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I’m curious to know if anyone has taken their children or teens overseas for their education? What are the pros and cons of educating your child in a different country, academically, socially and emotionally?
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I have always thought that a college exchange program overseas is one of the best opportunities and deals around. Where else can you study at an elite school and see the world all for relatively little more than what you already pay for college?
Our daughters did not take advantage of this college perk. One had no desire to travel, and the other was a nursing student who had to keep up with her program's clinical rotations.
However, my best friend's daughter exchanged from a US school to attend Oxford. She loved the experience and has ended up taking a job arranging group travel for the large corporation where she works. She attends the trips and serves as the "host" for the groups.
From what I have seen and heard, it is worthwhile to consider and encourage these college programs.
I think that if teens are keen on pursuing some or all of their college / university education abroad and it is something that you can afford then it is absolutely worth looking into. Giving young adults opportunities to expand their horizons and experience life in different places is a wonderful gift. Learning and living in a different country that may have a different language or culture will not be easy for everyone though, and I think that it is something that needs to be carefully thought through. As we have all learned, life can be surprising and unpredictable and your teen will need to know that they will be okay to be separated from you for an indefinite period of time.
For some families, costs is the biggest deciding factor but students that maintain top grades through high school may be able to apply for full or partial scholarships. In some countries, even international students can study for free or at a low cost, but then its is necessary to weigh up the cost of other things such as accommodation, food, and transport (and of course regular flights home). You also need to make sure that their qualification is internationally accredited so that they are confident that they are employable after graduation whether they return home or go on to live or work elsewhere.
The students I know that have studied overseas for some or all of their higher education are well rounded and independent adults who are able to look at things from multiple perspectives. They have had to learn to cope without mom and dad close by and are usually resourceful and adaptable. We live in a connected and inter-connected world and being able to experience this while learning is amazing.