How to convince your parents an internship abroad is a great idea

Tess Pajaron is part of the team behind Open Colleges. She has traveled to many different countries and loves to discover new and exciting places. She aims to share her learnings through her experiences.

Once you’ve decided that an internship abroad is the way to get your foot in the door and start your new career off right, the only thing that remains to be done is to convince your parents that it’s a good idea as well.

Unfortunately, this is often the hardest step towards making your dream internship a reality. But before you write them off as being unsupportive or distrusting; take a minute to put yourself in their shoes.

Their child (okay, you’re not a child, but to your parents you always will be) is heading out into the unknown alone and will be too far away for them to help out should anything go wrong.

There are probably a million things they are worried about, from your safety to poor nutrition and a lack of sleep, and as silly as some of their concerns may seem to you, it is important to be understanding of their feelings and try to come up with solutions to some of the problems they foresee.

Here are a couple of tried-and-proven ways (that’s right, I tested them myself) to get your parents on your side and banish any unrealistic concerns or expectations:

Tell your parents well in advance.

It can be tempting to put off telling your parents about a possible internship abroad, especially if you know they’ll have a strong reaction or be opposed to the idea. However, the longer you wait, the more difficult it will become to tell them, and there’s a good chance they’ll be rather unhappy about it if you wait until the last possible minute to share the news.

Even before you attend any interviews or start looking for opportunities, you should let your parents know that you are interested in an internship abroad. This gives them time to warm up to the idea and also gives you more time to convince them.

Involve them in the decision making.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you should let your parents pick out a country and choose the company you’ll intern with, but being open about your options and listening to their advice can do a lot to ease their feeling of powerlessness.
Who knows? They may actually have some great suggestions and insights that will help you make your plans, and if not at least you can say you looked at all your options.

Stay in touch as much as possible.

Before you set out on your new adventure, make sure you find ways to stay in touch with your parents. One of a parent’s main worries is often that they will lose touch with their child, and have no idea what is going on in their life.
This may be true to a certain extent, after all, they will only know as much as you choose to tell them, but have some pity on your poor parents and keep them in the know.

Skype is one of the best ways to stay in touch while working abroad, but there may be other ways as well, like special offers on cheap phone calls, texting and of course, Facebook. Iphone applications also offer newer ways of staying in touch, like Viber, Whatsapp and Facetime.

If your parents know where you’re staying, and have an easy way of contacting you and vice versa, they will be much more inclined to consent to your internship abroad.

Remember to say “Thank you”.

While having your parents micro-manage every last detail of your upcoming trip may be the last thing you want, try to remember that they are doing it because they love you and want the best for you.

If they are getting involved, it’s only because they want to be supportive of your choices and that is something that deserves your gratitude and respect. So swallow your pride and show them that you are grateful for their concern and the help they are offering you.

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