Research, research, research! That's the first thing you and your child should do the moment they decide to study abroad. Find out all you can about the host country, their culture, local laws and customs, health information, safety tips, and travel advice or travel warnings.
Explore the campus and take the public transportation around the university to get a glimpse of what life will be like. Find out where the Malaysian embassy or consulate is located, walk around the local neighbourhoods, check out if there are any Malaysian restaurants nearby to satisfy your food cravings when you are there. Look for Asian grocery stores to shop for local stuff to make your child feel closer to home, get a good feel of the city. By the time your child goes there to study, they will fit right in and feel right at home. If it is not possible for you to visit the school physically, ask if the school can take you on a virtual tour of the campus over Zoom, perhaps?
If your child is still under your health insurance plan, check if they will still be covered when they go overseas. The school may also offer student medical and travel insurance.
Some universities offer student housing. This is convenient for first-year students especially. If not, you can rent a place or consider a home stay for your child. Work out a budget and start scouting around. If you can go and take a look at the accommodation in person, better still!
Some students prefer to live on their own. Some live in dorms. If you want your child to live with a roommate, start looking for one soon. Virtual meetup is a great way for them to get to know each other online before moving in together.
Visas vary, depending on the host country your child is in. The validity, however, almost always depends on the local laws and university rules. Some visas allow students to work while they study, some allow them to stay in the country after they finish studying. The UK post-study work visa came into effect in 2020 and allows international students to stay in the UK for up to 2 years after they complete their studies.
Inform your bank and credit card company about your move and set up automatic payments for expenses. Do note that some cards need to be activated before your child leaves the country; other transactions can be done online or through mobile banking apps. Opening a local bank account for your child in the country they are going to study in will make day-to-day banking much easier.
This is a good time to teach your child about the importance of managing money. If they can manage their studies, encourage your child to work part-time. They'll earn some pocket money while learning about the value of money.
Get connected with other students studying abroad! Online forums and the university are great places to get to know other students. It's nice when you spot a familiar face.
If you're worried about your child's safety or other potential challenges, such as drinking alcohol and staying safe, talk to your child. Communicate openly, treat them like an adult. After all, your child will be on their own overseas, they will have to learn to become more independent.
Visas, accommodation and insurance - these are some of the things you need to look into before your child goes overseas to study. What's more important is to open an international bank account1 before your child leaves.
HSBC Premier can get this process started for you.
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2Total Relationship Balance (TRB) includes any: Deposits in Current Account/-i, Savings Account/-i, Time Deposits, Term Deposits-i, and/or Investments in Unit Trust funds/Shariah-compliant Unit Trust funds, Structured Investments/-i, Dual Currency Investments/-i and/or Direct Retail bond, and/or Cash value from Family Takaful/Life Insurance products with investment-linked and savings components.