Have you ever been in one of those situations where you wanted something so badly, but your parents say “No, absolutely not!”? I’m not talking about wanting something small, like some sweets when you were five, I’m talking about something big – something that could potentially have a huge affect on your life. I’m talking about studying abroad. When I asked my parents if I could study abroad, I was met with an abrupt, “No, you can’t!” But why??? To which I received the typical parental response: “because I said so.” As much as this answer hurt me, I knew I couldn’t just let that be the end of the conversation. Instead I took it upon myself to turn my study abroad dream into a reality!
Determine where you want to study abroad
Since I’ve acquired the capacity of knowing the world map “by heart” (okay, maybe not the whole map), I’ve dreamed about studying in the United Kingdom. I don’t really know why; maybe because of the universities (they are really good!), or just because I liked the place, the people, the strange habits (there are many), the unpopular weather or simply the idea of it. But that’s all it was – just a dream, in the corner of my heart.
Learn the language
First of all, according to the place you want to go – LEARN THE LANGUAGE. You’ll be amazed at how helpful this is in the study abroad process. In addition to the grammar book that I bought with my money (thanks mommy), social media has been a big help. Yep! By reading and interacting with native English speakers through this sort of casual and engaging portal; I was able to better learn the language.
Be vocal with your parents
Above all, I wouldn’t say it has been easy to convince my parents, especially my mother.
First, begin the conversation with your parents very early on and be well-versed on all the details of your potential trip. Reply to their questions; all-of-them! If you don’t know the answer to one of the questions, say you’ll get back to them, and then do all the research needed to efficiently answer their question. By having the knowledge, your parents will see that you are serious about this, and will feel more comfortable knowing that you actually have a thought out plan.
Know as much as you can about your study abroad destination
Expanding on the tip above – I cannot encourage this enough: be knowledgeable about your destination! I took out multiple books from the library on English and British customs. I made a few lovely friends through Twitter who had lived or live in the UK. I even took private English lessons from someone who studied and lived in London – she was incredibly helpful in teaching me how to get rid of my obvious French accent! Basically, what I’m trying to say is you need to learn and obtain as much information about the country as you can, so you can be fully prepared for your trip. This knowledge will also be useful when trying to figure out the financials…which leads me to my next point.
Figure out financials, as early as possible
As you can probably imagine, study abroad trips can be pretty expensive. This was particularly true in my case since the UK is one of the most highly reputed countries in the world for higher education! I have to tell you, convincing my bank for a loan, was not easy – which is why it is essential you start the process early. I started looking for finances two years before going away. Yep! Two years. When I first talked to my bank, as soon as they heard the word “UK” they immediately recoiled, like they had heard the word “Voldemort” from Harry Potter. But, I didn’t give up. Instead, I kept trying. Three banks later (and after a few changes in my presentation), one finally agreed to help finance my trip!
I have been in England for three months now, and I can happily say that I’m loving it! It’s such a nice country (and the cute accents don’t hurt!). Although it took a lot of planning, persistence and hard work to get here, I was able to make my study abroad dream a reality. So, if you’re in the same boat that I was, don’t accept defeat! Get out there and make your dream come true!
Feature image source: anyimages.info and
Elsie Molly Etienne is currently studying Chemistry, Biology and English at Chichester College in the UK. She is a French International student who wants to achieve a Bachelor in Neuroscience and psychology and to focus on music and the mind. She's passionate about creative writing, music and science and wants to mix them up into a dream job.