Some academic subjects and skills like maths or reading can be taught in school. On the other hand, there are skills that can help your child adapt to new environments but they aren't really quantifiable. These 'soft skills' can range from conflict management and interpersonal skills to integrity and creativity. Give your child a better chance of making it abroad, help them learn and polish these survival skills.
Doing laundry and keeping the house spick and span may not be the most exciting things to do in life, but it is important to learn these every day skills. It is also useful to learn to cook. Cooking can teach you to be flexible, creative and become a problem solver. You can also learn how to manage stress and time through cooking. And when you sit down to eat, you learn gratitude, humility and the art of entertaining – if you're sitting down with dinner guests.
When your child is trying to stretch a student budget to make ends meet, it will be easier if they know how to manage money. Share your experience in managing the family's finances (the lessons learned, sacrifices made, what to do, what not to do) with your kids so they can benefit from it. Talk to your kids about the actual costs of going to study overseas so they'll take their studies seriously.
Is your child planning to study in Australia, the UK or US? Open a bank account ahead of time to make life easier for them when they arrive. As an HSBC Premier customer, you can open an overseas bank account1 for your child before they go abroad to study.
If time and budget permits, maybe you can consider visiting the universities you've shortlisted on their open days. (If not, virtual tours help too!) Check out the campus, check out the neighbourhood. Getting a first hand feel of the place before hand can help them settle in to their new environment smoothly. If they're familiar with their new home, they'll feel more at home abroad, and you'll feel more connected when they leave for their studies overseas.
In addition to virtual tours, many universities are offering in-person campus tours again. Some schools will ask you to pre-register or complete a health assessment before letting you in.
Surveys show that first-year college students who are not emotionally prepared are more likely to get poor grades and have an unfavourable experience of college2. Help your child mentally prepare for university life overseas by visiting the school together. Remind your kids to be happy. While education is important, so is their mental and physical well-being.
Check if your health insurance plan covers your child when he is abroad. Health insurance policies may differ between countries, and some universities may even include healthcare coverage. If you are looking for an insurance plan, make sure it covers your child for the for all their years studying abroad, as well as other places they may be travelling to. If you're not sure which coverage to get, talk to an insurance agent to identify which products is the best fit for you.
Do you expect your child to call you once a week, or will you give your child some space? What will the first day on campus be like? Will they get along with their roommate? What if they don't? Cover all angles, talk about everything and discuss possible scenarios to prepare them. Discuss the school's expectations as well so there are no unpleasant surprises.
Unexpected surprises can be family, health or financial emergencies. Work out a contingency plan in case they need to come back home quickly.
This new chapter is a big transition for both of you. Sit down with your child before the semester starts and discuss these changes so that they are mentally and physically prepared. Cover everything, including risky behaviour, online conduct and safety. These conversations may sound daunting, but they will help you and your child navigate the road ahead.
Use these tips as a guide to prep your child for university life abroad. You've done your part. What they don't know now, they'll learn.
As an HSBC Premier customer, you'll have access to professional education consultants. They provide specialised services for elite boarding schools and university admissions in top education countries including the UK, US and Australia. Learn more about HSBC Premier's exclusive overseas university support offered in partnership with PrepWorks here.
Also, make the most out of our exclusive international education seminars and complimentary assessments for skills enrichment programmes3.
Set up your child's international banking account ahead of time, make budgeting, global money transfers and deposits easier. Leave your contact details below and we'll get in touch to discuss how HSBC Premier can help you with the process.
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4Total 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.