “slightly abroad” in Canada. This is also a great experience.

However, I think that your parents first concern is a valid one. The coronavirus shows no sign of slowing down. I would be very nervous about going abroad to Asia right now. We really don’t know how bad it will be, but right now it is very bad in the worst hit area and appears to be slowly spreading. Korea is not China but the virus could spread widely by the summer.


Are you in HS or college? If you are still in HS, your parents are correct that you will have time to study abroad later. If you are in college, I think you have a stronger argument.

That said, I would be worried about the spread of the coronavirus as well.

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So… My senior year college daughter went to Indonesia for her study abroad 2 years ago as a college junior. She took off a semester and back packed by herself through Indonesia, Loas Vietnam, Cambodia. It was an amazing experience for her. This was in the spring /summer months. She stayed at youth hostels and did some Workaway (free room/Board /good for teaching English in Vietnam)
They even picked her up at the airport.

She slept at youth hostels and most of the people traveling were Europeans 18-22 age group since it’s common to take a gap year in Europe before college. She said at the youth hostels that everyone looks after each other. They also have activities, hikes, movies, etc so you get to know each other. There are singles and all female rooms also. She did a bit of everything. Even arbnb since it was like $5-8/day with breakfast… That was a treat for herself? Most youth hostels had breakfast of some sort included.

So she would meet a few people and they would venture off together till they parted ways. Then my daughter would go to the next hostel etc. For Vietnam, it was a certain path to take and sites that like everyone would go to. She saw the same people over and over.

She gave us a daily itinerary that she changed here and there. She was very good about texting us to let us know her exact locations. We did FaceTime etc which was fun.

She is up to go back to Indonesia this summer if she is awarded a trip from

She got this also 2 years ago and is a semifinalist again for this year. This is a free paid trip through the state department. Awesome language intensive.

But… If this virus is not better controlled even if there’s a question of it she’s not going and she knows it. In some countries they are not even talking about it. Like sweeping it under the rug type of thing…

So we will see how everything plays out. If accepted she has till the summer to see what the deal is and hopefully won’t be an issue.

If you or your parents need more information let me know. PM me if you want to. Southeast Asia is very safe for women. But of course you need to be on alert all the time when traveling. If your in a group like a university group, it can be an an amazing experience. They are planned out and your always in groups together.

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@momofsenior1 I’m a current sophomore college student who is also graduating next year :slight_smile:

@Knowsstuff that’s what I’m telling them…like I can commit for now and then see if the virus is better by the summer time. I just dont want to give up right now and then later on regret on following their decision. I’ve been following whatever they told me to do for almost my entire life, including which college to go to. So, this is the one thing I really want to do during my college time here ._.

At some schools if you back out or study abroad you will still have to pay for the experience… So check that out first.

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Also read the local newspapers from your target country. Then read some from England… They tend to have a good pulse of what’s going on. But where I live in Chicago, people aren’t even going to our Chinatown.

@Knowsstuff yea…if i back out im paying 500 but im planning on doing it with my own money

You might also need to buy airfare and apply for a visa before knowing whether you can really go or not and those will probably be non-refundable. When my daughter went to China for the summer, we booked her flights in March, which is probably still too early to know what the virus situation will be.

I personally would not be comfortable with my child making plans to go to Asia for this summer.

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Study abroad is a great experience.

But I have to admit that “hopefully it’s gone by then” isn’t a great counter to the first concern.

One of my D’s classmates was on study abroad this semester in China and the entir program was evacuated (the school paid for it - good for them).

You should find the refund policies for any costs you would incur, and come to some agreement on when a final decision needs to be made and what the criteria are, with their input.

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One other thing but you have plenty of time. My daughter needed like $800 of shots for her trip. Don’t know what is recommended for your trip and how far in advance you need to do it. A lot of study abroad you need to confirm like in April. There should be a consensus by then. Call your schools department for study abroad and see what their suggestions are also.

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I would really think that your school’s Study Abroad office will have information on plans and contingencies for the coronavirus. Definitely check in with them, and learn the financials in regards to that, and maybe this information will help you with your parents. Also, you have to consider not only the risk of contracting the virus (which is a big concern), but weigh the chances and costs of having your travel plans affected. Not just a delay or a reroute, but a holding-in-quarantine in someplace (like a hospital or community center) that would be unpleasant, to say the least.

The Study Abroad office would also have details on how any health issues or emergencies would be handled while you are there, information that you can also pass along to your parents.

Virus aside (but it’s very important), it seems like your question is, should you go against your parents’ will? Only you can answer that. Legally, sure, and financially, sounds like you are covered. Would your parent pull any financial strings in response? Would it cause major damage to your relationship? Would they be so distressed that you would feel guilty and worried the entire time, and not be able to engage in the experience?

As for your #4, what do they mean “later”, if you are graduating next year? Would they be OK with you doing a semester abroad next year? Or is this just them putting it off. Study abroad during college, as a part of a college program, should be a much more palatable option for parents worrying about safety than a post grad student doing “study abroad” on her own.

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@TS0104 I do agree with you on the last point you made. Like if they wanted me to do semester, then they should have told me sooner since I am graduating soon and this will be my “last” summer. About the relationship btw me and my parents, I dont want to do any damages, but like I said, I followed their requests to the point where they told me what college I have to go to. People be telling me that there has to be a point where I need to decide on what I want to do instead of always following their requests.

#3: “You can get experience here in Bay Area, so why need to go to another country to get experience?” (learn about the culture and diversity???)”

The problem is not the virus, if you decide go to South America or Europe, your parents are gonna found another motive to say no.
It’s difficult when the parents have those fears.

In my case, I want to my kids go to study abroad, their mom not, She wants the kids go to college in our city.

  1. The coronavirus is also in the United States.

  2. Other countries have medical systems and emergency response systems, and frankly, the medical personnel that would respond would likely be more useful in an immediate emergency than your parents. I recently had a medical emergency in another developed country, and I got rushed to the hospital in an ambulance and had good care. I’ve also been assisted by the police in a country I did not speak the majority language, and they returned my wallet to me. (Dramatic things tend to happen to me when I travel abroad.)

And of course, if it was something that really required their presence, they could get on a plane and get there.

  1. This is a silly argument. Of course you can learn wherever you are, but living in a different country with a different language and culture is obviously going to teach you something very different than you would get in the Bay Area. The language acquisition in and of itself is wonderful.

  2. Well, theoretically. But trust me when I say it is far more difficult to study abroad when you are out college, unless you go to graduate school. There are programs that allow you to teach abroad (Fulbright and EPIK will both send you to Korea), but they’re competitive. Most jobs will want you to have special skills, and jobs in international affairs will certainly prefer students who have study abroad experience.

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Okay let me ask you this, are you my daughter? LOL

When I first saw your post and the 4 things you pointed out, I immediately thought of my sophomore D who is in the process of applying for a study abroad specifically South Korea. All those things are areas of discussion between me and my daughter at least for now as she hasn’t told my husband yet. Anyway, let’s cover the areas you pointed out.

  1. As a parent, we worry a lot. The pandemic and the uncertainty of its presence in countries all over the world, is a valid cause of concern. Two things to point out, would you consider getting the covid19 vaccine? Maybe, just maybe, this will ease your parents worries if you get vaccinated. Second, and this is just my observation having been born and raised in the far eastern culture, it appears that countries like South Korea, Singapore, Japan and many others, seem to have a better hold on controlling the virus as oppose to North America and Europe. People from these countries are more compliant therefore are able to keep the spread of the virus very low. Maybe point this out.

  2. Ahhhh, one of the many worries of us parents. If an emergency arises, we always want to be within driving or flying distance to our kids. This issue is something that I am struggling to deal with right now should my D has to go abroad. My D has severe food allergies and asthma. She’s already had several anaphylaxis here so that’s a cause of concern for us. Then there’s the issue of medical coverage abroad. How does that even work?

  3. As a transplant myself as is my husband, I think if people are able to afford to go to college abroad or even just to visit other countries, the experience is very worth it. Seeing and living in another culture opens up your eyes to a lot of things and give you a better understanding of the world we live in.Things that one may think as “need” but are actually “wants” can force you to introspection once you see how others live with less. This is just an example.

  4. We told our daughter a couple of years back that should she want to pursue post grad studies that we will try and support her. This is something I re-iterated to her the other day regarding her plans to study abroad should my husband says no. I am not sure how your family’s finances are, but have you done your due diligence as to the cost of everything once you pursue the study abroad? I asked my daughter the same. We are your average to middle income family with two other kids, one also in a private college and an incoming hs junior. Lay out to your parents what it would mean studying abroad, the cost and benefits etc. Try to be open-minded.

This study abroad is new to me as well. Thats the reason why I stumble upon this thread as I am trying learn as much as I can from other parents and students alike. I hope you can sit down with your parents and do an honest discussion about this. I think you’ll feel much better having them behind your plan 100% rather than going ahead with a heavy heart. Good luck!!!